Vicar's update 22nd March           Steve4to5-3244373775-O

This week, the Church marks the last days of Jesus’ earthly life, known as Holy Week.  It’s important to take time to reflect on all that Jesus did for us when he died and rose again and the special services during this week are designed to help us encounter him afresh.
 
It has been good today to have welcomed into Church local schools taking part in Experience Easter . This evening and on Tuesday and Wednesday we will be holding a short service of prayer based around the Experience Easter material.  This is at 9pm lasting about half an hour and is a good way to wind down at the end of a busy day. 
 
On Maundy Thursday our main act of worship is at 7.30pm.   We share a meal together in the context of an informal Communion service and will also have the opportunity to have our hands washed.  This year there is no formal Vigil after the service but the church will be unlocked until 10pm for any who wish to come and pray quietly.  If you haven't yet signed up for the meal just contact the Church Office (admin@ststephens-ealing.org) to book your place. 

On Good Friday we will join other local Christians in the Ealing Passion.  This starts on Haven Green at 10am (those who wish can walk together from Church at 9.30am).   Please bring something (e.g. sticks and an empty can)  to make a noise as the procession passes – symbolising the jeering crowd as Jesus is led to his death.   Our main act of worship in Church is at 2pm and will last for 1 hour.   This is a meditative service with readings, reflections and hymns, during which there will be children’s worship and activities in the Church Centre – if you have children please bring them with you so that they too can appreciate the significance of Good Friday.
 
Easter Day is the most special day of the year, the day when Jesus rose to new life.  We start our worship at 5.30am outside in the stillness of the early morning as we light the Easter Candle from a new fire.  We then go into the darkened church singing and lighting individual candles.  As night turns to day we hear some readings from scripture and reflect on God’s plan of salvation for the world.  As the Church is filled with light and noise we celebrate that Jesus is alive; the band lead us as the service moves from reflection to party.  After Communion we join together for breakfast.

Do remember that the clocks go forward by 1 hour on Saturday night!

At 10.30am we have our usual joyful All Age Celebration for Easter Day and this year will include the baptism of Grace Edwards.

With my love and prayers that you will meet with Jesus in a fresh way during this Holy Week.

Steve 

Steve Newbold, vicar@ststephens-ealing.org