Virtual gatherings for Easter

BBC Broadcasts Over Easter Weekend 2020

Either specifically Christian, or at least ‘religious’. Details supplied by Church Times


HIGHLIGHT: 

Rebuilding Notre-Dame: Inside the great cathedral rescue 
A year after the fire, archi­­tects and scientists tell their restoration strategy. 
Wednesday 9pm BBC4

TELEVISION: 
Friday 1.40pm and Sunday 1.50pm (BBC1) 
Alexander Armstrong’s Heavenly Gardens 
A visit to six gardens steeped in faith and spirituality, starting at Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin, and con­tinuing to the Bishop’s Palace, Wells (1/2-2).

Friday 7pm (Channel 5) 
Digging Up Britain’s Past: Viking invasion: 
Archaeologists try to locate the site of a monastery on Holy Island (1/6).

9pm (BBC2) 
Pilgrimage: The road to Istanbul 
The seven pilgrims visit an orthodox church in Batak, and the Suleymaniye Mosque, in Istanbul (3/3).

Saturday 12pm (BBC2) 
The Greatest Story Ever Told 
The 1965 biblical epic starring Max von Sydow.

7pm (BBC2) 
Easter from King’s 
A service of music and readings from King’s College, Cambridge.

Sunday 11am (BBC1) 
Urbi et Orbi Pope Francis de­­livers his Easter message and blessing, live.

11.25am (BBC1) 
Sunday Worship From Bangor Cathedral, with music from Songs of Praise, 2018.

1.15pm (BBC1) 
Songs of Praise Katherine Jenkins visits St Luke’s, Gas Street, in Birm­ingham.

1.40pm (Channel 5) 
The Ten Commandments The 1956 film.

Wednesday 7pm (Nat Geographic) 
Saving Notre-Dame The rebuilding of the Gothic cathedral.

RADIO: 
Thursday and Friday 9.45am (R4 FM) 
The Passion in Plants Bob Gilbert concludes his pilgrimage (4-5/5).

Friday 1.30pm (World Service) 
Heart and Soul Wassim Razzouk’s family have been tattoo­ing pilgrims to Jerusalem for more than 500 years.

2pm (R3) 
Afternoon Concert 
An archive recording of Bach’s St John Passion sung in German, first broadcast in April 2017.

3pm (R4) 
Good Friday Meditation 
A Baptist min­ister, the Revd Richard Littledale, reflects on why Christians see beauty and love in the Cross.

7pm (R3) 
Radio 3 in Concert 
An archive recording of a semi-staged performance of Bach’s St Mat­thew Passion, first broadcast in September 2014.

7pm (R2) 
At the Foot of the Cross 
The Passion written and narrated by Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Sunday 6.35am (R4) 
Sunrise Service Celebration with music from a gospel group.

8.10am (R4) 
Easter Sunday Worship 
The Arch­­bishop of Canterbury leads an intimate com­munion service with his wife in Lambeth Palace.

1.30pm (R4) 
Three Vicars Talking 
The Revd Richard Coles, the Revd Kate Bottley, and Canon Giles Fraser in an Easter special.

3pm (R3) 
Choral Evensong 
An archive recording of festal evensong from Norwich Cathedral, first broadcast on 16 April 2017.

5.30pm (R3) 
Words and Music 
A celebration of the Passover, Easter, and Spring.

Monday 4.30pm (R4) 
Beyond Belief 
Can faith values help people and religious organisations to invest their money in a way that matches their ethics?

Wednesday 3.30pm (R3) 
Choral Evensong 
An archive recording of a service from the Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, Texas, first broadcast on 19 April 2017.

Plus other material will also be available on BBC local radio.

Yours in Christ. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Mike

Good Friday – Separated by fear, united by love

When Jesus was crucified the gospels share the use of the phase that the disciples who were brave enough to be there ‘stood at a distance’. Perhaps they stood at a distance out horror at what they were witnessing, distance made it more bearable. Perhaps they stood at a distance out of fear of identifying themselves with Jesus, they didn’t want to risk being picked out, arrested, and possibly sharing the same fate as Jesus. Perhaps they stood at a distance because the Roman soldiers pushed them back, forcibly separating them from Jesus. For whatever reason, they stood at a distance, and Jesus suffered alone, isolated. The words speak powerfully into our present separated human condition.

But in John’s gospel there is an opposite glimmer of community restoration. Jesus looks out at his disciples from the cross. He calls to Mary his mother, and to John. He says: “Woman, here is your son.” And he says: “Here is your mother.” And it continues: ‘From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.’ Jesus loves his mother, and in his ultimate distress Jesus tenderly puts her into the care of another. Jesus leads us by his example. Jesus models for us how to create communities of care, and households of love and commitment.

For most of us, many of our loving human relationships are separated by coronavirus separation restrictions. If we love people, then we keep apart from them. But for a few of us, we are discovering deeper and closer connections of love and commitment within our households of care. There are wonderful pictures of residents and carers in Nursing Homes on the TV, they know that they are in it together, they have become committed to one another. I also read the heart-warming stories of zoo keepers moving into on-site accommodation so that they can spend the isolation period close to the animals in their care.

Yours in Christ. May God bless you and keep you safe.

Mike

Coronavirus

At time of writing this, more and more restrictions are being advised daily to protect the vulnerable and strategically delay and cope with the Coronavirus pandemic. It all feels very surreal. Each one of us will know someone who is in the at high risk category, either through age or from having underlying health conditions; friends and family who have had their long awaited holiday cancelled; parents with children now at home from school; places of work closing; places of worship closing; people adjusting to working remotely; empty shelves in store… the uncertainty is causing a lot of anxiety and distress.

However we’re all in this together, throughout the entire world, and even though we face daily set backs there is also a strong sense of community emerging. And of course the British spirit of people rallying together. ‘Cup of tea anyone?’

Although the phrase “I’ll put the kettle on” is somewhat stereotypically British there is something very homely and welcoming about those words. A moment of normality and bliss amidst our current turmoil. A time for our thoughts. Muster our strength, courage and determination to face whatever the next challenge may be.

It’s important for us to remember that through challenging times of uncertainty, no matter how dark things may get, God is working out His purpose for good.

“And we know that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good, with those who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28

He has a wonderful way of turning things round for the better. Everywhere you look you’ll find good deeds being done; kind words being said, cheerful smile, neighbours checking in with one another, running errands for each other, looking out for one other, being there to answer a call for help. If we could keep this community feel and focus on what’s truly important in life, long after this outbreak is over, how much better would our planet be? Good things will come.

Let’s resolve to focus on the things we can do. The decisions and actions we have control over. The little things we can do each day that adds a moment of normality and balance. Why not turn on your favourite piece of music. Bake a cake. Pick a posy of flowers. Listen to the birds singing. Call a friend for a catch up. Check in on your neighbour. Take up a new hobby (or pick up an old one again). Open a window to let in fresh air. Make that cup of tea. Pray for each other. Small actions, words and deeds no matter how small can spread a little piece of joy and hope.

Keep safe and look out for each other.

Grace

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians:8-9

We’re currently studying together ‘The Grace Course’. At the time of writing, so far we’ve had an insightful re-look at ‘The Prodigal Son’ and its three main characters; the father, the lost younger son, and the eldest son. It’s definitely worth looking at their different characteristics and attitudes. Do you see any of these characteristics in your own life? Which character can you most relate to?

The study revealed the parable in a completely different light, enabling us to take away fresh meaning as to what God’s grace means for us all, today. For instance, the eldest son had been given everything, “all I have is yours” exclaims his father, yet the eldest son’s mindset was closed to this, feeling overlooked, unappreciated, and by the end of the parable, very disgruntled! We can naturally have sympathy for him. However turning the situation on its head, it was the son’s own choice to continue dutifully working long hours, away in the fields, alongside the servants, rather than spending some of that time with his father, or enjoying communion with his friends. How similar are we? Heads down, working away? Yet, if we were to only look up once in a while, take a step back to enjoy and appreciate what we’ve already graciously received, how much better and happier would we feel? There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn God’s grace – he has already generously given it to each and everyone one of us…

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work”.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

It’s real love

It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of Christmas, with all the stores beautifully adorned and decorated, and adverts portraying the idyllic Christmas. One advert in particular has taken precedence in people’s hearts with the message:

 “…Seems like all they really were doing, was waiting for love…

…It’s real love. It’s real.” lyrics sung by Tom Odell (written by John Lennon)

What a great way to sum up Christmas! – and exactly what the world was waiting for in the prophesied birth of Jesus – real love. It goes beyond the baubles and the wrapping paper straight to the heart of the season. It’s a special time of year; powerful enough to lay guns and fighting aside, as we were reminded during our 1914 Remembered evening in November with the rendition of “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht…Silent Night, Holy Night”.

(It was a fantastic evening raising over £160 for Help for Heroes – many thanks to everyone involved in the evening behind the scenes, participating and attending).

Christmas is time for everyone, it’s patience, kindness, humility; it believes,  it hopes and endures: It’s real love. It’s real!

You’re warmly invited to celebrate Christmas with us – bring along family and friends and discover the reason for the season…

a BIG Thank You!

Thank you so much to everyone who supported our Craft & Hobby Festival – through all the work behind the scenes and on the day, the delicious cakes and cream teas, the beautiful and colourful displays showcasing many a talent, all the visitors and the generous donations – together we raised £365 for Macmillan nurses – which is a fantastatic result!

Many thanks again!

…a little bit of sunshine

This glorious spring month celebrates Mother’s Day, St Patricks and Easter, providing a time for thanks, celebration, reflection, and an eternal hope for things to come. Sunshine can be found each day in the little things we do for each other – a kind word, smile or deed and also along the roadside with its many banks of daffodils as they gently sway in the breeze. For those who find a grey cloud overcasts their day may the words of this Irish Blessing bring a little bit of sunshine your way:

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Snowdrops

We’ve had heavy snowfall, frosty mornings and plenty of rain but the signs of Spring are already showing…

…the first being the humble snowdrop, a symbol of new beginnings, hope, optimism and purity. As we enter the season of Lent the snowdrop’s three pure white delicate flower petals on a single stem is also a reminder of the strength and hope that is found within the trinity. Whilst the snowdrop marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring it does so in humility, its head is always bowed – this could be seen as a reference to the servant king, but it also hints towards the crucifixion of Jesus and Mary’s sorrow, head bowed down in grief at the foot of the cross for her son.

But as we know that’s not the end of the story – it’s the start of a new beginning… which the snowdrop sums up beautifully.

Thank you

Our Sunday School would like to thank everyone for the generous gifts given for the homeless at the Christmas Tree service early in December. There were 213 items collected to create survival kits, distributed by the Salvation Army during the festive season. Throughout the service the Christmas Tree was adorned with traditional decorations – lights/ stars/ angels/ bells and baubles, revealing the legend of the Christmas tree and how it relates to the Nativity and beyond.

The prominent theme of faith, hope and love, encapsulated by the humble bauble and candy cane, is a gift that reaches beyond Christmas:

Faith – what it takes to tackle problems and challenges, a rock to base our lives on

Hope – to search for the good in things and for life eternal

Love – an everlasting love that responds to needs and puts others first. It’s the greatest gift, which was exemplified in the simple act of giving gifts for the homeless and the candy canes given to each of the congregation as a reminder of Jesus’ love for us all – the pure lamb of God, sacrificed for the sins of the world.

So as you store the Christmas decorations away, keep their meanings and spirit of Christmas with you throughout the year.