Claypole Benefice
From the Rector
Dear Friends,

‘Well, if he thinks he’s going to get me talking about my faith, he’s got another thought coming!’ The reaction of a churchwarden (not of this diocese) to the suggestion made by a particular bishop that they might have a mission in his diocese, where they tried to share what they knew of Jesus to people who had not yet made the same discovery.
It is a sad, but reasonably common, response. Faith seen as a private affair, something we’re reluctant to talk about even with our friends, those we trust, let alone those we might not know as well. Maybe we’re afraid of being asked questions to things we haven’t got the answers for. Maybe we’re afraid of being thought of as strange. For whatever reason we keep firmly quiet, which means those around us are prevented from discovering the treasures we know – the difference that Jesus can make in an ordinary life, even like ours.

By contrast, one of the things that all three of the bishops in our diocese are looking forward to this year, in response to a challenge from the Archbishop of Canterbury, is to work with our second-year curates and their parishes to see how, together, we can creatively, intentionally and appropriately share what we know to be true with those we are in contact with. That is, across the diocese, in a variety of ways, simply sharing what God means to us, in the hope that others will open themselves up to all that he might have for them as well.
We have a prayer that has been written for these events. Perhaps, at the start of this year, it is a prayer you could use too:

Almighty God, source of our hope and all good things,
You call us in love to share in your work of making your love known to all.
Bless, we pray, all that we do in sharing the story of your love
with those amongst whom we live,
that through us they may catch a glimpse of the love
you have for each one of us,
and find their place within it themselves.
With every blessing,

Bishop David

The article goes on to explain that Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent which, for Christians, is traditionally a period of abstinence with the clearing of cupboards of foods such as sugar, fats and eggs, and that the reason we flip pancakes goes back as far as the 15th century when a woman in Buckinghamshire rushed to church to confess her sins while mid-way through making pancakes. It also explains that those outside the Christian faith also celebrate Pancake day as it is more commonly known.

This year the day that follows Shrove Tuesday is February 14th- Ash Wednesday, so it coincides with Valentine’s day. It makes me think of the two L’s associated with that day – the beginning of Lent and Love.
The connection between the two is seen in Jesus sacrificial love – an example to us as we to make sacrifices for those we love.

On a recent trip to London by train I picked up a copy of The metro with the headline “When is Pancake Day 2018? Everything you need to know about Shrove Tuesday”. The article began:

“Pancake Day may just be the best day of the year.
Unlike the sometimes-divisive romance of Valentine’s Day, it’s a day when everybody can dig in and can feel the love.

Every year, the traditional event sees Londoners taking up their frying pans in a flipping frenzy and Instagramming accordingly. However, given that this illustrious day changes date every year according to Easter, it can be hard to remember when it is, and why exactly we celebrate it.

Fear not – this year, it falls on Tuesday February 13.
While you work up an appetite and gather your favourite pancake fillings, here’s the story behind the batter…”
Traditionally many people give up things for Lent but how about giving something to others in need instead?

The is a unique way that helps you change the world for the better locally, nationally and globally during Lent one small action at a time! There is something for all ages – children, young people and adults. Helpfully, each action has a Bible verse and a short reflection, so if you have a family they can all join in.

So, if you don’t have any specific plans for Lent, why not give this a try and see how as your small action can make a difference for 40 days and who knows it may become the habit for a lifetime.
From The Bishop of Grimsby