Weekly Update – 25th March 2021

Weekly Update – 25th March 2021

Holy Week is a week of emotions. We start on Palm Sunday with the carnival atmosphere and the excitement and celebration of Jesus coming as King and then we have Jesus overturning the temple tables in rage. He is anointed in a very touching act by Mary, before the Last Supper and his final farewell to his disciples and friends. All of this leads us to the raw emotion of the cross and scenes of Jesus’ crucifixion. Emotions would have been running high throughout, especially since the disciples still hadn’t quite grasped what exactly was happening and where this was all to lead.

Those of us who are British, have over the years been stereotyped as not being very good with emotions: having a “stiff-upper-lip” is the British way. Some would argue that there is no place for emotion in faith, or certainly not in worship. I think I would have to disagree. I do not agree with over sentimentalised worship, or purposely trying to induce emotion within people, but there are times when the stories speak for themselves. I remember the first time I truly realised what it meant that Jesus died on the cross; the pain he suffered, and how he was prepared to do that for me. I couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my cheeks. A sense of how much I didn’t deserve this, a sense of my sins and guilt, but the overwhelming sense of God’s love, just took over and the tears rolled. The events of Holy Week are emotional and the more we understand what Jesus went through, the more we will feel those emotions alongside him. If we can stand alongside Jesus in the pain, grief and despair of Holy Week, then the joy of Easter has a much more profound impact.

So let’s enter into Holy Week and spend time thinking about what Jesus did this week, how he felt, what his motivation was, and if that stirs up emotion in us, whatever those emotions are, then may we offer them all to God in love, in praise and in prayer.

Sunday’s Service
Our online Palm Sunday service will be available in all the usual places from 10.30am on Sunday morning and our student minister Phil Robinson is preaching.

Sacrificial Love Online
Sacrificial Love Booklet

Circuit Easter Concert
Across the circuit, people have been working really hard to record musical items, poetry etc to put together into a virtual circuit concert based on the theme of Real Love. This will be available on our circuit YouTube channel and our circuit Facebook page this Saturday evening (27th March) from 7pm. Donations will be welcome for the work of All We Can and St Catherine’s Hospice. If you need more information as to how to access our YouTube channel or Facebook page, just email me and I will send you further details.

Holy Week Poster
If you would like a Holy Week poster from CTL then there will be a small number available at church which can be picked up at one of our Holy Week services.

Holy Week Reflections
Thank you to those who have signed up to come to one of our Holy Week reflection services. Please remember to bring a mask with you, which you will need to wear at all times indoors (unless you are exempt). We will also need you to sign in – including a phone number, and you will be encouraged to make use of the hand gel available at church. Because we can’t sing and we can’t mix with each other, these will be very reflective services where we will journey together through the events of Holy Week. If you have any further questions, please do get in touch on 01772 452572 or email me. (More information about Easter Sunday’s communion will come in next week’s update)

Good Friday Radio Service
There will be a churches together in Leyland (CTL) Good Friday service on Radio Leyland at 10am on Good Friday. Various leaders from the local churches will be taking part and I am leading a reflection for the day. You can tune in to this on 104.8FM or click the following link to listen through the Leyland Radio website: https://www.radioleyland.co.uk/

Good Friday Witness to Leyland
Deacon Ellen and I are arranging an opportunity for all who want to, to share something of what Good Friday is all about, with the people of Leyland. We are going to put together little bags containing a little wooden cross, a chocolate and a message about the meaning of Good Friday and we are going to give the bags out to anyone walking by in Hough Lane who wants one, and we will offer them to the shops that are open too. We will be allowed to meet outside in groups of 6 by then, so if you would like to come along and help us, then if 2 or 3 people worked together, we will still be well within the law. If you would like to help, then pop down to church between 11am-12noon on Good Friday and one of us will be in the carpark and we will give you some bags to share out.

Small Groups
After Easter, as a Circuit, we are returning to the Methodist Way of Life, to look at it in more depth in our Sunday online services. This material is also ideal for small group discussion / sharing and so if you would be interested in joining a small group (approx 6 people) on Zoom to chat through the Methodist Way of Life and think about what it means in practice, then please email me and I will see how many groups we may have and which days will be best for all those who want to take part. If you can let me know by Easter Sunday, that would be great.

The April Zoom meeting will be lead by Keith McIntosh on Tuesday 13th April at 7.30pm.

A Covid Confined Cleric: Schools Work
I promised to share with you a little of what I’ve been up to over the past year, so we start this week with schools work. When I took up this post, I was advised to spend at least a day a week with our two Methodist Schools. Before lockdown, this was relatively easy as I would go in two morning each week and lead a Collective Worship (assembly as was) in the Junior School one day and the Infants the next, and then I stayed on until lunch time each day to work with a class and get to know the children. Once lockdown hit, this was no longer possible and for the remainder of the last academic year I was only able to support the staff via email and the occasional phone call. However, when the children went back to school in September we arranged for me to be able to go into school to chat with staff (the children were in protective bubbles so I couldn’t see them) and since before Christmas I have been able to go in each week for one lunchtime, alternating between the infant and juniors’ staff rooms, in order to chat with the teachers and get to know them and offer some support. (I also take cakes and sweets which I think helps a little) When the school has been operating on full capacity I have, each week, been recording a video of Collective Worship. Sometimes there has been just one for the whole school, sometimes separate videos for Infants and Juniors depending on the content and if I wanted to use puppets to explain a point! Poppy the dog has also features in these video and now has a school following! Alongside the video worship and the popping into school to support staff, Governors meetings have still been taking place termly and I chair the ethos and curriculum group once per term. I’ve been part of the working group for the PHSE policy and I’ve recently been appointed as the RE lead-governor so I am going to be working closely with the RE lead teacher to look at the curriculum and how it is delivered. We’ve also raised a lot of money for the Bibles for schools which I now need to order and deliver to our schools and contact headteachers to see which other schools are interested. So I’ve probably done at least a day each week working with the schools and I really think they need our support and our prayers. Despite what the media imply, teachers haven’t had a proper break all year and they are working with ever changing parameters: not knowing one day to the next who will be in school and if they themselves may need to self isolate. So I invite you to hold all of our teachers, and our schools in your prayers.

I hope you have a blessed start to Holy Week and there will be more from me on Maundy Thursday.

Every Blessing to you all,


Gill Welsh