4TH SUNDAY OF LENT – 14TH MARCH 2021
Fr David’s Message for the Week
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Lent is a time for us to become a little introspective on a personal level and examine our consciences and begin the often lengthy process of conversion and repentance. It is, therefore, a highly personal journey in the spiritual life yet, in the Church, it must also have a communitarian aspect as well. So, we have this double aspect of sin and brokenness being personal and corporate. My sin, and our sinfulness. How wide does “our sinfulness” go, I wonder?
I ask this in a week that has brought us at least two notable human tragedies. The rift in the Royal Family and the felt sadness of Harry and Meghan at what they feel, and experienced, as racial bias and bigotry from within the Royal Family and in the infamous British Press. But also, there has been the tragic case of Sarah Everard whose unexpected disappearance from a London street one night lead this writer at least to immediately fear the worst for her safety. That the suspect is a police officer; someone whose job it is to keep people safe has been amongst the most distressing and alarming aspect of this tragic story so far. That Harry and Meghan felt it necessary to detach themselves from their wider family and move abroad (for Harry anyway) and find an outlet for their distress in a worldwide TV interview is also a great sadness
Each day, around the world there are similar tragedies, and great suffering. Obviously, I cannot have personal responsibility for what is happening to the Uighur people in China (for example) but as a fellow human being that suffering is shared by me in solidarity. I haven’t personally ever met Sarah Everard yet her abduction at the hands of a man, and the awful terror she must have experienced, is something that I, as a man, must identify with. Why do men commit such terrible acts of violence against women? What is it within ‘man’ that lurks and, in some people, springs up in such an ugly and deadly way? I cannot answer it, but I know that, as a man, I feel shame on behalf of all men and that particular man who may have done this thing. None of us, either, have any input into the goings on, racist or otherwise in the Royal Family, yet we know that in our own families all too readily biases, resentments, hatreds and dislike can boil over into tragedy.
I suppose where I’m heading with all this is towards the idea which comes to us from our Jewish forbears – original sin. The flaw in our humanity caused by our fall from grace and from our striving to be God in our own little worlds – the “cock on our own dunghill” as the saying goes – to choose whatever we will, and hang the consequences; or to strive and fall short of the mark through weakness and human frailty. I said that I felt personal, masculine shame, about Sarah Everard’s murder, but another person also shared that shame despite being sinless. Jesus Christ.
He took on all our shame and sin and allowed himself to die in our stead so that we might live for God and for truth and for beauty. That is why we say “Rejoice” today because God has taken away our sin and shame. Now we must live for Him and try to be Christlike in all we do or say. And we must repent of our sins in order to be free of them for once and for all – uniting ourselves to Jesus so that His sacrifice can free us and make us holy.
God bless you all. Fr David
Financial Information February 2021
|Offertory||Month of February||So far this year|
Cranleigh Community Fund Secretary
I have been asked by Brian Winfield whether we might have a volunteer to take on the role of Secretary to the Community Fund. Brian writes: “The Baptist and C of E churches are represented on our committee and so a secretary from the Catholic Church would also give you a voice on the committee.” A little info is given below and if you are interested in offering your services would you contact Fr David as soon as possible, please?
The Cranleigh Community Fund is a Henry Smith funded charity which supports residents in the (Civil) Parish of Cranleigh. The Fund is looking for a Charity Secretary to join a committee which has representatives from several other local organisations including the churches, the Parish Council and other charities. The role of the Secretary can be summarised as follows:
- To schedule three committee meetings per year and to record the minutes of those meetings.
- To act as the focal point for enquiries for support which are submitted to the fund.
- To discuss the requests which have been received with the Treasurer and Chairman of the fund and to collectively reach a decision about whether support can be provided.
- From time to time contact schools, nurseries and other organisations to remind them of the fund’s existence.
- To be a counter signatory to cheques issued by the fund.
It is estimated that over the period of a year the tasks involved in being the fund secretary should take no more than two to three hours per month. Out of pocket expenses are reimbursed.
Does your parish have room for an apple tree or two?
An orchard in Sussex has kindly offered to give away some top-quality apple trees to our parishes of Arundel and Brighton!
These trees are bare-root, 6-ft and ready for planting (before end of March), so please do get in touch with us ASAP at email@example.com if you are interested. Please speak with your Parish Priest before applying.
Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
The charity provides emotional and practical support to asylum seekers and other migrants held in
immigration detention at Gatwick. In normal times we support about 1,000 people each year
through our staff and volunteer visitors. We are looking for a new Treasurer, a qualified Accountant,
to replace George Fitzsimons who is retiring from the post. We would be delighted to hear from
anyone who is interested. For more information and without any obligation, please contact
George Fitzsimons: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alton Day of Renewal
We are continuing our 2021 Programme: “ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT” which is in response to the invitation from Pope Francis “I ask all of you that you organise seminars to share Baptism in the Spirit.” Our programme this year explores how the Holy Spirit inspires and empowers us to be missionary disciples. More details on the ADoRE website www.altonrenewal.com
People from all over the country are joining our sessions and thoroughly enjoying the, Here is what one participant said recently: “It was so encouraging sharing with others so positive about their faith in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit – in praise and worship, hearing prophecy, testimony, sharing in breakout group.”
The next session is on March 27th, 10.00-13.00: “New Life” Jesus came so that you could be given the source of new life, the Holy Spirit. Speaker: Jenny Baker, co-ordinator of Celebrate conferences and a well-known presenter on CaFé formation videos. Please register in advance at bit.ly/ADOREMAR2021
Please also note that ADoRE is offering confidential prayer for healing by telephone Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm. Experienced prayer ministers will pray with you confidentially for your needs.
Thank you and may God bless you abundantly. On behalf of Alton Day of Renewal
The Faith Companion parishioner magazine is still working hard to support the Church and nourish the Faith of parishioners so we are conducting a Lent/Easter promotion. The difference between this promotion and our Christmas 2020 promotion is we now have a free edition on our website for parishioners to “taste and see”. As a necessity to adapt to the pandemic we have also started an online Catholic Gifts shop. available via our website www.thefaithcompanion.co.uk
We would like to invite you to join Aid to the Church in Need for our first-ever Lenten Sunday Lunch to share a meal (virtually, of course!) and enjoy a vibrant programme of prayer, music and video testimony with our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. The Lunch is in support of the St John the Merciful Table in Zahle, which feeds around 1,500 struggling Christian families and refugees with one hot meal every day of the year.
|Mother and young child at the St John the Merciful Table.|
During the event we will hear live from Archbishop John Darwish, Archdiocese of Furzol, Zahle and the Bekaa Valley, who helps run the project, and many of the people who rely on the Table for their daily meal. Your support and prayers mean so much to them.
All you need to attend this event is an internet connection and a device on which you can access YouTube. Be prepared to enjoy a full line-up of prayer, videos, music and more! For more info, visit www.acnuk.org/sundaylunch.
Archbishop Darwish with regular visitors at the Table.