An April Fool?

Last year, Easter Day fell on 1st April, quite an unusual occurrence. This year, Easter is three weeks later on 21st April but, for me at least, April Fool’s Day 2019 is very momentous, being the date on which I officially take up my appointment as Priest-in-Charge of Trowse. Make of that what you will!

When I began my ordination training 15 years ago, it was under the Norwich “Ordained Local Ministry” scheme. The understanding was also that OLM priests would stay in their own local parish, in a supportive role, not being in charge. So even when Janice announced that she was leaving, it never occurred to me that I might occupy such a responsible role! I’ve often quipped that being “Assistant Priest” meant I got all of the fun and none of the responsibility. Well, I’m still going to have plenty of fun, but now I’ll have the responsibility as well, and it’s quite a daunting prospect. However, I know I can rely on the support of our wonderful congregation and my own family, and I’m sure it will be fine.

I consider myself hugely privileged to be priest-in-charge here in Trowse, where I have my roots. Although I now live just the other side of Norwich, I consider Trowse my spiritual home, and have a very strong sense of belonging here. My grandparents all lived here and have their last resting place here. My parents were married in St. Andrew’s Church. I was born and brought up in the village, and was christened, confirmed and married in the church, where I also conducted our daughter’s wedding, nine years ago, and christened our baby grandson last year.

So… what’s happening at St. Andrew’s Church this month? Still in March, but only just, Mothering Sunday is on 31st March. Our 10.45 service that day will be especially suitable for all ages, and posies will be distributed to all - not just to mothers! Come along and bring your mums, aunties, friends, neighbours etc.

Whether you normally attend church or not, I would love to see you at my licensing service at 7 pm on Wednesday 3rd April - everyone is very welcome, and refreshments will be served afterwards.

On my first Sunday as Priest-in-Charge we have our usual 10.45 Holy Communion service, then Evensong at the new time of 6 pm, to maximise the daylight hours.

Palm Sunday is on 14th April, when we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, greeted by crowds waving palm leaves. Palm crosses will be distributed at our 10.45 service.

On Maundy Thursday 18th April, at 6.30 pm, we have our Passover Meal in church (mainly lamb stew) in the context of a Eucharist commemorating the Last Supper. This is a deeply spiritual, meaningful occasion. All are welcome and there is no charge, but we do need numbers, so please get in touch if you would like to come.

On Good Friday, 19th April, we have a quiet, devotional service at 10 am (which is midday in Jerusalem), remembering that Jesus was crucified on this day. We’ll have hot cross buns after the service, and there will be a prayer walk around Whitlingham Broad, for whoever would like to come.

On Holy Saturday, 20th April Messy Church, with an Easter Egg Hunt, is from 12 noon to 2 pm.

Then we have the most important day in the church year - Easter Day - 21st April. Through Lent, we have no flowers in church, and we have a bare wooden cross draped in purple. At the 10.45 service on Easter Day, everyone is invited to place a flower on the cross, which is transformed from a sombre piece of wood into a glorious, beautiful symbol of new life - the new life of Christ risen from the dead, overcoming death and opening the way of eternal life for all of humanity. We would love to see you there; a very warm welcome and a chocolate egg awaits!