Easter Preparation

Dear JohnPaul Parish

As we move towards Easter, our most holy festival of the church year, I wanted to share with you two important outcomes from the Vision day that was held recently at Whalley Abbey.

First, we have decided to hold two services of renewal and healing in both our churches on Saturday 16th (St Paul’s) and Sunday 17th March (St John’s) at 4pm. The services are called ‘Line in the Sand’ and we will communicate the following to our local communities. ‘Every church has a story; whether good, bad, or mixed. It may be unconscious, but it can persist through many years and ministers, affecting the church’s ministry and mission. There comes a point when any church has to put the past behind them to move forwards. Present and past members of St John’s Baxenden and St Paul’s Accrington are invited to take part in a service to say sorry as a church and as individuals, for past hurts and disappointments. The hope is that this will enable JohnPaul Parish to draw a line in the sand, plant a pole in the ground, and move forwards to show and tell Jesus’ story to our community.

Second, we will be doing a series on Prayer after Easter through our sermons and Connect groups using material from the https://prayercourse.org/sessions/

For more information on what emerged from the Vision Day, ask any of the leaders to send you a copy of the notes.  Please pray into these things, especially our hopes to develop a youth group and our desire to have more joint services.

Taking time out

You may not know it, but the diocese give me a day a month (on top of my weekly day off) for prayer. I usually head out of parish and have tried out various places over the last two years.  However, I always come back to Hyning near Carnforth for a place to get away and pray within a community that prays continually www.bernardine.org

I want to recommend a day away from distractions, not only to pray, but to spend time in God’s creation away from the hustle and bustle of our lives here in Accrington.  Talk to any of the people within our congregations who take regular retreats:  Hilary Murphy, Miriam Wardell, Patricia Wilkinson or Allison Worrall or Hilary Murphy.  While all of us are women, I can promise you that men also take retreats and find them really helpful.

What is happening this Easter?

While there will be Easter day All Age Holy Communion services in both churches again this year, there will also be various other ways to join us as we prepare for Easter during Holy Week.

25 years as LLM We have moved our joint service this month to Palm Sunday at St John’s (with Children’s Church).  After the service all are invited to eat cake and celebrate with us Patricia Wilkinson’s 25 years as a Local Lay Minister (Reader).  A light lunch will also be provided.

During Holy Week there will be our usual Maundy Service with a meal at St Paul’s on Thursday evening at 7pm and on Good Friday a group of us will make our way up the Coppice with other Christians from Accrington (timing tbc, but it is usually 11am).  Later in the day, Patricia Wilkinson will lead us in a quiet service at St John’s at 3pm.  On Sunday, our fabulous new Children’s team at St John’s will be organising an Easter egg hunt and a Jacob’s Join at St John’s after the service.

Things to put in your diary!

 Hope for Hyndburn 2024 From 3rd March, a team are coming from Capernwray Bible college in Carnforth to support ACT (Accrington Christians Together) in a week of mission to our local communities. Each church that is involved will be organising an outreach event: see the leaflets or the service sheet for more details.  Please pray for the students and those who attend, that they will experience God.

Mothering Sunday services including Families@5 on Sunday 10th March

Our APCM (Annual Parochial Church Meeting) is to take place at St Paul’s at noon on Sunday 12th May.  We have had a really great team this year who learned all about Leading your Church into Growth from Janet, Tony and myself.  This coming year we will be building on that work, so we are looking for people who are committed to seeing our churches grow.  We meet six times a year and most of those on the PCC have another commitment ie Fabric, Communications, Health and Safety etc.  If you feel God is calling you to serve in this way we would love to hear from you.  We especially need a new St John’s Church Warden, or even better, two!

Harvest Supper with Ceilidh  Our main community focus this year will be at St John’s on Saturday 28th September.  We will be organising a Harvest Ceilidh with band and Harvest supper with a speaker – Michelle Delves Associate Mission Priest from Colne St Bartholomew and Holy Trinity.  Allison Worrall, our new Church Army Evangelist, will also be planning a follow up introduction to the Christian faith for any who are interested after the event.

 As I finish, I want to share with you the verse that formed the focus of much of our praying on the Vision Day:

‘Forget the former things do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!   Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ Isaiah 43: 18-19

May God bless you as you prepare for Easter,

Amanda and the team at JohnPaul Parish