My Dear Friends

Church-related stuff this month.

  • Confirmation Confirmation is the normal way in which the Church of England receives people into full membership.  It is the right thing for those who were baptised as infants and now wish to profess the Christian faith for themselves.  We would normally expect a child to have reached the age of 11 before being presented for Confirmation. There is no maximum age!
    Confirmation is also available to those who have the background of a different denomination but have now decided to ‘make their home’ in the C of E and wish to mark that decision formally.
    If you are interested in joining a preparation course (which does not commit you to being confirmed), please let me know by the end of February. The Confirmation service will be conducted in a local church (not here) by the Bishop of Reading, probably on the evening of 10 June or 25 November. I will announce the arrangements as soon as they are finalised.
  • Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, falls this year on Valentine’s Day, 14 February. There will be a service of Sung Communion at 8 pm. The service will include the Imposition of Ashes for those who wish to take part. This might sound to some like having victory belatedly foisted upon us by the Australian cricketers, but is actually a rite associated with penitence. You are probably familiar with the phrase ‘sackcloth and ashes’, which occurs in both the Old and New Testament, and was in biblical times a sign of sorrow, especially sorrow for one’s sins. In the service a small quantity of ash, mixed with oil for adhesion, is applied to the forehead of each participant by the minister (who also receives ashes himself), using appropriate words.
  • Compline is a short service (about 15 minutes) of quietness and reflection at the end of the day. It will be held at 6 pm in the Side Chapel each Sunday in Lent from 18 February to 25 March (except 4 March).
  • Lent Course (starting 21 February) and Lent Lunch (4 March)

Both these events are advertised elsewhere in Feb edition of The Lych Gate, so I won’t repeat the details here. Suffice it to say that I would love to see lots of you at both. Old faces and new – all are welcome.

Your sincere friend and Vicar
Charles Mason