Nick’s Notes March 2016

St. Mary’s Prayer Day Saturday 5th March is from 10am – 3.30pm. Following on from our Prayer Day in November 2014 that was specifically for giving, and which produced much fruit in that we had a carryover from 2015 to 2016.

Though at St. Mary’s both congregations are more than welcome to come and pray. We’ll be focusing on Church and Parish needs primarily for St. Mary’s though Holy Trinity as well. As we give thanks for all things (1 Thessalonians 5) Prayer for Church may include outreach, Following Jesus, and Fishing for People, Sunday worship, healing, mid-week fellowship, prayer and Bible reading, giving, Children and Youth Church, Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals,

Prayer for the Parish may include family life, employment, crime reduction, Cromford Parish Council, Cromford School and Cromford Methodist Church, healing in the Parish.

“Following Jesus and Fishing for People” Lent Group: the first one of four seemed to go well with twenty one of us there. If you missed this one it’s fine to attend one or more of the others.

Holy Week: as last year there’s opportunity Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for us to take time out for Easter Devotions to worship, pray and meditate on the Lord Jesus and His cross.

This is from 2pm – 3pm at St. Mary’s and / or from 8pm- 9pm at Holy Trinity.

The BCP will be at St. Mary’s on Tuesday 22nd March and we’ll have an agape on Maundy Thursday beginning at 7pm at Holy Trinity.

Holy Trinity School Easter service is in church at 9.15am on Tuesday 22nd March, Cromford School’s is at 2pm on Maundy Thursday.

Walk of Witness: On Sunday 21st February I addressed the issue of Good Friday’s Walk of Witness particularly in Matlock Bath. This walk and the Whit Walks used to be much larger and have more impact. Church and society have changed much over the years and such things have far less impact. More of our congregations go away over Easter and some leave straight after the Good Friday service in   order to go to a family event or away for a few days so don’t join in the Walk of Witness. St. Mary’s and Cromford Methodist used to give hot cross buns out in the morning and after the 2pm joint service which alternated annually between the two church buildings. We now only give hot cross buns, mini chocolate eggs and tracts out after the service. There aren’t as many people around in the afternoon at Cromford as there are at Matlock Bath.

At the service in the Memorial Gardens in Matlock Bath there are between ten and fifteen from the congregation plus two or three traders and perhaps a few passing visitors, but no residents. If we wish to reach the residents we need to do something else. I’m uncomfortable with only a handful walking with the cross though perhaps I shouldn’t be.

Matlock Bath visitors tend to arrive in good numbers after twelve noon so we are out a bit too early.

Publicity – whether posters or invitations to services – seems to have little or no effect in drawing people to Easter events with the two school services by far   being the best attended.

At Harvest Holy Trinity gave food out, at Easter mini eggs and offered tracts to passers by, getting in to some good conversations. Traders were only reached if we went into their places but they are too busy for any conversation. Residents aren’t reached.

My encouragement to you is just as I suggested on Sunday 21st at Holy Trinity. Instead of coming to church or perhaps after church, how about inviting family or friends or neighbours round to have a drink with hot cross buns and/or mini eggs with the express intention of using Following & Fishing verbiage, sharing your story, God’s story or listening to theirs? Or maybe do this in the afternoon or evening. Be up front and say why you are inviting them round, best not to spring it on them!

For those able to, on Good Friday we have the 10am service followed by a Walk of Witness with mini eggs and tracts to give out on the way to Memorial Gardens where we will have a short service.

March and April preaching themes: For the first time since coming to our churches I’ve decided to do the preaching myself at both churches on the three Sundays from March 13th to Easter Day and on Good Friday. I’ll be using the 2016 Church Text from John 6 v 68, “Simon Peter said, ‘ Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life ‘ ”

It’s an exciting and daunting task so I’d value your prayers for my preparation and delivery, and your hearing and receiving please. In April ‘normal’ service will be resumed with the usual suspects preaching again.

Alpha: Milena and Keven have said that they will host an Alpha group in their home beginning Tuesday 5th April. Needless to say prayers please. Invitations to follow with more details in the April Notices.

The Major: seems to have recovered well from his fall and hip operation, and he is settling in well at the Preservation Sisters. Our thanks to Judy and Peter S for ferrying James to and from the BCP Communion at St. Mary’s on Thursday 25th February. After Communion eight of us went with James to the excellent Arkwright café for a lunch to celebrate James’ return to this service and to enjoy each other’s company.

Sheila: Many congratulations to Sheila on her retirement after thirty years as Head of Highfields Lower School. Sheila enjoy your well deserved rest with lots of time to do nothing or things you have always wanted to do but not had the time!

Have a wonderful Easter as you re-visit the most important event ever, and have a relaxed and safe time.

Every blessing,   Nick