Mar 2018

First Thoughts: Canon Ann

This month we journey together through Lent, culminating in the dramatic events of Holy Week. I hope and pray that, through our Lent course and special services, this will be a very precious time for you, as we are drawn into the full realisation of the love of God for us, through the Passion Narrative and the Resurrection.
This year we do this against the backdrop of the Year of Prayer in Chichester Diocese. Many of you will have received the Year of Prayer pack which is available in church, giving ideas for ways to deepen our prayer life. As part of this, later in the year we plan to run a five-week prayer course, inspired by the wisdom and spirituality of St Ignatius. Do look out for details. In the meantime, the photo below is a very visual reminder of the Year of Prayer and its importance in our lives.
This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago at our sister church, St Mary’s, at the monthly coffee morning on Farmer’s Market day. Hazel, one of the enthusiastic younger members of the Good Shepherd congregation, was exploring St Mary’s as she often does, and then, unprompted, stopped to kneel at the altar rail for some few minutes.
I watched her and was inspired to get Adam (her father, our editor) to capture this moment. Why? Because in this snapshot, there is so much to remind us about prayer. First, we can pray anywhere, at any time. And how good to be doing so in our sister church, a reminder of our shared faith and mission.
Secondly, it speaks to me of the importance of churches being open all day, every day. The Good Shepherd is open daily, and often people pop in to spend quiet time with God. Of course, prayer can, and does, take place anywhere (for example, for many that might be while they are out walking the dog or strolling along the beach). But the peace and quiet of the church, with its visual inspirations of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, provides a setting that is helpful for many of us to put aside the distractions of the day for a while.
And thirdly, if a young girl of Hazel’s age can stop and be quiet for a few moments, how much more should we adults be able to do the same?
And yet, how difficult do we find it to do this. Surely a good Lent resolution is to give up rushing around all the time, and take up some time with God each day.
I wish you all a reflective, prayerful and fruitful Lent and a very Happy Easter.
With love and prayers,
Canon Ann Waizeneker

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