The Parish of
From the vicar
St. Luke, writing in the Acts of the Apostles, offers a simple and yet vivid description of the life of the early church. Following the preaching of St. Peter on the day of Pentecost, a new way of life begins: ‘And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.’ (Acts 2: 42).
Four elements describe the ideal church: it is characterised by apostolic teaching, by fellowship, by the breaking of bread and by prayer. One verse says it all and has provided a model for Christian discipleship down to the present day. Together these elements draw together the disciples’ entire understanding of the events which have so recently taken place: the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, his teaching about the coming of the Holy Spirit and their present experience of it. As the biblical scholar C. K. Barrett once wrote, ‘these events interpret each other’. And so the young church gathered together contains a complete expression of itself.
These characteristics are the essential, constituent parts of a new way of life. These first converts are (presumably) all Jews as they continue worshipping in the temple. Many of the practices of the early church would have been familiar to them, even if not identical to practices they had already experienced. What was different was the continual awareness through the presence of the Holy Spirit of the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus had promised his disciples that he would be with them always and although it might not have been clear how that would happen when they had stood on Olivet it would certainly have been clear now.
St. Luke’s description is simple, but it is also a very attractive one and should provide a focus not only for our own prayer and worship, but also an inspiration for our evangelistic endeavours. The evangelist describes the Easter life and presents a constant reminder to his readers that Christians are an Easter people. Other faiths and philosophies offer other things, but uniquely Christianity proclaims the resurrection of the dead.
The Resurrection of Christ is our calling card and is an integral and essential part of the face the church should show to the world, but often does not. This failure goes beyond the sins and omissions of individual Christians and of the institutional church. Too often the church has seemed to lose her nerve when speaking of the resurrection. Is this because it necessarily implies death, not just that of Jesus, but our own? We would rather not speak of such things and yet it is an essential part of our creed. Now more than ever the world needs to hear of Christ’s resurrection.
The qualification to this, of course, is that the persecuted church probably does speak of death and proclaim the resurrection. In the midst of violence, oppression and the pains of martyrdom the news of Christ’s resurrection not only sustains the faithful, but is heard. The same is probably true of the church in the developing world where disease and pestilence are commonplace. Only in the comfortable, complacent church is the message subsumed under the false burdens of ecclesiastical politics and social nicety.
Our distinctive message is that Christ is risen from the dead and will die no more. This risen life is shared with the faithful through baptism by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a new way of life which consists of faithfulness to the apostles’ teaching, the breaking of bread, fellowship and prayer. It is a way of life we know and which we might be tempted to take for granted, but now is the time to refresh our understanding and renew our commitment because the church has a message and a way of life to share with those who fear death, with the dying and with those who mourn.
For protection from pestilence and disease and for deliverance from present evils.
For a faithful and joyous proclamation of Easter.
From the diary…
There is inevitably much uncertainty over what may or may not happen over the next few weeks at St. Peter’s, at least in terms of public worship, but the following diary entries at least give a reminder of the liturgical calendar.
Sunday 26th April Easter 2
Tuesday 28th April, 10.00am Mass
Wednesday 29th April, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 30th April, 10.00am Mass
Friday 1st May, 7.00pm Mass (St. Philip and St. James, Apostles)
Sunday 3rd May Easter 3
Tuesday 5th May, 10.00am Mass
Wednesday 6th May, 10.00am Mass (Intention: Mothers’ Union)
Thursday 7th May, 10.00am Mass
Sunday 10th May Easter 4
Tuesday 12th May, 10.00am Mass
Wednesday 13th May, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 14th May, 10.00am Mass (St. Matthias, Apostle)
Friday 15th May, 7.00pm Mass
Saturday 16th May, 2.00pm Spring Fair…CANCELLED
Sunday 17th May Easter 5
Tuesday 19th May, 10.00am Mass
Tuesday 19th May, 8.00pm
Holy Hour for the May devotion with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Wednesday 20th May, 10.00am Mass
8.00pm Parochial Church Council
Thursday 21st May, 10.00am Mass
Friday 22nd May, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 24th May Feast of the Ascension
Wednesday 27th May, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 28th May, 10.00am Mass
Friday 29th May, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 31st May Whit Sunday (Pentecost)
By the grace of God may there be some public worship as the Easter season progresses. Contact the vicarage or visit www.achurchnearyou.com for the latest information.
From the Registers
4th March Robert Fountaine (aged 90 years)
10th March Kay Russell (aged 90 years)
8th April Sheila Brooks (aged 91 years)
16th April Beryl Harding (aged 94 years)
23rd April Eileen Aplin (aged 96 years)
St Peter’s Spring Fair and Plant Sale
Saturday 16th May…CANCELLED
Ascot Priory 2020
A Quiet Day has been booked for Saturday 26th September at Ascot Priory. The title of the addresses by Father Andrew will be, ‘That sower and reaper may rejoice together: a seasonal analogy of Christian life and action’. Further details will be available in the summer.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).