Easter Newsletter 2021

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Dear Friends,
Easter is a beautiful time of year where we continue to see evidence of new life all around us with sheep and lambs appearing in the sheds and fields. (Picture thanks to Audrey!)

We also have flower's filling both the hedgerow and garden with primroses, daffodils, pansies, forsythia, and the blossom of cherry trees bringing colour and life after the deadness of winter.

Within the Christian faith we celebrate the new life that followed the events of Good Friday. A day for quiet reflection on the death of Jesus upon the cross. Something he was prepared to do for us so that we might know sins forgiven and peace with God. Why not take time to read through the Good Friday Hymns such as Samuel Crossman's:

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour's love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh and die?

Easter Saturday must have been so hard for the friends of Jesus as they tried to process the agonising sight of the cross. Thankfully, they stayed together to share their sense of loss and sorrow on those darkest of days. I am sure we also value the support of our friends and family when life is thrown into turmoil, when hopes and dreams are dashed, and when we do not understand why life has been turned upside down. Perhaps on Easter Saturday you can find a moment to share the silence of that day.

Lord God, On the Sabbath, Jesus rested. He was in the grave. He had finished his work. To most people's eyes, it looked as if it were all over. He was dead and buried. But only as a seed dies when it is planted in the earth, not to decay, but to spring to new life. Teach us to take refuge in you when we are afraid; Teach us that death is not our end, teach us to hope always in you and in the resurrection, the making of all things new. Amen.

As the sun rises on Easter Day, we take the opportunity to relive the visit of the women to the tomb. It was still dark when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the others with them took spices to anoint the body. What a shock they got to find the stone had been rolled away from the entrance!

When they went back to tell the disciples they did not believe the women because their words seemed like nonsense! But then throughout that amazing day the risen Jesus began to reveal himself first to Mary, then to the disciples convincing them that he was alive, so much so that we read they were overjoyed!

Why not take time on Easter Day to enjoy the new life all around you whilst remembering the joy of that first Easter Day. Even if you are not able to go to church read through or sing the Easter Hymns such as:

See what a morning, gloriously bright
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes
Tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce Christ is risen!
See God's salvation plan, wrought in love,
Borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man, for He lives,
Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping: 'Where is He laid?
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name:
It's the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope,
Bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit
Who clothes faith with certainty,
Honour and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned
With power and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won
Christ has conquered;
For He lives, And we shall reign with Him
Christ is risen from the dead!

Worship Service

The On-Line Easter Sunday Service this week is led by Rev Philip Simpkins. This can be accessed at www.altonmethodist.org.uk
A live Easter Day Service will be held at Alton at 10am inc. Holy Communion with covid restrictions in place (social distancing, masks and sadly no singing). Booking will be essential via email: altonmethodist@hotmail.com or by telephoning Liz George.
Good Friday On-Line Service will be a selection of songs and readings to enable you to reflect on the cross of Jesus. It will be available on Friday on the church web site. www.altonmethodist.org.uk

Good Friday -The churches at Alton and Rowledge will be open for private prayer and reflection from 10-12noon. The Good Friday video service will also be shown in church at Alton at 10.30am for 30mins or so. (No booking necessary — sign in sheets for track & Trace purposes)

It is hoped that regular 'live services' will be able to resume, following review, after step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown on the 23rd May in each of our churches (Pentecost Sunday)

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