Lent Letter for Schools

Listed Under: Vicars Blog

A message for Lent 2021 - to the school staff, children and parents/ carers from Reverend Gary Crellin - Vicar of Powick, Callow End, Guarlford and Madresfield - The Old Hills Malvern Parishes

Powick Primary School

Callow End Primary School

Madresfield Primary School

Monday 20th February 2021

Dear All,

Welcome back after a somewhat different and wet half term break in what is proving to be a challenging year on all levels.  That said, the evenings are getting lighter, the snowdrops and daffodils are out (and crocuses too) and the covid19 vaccination programme is well underway.  There is hope - and hope is a very Christian concept, in fact it’s central to our faith. Welcome to Lent 2021 too - Lent started on Wednesday 17th February, Ash Wednesday.  I am so sorry not to have been with you in school for our pancake day races which would have happened in some form I am sure on Shrove Tuesday, if you were in school!   I enjoyed my pancakes and I hope you did too. For more information on Lent, pop over to my YouTube channel for some videos I have uploaded for use by the schools.  They need more views and likes!  Look up Old Hills Malvern Churches on YouTube for regular collective worship and explanatory videos.

The entire world has been through a difficult, if not devastating, year with so many affected in rich countries and poor by the pandemic. For all of us, me included, we haven’t seen family unless it’s by video screen. Enjoying holidays has been different and most of us have had to share our homes together for months on end without a break.  For some of us adults, work as well as family pressures have surfaced. No wonder there is so much talk about mindfulness and mental health. 

Whilst we are turning a corner with the pandemic, and maybe lockdown easing as long as we continue to abide by the rules, let’s be kind to one another. We have all been through a lot, and, as the experts remind us, this pandemic is not over yet. It has been a difficult journey, one in which we have all encountered rough seas. While some have weathered the storm in the safety of a large, sturdy ship, others have roughed the seas in dinghies and rafts.  Acts of kindness, large and small, shine the light of hope through the darkness and reassure us that we are not on this journey alone.

And that is what Lent offers us in this year of continued pandemic:  Hope. It is Jesus who is our hope (cf. St Paul’s letter to Timothy (1Timothy 1:1). In Jesus Christ risen, we gain strength and hope in a difficult journey. In Lent, we are invited to journey ever more closely with Christ, who is always with us. We do so through prayer, fasting, and giving to charity.

In prayer, we talk with Jesus: we pour out our heart to him, and we listen to his words of comfort. We are consoled by his presence. Fasting (giving up things) makes our relationship with Jesus quite real and helps us be in solidarity with those who are in need. As your Vicar, I have encountered so many parents who sacrifice quietly for their children as a matter of course. They do so, not because we Christians like to suffer. Rather, when we love someone, we don’t think twice about making sacrifices for them. Likewise, it is essential that our love for Jesus not remains simply an idea, but that it be concrete, symbolically sharing what we give up with others. This can be achieved through service to others or charitable giving. Something that genuinely pleases God is when we reach out to those in need– acting in kindness and giving hope. You could be supporting a charity or doing a good deed rather than giving something up. I have been promoting litter picking around our villages as the state of our verges and open spaces are a real embarrassment, especially with the new litter lout - the disposable face mask - being dumped everywhere.  Or you could give to Comic Relief. Where can I get a red nose from?  

In this Lent, I hope I am encouraging you all to bring hope to others through simple gestures of kindness, “words of comfort,” and through a daily practice of prayer, fasting, and giving. As we journey with Jesus through the desert these 40 days of Lent, we do so as a community of faith, Thus, we will “journey together in hope!”

I am looking forward to Zooming into your school’s Easter assembly very soon. Meanwhile, I hope you are enjoying the Lent Activity sheet. 

With my prayers for you this Lent

Every blessing

 

Rev Gary