Every year in January I go on a Reading Retreat at Parcevall Hall, the lovely Retreat House owned by the Diocese of Leeds near Appletreewick in the Dales. So each time I take some serious books and my walking boots. This year I took Richard Foster – ‘Prayer: finding the heart’s true home’. I was reading with a view to preparing the Lent Course that Derek and I are leading this month, and I wanted to get ahead.
The themes of the book, relating different sorts of prayer, how they happen, how they impact us, examples of people who have found different styles helpful – all this was on my mind as I set off up Simons Seat on the Tuesday afternoon. As I walked, songs came into my mind, and as I sang them in my head I imagined my voice like that of Pavarotti (I know, it takes a bit of imagining…) reaching the high notes at full volume. It was all in my head, but as I sang, too out of breath with the climb to sing out loud, I imagined I heard the surrounding hills echo the words of the song. In my head I was singing the ‘Halleluiah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah; as I sang ‘And he shall reign for ever and ever’, the hills around echoed ‘For ever: and ever!’ Even now as I type this, I am almost in tears with the power of it. As in Psalm 114, ‘The mountains leapt like rams, and the little hills like young sheep’.
I do invite you to the Lent course these Wednesdays in March. This is a chance for all of us to get into the mind and heart of God.
It wouldn’t be Shrove Tuesday without a Pancake Party! So on Tuesday 5th March at 5.30 you are invited to St Oswald’s for crafts, pancake-flipping competition, quiz, pancake races – and of course pancakes to eat and enjoy. It will be family fun, and all are invited to have fun, eat pancakes and remember the meaning of the ‘feast before the fast’.
This first day of Lent on 6th March is so named because at the Communion rail (11 a.m. service at St Oswald’s) you can choose to have ash put on your forehead, with the words, ‘Dust you are and to dust you shall return; turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ’.
Refurbishment at All Saints
The Rank Foundation’s Pebbles grant scheme awarded All Saints £1,500 and the R. E. Chadwick Foundation £500. This will help cover improvements to the nave floors, storage cupboards, kitchen refurbishment and re-wiring. (The handrail is given by private donation). Public notices are on display in Church, so a faculty is expected by Easter.
Another faculty is being prepared to restore the metalwork, install display lighting, and fix the historic Communion rails. This money comes out of the £58,900 awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The fund also has allowed us to employ a ‘Heritage and Facilities manager’, Jonathan Bramley, a former teacher at All Saints School. He will prepare displays and contact schools and community groups to visit All Saints and view all this heritage.
All Saints School
The school will join the congregation again on Mothering Sunday, 31st March, when there will be a presentation by the children, and singing by the school choir.