Celebrating Holy Week in the Valley

As seen below, we are looking forward to a range of events and services during the coming week. Three of these are essentially similar to what we have done in previous years, namely the Way of the Cross on Good Friday, and our two Easter day services.

However, I would like to say a few more words of explanation about the other events, with which people may be less familiar, or which are slightly different to previous years.

Compline is a very simple and short service of Night Prayer, which gives an opportunity for some reflection on different readings from the story of Jesus’ Passion in Matthew’s Gospel. We gather in the choir stalls at St Swithun’s and follow this set service, as led by Simon Ffennell or Gerry Stacey.

Our Holy Communion service on Maundy Thursday will not involve the washing of feet (as described in John 13). Instead, this year, the Church of England’s lectionary focuses on Matthew’s Gospel, so we will focus on Jesus’ words when instituting the Lord’s Supper and explain more of what an actual Passover meal would have looked like—something which people often find gives them whole new perspectives on what we are doing at Communion.

And on Good Friday, I am so grateful to the Revd Sarah Tillett for kindly leading ‘The Last Hour’ at St John’s, Itchen Abbas from 2.00 to 3.00pm. She has described this as a ‘Candlelit Service of Prayer and Reflection’. It will be a contemplative service, focusing on seven moments during the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, and will include contemplative songs from the Taizé Community

May I also draw to you attention my Audio retelling of the story from Palm Sunday to Easter Day, called ‘The Week that changed the World’. You might enjoy listening to this on your own. This can be found on my website.

And you would be most welcome to join my Zoom seminar on Wednesday at 7.30pm, when we will watch a 15 -minute video, entitled ‘The Long Night’, which can lead us prayerfully through the events of the Last Supper and Gethsemane. Here is the Zoom link:

May the Lord lead us through this Holy Week,

With love and prayers

Revd Peter

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