February 2016

An early Lent

Christmas is only just past and the children have only just gone back to school. And it is only a few weeks to Shrove/Pancake Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and into Lent. It’s all rather early this year, with Easter being (almost) the earliest it can be. I notice the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has suggested that we may have a fixed date for Easter within the next 10 years. I must admit that setting the most important date in the Christian calendar according to equinoxes after full moons has always baffled me somewhat. Now all it will take is for Christians to agree together across denominational boundaries. Easy!

As part of our run up to Holy Week and Easter and following on from the successful use of a film during our Lent course last year, we are again offering a film. This time the film is “The Theory of everything” about the life of Steven Hawking, starring Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for this role. The Lent course is entitled – “The mystery of everything” and it is written by Hilary Brand, who also wrote the book we used last year – “Finding a Voice.”

This course deals with struggles of reason versus faith, the romantic versus the pragmatic, success and failure, the complications of relationships under pressure, and seeking understanding versus living with mystery. Optional daily readings present the Bible as a book struggling to make sense of life, rather than a book of absolute answers, but finding meaning in the face of mystery via the paradox of humility and trust before God. The course is based around 5 weekly group sessions entitled:

  • The experience of wonder
  • The enigma of weakness
  • The complexity of relationships
  • The encounter with frailty
  • The hope beyond brokenness

Each session includes extracts from the DVD, group discussion questions and ends with a short meditation. There are also short introductory and follow up chapters for individual reading each week.

We are offering the course on the following days and times:

  • Christ Church Rayleigh 10am Tuesday mornings
  • Rayleigh Methodist 8pm Tuesday evenings

and also:

  • Rochford Methodist 8pm Wednesday evenings (Venue to be announced)
  • Hockley and Hawkwell Methodist 10am Thursday mornings

The course will also be repeated after Easter on Tuesday mornings (2nd & 4th fortnightly) at The Bridgwater Dr Church, including a cooked breakfast!

There will also be opportunities to watch the whole film on Friday 12th February 8pm at Christ Church URC, and on Sunday 14th February 4pm at Rayleigh Methodist. The film is 2 hours long – there will be a comfort break and drinks and sweets available.

The book will be available to purchase for £5, and you can see there is no lack of opportunity to participate!


February 2016