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Easter message from the Ministry Team

Dear friends,

We recently celebrated Mothering Sunday – a day to consider the mothering care of the church. Sadly, life in the church does not always leave people feeling cared for – there are those who feel let down or even rejected by the church. When that happens, the church does not honour the God who is the source of all care. For others, however, the church is a picture of care - a place that has played an important role in our upbringing, perhaps, or that has been a provider of support in a time of great need.

Soon it will be Holy Week, and in the events of that week we are presented with the story of the suffering and death of Jesus. Stripped of his clothing, arms spread wide, hands painfully open, the crucified Christ is an image of human vulnerability. Open to the hurt and pain of human living, the Christian claim is that it is God himself who suffers with us. Even on the cross, Jesus never stopped showing care in the offer of forgiveness, and a deep concern for those who looked on.

In my ministry, I am at times acutely aware of distressing circumstances afflicting the lives of individuals and families both within and outside of our church. Opened up to experiences of hurt, finding ourselves in the midst of a time of suffering, or coming face to face with the death of someone we knew, we long to be held in an embrace of warmth and protection. It is at points such as these that the church needs to offer its ministry of Christian care with all the compassion of Christ.

At Easter, we celebrate Jesus’ rising again. On the third day Jesus rose from death. Mary, who was grieving for her dead friend and Lord, met Jesus standing by the empty tomb. When she realised who it was, she wanted to hold onto Jesus, but he told her, ‘ Do not cling to me.’ Through the resurrection of Jesus, Mary had been opened up in a new way. Not this time to the pain of Jesus’ death, but opened up instead to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. No longer needing to hold on to her grief, she had been set free to proclaim the Good News. Learning to let go we are set free to offer our ministry of Christian care with all the power of Christ.

May you find the presence and care of Christ in your lives this Holy Week and Eastertime.

Rev Phil

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