Well where to start?
If I had any preconceived ideas about the Easter break being a relaxing and uneventful time, taken up with some careful but unstressed revision was blown away within about 30 minutes of getting back to Whitton.
I thought I would pop around to the church to see who was about (and to use the loo and hopefully scrounge a coffee… after all its a long drive from Oxford!) Anyway in the church hall was the team running “Br8ktime” the lunch club for the High School and staffed by a team from the church doing a great job as always.
In the church Andrew was getting ready to have 2 groups of children from one of the local primary schools to come and “Experience Easter” (see here for more info about it http://www.experienceeaster.org/).
Well the next thing I knew I was leading groups around the whole journey of Easter week – from Palm Sunday through to Easter morning and being touched by the prayers that many of the children hoped for such as “for my dad to come back”, “for my nana who died”, “for me to be nicer to my brother” “for all those in prison… like my dad”.
In fact I got to do it again the following day with a different schools groups. I was certainly glad I had the chance to do it.
I also got to observe Andrew preparing couples for their weddings and then see them “tie the knot”.
I was also blessed in being able to participate in some funeral visits and indeed was honoured to be able to actually see the funerals through to conclusion. I was also fortunate to be able to witness a full graveside funeral (most these days either take place at the church or crematorium and then have the interment of remains – so it was an interesting learning experience).
Maunday Thursday, I was at St Edmundsbury Cathedral for the Chrism service, it was nice to be met by +Clive and was a bit surprised to bump into my DDO who let me know that he would like to come a visit me some time soon a college to start talking about my future “title parish”! It is scary to think that in about 14 months I will be let loose on the world as a Deacon.
Thursday evening found me being privileged to be able to replicate the action of Christ to his Disciples and wash the feet of members of the parish. Combined with a service where I could feel the hand of God in action, led me to have one of the closest experiences of God that I have ever had.
The rest of Holy Week was excellent and being allowed to prepare and cook Lunch for the Dotchin family as a way of saying “Thank You” for their ongoing care and support made me very grateful for all the benefits that we have been given. The chance to participate in a home communion on Easter Day for someone who was instrumental in giving me the “kick up the backside” to “Trust the Catcher” was special (Thank you Gwen and Tom).
The final experience was to attend the closing Cursillo Eucharist for Norwich #4 – De Colores everyone!
There was so much more – conversations, quiet, tears, revelations and joy all of which contributed to an Easter to remember. Now that I am back at college preparing for my exams, there is also a little sadness, as I realise that this was the last Easter that I will get to spend at Whitton. Next Easter will be spent with my friends and the community here in College and I am sure it will be just as special but in different ways.
So I dedicate this blog entry to everyone at the Parish of Whitton with Thurleston and Akenham - thank you for being “Resurrection People”, thank you for sharing your joy and your grief and thank you for helping me understand that, “Yes, I am doing what I am called to be doing and the more I experience it, the more ‘right’ it feels”.
A L L E L U I A !