Words from the Vicar

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Weekly newsletter from Richard Howlett, Team Vicar
with special responsibility for St Benedict’s, Bennett’s End and St Mary’s, Apsley End
01442 767738

Richard & Katherine Howlett
Richard & Katherine Howlett

Edition 33 Lent 2 Week beginning 1st March 2021

Dear Friends,

I do hope people are enjoying the little book of daily readings ‘A story to live by’? If you have not
received a booklet for your household, please contact me; I still have a few left.

The four Lent groups studying ‘The Prayers of Jesus’ by Amy Boucher Pye are also underway.
Details of dates and times on the calendar. I still have 2 books (£6.00 each) which are available if
anyone would still like to join a group. Discussions in the groups I lead have certainly been very
thought-provoking, as we started with the first session, looking at ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.

Planning for the future Following the Prime Minister’s statement to Parliament, the Bishop of London,
Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England’s Coronavirus Recovery Group, said:

“I am grateful to the Prime Minister for sharing these proposals to ease the current restrictions in a
way which gives us all some clarity and enables people to begin to plan.
“We will study the details and, working with Government Departments, refine our own advice for local
churches in the weeks ahead.”

The Prime Minister’s announcement of the phased programme of lifting of restrictions between March
and June were, I’m sure, a welcome ray of sunshine after a winter of sad statistics and the ongoing
effects of lockdown. The PCCs of both St Benedict’s and St Mary’s churches will, by the time this
newsletter is printed, have voted on the proposal to resume public worship in time for Holy Week and
Easter. Restrictions on numbers and distancing according to risk assessments will still, of course,
need to be in place. I hope that those who can join worship on zoom will give priority to those who
cannot; it will be a great relief to worshippers in the latter group to be able to attend in person. That
said, I shall be publishing the programme of services in this newsletter, and I hope everyone will have
opportunity to ‘book in’ to take part in person for some of our worship services for Holy Week and
Easter between our two churches of St Benedict’s and St Mary’s.

Revd Carole Camp sends thanks to everyone for their prayers, and her recovery is proceeding well,
having left hospital and now staying with her daughter. As I mentioned in the notices, I shall be
pleased to forward any cards and letters for Carole via the vicarage.

I recently had my first vaccination, at Speedwell’s pharmacy in Apsley, and I look forward to the time
when all members of our congregations will have received theirs. May I end with the last part of
Bishop Sarah Mullally’s statement :

“As we look ahead to the prospect of easing of restrictions, we know it is still a long road. Yet Easter
reminds us we always have hope.”

With our love and prayers , Richard and Katherine.

Edition 30 Week beginning 7th February 2021

Dear Friends,

I do hope you are staying well. Some of you I know have had, or will soon have, a vaccination. Isn’t it remarkable how quickly all these have been tested and produced, when previously the process took years? In this newsletter, I’d like to update you on a few matters for the coming weeks. Lent Course 2021. Copies of the 6-week Lent Study Guide: the ‘Prayers of Jesus’ are going steadily. If we run out, I would point people to Eden Christian Books tel. 0800 612 2186. Details to quote are: The Prayers of Jesus, author Amy Boucher Pye, published by CWR, ISBN 978-1-78951-250-2. It is designed so you could study on your own at home but given the loneliness many people are suffering in Lockdown, I really hope you can join a group meeting. I certainly have some places available for my Sunday evening group slot (starting Sunday 21st February at 7pm). Janet Wright has assigned telephone numbers to enable you to ring into whichever appropriate weekly group you join. Ask for the instructions if you would like to try this. A reminder that groups are planned for Thursdays at 10.15am, Thursdays at 8pm, Saturdays at 10.15am, and Sundays at 7pm. I have ordered a little booklet of daily readings for Lent called ‘A story to live by’ published by Tear Fund so that everybody can have a copy to use in their homes. I hope this will enable us to get a global perspective, and be encouraged, by stories of hope and courage in this pandemic. I will be glad of offers to help get them distributed or posted, within the current restrictions on movement, of course.

Please note there will be an Ash Wednesday evening service, featuring contributions from benefice clergy, to be streamed on Weds 17th February. This will be advertised in the notices and on the website. Please let Janet Wright know (on stmarysapsleyend@gmail.com) if you require a paper copy of the order of service.

Foodbank extension at St Mary’s

All Saints King’s Langley and the Parish Council have been operating an informal foodbank at the church which has been enthusiastically received. Noting that some seeking help were coming from Apsley, the Church Wardens and I have agreed to a request to try a small foodbank resource in St Mary’s church porch. We will start the trial on 11th February and hope this will meet a local need in our parish in these troubled times, when many people are experiencing economic hardship. Donations of non-perishable food can be brought to the church when it is open on Thursdays. The suggestions for donations will be updated according to need, and I hope our churches will want to support this, as they have supported other initiatives such as Nascent House.

Finally, I joined in the first of the 6pm daily Prayer for the Nation last Monday evening. It was led by Archbishop Justin Welby. The sense of joining in national prayer for the country at this time of global pandemic was immensely powerful and moving. The Church of England has published suggested prayers and topics for each day and each week.

A link to these can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/prayer-nation

I hope all of us will support this each day; if 6pm is not possible for you, why not set aside 10 or 15 minutes at another time of the day? Please let Janet Wright know (on stmarysapsleyend@gmail.com) if you require a printed copy for use at home.

With our love and prayers,

Richard and Katherine.