The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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March 2018


Judy East

It's tempting  to think  "If it's Lent it must be nearly Easter" and I recognise that's entirely the wrong attitude!  Lent is a liturgical season all its own, with its own expectations and requirements.  There are things we do, things we don't do:  we may attend Lent Groups or take up some other discipline - which we may choose to keep quiet about.  Jesus said "But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you" and that applies equally, I think, to denying yourself chocolate or coffee, giving up computer games, actual fasting, whatever it is you do.  And you've got six weeks to do it in.  Yet here I am, only a week into Lent, planning a magazine that requires me to chase up details of the events Jeremy has outlined in his letter above -  the St John Passion (18th March), The Way of the Cross (24th and 27th March), a devotional performance of Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri  (30th) and the Easter services themselves. We've ordered the palm crosses and the paschal candle, we're inviting donations for the Easter flowers ...... and so on.   So to bring us back to where we ought to be, firmly grounded in Lent, I'm including Jeremy's Ash Wednesday sermon "Lent, Secrets, Silence" as a reminder and Robert Herrick's advice on how to keep a "True Lent" - things weren't so very different in the 17th century; feeding the hungry and fasting from "old debate and hate" were more important than what you ate. 
But of course that doesn't mean I want you to ignore all the events we have leading up to Easter!  In this busy age it isn't practical to put off thinking about what's coming up until it's upon us.  It's a charming, but, to me at least, entirely impractical idea consigned to Georgian and Victorian novels, that you can make plans for 'tomorrow' or even 'this evening' and everyone's available. So do check the diary pages and make a note of all the options available to you now, before your diary fills up!

And talking of availability we have finally fixed on 19th May for the Spring Fair. It was a toss-up whether we clashed with the Royal Wedding or the Installation of the Bishop of London and decided to go for the Royal Wedding - possibly the Fair might have a Royal theme, maybe a big screen if someone will sponsor one - who knows at this stage - but save the date - 19th May.

Another unknown is the rescheduling of the Sidwell memorial Recital. As some of you will know Nicholas Mogg was unfortunately ill on 9th February (read more about him and how Aidan Coburn saved the day in Suzanne Pinkerton's article further on in this issue). It is intended that Nick will give the recital when his other engagements allow - probably sometime in the autumn.  Check out the dates listed on the back cover of this issue too - some of the year's events have been organised!

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