MARCH LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
PILGRIMS, PAST AND PRESENT.....
April with his showers sharp and short the drought of March has
pierced to the root.... then longeth men to go on
specially from every shire's end of Engelond to Canterbury they
wende, the holy blissful martyr for to seek, which them hath holpen
when that they were sick...
these words, or words very like them, allowing for the taking of
modern liberties, Geoffrey Chaucer began his Canterbury Tales some
time around the year 1400. With these words, then, we launch our
March and April pilgrimage in our three parishes, inviting 'all
sorts and conditions of men', and of women too, to travel with us at
some point along the way.
early times, the season of the Lord's passion, death and
resurrection was kept by all Christians as a time of special
devotion, and the season of Lent which leads up to it as a time to
seek reconciliation with God and, especially where wrong had been
done or injury given, reconciliation with others, and with the
community as a whole. Moreover, it was a time for those seeking
baptism and first admission to the Christian community to prepare
for that to take place at Easter, to make preparation, and to seek
instruction. So it was always a time for a journey toward renewal of
life and renewal of community: perhaps all the more so as people
began to emerge out into the public space after the cold, dark and
forbidding winter months, which now as then tend to drive us into
our own homes and separate us one from another. It isn't only
Chaucer's pilgrims who take advantage of the burgeoning of the
Spring to stretch their legs, fill their lungs with air, and set out
on new journeys into life.
invite you then to travel with us, this Lent. On Tuesday evenings in
Mathon Parish Hall between now and Easter we welcome a series of
speakers on different kinds of pilgrim journeys, at the same time
both past and present - to the Holy Land, to the High Places of
Everest and the Alps, to holy sites in Yorkshire sought out by
hermits and monks of the twelfth to sixteenth centuries, to the holy
places of the Celtic fringes of our islands, and - last but not
least - to Canterbury, to the previously mentioned shrine of the
'holy blissful martyr' Thomas Becket. Our travel guides range from
members of our own communities in our three villages, to Michael
Tavinor, our own very gifted Dean of Hereford, a specialist on
medieval shrines and holy pilgrimage, and Chris Pullin, Canon
Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral.
Wednesdays, as we have often done in recent years, we invite you to
a simple lunch of soup, bread and cheese, and to make some
contribution to our two Lenten charities: the Anthony Nolan Trust
for sufferers from Leukaemia, and projects run by TEAR Fund to meet
the needs of those affected by the conflicts in Syria. The five
venues to which our hosts for those occasions have kindly invited us
will be found elsewhere in the magazine.
addition there is, as always at this time of year, a programme of
opportunities to meet with God and with fellow travellers at any of
our Lent, Holy Week and Easter services, all of which appear in
these Newsletters and also in the separate brochures we are
publishing to contain all the information needed as a guide to the
season, as well as on the parish web-sites.
wish you happy (and holy) travelling!