St Peter & St Paul's Newsletter - April 2023

Letter from Revd Helen Burnett.

The month of April will be defined in the church community by Eastertide – a season associated with delight, optimism and relief at the end of a long period of winter and abstinence. We are probably more affected by the wintry weather than the Lenten abstinence but it is good to be moving towards celebration and sunshine this week.

In the Celtic tradition people used to gather on hilltops and dance for joy around a fire on Easter Dawn, we will have the fire without the dancing or the hill!

Another tradition is the renewal of baptismal vows, for centuries baptism took place on Easter Sunday with adult full immersion, the newly baptised then proceeded naked from the baptistry to the church to be clothed in new white robes – you will be relieved to know that this tradition no longer stands but we will be renewing our baptismal vows at Easter with candles and the sprinkling of water.

All of these customs and many more point to the Christian belief that we should grasp this opportunity for change whole heartedly and with vigour; as new life emerges from the earth so too new life can rise in us and this is a cause for celebration. I sincerely hope that you will find time this April to rejoice in God’s greatness and in the glory of the risen life which opens the gate to constant forgiveness and renewal of right relationship with God, with each other and with the earth.

Outside of all that our own church has to offer during the Easter season I also want to encourage you to join with me in renewing bonds of love and unity around the cries of the earth and the cries of the poor.

Christian Climate Action are inviting people of faith to join in with many others in assembling peacefully in London over the weekend of April 21-24 starting with a ‘No Faith in Fossil Fuels’ service at St John’s Waterloo on Friday 21st at 12 noon led and supported by all the major Christian Charities (Christian Aid, A Rocha,CAFOD,Tearfund). On Saturday 22nd there will be a Southwark Diocesan Service to celebrate all those who have joined in with the Eco Church initiative see overleaf for tickets.

I will be at both services as well as being in London on each of the 4 days and I really want to encourage you to join me in this act of renewal, and of solidarity with the cries of those most severely affected by Climate Breakdown as we seek to preserve the earth that each spring in Chaldon provides us with glimpses of God’s glory and live out our faith in the risen Christ by helping to build communities of hope in a despairing world.

All so much easier than walking naked from the baptistry to the church or rising at dawn to dance on a hilltop!! Wishing you an insightful and nourishing Holy Week and a very Happy Easter.