The first Sunday in Lent 2019

On Sunday 10th March, as part of the Bishops mission of Tell Serve Give, Grant and Josie joined at our 11.00 a.m. All Age Worship service.  They had been travelling around the Liverpool Diocese as part of the Bishops Mission

Music for the service was provided by “The Happy Thursdays” as our ecumenical singing group now call themselves!

After Eileen had welcomed everybody and opened the service, Peter led us in a brief lent reflection about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.  During this reflection he placed some stones at the foot of the cross.

Following confession, the collect and intercessions, interspersed with songs, Eileen invited John to step forward and deliver the Bible Reading.

Appropriately, this was Luke 4 v 1-13, “The Temptation of Jesus”.

Before she invited Josie and Grant to speak to us, Eileen asked who had been coming to church for more than 5 years – virtually all hands went up.  Then she asked, how many for 10 years, then 20 years and then 40 years!  Most hands went up every time so she said that we would have heard this reading many times before so didn’t need to have it explained – and to the children she said that they were too young to understand it yet anyway!

Then she invited Josie to speak.

Josie said that she hadn’t been coming to church for anything like 40 years as she was only 25 years old now and didn’t really start to go to church until she was 17 years old.  She gave some of her testimony explaining that she first came to church through the love and kindness of the family of a very good school friend of hers.  She spoke of how joyful her visit to Liverpool had been and how welcoming all the different churches that she had visited had been.  Amongst the many things she said was that, contrary to sometimes-expressed opinions, younger people needed and valued the love, support and wisdom of older people.

As she finished what she had to say Josie handed over to Grant.  As soon as he began to speak it became clear that Grant was originally from South Africa!  Apparently, he and his wife had been in Nottingham for about a year as she worked at Nottingham University.  He also felt that it had been great to connect with people in the Liverpool area and endorsed many of Josie’s points.

He drew less from the Bible reading but more from the “Prayer for our Parish”, Matthew 9 v 35-38, which, coincidentally, had been printed at the top of our news sheet.  He said that in the past he had prayed that people should be found to be “sent out” to speak to people about Jesus. However, now he realised that the prayer is not for others but for us to be sent out to spread the good news of Jesus!

As Eileen confirmed later, “God is a sending God”!

Eileen had told us that both Josie and Grant were hoping that in the fullness of time their journey with Christ would bring them to ordination.  So we would like to thank them so much for giving their time to come to inspire us at St. Mark’s and also to wish them both well in their future mission.

Thank you

Josie and Grant!

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