Today is Mothering Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent. Mothering Sunday is break out from what is a penitential season – it is a day of joy in the midst of preparation, a time set aside for celebration. It does seem that we need a moment for joy and celebration. No one can doubt that we are in a time of great uncertainty and anxiety. As a Christian community who proclaims the Risen Jesus, is Steadfast in Faith and Active in Service we have faith that there is more to life than this. In fact to live as a follower of Jesus is to have hope – what are we without it? Hope that Easter comes bringing the alleluia of resurrection – that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We have to hold on tight to this truth.

Traditionally we give out daffodils on Mothering Sunday – that can’t happen in the normal way. Why don’t you bundle up some and leave them on the doorstep of a neighbour – let them be a blessing especially if you know they are social distancing and/or isolating. Spread some joy!

Today, perhaps phone a friend, simply say hello and see how things are. And call someone you know is on their own – put some time aside to chat.

This is the first Sunday when public worship is suspended in our churches because of the Coronavirus. We are certainly right to not be gathering but it is hard. So I want to encourage you to stay faithful to worship, prayer and the Bible.

I have uploaded a video to our Parish Youtube channel and you can find it via this link Parish YouTube 22nd March 2020 It contains an introduction, prayer, short homily, hymn and blessing.

Today the Archbishop of Canterbury is leading a service broadcast on Radio 4 at 8.10am and another on the C of E Facebook page at 9am. There is a service on BBC1 at 11.45am and I am sure Songs of Praise will be on sometime in the afternoon.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and many other organisations have called for National Prayer today. Light a candle and put it a window as a sign of hope at 7pm this evening. And pray for this country, the world, for healing, for faith, that we may see the light in the darkness. Let us light up Alton, Holybourne and Beech. It is so reassuring to know that our prayers are always heard by our loving and faithful God – that He never fails us or forsakes us – is always there.

We will keep you up to date as the days and weeks progress. Emails will be sent, check our social media pages, we may even use letters in envelopes with stamps!

With every blessing
Andrew