Letter from the Vicar – 31 January 2016

Dear Friends,
Welcome to S. Michael’s on this Celebration of Candlemas. Candlemas is a beautiful feast when we celebrate Christ coming into the world as its true light. The biblical setting is the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth, in obedience to the Law of Moses. The Gospel account speaks of the extraordinary prophesies that take place within this normally tightly-scripted ceremony. The Gospel of Luke and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles go on to tell of the fulfilment of these prophesies.
In our liturgy today we are each given a candle which will be blessed and we then carry them in procession through the church. This is an entrance procession, but it reminds us that when we go out into the world, a world that has some very dark spots, we bear the light of Christ with us. We go out carrying not a candle but the Holy Spirit within us, whose power kindles in us the gifts of grace so that we may shine with the light of Christ. This happens every time we celebrate the Mass and it is called the epiclesis. We draw attention to the importance of this part of the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving which begins, “Send your Holy Spirit…” by ringing a bell. In the epiclesis we are praying that the Holy Spirit will come and make the gifts of bread and wine the body and blood of Christ, and that we, the people of God gathered, may be renewed for the service of God’s kingdom by being filled with the Spirit’s grace and power.
With our summer holidays past we stand today on the threshold of another year. School begins tomorrow at St Michael’s Church School and for many others. Candlemas marks the return of the choir and of Evensong, which is a delight. Candlemas also marks a shift towards the season of Lent, which is coming up in just ten days. The pre-Lent period is an important opportunity to consider what kind of disciplines we will take on during the season of Lent. In that discernment, think and pray about what would help you to grow more and more into the likeness of Christ. I encourage you, particularly, to make the Lent Studies each Sunday a part of your Lenten intentions this year. The bookmark and information sheet give all the details.
Yours in Christ,

Fr. Andrew Starky


Parish Notices


  •  Christmas Flowers: Sincere thanks for your generous donations.
  • Lunch at the Regatta on Avon: today at 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
  •  S. Michael’s School: the new school year begins tomorrow.
  • Bible Study Group: tomorrow 7:15 pm in staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).Needlework Group: Tuesday 7:15 pm in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Rolleston Home Group: Wednesday 11:00 am at 10 Elizabeth St, Rolleston. Everyone welcome to join us. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
  • The Vege Co-op resumes this Wednesday. Please order and pay for your pack today. $12 gives you a bag of vegetables and a bag of fruit. Order on Sundays for Wednesday pick up. By dealing directly with growers the Vege Co-op makes fresh fruit and vegetables affordable. It was started following the earthquakes and now has six hubs. Our St Albans hub provides 500 bags. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Meditation Group: Wednesday 5:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Kathryn Starky.
  • Canterbury Shakespeare Society: Thursday 7:30 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Saturday Breakfast: 13 February 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd.
  • Sales Table: from next Sunday. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.