Thank You, Fr. Roland

posted 19 Apr 2012, 00:39 by Richard Jones   [ updated 19 Apr 2012, 00:40 ]
A great big “thank you” is due to Fr. Roland for all that he undertook during Lent and Holy Week.

The House Group, comprising about a dozen people, met several times at various homes to discuss under Fr. Roland’s leadership how Jesus is portrayed in St. John’s Gospel. It was very valuable to be able to share experiences and ideas and to deepen our understanding of the Christian faith. We did not all have the same views and this led to some very thought-provoking discussions. We look forward to the possibility of further meetings and hope more people would like to be involved.

During Lent, Fr. Roland led Friday services on The Way of the Cross. We moved round the church, contemplating posters of the Stations of the Cross and at each one taking turns to read out Mary’s thoughts. She could do nothing, but knew “it had to be” and so she “watched, silently” as her son was tried, tortured and put to death. Her words, together with the accompanying prayers, were so emotional, challenging and meaningful that several amongst us were unable to continue reading and found ourselves in tears. The experience did not become any easier from one service to the next.

On Wednesday of Holy Week, members of the congregations of St. Mary’s, St. Leonard’s, the Methodist church and St. Mary’s R.C. church gathered at Osbaldeston for a Celebration of the Passover. A “full house” thoroughly enjoyed a splendid Passover meal, with readings and explanation of the significance of all the elements, from the lamb itself to the unleavened bread, the herbs and the “four cups” of wine. Special thanks must go to Fr. Dorran for organising the meal and meditation and the ladies at St. Mary’s for the cooking of the delicious food!

The Holy Week services really made us think about all aspects of the meaning of Easter. Several things in particular stand out for us:

Fr. Roland washing the feet of members of the congregation on Maundy Thursday.

The Last Hour on Good Friday afternoon with meditations on the Stations of the Cross, ending with the Crucifixion.

Standing in church in darkness at 6.00 in the morning on Easter Day, watching the lighting of the Paschal Candle which Fr. Roland then carried down the aisle to the Sanctuary. Afterwards, we gathered with 30 other people on Mellor Moor for a short service, neighbours waving to us from their bedroom windows; back to church for bountiful bacon butties (very big thanks to Debbie Summersgill!) and champagne (courtesy of Fr. Roland) and coffee and tea (the Sunday School teachers).

Sincere thanks also to the ladies who made the church look so beautiful for Easter Sunday with the flower arrangements, a lovely setting for the services celebrating Christ’s Resurrection.

Finally, on behalf of everyone who experienced all that took place during Lent and Holy Week, may we once again thank Fr. Roland for his commitment, especially as he was himself unwell during much of the time.

Jim and Sue Saunders
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