Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we enter next week into the “home stretch” of Lent, namely Passiontide - the final part of the Season of Lent before the climactic turn into the rejoicing of the Easter celebration of the Resurrection - it is good to be reminded that the word “Lent” is derived, I am told, from an Old English word “lencten”. This literally means the lengthening of the daylight hours - in other words the season of spring. It doesn’t work for Australia of course; but by this fact we can be reminded that, along with all the other Christian Seasons, this part of the Christian Calendar expresses the positivity and glorious fulfilment of its Good News, and does not signify any idea of personal punishment or the buying off of the wrath of God. If you have ever watched a time-lapse movie of a growing plant, you will have seen that there are periods of time when preparation is made before the plant seemingly springs into outward growth: perhaps like an adolescent boy before his growth spurt. I visualise Lent as something like that sort of preparation period before we burst out with the glorious Easter witness of the eternal Good News.

On a more mundane note I would also like to point out that for some reason we Anglicans and our Roman friends have got out of step in which Sunday we refer to as “Passion Sunday”. Passiontide traditionally

covers the two weeks before Easter (the last two weeks of Lent), and our Anglican calendars still reflect that, both the Prayer Book Calendar and the Anglican version of the Common Worship calendar. It is sill correct for us to refer to the Fifth Sunday in Lent (Sunday coming) as “Passion Sunday”. Nevertheless our Roman friends use that designation “Passion Sunday” for the Sunday Next Before Easter, or as it is commonly known “Palm Sunday”. For them it seems that Passiontide is now synonymous with Holy Week. For us though, Holy Week is the second week of Passiontide. 

This is also to remind those of you who are part of our congregation that we were not successful in including Palm Sunday, the 28th March 2021, in our booking schedule at the National Park Clubhouse. We thought about this after service last Sunday morning, and came to the view that on that Sunday (the 28th March) we should worship at the Westins’ a few houses going south-east over the road (South Church Street) from the clubhouse. I am most grateful to Peter and Loretta for confirming that arrangement. 

The Collect for next week, the week of the 5th Sunday in Lent, is

We beseech thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon thy people; that by thy great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

and of course following this will be the Ash Wednesday Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect for Lent 5 reminds me of the conversation Moses is depicted in Exodus Ch 32 verses 7 - 14 as having with the Lord, who even when he is outraged with His people responds to the Mosaic prayer for His mercy towards them on the grounds of His own promise. Oh may He so look mercifully upon His people in these days of great sin and wretchedness and apostasy that they may be governed and preserved evermore still by His great goodness!

For directions about the services this Sunday the 21st March, please see the website

In the gracious and merciful Name of the Lord Jesus,

Bishop Nicholas