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Vicar's Letter

April 2024

Dear Friends

Thank you to everyone for giving Jennie and I such a warm welcome to your communities and parish life. We are settling well and, I hope, learning fast.

A few days ago, Christians all around the globe and across all denominations celebrated the great Christian festival of Easter. Many will have used the wonderful Easter Acclamation: Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

It is an amazing statement. Essentially just three words. He is risen. Three simple, short words, comprising just 9 letters. But the meaning and consequences of those three simple words are revolutionary and transform everything about everything. The whole of Christianity stands or falls on this one truth. Paul puts it this way:

1Cor 15 17 If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But the evidence is incredibly strong that "He is risen indeed". The transformation of the disciples from distraught, shocked and grief-stricken men and women into an unstoppable band of joyful servants of Christ, many of whom were ready to lay down their lives for him, and many did so. Added to this, we have the empty tomb, the lack of a body and the eyewitness accounts. Then the explosion of the early church upon the world, despite severe persecution and hardships.

Coming to a personal knowledge of Christ crucified and risen changed people on the inside, before transforming their lives on the outside. The news spread fast of this little known, little travelled, little educated, humble man of gentleness and compassion. He went the way of many good people who challenged the status quo – execution on false charges. But Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! He did not stay dead. He was raised on the third day. Therefore, his teach-ing, the claims he made about himself, and his death on a cross in our place, all predicted many centuries before-hand, are credible and entirely consistent with His life and ministry.

Those three simple words "He Is Risen" if true, changes everything for us about how we live life and face death. Do you believe He is Risen indeed? Join us for our celebrations of this great truth during the next six weeks of Easter-tide, where we will be using that great Easter Acclamation in our worship. Alleluia. Christ in risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Kind regards
Revd, Steve Paynter
01793 296870

An Easter Prayer:
Risen Christ,
your wounds declare your love for the world
and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve,
to the glory of God the Father

Line drawing of St Andrew's Church
St Andrew's Church Sign