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Curate's Corner - March 2016

Curate’s Corner – March 2016

A few years ago when I was on holiday in Scotland, I went along to the local church for their Sunday morning service. It was a simple service with readings, prayers, hymns and a sermon. Chatting to the minister after the service, I asked him how often they had a Communion service. “Oh just a couple of times a year,” came the reply; “I don’t want them to become too holy!” It was quite an unusual answer I thought, and if I’m honest, I’m still not entirely sure I know what he meant by it.

Different churches all have different understandings of Holy Communion, or “The Eucharist” as it’s often called, but celebrating it just twice a year does seem quite an extreme position to hold! Here in Uckfield, our main Sunday service at 9.30 is always a service of Holy Communion.

For any priest, whatever their tradition and whatever their theology of the Eucharist might be, celebrating the Eucharist is an important part of priestly ministry. For me, the Eucharist has become more and more central to my own spirituality over the last few years. I suppose I have always found it very powerful since my confirmation at the age of twelve, but since I started to explore a calling to ordained ministry, the importance of the Eucharist to me has certainly grown.

There is something very special indeed about the privilege of celebrating the Eucharist. Fr Martin was instrumental in helping me to understand better the place of a daily Eucharist in parish life. He was very committed to the discipline of celebrating on a daily basis, and my earliest experiences of ministry were formed standing at his side every day deaconing for him as he presided. This makes the liturgy of the Eucharist even more poignant for me.

Lent is an excellent opportunity for us all to have a bit of a think about our spiritual and devotional practices. At Holy Cross the Eucharist is central to our weekly pattern of worship, but did you know that in addition to the Sunday morning services, the Eucharist is celebrated at least three times during the week, on Mondays and Fridays at 8.30am and on Wednesdays at 11.00am. We are also starting a bi-monthly Eucharist on Thursdays at 8.45am at St Saviour’s, on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month. These services provide an excellent opportunity to gather during the week to pray for the needs of the world and our local community, and to gather to break bread together for and on behalf of the whole town.

As well as gathering together to pray and to share in the meal of holy communion, perhaps the most significant aspect of the weekday service comes right at the end. Having been renewed and strengthened by the Holy Spirit through receiving Christ’s body and blood in the bread and wine, we are then sent out, again in the power of the Holy Spirit, “…to love and serve the Lord.”

And for me, that’s what it’s all about.

We gather together, we are fed in Word and sacrament, and we are sent out. We are all called to love one another and to serve God: what better way to equip us for this than to begin the day as a gathered community (however small in number we might be), break bread together, and then to go out into the world in the power of the Spirit to live out that calling faithfully?

Fr Mitch