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Rector's View - February 2010

Dear friends,

In Rome in AD 270, Bishop Valentine enraged the mad emperor Claudius II, who had issued an edict forbidding marriage! Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers, because they were loath to leave their families for battle. The empire needed soldiers so Claudius, never one to fear unpopularity, abolished marriage.

Valentine, bishop of Interamna, invited young couples to come to him in secret, where he joined them together in Christian marriage. Claudius learned of this "friend of lovers", and had the bishop brought to his palace. The emperor, impressed by Valentine's dignity and conviction, attempted to convert him to the Roman gods to save him from otherwise certain execution. Valentine refused to renounce Christianity and boldly attempted to convert the emperor. On February 14th, 270, Valentine was clubbed, stoned and then beheaded, for his faith in his Lord.

History also claims that while Valentine was in prison, awaiting execution, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Through his unswerving faith he miraculously restored her sight. He signed a farewell message to her "From your Valentine", A phrase that would live on long after its author died …

Lent Course

Our Lent Course this year is entitled: "When I survey … Christ's Cross and ours". We shall meet on Monday 22nd February and on Mondays 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd March at 7.30pm in the Benefice Hall. Everyone is very welcome.

The death of Christ is a dominant and dramatic theme in the New Testament. So it's not surprising that, over the centuries, the Cross has become the symbol of the Christian faith. But Christians do not honour a dead hero; we worship a Living Lord. According to the Bible, the death of Jesus is not the end of a track - it's the gateway into life. His crucifixion gives rise to many key themes and we'll explore some of these in this course including: the place of silence in our noisy world; despair and hope; a suffering world; the challenge of living as disciples when Christianity is no longer mainstream …

The course booklet, written by Rev'd Dr John Pridmore, includes questions aimed at provoking wide-ranging discussion. Each group member needs a course booklet, which will be available at the first session at a cost of £3. This is the only expense involved in this five session course. An interesting feature of this course is that there is an accompanying CD, in which distinguished Christian speakers give some input into each session. The participants on the course CD are John Bell, General Sir Richard Dannatt and Dr Christina Baxter. Dr David Hope introduces the course and Colin Morris provides the Closing Reflection at the end of each session.

There will also be the opportunity to chat informally over tea or coffee. Please consider joining us, if you are able to.

With every blessing,

Stephen

Rev'd Stephen Abbott

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Last Modified Friday 08 June 2012