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Easter 2021

by Michael Ford last modified 17 Apr, 2021 12:08 AM

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

After a lockdown Easter last year, our churches, schools and their communities were delighted that this year they could celebrate the risen Christ, in their buildings, in their churchyards and online.

While worship was of course socially-distanced and congregational singing only possible outside, Easter 2021 was celebrated across our Diocese with increasing confidence, creativity and commitment.

It was an Easter of firsts, as restrictions were partially lifted, but also lasts.

Bishop Nicholas started his last Easter Sunday service as the Bishop of Salisbury lighting the 2021 Easter Candle in the grounds of our Cathedral, and went on to preach at the Covid-safe Easter Day Service.

On Holy Saturday, the Cathedral was open for a day of candle lighting, prayer and meditation, and a special Family Service for Easter Day featured a 'virtual choir' made up of 58 children from across the region.

A special Easter Monday organ concert premiered on the Cathedral website on Monday 5th April, courtesy John Challenger, Assistant Director of Music.

The Revd Anna Macham, Canon Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral said:

“Worship during Holy Week and Easter reflects some of the most important aspects of our faith, so to be able to worship in person is wonderful, especially after worshippers were not able to access the building at all for Holy Week and Easter in 2020 during the first lockdown.

“We would love a full return to normal, but we will have to bide our time and be patient. Meanwhile, we look forward welcoming the community online, in person and in their hearts.”

There are Cathedral photos by Ash Mills here,

Plus selected photos here and here.

Bishop Karen posted of:

"Joy to be at All Saints Langton Long this morning, and to sing the final hymn socially distanced outside in the churchyard. First communal singing for more than a year. Alleluia."

And Bishop Andrew celebrated and preached at Easter Eucharist in St Andrew's Church, Donhead St Andrew, as well as offering his Easter Day sermon as the second-last in this series of Bishop's videos for use in church services [view it here].

Meanwhile, the Chalke Valley's Revd Catherine Blundell says:

"2 things happened this Holy Week and Easter that not only made me thankful but even rendered me speechless.

"The first is the astonishing amount raised for our Lent Project. We asked for £6,000, through your generosity we will double that figure. When I found out the amount raised, I just didn’t know what to say. Through the long dark months of lockdown, you remembered the children of Cueibet and you have cared about their education. I am so, so thankful.

"Then, on Easter morning, I hoped about 40 people would turn up for the first service. It is all I dared expect and had printed Orders of Service accordingly. Almost double the numbers attended. Orders of Service had to be shared and it was just so lovely to see everyone. Lovely to meet (in groups of 6) in the churchyard to belt out ‘Thine be the Glory’. Just lovely to celebrate.

"In fact, over the valley, nearly 500 people engaged with a service online or in church over Holy Week and Easter. Far more than I dared hope or expect."

At St Katharine's Holt, the Revd Andrew Evans says:

"Our wonderful video team has put together a beautiful 10 minute reflection which can be viewed at anytime. The Revd Jenny Davis has recorded her thoughts and there is music composed by [Director of Music] Ben Jarvis to help us come to a place of peace and quiet. The thoughts are set against a background of beautiful local images of Spring. Huge thanks to Ben, Beth and Jenny for this lovely chance to pause and reflect."

View the reflection here.

Dorset Vicar Stephen Partridge says:

"I thought you might like to hear about our 'Easter Trail with a difference’ here in Lytchett Matravers.

"The difference is that the participants that walk round the village to visit the 8 stations, depicting a scene from Holy Week, can scan a QR code at each station. This then links them to a short YouTube ‘eyewitness’ video from the Holy week event that is pictured by that Station.

"The first station is for Palm Sunday and the video is Pilate reporting what he heard and saw.

"You can see more at our Easter Trail Page [here], or see the whole thing on our Virtual Easter Trail Page that has a picture of each station and links to the YouTube videos." [here]

The Revd Ron Hart sent in a photo of his front garden 'Easter Journey', with an arch and crown representing Palm Sunday, a cross with a crown of thorns, and an empty tomb marked 'He is risen'.

Easter garden 2021, courtesy Ron Hart

Many parishes shared on Facebook.

Churches in the Winterborne Valley & Milton Abbas Benefice gave previews of outdoor services, with audience interactions via candles and flowers,

as did the Beaminster Team, saying:

"Easter Eve always feels like a bit of a void an empty time as we wait to celebrate the joy of Jesus's resurrection. Yet the church is always busy with cleaning and tidying and the construction of stunning window ledge flower displays. Tonight's pictures show what awaits those who will be joining us in the morning."

St Mary's Church, Sixpenny Handley said:

"The flower team have worked really hard to make St Mary’s look beautiful for Easter Day."

And in Christ Church Warminster, the Revd Lorraine Dobbins said:

"The Church is looking beautiful for our Easter Celebrations. We have some wonderfully creative people."

There were a number of videos posted, including Melksham's Easter Day service with the Revd Alison Sowton,

The first congregational hymn to feature in a Sunday service for 55 weeks at St John's Devizes,

The Easter Day Communion Service live from St Thomas' Church Ensbury Park,

And The Revd Andrew Evans' talk on 'Rewilding the Church' at St Katharine's Holt.

At Branksome St Aldhelm CofE Church, Vicar Pip Martin led Parish Mass for Easter Day, saying 'He has been raised... he is going ahead of you...',

with Canon Richard Hancock leading the equivalent in Sixpenny Handley,

and in St Mary's Weymouth, the Revd Jo Haine leading a reflection on the Footsteps of Christ, saying the Lord's Prayer and using illustrations and reflections with permission from the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey and McCrimmons Publishing.

Easter gardens were also a theme in South Wraxall, the Beaminster Area Team, and Holt.

There were many posts on Twitter too, with Bishop Karen tweeting:

"Good to be at All Saints, Langton Long this morning, and to move outside and sing the final hymn socially distanced in the church yard in the sunshine. First communal singing for over a year. Alleluia",

priest and photographer Margaret Preuss-Higham posting snaps here and here,

and the Revd Tessa Nisbet and Hamworthy Church jointly posting a message of:

"What a joy to be together in person for Easter Day. A wonderful joyful return to church and to be able to sing and worship! He is risen!"

In Royal Wootton Bassett, the Revd Ollie Blease tweeted:

"The sun shone brightly, the choir sang to us in the churchyard, and the Eucharist was celebrated with joy. Alleluia! Christ is risen!"

School Governor Lesley Bryning tweeted happily about Durweston School's contribution to their local church, Weymouth's Revd Matt Renyard shared a video poem, and Rushall School shared a picture of a cross made by school pupils.

Rushall Governor Anne Curry added:

"To everyone #HappyEaster Here is the beautiful cross created by Rushall School where I am a Foundation Governor - the children carried the pieces to be laid out in the local church, learning about the #StationsOfTheCross along the way!"

Finally, prolific tweeters Jenny Nelson and Karen Wilson issued a total of 9 Easter tweets, with Revd Karen commending work done by Archbishop Wake School:

"The children’s work in Blandford CofE moved to Easter Day as we changed the display. Flowers were arranged around the displays to show them off and they, again, were a topic of conversation and reflection",

(being thanked by the school in the process),

and Jenny commenting:

"Thankful to serve, to pray, to carry the Paschal candle with the children, to be together with these wonderful people of Wylye and Till, my training Benefice, in Berwick, Winterbourne Stoke and Steeple Langford. We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song!"

Links to Jenny's tweets:

Links to Revd Karen's tweets

Easter 2021- montage

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