Weekly message – Sunday 31 May

Dear friends,

Rosemary RichterPhilip’s phone sometimes throws up photos of what we were doing on a particular day so many years ago, and we can think – oh look, we were having a day out, or a family occasion, or a holiday. It takes us back.

I was thinking about Pentecost, and was taken back to my childhood, when it was always called ‘Whitsun’. We had the Whitsun holidays, usually spent with my grandparents, always a treat.

Philip’s first posting was in Manchester (where I went to ministerial training college). In Manchester at that time they still had the ‘Whit Walks’. That was the time, rather than Good Friday, that all the churches paraded together with banners and musical accompaniment – and stopped the traffic in an area!

I don’t know if they still do it, but it was an important part of the Churches Together calendar. Originally, though not in our time, children would have new white dresses, shirts and socks for the occasion, which older people remembered fondly. ‘Whit’ was a contraction of ‘White’ – white being the colour of baptismal gowns, and for the Catholics, first communion clothes.

We were anticipating making a big event of Pentecost this year at our church – with a guest preacher, Julie Underwood, and a fantastic barbecue afterwards – celebrating Pentecost being the birthday of the church. A birthday party. Not to be – this year! But it would be a great idea to make it a birthday celebration this year in our homes. (My three-year-old grandson would agree, he loves a lockdown celebration – so much so that when he woke up one morning he announced it was his toy dinosaur’s birthday so they had better have bunting, a card and a cake!)

Another year we can fulfil our plans to celebrate the birthday of the church coming into being throughout the nations with some razzmatazz – but let’s not overlook celebrating this special time in our own homes.

Every blessing,


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