Dear FrienKarends and Neighbours,

During the winter months it is so often difficult to see the silver lining to the grey clouds isn’t it? And they do seem to have been very grey this year!

Late last Autumn we were fortunate enough to be approached by some bellringers who were interested in ringing in the Ridge and South Mimms towers. Many of you may have noticed that the bells have been unusually silent for a while owing to our Tower Captains either retiring because of ill health or moving away from the area.

This meeting with a new group of ringers has definitely proved to be my silver lining to the clouds this winter! We now welcome to our towers, on alternate Friday evenings, a team of young and enthusiastic ringers. Bells are like car engines – they really need to be used regularly in order to keep them in good condition. I am no expert in campanology but am regularly assured that the bells in both Ridge and South Mimms are really good to ring – they have a lovely tone and are pleasant to handle. The bells at Ridge are now also rung every Sunday morning to call us all to prayer for the 9:15 service. Sadly the ringers are already booked elsewhere to ring for later services at St Giles, but they are very keen to teach others who want to learn. If anyone is keen to learn they are always welcome join this happy band and to develop another skill/hobby. I am told that campanology counts towards the Duke of Edinburgh awards too!

As we enter into the season of Lent, (do hope you all enjoyed your pancakes?); we prepare ourselves for the joys of Easter Day. It is so often difficult for us to really understand that God loves us and died for us on the cross. We cannot imagine that amount of agony and pain and so we close our minds to it. Easter bunnies and chocolate are easier to cope with, softer to the touch! Our lives are a mixture of laughter and pain, joys and sorrows and we instinctively try to move away from the hard times as quickly as possible. Moving away from those difficult times isn’t always possible and not always a good thing to rush away too soon. The Victorian way of mourning may seem nowadays to be very harsh, but it did allow people time to recognise those deep emotions and for others to be reminded when they saw the signs of mourning. Often it is only when we have allowed those times to move away slowly and gently that we look back and realise that they were times of deep inner changes. Grief will often peel away the superficial ‘stuff’ that may clutter our lives and help us to realise the things that are truly important to us.

Mothering Sunday is the mid break in Lent when we give thanks for our Mother Church as well as our own Mothers. We will have an informal service at 9:15 at Ridge and 11:00 at South Mimms. Everyone is welcome to this celebratory service and to the refreshments afterwards. It would be good to see you there.

May God Bless us all,