Overlayed image of St Sabinus - Woolacombe Overlayed image of St. Mary's - Mortehoe Overlayed image of St. Matthew's - Lee

Revd. Susan Oldham has been Vicar of the three coastal parishes of Woolacombe, Mortehoe and Lee since September 2023.  Here we publish her parish magazine articles and other relevant pieces.

It's Lent time again.

Years ago, spring cleaning was an annual ritual.  Curtains removed and washed, rugs beaten outside, walls and floors scrubbed; cupboards emptied and cleaned, before being re-packed with sorted items.

I don’t know of anyone who continues this discipline, but one ancient ritual that in a sense conjures up that idea of cleaning, sorting and re-purposing is in full swing in church communities all over the country.

This month the Church continues its 40-day journey of reflection before Easter, known as Lent, (although the good news is, Sundays are not included!).  The word comes from Old English, meaning to lengthen, as was seen in the days drawing out as spring approached.  It is a time to follow the example of Jesus who went out into the Judean wilderness in order to be able to prepare himself for the enormous task he would be taking on as his ministry began. 

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The Hope of Spring

The strange thing about writing an article for a magazine is that it has to be written weeks before the magazine is published.  This means that by the time it appears, any forecast made could be completely wrong.  So although more settled weather is predicted, by the time you read this it could be very different. 

As I write, the sun is streaming into the window and the faintest stirring of spring is in the air after what seems like months of rain, with birdsong and bulbs tentatively pushing up shoots from the earth.  For me, this speaks of the  hope of spring.  Curiously, at this time of year, one of the smallest and most fragile looking flowers determinedly pushes itself up out of turf or woodland floors.  While storms rage and ice and snow threaten, the snowdrop makes its humble appearance.

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The Promise of light.

At this time of year darkness seems to encroach on us all as the days shorten and dark clouds fill the skies.  From my office which affords me the most wonderful view of Woolacombe beach, the lead grey of the sea means the horizon is indistinguishable from the sky.  Somehow even the news seems darker with the suffering of not only the Ukrainian people, but awful accounts daily reported from Israel and Palestine.

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