St Swithun's Church
Kennington Oxford




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St Swithun's Church, Kennington
News Sheets

Listed below are the monthly letters as printed in the Kennington Chronicle.
Usually from our clergy, but with occasional guests.

From the Clergy
….or news from St Swithun’s!

As I begin to write this article, it is a cold, wet day in March and the winds are rattling the letter box. So, it is a joy to look forward to April and I hope that you are reading this on a warm, sunny morning.

April is such a lovely month—the flowers, the sun getting warmer by the day, the longer days—so much to celebrate. And this month we have the joy of celebrating Easter.

How are you going to celebrate Easter this year? What will you be doing on Sunday 21st April? For many it is a day for meeting up with family and friends, a special meal, and, of course, loads of chocolate eggs. Perhaps bunnies and baby lambs remind you of Easter too as do flowers blooming in the garden (weather permitting of course). For many people it is just one day, but for the church, Easter has its days leading up to it and the days after it leading to Pentecost. Just as Christmas extends beyond 25th December in the church, so is Easter a longer period full of different remembrances.

First there is Shrove Tuesday (pancake day) where we look ahead to Lent and try to eat up all the butter and eggs we should not be eating in Lent—so that is a joyful day. The next day is Ash Wednesday which is a more serious day, with a service of ‘ashing’ which reminds us that we are but poor sinners—not such a joyful day but one of penance and reflection. Lent then follows: forty days (excluding Sundays) of prayer, fasting or taking on extra self-sacrificing tasks during which we remember Jesus’s time in the desert when he was tempted by the devil but did not succumb to temptation. These days can be hard. There are usually no flowers in church but there is Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday in Lent—so another day of celebration.

The Sunday before Easter Sunday is known as Palm Sunday, a joyful celebration when we remember Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. In St James, Radley, there is a happy procession around the village following a donkey. Do join in if you are able to.

We are now in Holy Week and we have Maundy Thursday when we remember Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his arrest, trial and condemnation to death. It is a solemn service where the altar is stripped of its coverings and we are reminded of Jesus’s painful, final hours.

Good Friday reminds us of Jesus’s long walk to Calvary and his agonising death on the cross. We reflect on this with music and meditation. Holy Saturday, or Easter Eve, is a quiet day thinking of Jesus in the tomb.

Now this may well sound all doom and gloom, and why on earth would anyone want to celebrate and remember any of this. But, we then have the absolute joy of Easter Day. The day Jesus’s friends went to his tomb to find it empty, the body of Jesus gone, their initial fear turning to wonder and amazement as the risen Jesus stood among them, talking to them, eating with them. Try Googling John 20:1–18, or read it in your bible, for the full story.

Can you imagine what must have gone through their minds, what would have been said. If perhaps you have had a loved one go through a very traumatic experience but they have been saved by the skill and knowledge of surgeons and nurses and have come home saved and well, you might have some idea. If you have lost something so precious to you only to find it some two or three days later, you might have some idea.

The name ‘Easter’ derives from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, Eostre or Ostara, and she was celebrated as the bringer of new life (back to bunnies, lambs and eggs). We celebrate Easter because we too welcome new life in the Church—the new life we live in a God who lived among us, died for our sins and rose again to save us from death—to give us eternal life. As Christians we believe that God gives us life in abundance. We believe that once we have met the risen Christ, life can never be the same again. The disciples went from quaking with fear to shouting the good news about Jesus from the rooftops as it changed their lives so much.

We hope that you will be able to join us for some, or all, of our Easter services, especially during Holy Week. You are most welcome to any of the churches in the Benefice: St James, Radley; St Leonard, Sunningwell; St Swithun’s, Kennington. Watch out for the service timings on the notice boards and village websites.

I especially hope we shall see you on Easter Sunday when we can all share together in the joy and hope of new life—and, of course, there will be Easter Egg hunts!

With blessings — Rev Glynis Beckett

Radley News sheet


Recent Kennington Vicar's Lettters

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019


Dec 2018

Nov 2018

Sept 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018






piano cover: Our God Reigns

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