Well, spring seems to have arrived now, and St. Mark’s churchyard is resplendent with daffodils and primroses. They are such a welcoming sight as you walk through. They are a reminder of the new life that Jesus came to bring us.
The Sussex Wildlife Trust has been taking an interest in the churchyard, because we have several special species of plants there, especially green winged orchids and wax caps. Members of the organisation came and worked hard, one morning, clearing specific areas and giving us advice as to how to manage the churchyard and give the various plants the best opportunity to survive and flourish. We will be following that advice now.
However, we still have severe problems with drainage in specific areas and we’re hoping to get them sorted out. Unfortunately, this is making the church wet inside, and the north wall especially is showing signs of being in trouble. We have taken advice and will be dealing with it. When the damp is sorted, we hope to get the church decorated inside.
The other problem is the stonework on the outside of the building, where some pieces of stone are crumbling, necessitating moving the bench on the west wall, for fear that the stone parapet might fall on someone!
By the time you read this, Holy week and Easter will be over, and we will have held our Maundy Thursday and Easter Day services. The Maundy Thursday service is very special. It starts very up-beat, and then gradually reminds us that this is when Jesus celebrated the Passover with His friends and disciples, and then was betrayed and handed over to the authorities to be crucified. The service finishes with the altar being stripped of its hangings and cloths, and just left bare. The Lady Chapel is beautiful with flowers, and people gather in there from the nave of the church to keep a vigil. The service ends in silence.
The other churches in the Parish have services on Good Friday, reminding us of the awful suffering that Jesus endured, to save us from our sins, a mystery that is so hard to understand.
By contrast on Easter Day, we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, so the church is filled with flowers, thanks to our wonderful team of flower ladies. The service starts in silence, without light, and then it is filled with light and joyful singing; a small Easter garden is on display, as a visual reminder of the empty tomb.
Our doors are open during the day. Do pop in and see the beauty, and enjoy some quiet time in there, away from the horrors of this outside world. Better still, join us on a Sunday, where a warm welcome awaits you.
Valerie Banks and Janet Tourell.