The Vicar's Letter (written by Reverend Joy Cousans, Vicar of St Mary's Church in Eaton Bray) has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since June 2017
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Vicar's Letter

February 2023

Reverend Joy Cousans, vicar of the Church of St Mary The Virgin, Eaton Bray with Edlesborough.

Pancake Day is traditionally known as Shrove Tuesday, the day on which all the fat, cream and rich foods had to be used up before Lent. Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter. The name 'shrove' comes from the Old English word 'shrive' meaning to confess. On Shrove Tuesday in the Middle Ages, people used to go to church to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began.

It was also the last chance to indulge in foods not allowed in Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent. The story goes that in Olney in 1445 a woman heard the Shriving Bell ringing whilst she was still making pancakes. She ran to church in her apron, still clutching her frying pan. And so the tradition of pancake races began! This year the Churches Together in Eaton Bray and Edlesborough will be celebrating Shrove Tuesday with an evening of Pancakes and Prayer. It will take place at Eaton Bray Methodist church on 21st February from 6.30pm and all are welcome. There is no charge for the pancakes, but there will be a collection for the work of Christian Aid amongst the world's most deprived communities. On Ash Wednesday, 22nd February, there will be a service in St Mary's at 10am. This will be Holy Communion with the imposition of ashes (making the sign of the cross in ash on people's foreheads). The ashes are a further reminder that Lent is a season of confession, reflection and preparation before the festival of Easter.

During Lent, the North Chilterns Group will be meeting on Tuesday evenings for an 'Alphabet of Christianity'! This is an opportunity to explore the Christian faith, whether you are a practising Christian or you just want to know more. Bring those questions you have been wanting to ask for ages, but perhaps have felt they are really something you 'should know', or have forgotten. Bring an open mind and a willingness to learn and enjoy yourself. Bring a bible if you have one... The meetings are all at Totternhoe Church Hall, Church Road, Totternhoe, LU6 1RH. We will be starting with refreshments at 7.30pm for 7.45pm, and concluding with a short act of worship, ending by 9pm. The dates are February 28th, March 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th. For more information, please contact the Revd. Canon Nicola Lenthall. Everyone is welcome to come along. If you have never been to church before and you would like to find out more about the Christian faith, then this is a good opportunity to do so. It will be a relaxed approach with no pressure to join the discussion unless you wish to do so - and it is free! The other thing worth noting is that although the sessions are linked, each one will stand alone. We hope you will come and join us at one or more of the events during Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Lent.

With every blessing,

Rev'd Joy Cousans, Vicar of Eaton Bray with Edlesborough

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About the Vicar's Letter

The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.

The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the area for these.