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The Parish Church of the Ascension 
Middlesbrough 
Sunday 15th April 2018 – EASTER 3
MASS 
9:15 am Parish Mass 
Celebrant and Preacher – Revd Dominic Black 
       
Monday  16th April 2018 7:15 PM The Service of the Word 
       
Wednesday  18th April 2018 9:15 AM Mass 
       
       
SUNDAY 22nd  April 2018 – EASTER 4
9:15   Parish Mass 
Followed at the Annual Meeting 

We think of Easter as a time of liberation, of being set free, but some people might argue that they have no sense of imprisonment. Imprisonment does not necessarily mean being behind bars. The poet Richard Lovelace wrote, ‘Stone walls do not a prison make nor iron bars a cage.’ So what does it mean that Jesus has set us free by his death and resurrection? How are we imprisoned? We were given an answer in last week’s sermon. People can be imprisoned by grief, fear, doubt and guilt.

When Mary Magdalene went to the tomb on that first Easter morning she was filled with grief that the Lord she loved was dead and she would never see him again. All hope had died. Then he was before her though she saw him through her tears. When he spoke her name she recognised him and the joy that flooded through her must have taken away her grief.

The disciples had locked themselves away in the Upper Room in fear that those who killed Jesus would come for them too. Even when Jesus came to them there was still doubt. Thomas would only believe if he could see the print of the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet. Jesus’ words speak to us today,

                    ‘How happy are those who believe without seeing me.’

There was guilt. When Jesus was arrested the disciples forsook him and ran away. Peter even denied all knowledge of him. ‘I do not know the man.’ We have the wonderful account in St John’s Gospel of Jesus asking Peter three times, ‘Do you love me?’ And Peter was set free from the guilt knowing he had been forgiven.

Grief, fear, doubt and guilt had held them all in a tight grip from which they could not escape. Then, slowly, all those who had loved Jesus realised he had been raised from death and once more they could know him with all their senses. When love, joy and happiness overwhelmed them they were set  free to believe. Jesus wants us all to experience this liberation from our doubts and fears, especially the fear of death and the doubt we can ever be forgiven. Only he can release us and our true experience of him will come when we let go of the other things that imprison us like hatred and the refusal to forgive and love others. Let us pray that we can have this experience of Jesus, to know the joy those disciples felt, and to make a commitment to follow him as Charles Wesley’s hymn says,

                                 ‘My chains fell off, my heart was free,

                                  I rose, went forth, and followed thee.’

                                                                                                            Marion


The Church of the Ascension

Middlesbrough

 

Parish Notices – Sunday 15th April 2018

 

Services and Activities

 

Monday 16th April 2018       5:30 pm          Office Hour

Monday 16th April 2018       7:15 pm          The Service of the Word

Monday 16th April 2018       7:45 pm          Study Group

 

Wednesday 18th April 2018    9:15 am Mass

 

Sunday 22nd April 2018          9:15 am           Mass  Easter  4

 

Annual General Meeting – Sunday 22nd April 2018 following Mass

If you wish to stand for Church Warden or the P.C.C please made sure your name is on the Electoral Roll (See Marion for this) and you would require to be CRB Checked (please speak with Julie Popplewell) and

you need to attend the meeting.

 

Feast of Fun in The Ascension

On Monday 28th (Bank Holiday) and Wednesday 30th May to bring activities and lunch for children aged 5 to 11 including their parents and siblings of under privileged families. We will also be hosting events during the 6 weeks Summer Holidays.

We are asking for donations of children’s games, clothes that may be use for fancy dress, pens in fact anything to keep children amused for a couple of hours. We are asking if there are any willing volunteers who can help in the kitchen, fill out forms, meet and greet and chat with parents.

 

Eve of Ascension Dedication Festival and Anniversary of Consecration

Wednesday 9th May 2018: 7:30 pm                                                                                                                                      Celebrant and Preacher Right Reverend Paul Ferguson. The Bishop of Whitby

Please note there is a faith supper following the services which we would like donations of food if you can donate

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