Fortnight 29th February – 13th March

Martin Luther King famously once said: ‘Before you
finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the
world’. And eating breakfast is just
what Fairtrade Fortnight has in mind for you this year - the campaign hopes to
get as many people as possible to eat a Fairtrade breakfast in their homes
during the Fortnight.

As a spokesperson explains: “It’s a scandal that the people who grow the
food we take for granted can’t always feed their own families. We can support
farmers and workers to put food on the table for their families by harnessing
the power of a Fairtrade breakfast. When people are paid a
fairer price, they can have more control over their lives when times are hard,
and worry less about how they will feed their families.” More details at: www.fairtrade.org

At St David’s in the
café we try to use Fairtrade products whenever possible.

 

2016 brings us a Leap Year.
We need to add this extra day every four years in order to keep our
calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the Sun. The problem is very simple: our calendar has 365 days, but it actually
takes 365.242199 days (a tropical year) to circle once around the Sun. That means we are ‘out’ by nearly six hours
a year. Four times six hours is 24
hours - hence an extra day every four years.

Adding the extra day in February goes back to Julius Caesar
in 45 BC. In his Julian Calendar,
February was the last month of the year, and 24th February was Leap
Year Day.

 

Lent
begins with Ash Wednesday. But why 'Ash' Wednesday? The reason has to do with getting things
right between you and God, and the tradition goes right back to the Old
Testament.

In
the Old Testament, the Israelites often sinned. When they finally came to their senses, and saw their evil ways as God saw them, they could do nothing but repent in sorrow. They mourned for the damage and
evil they had done. As part of this
repentance, they covered their heads with ashes. For the Israelites, putting ashes on your
head, and even rending your clothes, was an outward sign of their heart-felt
repentance and acknowledgement of sin.
(See Genesis 18:27; 2 Samuel 13:19; Job 2:8, 30:19; Isaiah 58:5; Jeremiah
6:26; Jonah 3:6)

In
the very early Christian Church, the yearly 'class' of penitents had ashes
sprinkled over them at the beginning of Lent. They were turning to God for
the first time, and mourning their sins.
But soon many other Christians wanted to take part in the custom, and to
do so at the very start of Lent. They heeded Joel's call to 'rend your
hearts and not your garments' (Joel 2:12-19). Ash Wednesday became known
as either the 'beginning of the fast' or ‘the day of the ashes’.

The
collect (special prayer) for today goes back to the Prayer Book, and stresses
the penitential character of the day. It encourages us with the reminder of the
readiness of God to forgive us and to renew us. The Bible readings for
today are often Joel 2:1-2, 12 – 18, Matthew 6: 1-6, 16 – 21 and Paul’s moving
catalogue of suffering, "as having nothing and yet possessing
everything." (2 Corinthians 5:20b - 6:10)

The
actual custom of 'ashing' was abolished at the Reformation, though the old name
for the day remained. Today, throughout the Church of England, receiving
the mark of ashes on one’s forehead is optional. Certainly the
mark of ashes on the forehead reminds people of their mortality: "Remember that you are dust and to dust
you will return..." (Genesis 3:19).
The late medieval custom was to burn the branches used on Palm Sunday in
the previous year in order to create the ashes for today.

The Ash Wednesday Holy
Communion service with Ashing at

St David’s will be at
8pm on 10th February. Please join us.

 

It’s
odd, really, that confessing one’s sins to God should ever have involved making
pancakes. And yet the beginning of Lent
brings us both – Shrove Tuesday is Pancake Day, and is followed by Ash
Wednesday, and so Lent begins.

In
centuries gone by, the pancakes were made to use up the milk and eggs before
the fasting of Lent. More recently, many
readers will have childhood memories of the wonder of watching our mothers
break an egg, mix it with milk and flour – and out of that gooey mess, to
produce a light and delicious pancake.

These
days more and more of us buy pancake mix, or even ready-made pancakes. It seems we prefer the certainty of ending up
with pancakes - to the risk of having made nothing BUT a mess of the
kitchen.

In
many parishes they used to hold pancake races on the day. Why anyone would want to run around a field
while holding a pancake is not clear, but in Olney, Bucks, they have held a
pancake race almost every year since 1445. Much more enjoyable than that, here
at St David’s we have our traditional Pancake Supper and Quiz evening – so
please join us for supper at 7pm followed by the quiz. See page 11 for full details.

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
but the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

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