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Holy Week & Easter message

Dear Friends,

At Leytonstone High Road Methodist Church, together with representatives from Churches Together, I have to say I’ve had a really blessed Lent, and I’m looking forward to Holy Week. For the past five weeks the different churches have been meeting together in a small group using the York Course material. This year the theme has been ‘Daring to see God now’ and has focused on Mark 1:14-15 (the Good News proclaimed by Jesus at the start of his public ministry).

Our communities within the London Forest Circuit are constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons – stabbings and youth violence against youth. About 20 years ago Local Authorities started withdrawing funds for youth work. Those of us engaged in youth work at the time warned that this was short-sighted, and false economy. Sadly, and sure enough, it gives me no pleasureor satisfaction to be proved right.

With the absence of youth workers, youth clubs, youth centres and youth officers, it seems young people are lacking the positive mentors, safe meeting/gathering spaces and sense of belonging. They have turned to gangs and other groups for these aspects of growing up and youth development. Here they are being required to do horrendous acts of violence in order to belong, or, ironically, carry weapons in order to ‘feel safe’.

This Holy Week and Easter – what’s the Good News for these young people and their families? Does the One who was subjected to violence ‘for our sake’ have anything to say to them? What might resurrection look like for them, their peers, and our communities? We are desperate for a solution to this epidemic of violence affecting our communities; we pray regularly for solutions to this crisis. I believe God is saying ‘Be the answers to your own prayers – use what I’ve given you’.

As London Forest Circuit, we’ve been blessed with 12 amazing premises to serve as bases from which to minister to our communities. If each church was to run a youth club once a week – different days, times, activities – maybe we could restore the message of Easter and be Good News for those young people and our communities. If we can’t do it on our own, maybe we could do it in partnership with other churches, agencies, faiths with similar visions. Just a thought!

So, as I continue my reflective journey to Easter Sunday, I can’t help feeling sorry for those who are not able to take part in any mid-week reflections during Holy Week. For them, there is a move from the ‘Hosannas!’ of Palm Sunday straight to the ‘Alleluias!’ of Easter morning, with little or no time for the depths of the days in-between.

So thank you to all who have and will help me and blessed me with your presence and prayers this week; it will add renewed confidence and gratitude on Easter morning, when I join the church universal in the anthem:

‘The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!


Have a blessed Easter.

Rev Tony Malcolm,

Superintendent Minister,

Forest Circuit

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