“Mothering Sunday” is always a special day at Ashley Methodist Church which we celebrated again last Sunday, the fourth in Lent. Our service was led by our minister, the Revd Mark Lawrence, who was warmly welcomed by Sue Fox. Sue read some verses describing Jesus showing humility as he washed the disciples’ feet as she placed a bowl at the foot of the cross.

Mark used the fifth of the beatitudes as the theme of his service. “Blessed are the Merciful for they shall be shown Mercy”. It was lovely to have our small children and young people present as we sang together “O Lord my God”.

After prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and confessions, we had two bible readings; the first, read by Richard Lucas, was from James chapter two, in which James issues a warning against prejudice. The second, read by Ron Lucas, was from Luke, chapter six. Here Luke recounts Jesus’s teaching that we should love our enemies. Mark followed these with prayers for Ukraine using a lovely prayer by an Irish clergyman.

In his sermon, Mark explained that at the centre of the gospel is mercy in addition to joy, love, hope and forgiveness. He described the Mercy Seat on the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament in the theology of that day. Mercy is kindness in excess as we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves. “Are we merciful in our relationships and speech and have we allowed mercy to shine in our hearts”, asked Mark. Mercy and Grace are there in our time of need.

When the children returned from their activities, they handed each of us a posy of daffodils for our mothers to remind us it was their special day, and we sang ‘Blessed assurance’ to round off a lovely service.

Last Friday evening we were well supported by the others village churches, in an Organ Demonstration & Recital by Jeremy Meager ARCO of Cotswold Organs Ltd and we unanimously agreed to purchase the new Chorum 10 digital organ for our church use.