Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

The Lent Holy Sabbatical will provide an opportunity to reflect on the last two years and listen and discern where God might be calling us as a diocesan family.

This page contains resources to help you pause, reflect on the last two years and discern where God is calling us to next as a diocesan family. More resources will be added to this page as we move towards and through lent.

Created for Joy - a poem by Hafiz

I sometimes forget
that I was created for Joy.

My mind is too busy.
My Heart is too heavy
for me to remember
that I have been
called to dance
the Sacred dance of life.

I was created to smile
To Love
To be lifted up
And to lift others up.

O’ Sacred One
Untangle my feet
from all that ensnares.
Free my soul.
That we might
and that our dancing
might be contagious.

Six Ignatian Questions

from Margaret Silf’s Landmarks

1 - Where are you? 
Genesis 3.9:
The Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”

2 - What is in your hand?
Exodus 4.2:
The Lord said to Moses, ‘What is that in your hand?’ 
He said, ‘A staff.’

3 - What are you doing here?
1 Kings 19.9:
At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ 

4 - What do you see?
Zechariah 4.1-2:
The angel who talked with me came again, and wakened me, as one is wakened from sleep. He said to me, ‘What do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it; there are seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it.

5 - Can these bones live?
Ezekiel 37.3:
He said to me, ‘Mortal, can these bones live?’
I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’

6 - Who will go for us? 
Isaiah 6.8:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

Stepping into Lent, Shrove Tuesday: Talks

To mark the start of Lent and the Holy Sabbatical, clergy and lay ministers gathered at Chelmsford Cathedral on Tuesday 1 March. These gatherings offered participants the opportunity to come together, to reflect upon what we have lived through as individuals and church communities over the last two years and to pray together for our shared future.

They were joined at the gathering by the Revd Alison Christian. Alison is a priest, spiritual director and experienced retreat leader.

Alison delivered three talks at the gathering which can be watched below. You may also wish to make use of these videos as a resource in your own context.



Handouts from the Stepping into Lent gathering event:

Prayers and reflections from Archdeacon Ruth 

A reflection/prayer of confession

This is reflection on the story of Mary and Martha, it can work as a reflection or as part of a prayer of confession.

Prayers in preparation for a Holy Sabbatical

is a very short form of worship using a translation of Matthew 11 from “The Message” plus a reflection from Richard Rohr.

Evenings in Lent Reflections

Each Wednesday you will find a 10-minute recording of evening prayer followed by a reflection from The Bishop of Chelmsford, our area Bishops and the Dean of Chelmsford. 

Each video will be available from this page. 

Silence is God's First Language: A Lent reflection talk from Nicholas Henshall, Dean of Chelmsford

9 March 2022 - 6pm

'In praise of underused space'. The Dean of Chelmsford explores the silence of our encounter with God in an underused space.

Silence is God's First Language: A Lent reflection: The Rt Revd Lynne Cullens Bishop of Barking

16 March 2022 - 6pm

'A privilege attached to silence' Bishop Lynne explores the quality of silence into which God speaks and challenges us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Silence is God's First language: A Lent Reflection from Bishop John Perumbalath

23 March 2022 - 6pm

'Taking ourselves seriously'. The Rt Revd John Perumbalath, the Bishop of Bradwell explores how our communication with God can often be one-sided. In this reflection Bishop John explores the power of silence and how it can bring solidarity with others, self-understanding and a fresh understanding of God.

Silence is God's First Language: A Lent reflection: The Rt Revd Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester

30 March 2022 - 6pm

'I rarely just sit in silence ... it's exhausting'. Bishop Roger explores how we can be more attentive to God's presence and how we sometimes find that moment at a time we are feeling most overwhelmed.

The final in the series of talks for Lent 'Silence is God's First Language'

6 April 2022 - 6pm

The Bishop of Chelmsford The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani gives the final talk in the series. 'Being Comfortable with Silence' Bishop Guli explores why we can sometimes find silence difficult, awkward or unrewarding.

She explains that although at times we may not hear God, our desire and intention to be with Him is good enough and if we continue to  search for the inner silence, rather than an absence of noise, we can more deeply encounter God.

Holy Sabbatical Home Prayers and liturgy  Suggested Readings

Gatherings for clergy and lay ministers 

View Chelmsford Cathedral Resources

For more information please contact Communications Team
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