By: Margaret Brown
READING THROUGH our copy of the Daily Telegraph last week, with its innumerable supplements, I came across several pages on “What to do at Easter”. Among the list of art exhibitions, stately homes, museums and sporting attractions, there was a notable absence of any reference to church services and places of worship. Was this just political correctness or perhaps a reflection of the countrywide neglect of spiritual health in Britain today?
While there is a natural tendency for expatriates to cluster together in pursuit of common interests, the Church of England congregations in the Algarve seem to have found something special that is missing back home. Every Sunday, residents and holidaymakers come together to worship, sing and pray, not because it is a habit, or from a dry sense of duty, but because they find refreshment, joy and enlightenment within the St. Vincent’s parish.
Lent is a time for reflection, the spring cleaning of one’s faith and a chance to contemplate the meaning of Easter. Living in western Algarve, my knowledge of what goes on is based only on the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz at Luz Bay. There is a weekly Sunday service, Thursday Eucharist followed by a Bible based discussion in a temporary chapel nearby, Friday prayer group and an active prayer chain across the province – all of which contributes so much that is needed to keep the Christian faith vital and growing.
This year, Father John will lead us through Easter week, offering daily worship from Palm Sunday to Easter Day. During eight days of readings, homilies and prayer, we recall The Last Supper and Christ’s betrayal on Maundy Thursday, the agony of the Crucifixion on Good Friday when the choir sings Fauré’s Requiem, through Saturday’s Ante-Communion to a glorious Easter Day and the sung Eucharist of The Resurrection.
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