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16 May 2018

Ascension celebration on the Riviera

From The Revd Peter Massey (Chaplain of Lorgues with Fayence in the Var):

The chaplaincy of Lorgues with Fayence, which is a Fresh Expression, meets regularly in the homes and gardens of its members. Their offer to host the celebration of Ascension is always welcomed and well attended, and this year was no exception. Our guest preacher and celebrant this year was Bishop Michael Marshall, retired Bishop of Woolwich, who was fresh from just covering the interregnum in Monaco. His message was both powerful and relevant, urging the chaplaincies to be open to the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we approach Pentecost. In a post-Christian culture in Europe, this is increasingly a message that requires not just listening to but responding to, and maybe that might just mean being open to new approaches as to how we, as Christians and Anglicans, can engage with the communities around us, in other words, to listen to the Spirit.

Full text of Bishop Michael's sermon available here.

Almost a tradition

Celebrating Ascension in Provence for the Riviera chaplaincies goes back over 25 years when Sisters Cecile and Jean invited the Anglican churches from along the Cote d’Azur to come and join with them in Montauroux for this important day in the churches year. After a short break following their retirement, Danni Carew suggested it was re-visited and it has subsequently proved to be both a spiritually moving and enjoyable day that combines worship and fellowship in a different context and in the heart of God’s beauty and creation amongst the vines and pines of the Var.

If God be For Us Who Can Be Against Us

For days anxious weather watchers checked websites for “Weather in Lorgues” for May 10th, or more importantly for Ascension Day 2018, and the forecast was for rain, showers, storms, patchy cloud, all very concerning for a Eucharistic Celebration of Ascension and fellowship picnic in the garden of Rev Peter and Shirley Massey in Lorgues. O Ye of Little Faith... the power of prayer knows no limits and we were blessed with a perfect day until the last tables and chairs were packed away and the Ascension pilgrims were on their way home. The heavens then opened and a violent storm dumped almost 2 inches of rain onto Lorgues... who says prayer does not work.

An added bonus to the day was the re-licensing of Bob Hurley for his second term as chaplain of Grenoble. Giles Williams, our area dean, did the formalities and a group who had come from Grenoble stood with Bob to both witness and support him.

Music was also an important part of our worship this Ascension as both Fr Soon from Korea, who ministers with Bishop Michael, and Brother Michael, an orthodox monk, who worships with Lorgues with Fayence, played their guitars during the service. Bishop Michael, a gifted pianist, also contributed with pieces from Chopin and a beautiful version of Ave Maria.

Bishop Michael preaching.

Bob Hurley was re-licensed for his second term as chaplain of Grenoble.

More photos of the Ascension celebration can be found here.