Our Vicar

Rev Lesley

Bishop Rose and Archdeacon Will are pleased to announce that the Revd Doctor Lesley Hardy was Licensed as Priest in Charge of the Little Stour Benefice on Tuesday 1st August at St Mary the Virgin church, Wingham.

Lesley will work Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sundays and with her husband Will will live in the Vicarage in Littlebourne. If you are looking for spiritual guidance or need help, please click here to email her or call her on 01227531194

If it is to do with an individual church, please look at the Our five churches page to allow you to contact the relevant church wardens. 

For weddings/confirmation/baptisms click the link.

April the ‘Easter Month’ Rev Lesley Hardy

'This is the day which the Lord made
for us, the wise one, for the generations of men,
for all blessed earth-dwellers, with bliss.

(From the Menologium a tenth century poem)

For centuries the month of April has been seen as especially holy and joyful because it was, nearly always, the month in which Easter was celebrated. Indeed, in Anglo-Saxon England April was called Eastermonað or the ‘Easter month’ because the festival was so central to its identity. 

Nowadays we tend to conflate the week before Easter, which the church calls Passiontide, with Easter itself and once the big day is over, the eggs eaten and the bank holiday passed, Easter is done. That though, is a very new way of viewing the season which has for most of the last eighteen hundred years or so been seen as a much longer and more special time, beginning on Easter Sunday and lasting for fifty days until Pentecost (which simply means ‘fifty’) or Whitsun- which I’ll write about another time!  

The Easter season was a time of serious celebration because Christ had defeated death by rising from the tomb. Flowers, processions, music, candles and of course feasting, were all part of this long festival and in all of this and the church was the central focus.  April and Easter were seen as auspicious, a time of new beginnings; laws were passed, contracts agreed and people baptised.

Interestingly, although there is much speculation about links with the pre-Christian fertility goddess Eostre, eggs, hares and the moon it would seem that Easter has after all always been a Christian thing. The historian Ronald Hutton suggests that the name may originate in the German word for ‘white’ or alternatively mean ‘the month of opening.’ 

Another Anglo-Saxon poem, the Harrowing of Hell captures this sense of happy triumph: 

Before dawn there came a throng of angels,

the joy of the host surrounded the Saviour's tomb.

Open was the earthen vault. The prince's body

received the breath of life, the ground shook,

hell-dwellers laughed; the young warrior awoke,

dauntless from the dust, majesty arose,

victorious and wise.

Both translations from the Old English here are by Eleanor Parker in her excellent ‘A Clerk of Oxford’ blog https://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2015/04/eastermona-to-us-cyme.html)