Tess Ward is now self employed though was a hospice chaplain until 2015. She is a writer of prayers and liturgies. She is a celebrant and facilitates traditional Christian services but more commonly, personal, more broadly spiritual ceremonies.  Her books include The Celtic Wheel of the Year and Alternative Pastoral Prayers. She also leads retreats and accompanies people on the spiritual journey.

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Easter in a Time of Isolation

Women at the tomb Maurice Denis


Hello! This is just a heads up for anyone who is not part of a gathered Christian community and would like to follow the story of Jesus from Maundy Thursday to Easter morning in a contemplative way.  I have adapted it for this time from the retreat I led at Othona in 2016.  It is a series of rituals, poetry, readings, music and art.  It will also include body prayer, silence and my own earthy written prayers.  The purpose is to help reflection in your own home, either on your own or with those you share a home with.  It will focus on the mystery of the cycle of living, dying and rebirth at the heart of all life.  I will put the first notice up on Sunday April 5 in order to give time to gather the ritual elements together if you choose to do those. The Maundy Thursday material will appear on Tuesday April 7 so each day will be posted 2 days ahead of the day it is due to be used.

We have, without exception, all had to adjust to such a profound change in the way we live in the last 2 weeks.  For me although the outside world is quieter, except for the birdsong – surely the signature tune of this strange time? – my virtual life got much much noisier.  It took a week to adjust to the far greater powers of discernment I now need to navigate the phone messages and online wonderful material that “bombard” both the devices I use – all offered in friendliness.  During that week I hesitated over whether to offer yet one more online Easter resource and add to the plethora already out there but my discernment has led me to do just that: offer it.  I hope it finds its way to at least 1 or 2 people who would value it.  I will explain it more on Sunday. And I hope that we all find what we need to resource our spirits in these extraordinary months.  Feargal Keane read this on the Today programme this morning from John O’Donohue so I will finish up here with it as it is the kind of material my Easter meditations contain:

“This is the time to be slow,

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes.


Try, as best you can, not to let

The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.


If you remain generous,

Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.”

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