A message from Rev Gary
Time for Pancakes?
Getting ready for Lent
Why are pancakes so popular? Well, Shrove Tuesday is the day before the Church officially starts a period of fasting, praying , confessing our faults and collecting for good causes - a season called Lent. To literally mark the start of Lent, we have a special service called Ash Wednesday (this year - 22nd February, 1230pm at Powick Church) - and yes, I do mark worshippers with a sign of the Cross on ash on their foreheads. It doesn’t hurt but is an outward facing sign of our faith.
Back to pancakes and Shrove Tuesday - the tradition of making and eating pancakes before the start of Lent goes back to Anglo Saxon times (a special prize given to the class that can tell me the time period that we recognise as Anglo-Saxon times...). The church bell would sound out, or toll, to call all the villagers to come to church for Confession - an opportunity to say Sorry to God for all the wrong things that were done/said . At this service, they would be SHRIVEN or forgiven/absolved from their sins (sin is a difficult word to grasp, but in essence it is where we distance ourselves from God’s promises and will for us. Even simpler - a sin is that feeling inside when we know or appreciate we have done something wrong). The word Shriven gives us Shrove Tuesday. When the worshippers got home, they would eat up their last eggs and fat, and making a pancake was the easiest way to do this. For the next 47 days, they pretty well starved themselves. Fancy doing that next week?
Pancakes feature in cookery books as far back as 1439, and today's pancake races that happen up and down the country originated in Buckinghamshire. They commemorated an incident that happened in 1445 . A woman was making pancakes when she heard a shriving bell from the church calling her to confession. Afraid she would be late, she ran to the church in a panic, still in her apron and still holding the pan, tossing it as she went to stop the pancake from sticking or burning! A pancake race is commemorated at the cathedral by the Choristers and Cathedral priests - running around the cloisters. You may see it on Midlands Today, it nearly always makes the TV.
Flipping pancakes is also centuries old. a poem from Pasquils Palin in 1619 says:
'and every man and maide doe take their turne,
And tosse their pancakes up for feare they burne'
Some people have noted that the ingredients of pancakes can be used to highlight four significant things about this time of year in terms of the Christian Faith and the Church: the eggs stand for creation, flour is the staff of life, while salt keeps things wholesome, and milk stands for purity.
It's such a shame that Shrove Tuesday is bang in the middle of half term. Before the Covid pandemic, I started a Vicar’s Pancake Race with mini frying pans given to the class that won in each of our schools. Hopefully we can do this together next year. Shrove Tuesday is always 47 days before Easter Sunday and falls between 3rd February and 9th March. Let's find out more about Lent after your return from a restful and peaceful half term break. Best wishes - Rev Gary
The Reverend Gary Crellin
Vicar of the Parishes of Powick, Guarlford & Madresfield with Newland
The Old Hills Malvern Group of Churches
A message from Rev Gary:
With the desperate situation after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, please try and support the humanitarian effort by giving to the DEC appeal- Christian Aid is one of the charities raising funds to help those in need. We have started a collection awareness in church on Sunday . Please give what you can. For those without online access, telephone, postal and bank option are also available.