This is the season to celebrate our faith and our community

Father Bob White
Father Bob White
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace leads Royal Marine musicians on board Britannia

Nick’s swansong on Britannia is a proud moment

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Easter at St Mary’s in Fratton Road is always an important time of our year.

We remember the events of Jesus’ journey to the Cross and then the joy of his friends, his disciples, as they discover His risen life bursting from the tomb in which he was buried.

Our celebrations take us through a range of emotions and include familiar symbols – hot cross buns and Easter eggs – as well as less familiar – washing people’s feet and lighting a new fire.

But for us in Fratton these celebrations are often accompanied by other activity and emotions as we also get ready to host the Annual May Fayre. On May 6, this year, we hope that we will be welcoming some 10,000 visitors to the church and the churchyard with stalls, displays, funfair rides, music, morris dancing, a beer tent and much more.

We are well advanced in our bookings of stalls, toilets, marquees and a long list of other necessary things.

These two celebrations of Easter and the May Fayre may on one level seem unrelated.

But to us they are closely linked.

At Easter in the Church we are celebrating the presence of the risen Jesus not just 2,000 years ago but today – in our lives.

The story of Easter is about Jesus bringing his life, peace and joy to the reality of a world that was struggling with many issues and problems we continue to struggle with today as individuals and as a society. He shows us how to see those things in a different way and to also see around us, and in them, the presence of God.

Likewise the May Fayre is a celebration of life here in Fratton.

A chance to celebrate the community of which we are a part and the good things we have and to be a meeting place for friends old and new.

It is a chance to give thanks for all that is here and, for us, to see the presence of God in this community and all around us.