It’s time for panto - oh yes it is!

Canon Bob White, centre, dressing up for St Mary's parish pantomime. The panto takes place during February half-term every year.

CAPTION: Canon Bob White, centre, dressed up for the parish pantomime
Canon Bob White, centre, dressing up for St Mary's parish pantomime. The panto takes place during February half-term every year. CAPTION: Canon Bob White, centre, dressed up for the parish pantomime

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IF you see members of St Mary’s parish mumbling lines to themselves, or practising dancing, or if you see one of the male clergy liberally applying make-up, don’t worry. It is just parish pantomime time!

Once a year, in February half-term, about 40 members of the three churches take to the boards and have great fun.

This year, we’re performing Aladdin and His Lamp tomorrow at 2.30pm and again at 7.30pm at St Wilfrid’s Church, in George Street, Fratton.

Staging a pantomime may seem an odd thing for us to do, but it is an important part of our life together.

The teamwork involved helps to build relationships across ages and backgrounds – our youngest stars are still at junior school, whereas some of our more senior ones are retired.

We also discover each individual’s hidden talents and gifts and share them together, which is wonderful to see.

The balancing of individual and team is part of our exploring what it means to be one with the Body of Christ – which is something that St Paul wrote about nearly 2,000 years ago. 

The pantomime will be swiftly followed by the parish Caribbean pancake party from 7.30pm next Tuesday, February 28, which I am sure everybody is looking forward to.

We celebrate Shrove Tuesday with food, music, dancing and strongly-contested pancake races down the aisle!

We have a Caribbean theme thanks to a former churchwarden with a Caribbean heritage, but the idea stuck with us and now it is our tradition to celebrate Shrove Tuesday – and our diversity – in this way.

Tickets are just £5 or £3.

Finally on March 1 we’ll mark Ash Wednesday with two services reflecting on our emptiness if we separate ourselves from God’s love.

We say sorry for those times when we have turned from Christ and commit ourselves to walk with Him through the season of Lent.

This is the service where a cross of ashes can be drawn onto our forehead, to remind us of our renewed commitment to follow God more closely during Lent.

These three events reflect our parish’s vision of ‘being with God; being with others and being with all of creation’.

If you would like to share in any of these (and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the vicar dressed as Widow Twankey) then please contact our office on (023) 9281 4444 for further details or tickets.

We look forward to seeing you there.