Lent 2021

Services in the Minster and associated churches up to Easter Day

Current information about services from February – March 28 may be found here >

Please be aware that arrangements are subject to change if Covid restrictions are amended.

Monday – Compline at 21.00 in the Minster

Tuesday – Compline at 21.00 in the Minster

Wednesday – Compline at 21.00 in the Minster

Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer) at 10.00 in the Minster

Institution of the Lord’s Supper at 19.30 in the Minster

Choral Matins at 09.30 in the Minster

Prayers at the Cross at 12.00 in the Minster

Good Friday Meditation at 14.00 in the Minster

Holy Communion at 10.30 in the Minster (Booking required)

Holy Communion at 10.30 at St Peter’s, Woodmansey

Holy Communion at 10.30 at St Paul’s, Tickton

Holy Communion at 09.15 and 10.30 at St Leonard’s, Molescroft

Holy Communion at 09.15 at All Saints’, Routh

From Monday – Saturday we publish a Thought for the Day

This will continue throughout Lent here >

This year’s Lent Course will explore themes of forgiveness and reconciliation through the lens of popular films. 

1. Watch the films

DVDs can be purchased inexpensively online (Amazon, eBay or similar), or via relevant streaming services (Netflix etc.) Several copies of each DVD are available to borrow: contact the vicar >

As you watch each film it may help to have a few questions in mind, such as

  •               What issues does the film raise for you?
  •               Which character did you identify with most?
  •               Did you catch any echoes of any biblical passages or stories?
  •               Does it challenge your faith or illuminate it?

2. Join a discussion

There are 5 sessions which will start at 19.30 on Zoom via the Minster account. A link to the Zoom meetings may be obtained on the Minster Group Facebook page or here >

The format of each evening will include opportunities to respond to each film, consider the questions it raises, and relate it to Biblical and theological themes. There will be a context of prayer and reflection, but the sessions will be open and accessible to folk with no explicit faith, and do not need to be seen as suitable for church members only.

3. Read the discussion notes

Look out for the discussion notes which will appear a week or so before each session. Click on the + sign below to open the resources for each session.

The Lent Course Resources

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (PG)

Plot Summary

In 1998, Lloyd Vogel is a magazine journalist known for his cynical writing style. He harbours a lot of anger towards his father, Jerry, because of memories of Lloyd’s deceased mother Lila, whom Jerry cheated on and abandoned.

Lloyd’s editor assigns him to interview children’s television presenter Fred Rogers for a 400-word article about heroes, but Lloyd feels the assignment is beneath him. When he meets Rogers on set for an interview, Rogers is dismissive of his fame and displays concern for Lloyd’s nose injury. Rogers gets Lloyd to open up about his relationship with his father, whose apology and attempt at reconciliation Lloyd has rebuffed. Rogers tells him he has many ways of dealing with anger, such as striking the keys of his piano.

Determined to expose Rogers’ friendly persona as an act, Lloyd watches several episodes of Rogers’ show but is unable to discern anything. In a subsequent interview, Rogers dodges Lloyd’s questions and turns questions about his children back onto Lloyd’s relationship with his father, provoking Lloyd into ending the interview. Lloyd arrives home to find Jerry and his girlfriend Dorothy talking with Andrea, Lloyd’s wife. Lloyd berates Jerry for cheating on his mother Lila and orders him to leave, but Jerry suffers a heart attack and is transported to the hospital.

Lloyd refuses to remain overnight at the hospital with the rest of the family and returns to Pittsburgh to see Rogers. Exhausted, Lloyd collapses on the set of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and dreams about his repressed childhood trauma.

Rogers and his wife, Joanne, bring Lloyd to their home to recuperate. Lloyd and Rogers later go to a restaurant, where Rogers asks Lloyd to spend one minute thinking about the people who “loved him into being,” and encourages him to forgive Jerry. Lloyd apologizes to Andrea for leaving her at the hospital and visits Jerry and Dorothy at their home. He learns that Jerry is dying of cardiac stenosis, the reason Jerry attempted to reconnect with Lloyd. Lloyd forgives Jerry, promises to be a better father to his baby son, and writes an article about Rogers’ impact on his life.

Rogers visits Jerry while Lloyd is there. Rogers asks Jerry to pray for him before he departs. Jerry dies shortly after Rogers’ visit and Lloyd’s 10,000-word article, “Can You Say … Hero?” is published as Esquire’s cover story.

At his studio, Rogers films the final take of an episode of his show. As the production ends, he plays the piano alone, strikes the keys angrily, and resumes playing.

Themes

Forgiveness and reconciliation within the family. Humility and pride. Mediation. Grace and unconditional love.

Questions for discussion

What issues does the film raise for you?

Which character(s) do you most identify with?

How does this film either challenge or illuminate your faith?

Is Fred Rogers too good to be true?

What does it cost Lloyd to forgive his father?

Biblical Themes

Luke 15: 11-32 (The Prodigal Son)

Compare the parable and the film. What are the main similarities and differences?

Did the film make you think of any other biblical passages or themes?

Responses

Do you see anything of Lloyd in yourself? How does that get expressed?

What do you most admire about Fred Rogers? Is that a quality you need more of? How might you cultivate it?

Who has helped to ‘love you into being’? Can you give thanks for them?

‘He has to practice being who he is every day’. What patterns or disciplines would help you to practice being a better version of yourself?

Prayer

Prodigal Father, your extravagant love accepts us as we are. Help us to know that love, to accept ourselves, and to reflect your love to others, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Gran Torino (15)

NB  Contains strong language. Contains discriminatory language which some may find offensive.

Plot Summary

Walt Kowalski is a cantankerous, retired assembly line worker and Korean War veteran, who has recently been widowed after 50 years of marriage. His neighbourhood in Detroit, formerly populated by working-class white families, is now dominated by poor Asian immigrants, and gang violence is commonplace. Adding to the isolation he feels is the emotional detachment of his family.

A chronic smoker, Walt suffers from coughing fits, occasionally coughing up blood, but conceals this from his family. Catholic priest Father Janovich tries to comfort him, but Walt disdains the young, inexperienced man.

The Hmong Vang Lor family reside next door to Walt. Initially, he wants nothing to do with them, particularly after he catches Thao attempting to steal his Ford Gran Torino as a coerced initiation into a Hmong gang. Walt confronts the gang and chases them off, earning the respect of the Hmong community.

As penance, Thao’s mother makes him work for Walt, and the two form a grudging mutual respect. Thao’s sister Sue introduces Walt to Hmong culture and helps him bond with the Hmong community.

The gang continues to pressure Thao. Violence leads to violence, culminating in the injuring of Thao, and the rape of Sue. There are no witnesses and the members of the community, including the victims, refuse to talk to the police.

Thao seeks Walt’s help to exact revenge. Walt mows his lawn, buys a suit, gets a haircut, and makes a confession to Father Janovich. Then he goes to confront the gang once more, first locking Thao in his basement to prevent him from killing anyone. Walt has himself been haunted by the memory of killing an enemy soldier.

When Walt goes to the gang’s house he draws the attention of the neighbours. He then deliberately reaches for a cigarette lighter as if he were holding a gun, at which the gang members shoot and kill him. Walt was unarmed. The gang members are arrested for murder and the neighbours all come forward as witnesses.

Walt’s funeral Mass is celebrated by Father Janovich and attended by his family and many of the Hmong community. Afterward his last will and testament is read, where to the surprise of his family Walt leaves them nothing: his house goes to the church and his cherished Gran Torino goes to Thao, with the condition that Thao does not modify it. As the film ends, Thao is seen driving the car along Lakeshore Drive.

Themes

Can a person change? Overcoming prejudice. Breaking the cycle of violence. Retribution and atonement.

Questions for Discussion

What issues does the film raise for you?

How does this film either challenge or illuminate your faith?

How sympathetic a character do you find Walt?

Why might there be a Catholic priest in the film?

What choices might the gang members have had before joining the gang?

Why does Walt not seek vengeance at the end? How does this film compare with others dealing with the theme of retribution?

What ‘moments of grace’ take place in this film? How do they bring about change?

Why do you think it’s called ‘Gran Torino’?

Biblical Themes

Read John 19: 28 – 30. Towards the end of the film Walt says to Thao: ‘I finish things. That’s what I do.’ How close a parallel do you think that has with the passage?

Read 1 John 3: 11-16. How might the film illuminate this passage?

Did the film make you think of any other biblical passages or themes?

The film has been criticised by some in the Hmong community for trading on the ‘White Saviour’ trope. What does that say about the qualities needed in a Saviour?

Responses

With whom do you identify in this film? Does that shed light on your own needs?

How do you deal with your own desires either for forgiveness or revenge?

How would you challenge racist attitudes like Walt’s?

Prayer

Lord God, through your Son you reconciled to yourself all things, making peace through the cross. Help us both to know that peace and to share it with others, that hostility may be abolished, and all may draw near through the blood of Christ. Amen.

Groundhog Day (PG)

Plot Summary

On February 1, television weatherman Phil Connors travels to Punxsutawney for his annual coverage of the Groundhog Day festivities. Phil makes no secret of his contempt for the assignment, the small town, and the “hicks” who live there.

On February 2, Phil reports on the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil and the festivities. Contrary to Connors’ weather forecast, a blizzard strikes the area, preventing all travel out of Punxsutawney, and Phil is forced to spend the night in the town.

The next morning, Phil wakes to the same music and the same DJ banter on the radio. Phil experiences the previous day’s events repeating exactly. He again unsuccessfully attempts to leave the town and retires to bed. When he awakes, it is again February 2. Phil gradually realizes that he is trapped in a time loop that no one else is aware of. He confides his situation to his producer, Rita, who directs him to a neurologist who in turn directs him to a psychologist; neither can explain his experiences. Phil falls in with two local drunks and then leads police on a high-speed car chase before being arrested and imprisoned. The following morning, Phil awakens again to the same music and the same DJ banter.

Realizing that there are no consequences for his actions, he begins spending loops indulging in binge eating, one-night stands, robbery, and other dangerous activities, using his increasing knowledge of the day’s events and the town residents to manipulate circumstances to his advantage. Phil eventually focuses on seducing Rita, using the loops to learn more about her so that he can try to sleep with her. But no matter what steps he takes, Rita rebuffs his advances.

Phil gradually becomes depressed and desperate for a way to escape the loop. He commits suicide in a variety of ways. Each time he awakens on February 2 and goes through the same day again. He eventually tries to explain his situation to Rita again, using his detailed knowledge of the day to predict events accurately. Convinced, Rita spends the rest of that day’s loop with Phil; she encourages him to think of the loops as a blessing instead of a curse. Phil then decides to use his knowledge of the loop to change himself and others: he saves people from deadly accidents and misfortunes, and learns to play the piano, sculpt ice, and speak French.

In so doing, Phil amazes Rita, who witnesses Phil’s expert piano-playing skills as the adoring townsfolk regale her with stories of his good deeds. Impressed with Phil’s apparent overnight transformation, Rita successfully bids for him at a charity bachelor auction. Phil carves an ice sculpture in Rita’s image and tells her that no matter what happens, even if he is doomed to continue waking alone each morning forever, he wants her to know that he is finally happy because he loves her.

Phil wakes the next morning but finds it is now February 3rd. Finally released from the loop, Phil tells Rita that he wants to live in Punxsutawney with her.

 

Themes

Time, Living in eternity, What makes a good life? Can a person change?

 

Questions for Discussion

What does Phil Connors’ response to being trapped in Groundhog Day tell us about his character? What eventually brings him to the point where he can say “No matter what happens tomorrow or the rest of my life, I’m happy now”?

What does the film tell us about how we live?

One way of viewing the film is to see it as a kind of conversion story. What is the turning point for Phil?

Einstein once said: ‘When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and its longer than any hour. That’s relativity’. Can you think of any of your own experiences where time seemed relative?

 

Biblical Themes

Consider the following passages:

Genesis 2: 1-3,   Isaiah 22: 12 – 14,   Mark 1: 14 – 18,   Galatians 6: 7 – 10

What do they have to say about time? And what kinds of activity are associated with different varieties of time? Do you see any of these varieties in Groundhog Day?

 

Responses

What do you think of the technology some scientists are exploring to extend life, and perhaps achieve immortality?

How would you live if you knew you only had 24 hours?

How would you live if you knew that for the rest of your life none of your outward circumstances was ever going to change?

How do you make one day different from another?

 

Prayer

Lord God, help us today to listen to your voice, that we may be set free from our wilderness wanderings, and finally enter your rest, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Calvary (15)

Contains very strong language, strong sex references, violence.

Plot Summary

In a confessional, an unseen man tells Father James he was horribly sexually abused as a child by a priest. The perpetrator is dead, so the man has decided to kill a good priest, whose death will hurt the church more than that of an abuser. James has a week to arrange his affairs.

James’ daughter Fiona is visiting him. She has attempted suicide after feeling abandoned following her mother’s death and her father’s entry into the priesthood.

We see James trying to go about his ministry as normal, meeting a variety of highly eccentric locals. Butcher Jack Brennan has hit his unfaithful wife, Veronica, and James confronts him. Jack denies it, blaming Veronica’s lover, Simon. Millionaire Michael Fitzgerald’s family has deserted him and he feels directionless and detached from reality.

At the hospital, following a car crash, James performs the last rites for the Italian driver, and comforts the widow, Teresa. She bravely accepts her husband’s death, believing life with love lost better than life without knowing love.

James visits Freddie Joyce in jail, a killer who ate his female victims and now asks for forgiveness. But is he sincere?

James’ church is then burned down, and his dog is killed. He later tells Fiona he will never abandon her, spiritually at least, and she reciprocates. James is shaken when the father of a visiting child treats him as if he were a paedophile.

At the pub, the atheist doctor/pathologist taunts James with a horrifying story about a small child rendered deaf, mute, paralyzed and blind after botched anaesthesia, and contemplates the ineffable terror of such sensory isolation. James, angered after bearing so much rejection, gets drunk, argues with cynical publican Brendan Lynch and gets into a fight with him.

In despair, James tries to abandon his vocation and escape to Dublin, but returns from the airport after meeting Teresa and seeing her resolve to go on living. Heading to the beach on the fateful Sunday, James phones Fiona, saying sin is considered too much and virtue not enough. He stresses the importance of forgiveness and they forgive one another. He then meets a distressed Michael and James promises to visit him.

On the beach James meets Jack Brennan who carries a gun. Jack confesses to the arson and to hitting Veronica but denies killing the dog. Jack, hearing that James shed tears over his dog, asks if he cried similarly over news reports concerning children abused by priests. James says no, he had felt detached from such stories—whereupon the enraged Jack shoots James in the side and subsequently delivers a mortal shot to the priest’s head.

In brief tableaux, we see the parishioners and Teresa going about their quotidian lives. The final scene ends as Fiona visits Jack in prison, each tentatively picking up a telephone handset to talk across the intervening glass panel.

 

Themes

Guilt, forgiveness, cynicism, integrity, vocation, faith in the face of suffering.

Questions for Discussion

Why is this film called ‘Calvary’? What are the parallels you can see?

Is Father James really a good priest? Why?

Why does Father James attract so much hostility?

Can a church atone for the sins of child abuse?

Father James’ daughter Fiona says, ‘I belong to myself, not to anyone else’. To which Father James says: ‘True. False.’ What do you make of that?

What does the film have to say about forgiveness? What would it take for Freddy (a man guilty of terrible murders and now in prison) to be forgiven?

Is there anything redemptive in this film? Does Father James’ death achieve anything?

Biblical Themes

Read Mark 15: 25 – 39. How far do you think the makers of the film had this passage in mind when they made ‘Calvary’?

Father James says ‘I think forgiveness has been underrated.’ Do you agree?

In 2 Corinthians 4: 1- 12, Paul gives an account of his apostolic ministry. Does it shed any light on Fr James’ ministry?

Response

Many of the characters in ‘Calvary’ are cynical to the point of despair. What keeps you from despair?

Is there anything we in Beverley should do to respond to those who have suffered abuse at the hands of people they trusted?

How do you protect your own sense of calling/integrity?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, forgive us our sins and help us to see where we have hurt others. Give us grace to forgive those who sin against us, and to bear the cost of what that means. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Babette’s Feast (U)

Resources to follow