Church News – February 2024


Every winter the ancient Romans would celebrate a festival of spiritual cleansing. The name of the festival was Februa. Because of its importance the Romans named the month in which it fell Februarius, which means “of Februa.” The English name February comes from the Latin Februarius.

February is also famous for being the shortest month and for Valentine’s day, but what is the true meaning of Valentine’s day? It originated as a Christian feast day honoring a martyr named Valentine and through later folk traditions, it has also become a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. The day was added to the liturgical calendar around 500 AD. The day was commemorated for martyred saints named—you guessed it—Valentine. Differing legends celebrate three different saints called Valentine or Valentinus, but very little was known about these men.  Not much is known about the real history of the Saint Valentines on whom the holiday is based, the legend of Saint Valentine has several tellings. One legend says that Saint Valentine refused to convert to paganism and was executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Prior to his execution, he was able to miraculously heal the daughter of his jailer, who then converted to Christianity along with his family. Another legend says a bishop called Saint Valentine of Terni is the true namesake of the holiday; this Saint Valentine was also executed.

But according to others—and this is how Saint Valentine became affiliated with a love-focused holiday—Saint Valentine was a Roman priest who performed weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry, because of a Roman emperor’s edict decreeing married soldiers did not make good warriors and thus young men could not marry. This Saint Valentine wore a ring with a Cupid on it—a symbol of love—that helped soldiers recognize him. And, in a precursor to greeting cards, he handed out paper hearts to remind Christians of their love for God. I think Valentine’s day should remind us of our love of God and share this love with those around us.   

God bless,   Patsy


But the greatest of these is LOVE


Our new Bible Study sessions have started very well, and here’s a reminder that during the month, the Studies will be held at 7 p.m. on 6th and 20th.  Please ask Sue Selby to send you the Zoom link if you are interested.

Could we also remind you of our annual Tearfund appeal on 18th.  This year, our  focus is on the people of the Ukraine and we hope you will  remember this suffering country in your prayers and your giving,


This month both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day! The link between the two can be summed up in terms of the nature of real love! Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, focuses on learning to love God more, as we give Him space in our lives. This is what Jesus found when He was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan. (Luke 4:1-13).

Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread. Yet loving God and His word comes before satisfying physical desires.

Satan tempted Jesus to worship him. However, worshipping God is an expression of loving God and serving Him. 

Finally, He was tempted to put God to the test, by jumping off the Temple. Real love for God does not put Him to the test, but wants to obey Him.

Lent also teaches us how to live out the love of God in practical ways, as we follow Jesus in the in the way of the Cross. We see this clearly demonstrated in the life and death of Saint Valentine.

In trying to understand the meaning of revelations from God, Julian of Norwich found:

‘What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing?

Know it well, love was His meaning.’


Father,  In this coldest and shortest of months, this month when traditionally thoughts turn to love and the promise of Spring, help us to be thankful and steadfast and to see Your bigger picture in what is sometimes a frightening world, a world where love between nations seems to be in short supply and the future uncertain.

We pray for all those whose lives are in turmoil through a lack of love and justice. Help us to remember the great love You have for Your world and Your people, so great that You sent Jesus to show us how to live, how to love and how to overcome the troubles of the world.

Thank you that Your love is stronger than the forces of evil, stronger than death. Help us to put our trust in Jesus, to keep our focus on Him, knowing He will never leave us or forsake us. Thank you that His love is stronger than the forces of evil, stronger than death.

In his name, Amen. By Daphne Kitching