Update for Forest Row for Easter Sunday, 31st March, 2024


Redemption is a word that originally came from the context of hostage-taking and kidnapping. To redeem someone is to pay a ransom that they could not pay themselves.

How can such a concept relate to Christ’s act of life and death on Golgotha?

In an age that imagined the spiritual world far more concretely than we do, the idea that the human soul was being held hostage by hostile powers must have felt very real. The ransom demanded was superhuman, and only the “price” paid by Christ through his suffering and death could possibly satisfy the demand.

And for us? We might be worried if someone told us that we had been taken prisoner by the devil. As modern human beings, we strive to be responsible for our own actions. Criminal law is based on this.

And yet, at the same time, we are aware of forces beyond our conscious control. Recent research into trauma has shown how powerful the effects of undigested traumatic events can be; how we can be ‘triggered’ and find ourselves doing things that we later cannot understand or integrate into our picture of ourselves. Anyone who has struggled with addiction will know that our desire for a substance or activity can feel like an alien will within us, causing us to do things we do not want to do.

In this light, the image of Christ as redeemer can be liberating. In Twelve Step programmes, which have helped countless people live with addiction over the past 90 years, the first step to healing is to acknowledge our powerlessness; then those struggling with addiction acknowledge that only a higher power can help them. They do not need to name that power, but perhaps we can.

A remarkable aspect of Rudolf Steiner’s description of the renewed experience of Christ that he predicted from the 1930s onwards was that Christ would not come to those who felt they deserved such an experience; rather he would be a comforting presence to those who felt utter despair and powerlessness. At the very time that Steiner predicted this experience would begin, the Twelve Step programme was created, initially to help alcoholics. Since then, countless people have experienced freedom from the bonds of addiction, giving them the space to take responsibility for their lives, by being honest about their powerlessness and entrusting themselves to a helping, comforting higher power.

Tom Ravetz

Please note that the clocks go forward in the night of 31st March.

Our Holy Week workshop has been rich and lively, for those who have been able to attend. For Good Friday, we will hold a service at 2.30pm with readings, sermon, silence, and a performance of Schubert’s String Quartet No 14 in D Minor, ‘Death and the Maiden’ by the Hess Ensemble.

On Easter Sunday, we are trying something new: there will be a story for everyone in the community room, followed by a parting of the ways: an Easter egg hunt for the children, and a contemplation on the Easter prayers for the adults. There will also be a talk and conversation on Easter Monday after the service, on Redemption – Healing – Walking with Christ.

The Hebrew Bible – the Christian Old Testament – is a great library that contains a huge range of literature. It starts with the creation of the world and the Fall of Man; then there are the stories of Abraham and the Patriarchs, which contain stories that are almost novels. We read the story of Moses, his meeting with God in the desert and the Exodus. There follow the books of the law, which contain the detailed description of the sacrificial system of the Temple worship.

We learn about the beginning of kingship and the rise of the two kingdoms, which reach their height under David and Solomon. As the kings become involved in the compromises of political life, the prophets rise up as truth-tellers who can discern the unfolding of archetypal history behind the outer course of events. Alongside all this are the books of sublime poetry, such as the Psalms and the Song of Solomon, as well as the books of Wisdom, pithy aphorisms probably first used in the instruction of princes.

On Friday, 22nd March we had the final session of our series of Bible studies on the Psalms. We will carry on after Easter with some more readings from the Old Testament at the new time of 10am on Thursday mornings. Seven sessions are planned: 11th, 18th and 25th April; 16th and 23rd May; 13th and 20th June. We will take some time in the first session to decide what we will turn to.

We are still looking for accommodation for Peter Selg, who will be with us to hold his talk on Christ and the Disciples – The Spiritual Community on Friday, 24th May. Peter is travelling with his young son and possibly his grown up daughter, so two rooms would be optimal! He will be arriving on the morning of the 24th May and leaving the next day. Please let us know if you can help.

Tom Ravetz and Nataliia Shatna


Nataliia will be in London for the Confirmation Retreat, 2nd-4th April.

Tom will be in Stroud for the Confirmation, 6th-7th April.


Support The Christian Community

To make a one off donation or to set up a monthly standing order, please use the account details below

Account Name: The Christian Community in Forest Row
Sort Code 30-92-92
Account Number: 00012363
Lloyds TSB, 1/3 London Road, East Grinstead
West Sussex RH19 1AH

If you are a UK Taxpayer, we can claim tax back on your donation if you fill in a gift aid form. You will find one here, which you can download and return to us (signed and scanned is fine)

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Find us

School Lane / Hartfield Road
Forest Row
East Sussex
RH18 5DZ

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Priests of the community: Tom Ravetz and Nataliia Shatna. Contact us on the church email or using the form below.

Gospel readings for 2023-24

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