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A warm welcome from the Rector

As we enter the season of Advent, preparing and looking forward to Christmas Day, where we celebrate once again the birth of Jesus - God coming to be with us in all the joy, mess and muddle that is human life - I encourage you to do so with an open and generous heart.

In his life with us Jesus taught us to live with each other in grace and generosity – generosity of time, generosity of goods and generosity of love.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Debbie and Ian Nurdin who over the last six years have generously given of their time and energy in the editing and production of this newsletter. The time has come for them to put down this role and for others to prayerfully consider whether it is one which they feel called to pick up.
Thank you Ian and Debbie - you are stars.

Part of our Christmas preparations this year includes deciding who to vote for in a General Election – an important choice that each of us has to make, according to our own conscience and then living generously and peacefully with the result and with others who have a different opinion. Jesus was born into a politically uneasy time and place, where much was hoped for although the ordinary men and women of those times didn’t have the privilege of a democratic vote!

In their Christmas message launching the Church of England’s #FollowTheStar campaign this year Archbishop’s Justin and John also speak of generosity …..

“Christmas is a time for generosity. The gifts we give do not have to be expensive or extravagant – sometimes the gift of time spent with a neighbour or a smile at someone we see on the street can be just as meaningful. Like the shepherds, who have only their awe and devotion to bring to witness to the birth of Christ, the best gift we can give is the gift of our hearts. Just as we give, we must also be open to accepting the gifts of others. In Jesus, God gives us the most precious gift of all and invites us to know and follow his only Son. Whatever your Christmas looks like, everyone is invited to the birth of Jesus. From the lowliest shepherds to the wealthy Magi, all are welcome to gather together and delight in God’s grace! You too are welcome to follow the star this Christmas and find yourself in that humble stable, in a place where you are known and loved in the presence of God.”

So let’s follow that star together, journeying through Advent, making some room in all our preparations to consider how we feel about Christmas, what it means to us and where does God feature? How can we be generous with and for others this year?

Let’s come together for worship in so many ways: Messy Nativity - fun for young and young at heart to come (dressed as a nativity character if you like) for a not so traditional crib service; Nine Lessons and Carols, a beautifully reflective time held in candlelight with those wonderful traditional hymns; Christingle, with oranges, sweeties and candles which represent Christ’s message of hope and love. Or perhaps that very special Midnight Communion Service that takes us rejoicing into Christmas morning. Truly unique and special times to get together - full details of our services are within this newsletter; I look forward to seeing you there.

Follow The Star booklets for all who come to a Christmas service!

May God’s Blessing rest upon you and those to whom you show generosity, this Christmas and beyond.

Rev Helen


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