The Minister writes…. from our December 2021/January 2022 newsletter

Dear friends,

Can you believe we are nearly at the end of the year?! We are in a better place than we were this time last year – regarding the Covid threat at least – but still the future is a little uncertain and we may feel we are not quite out of the woods yet. Across the world there are other more pressing concerns. As I write this, we have just had the news about the boat people who lost their lives trying to cross the Channel and whilst the problem of displaced people, genuine refugees and illegal immigration is a complicated one with no simple solutions, the tragedy reminds us that at its heart there is always a human story.

This is the time of year when we hear again the familiar Christmas readings, so familiar in fact that perhaps we don’t even stop to think that Joseph and Mary with their little son Jesus were themselves a refugee family, fleeing from the political machinations of a jealous Herod, whose reaction to the perceived threat to his status and power was to order the infanticide of all boys aged two or under throughout Bethlehem and its vicinity. Had we lived in Egypt at that time, would we have taken in that desperate family and welcomed them? We like to think so.

There are always surprises in the Christmas story when we look at it again with prayerful eyes and hearts, new ways in which God reveals himself to us.

This Advent we are going to approach the Christmas story from a slightly different angle as we follow the Advent course, ‘They Sang’ (more details below). Please do join it if you are able. It’s too easy to get into a spiritual rut and Advent and Christmas, which should be a time of joy and the sharing of the message of the incarnation become instead a treadmill of jobs to be done and lists to be ticked. Taking time out to read the Bible, reflect on it with others and to pray is the perfect antidote to the secularism of this season which threatens to overwhelm.

I leave you with the words of the first verse of John Bell’s lovely Christmas hymn: Who would think? (set to the music, Scarlet Ribbons).

Who would think that what was needed to transform and save the earth
might not be a plan or army, proud in purpose, proved in worth?
Who would think, despite derision, that a child would lead the way?
God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day.

 May God surprise you with a glimpse of his heaven this Advent and Christmas and may you journey into 2022 knowing that he is by your side.

With every blessing this Christmas and always,


Advent Course:  They Sang (based on the Amy Scott Robinson study of the same name)

During each of the four weeks of Advent, this course looks at the four songs which feature in the Christmas story:

The song of Zechariah – a song of salvation
The song of Mary – a song of justice
The song of the angels – a song of peace and praise
The song of Simeon – a song of hope

We’ll be reading, discussing and responding. We may even be listening to some songs!

Please do join us on Tuesday evenings at 7.30pm via Zoom:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 950 9259 5018
Passcode: 063832

(If it comes up saying November 15th, please ignore – the meeting is valid any time.)