22nd December 2016

Dear All

The Vicarage is like an influenza ward at the moment, this dratted cold doesn’t seem to want to relinquish its grip. One minute we all seem to think we are on the road to recovery then no sooner thought and we are back to square one. So fingers crossed, at the time of writing this I’m feeling much, much better, I’m thinking happy Christmas thoughts to keep the cold bug away!

My thanks to everybody who has, or who is in the middle of working so hard to prepare the church for the Christmas feast. To Mother Eileen who has been such a massive support. To all those who sang carols around Staveley Gardens and raised enough for us to be able to send a £200 cheque to the Children’s Society. To Hayley in the office, working as I type to ensure all our service booklets are collated and properly printed, it takes hours of watching our very sophisticated but rather slow printer and still the phone is ringing with people demanding copies of marriage certificates NOW. To David and our choir for a magnificent carol service on Sunday evening, what a great event and so well attended. To those who will prepare flowers, do the silver, clean the church, organise people, pour mulled wine and offer mince pies. So to all of you wonderful people, who make like at St Nicholas such a joy. THANK YOU

Have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas.



Dear Friends

I’ve just received a message from a friend as follows: ‘Today I will be mostly worrying about the Christmas things I haven’t done without actually doing any of them’. That struck a chord with me!

As someone who doesn’t usually spend much time reading poetry, during Advent I have been taking time out to read and reflect on one poem every day. I’ve found this to be a very good way of pacing myself. Here is a shorter poem you might like to read when taking a break from your own Christmas preparations.  It was written by a Quaker lady named U.A. Fanthorpe and reminds us of the extraordinary nature of the gospel truth:


This was the moment when Before
Turned into After, and the future’s
Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.

This was the moment when nothing
Happened. Only dull peace
Sprawled boringly over the earth.

This was the moment when even energetic Romans
Could find nothing better to do
Than counting heads in remote provinces.

And this was the moment
When a few farm workers and three
Members of an obscure Persian sect
Walked haphazard by starlight straight
Into the kingdom of heaven.

Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Christmas.


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