30 Dec January 2021
NEWSLETTER – JANUARY 2021
A reflection for the New Year from Margaret Brough
New Year can be a strange time, both of looking back to what has happened in the year just closing and looking forward to the New Year about to begin. As I write we are in the very last days of 2020, and what a year it has proved to be with so many undreamt of challenges and still many to be faced as we begin 2021. Next week in church we will mark the feast of the Epiphany, when the Wise Men visited the infant Jesus, recognising in that visit a new revelation, a different understanding. One way and another this is a time of taking stock, thinking about a new start or a fresh approach, maybe making a New Year’s resolution or two! I wonder what they will be and how long we are able to keep them?
As we go into 2021 and the Covid pandemic continues to impact all our lives, we may not feel able, or not be allowed to gather for worship and prayer in the way we would wish to – but this is no barrier to engaging with our Father and being open to his love and care. God meets us where we are, wherever we are and however tricky the coming months may prove to be.
Change, uncertainty, separation and restriction have become part of how we live at present. Just as the exiles ‘sang the Lord’s song in a strange land’, we can and must look to the surety and freedom of God’s love – unchanging, always there for us, strengthening and underpinning the shifting sands of difficult times.
Ten years ago I was fortunate to go to Oberammergau and see the famous Passion Plays there. This wooden carving is a souvenir of that visit depicting the Nativity and the visit of the Wise Men, each scene held within the two halves of a walnut shell. There is much one could think around represented here – God’s coming to earth as a man, the dedication, searching and commitment of the Wise Men – but one of the things which has always drawn me to this carving is the walnut shell. The hard inert outer gives protection, yet there is all that promise of new life and growth of the seed within. We are held in God’s protection and here on the doorstep of a new year is a wealth of new possibility. However tough the world appears to us, God is with us and around us always.
Wishing you all much blessing in the New Year. MB
Some words for New Year from Archbishop Stephen Cottrell (Comfort and Joy, Church House Publishing):
My English teacher at school seemed to have eyes in the back of her head. She always saw what I was up to. Every New Year’s Day I acquire the same skill. I look backwards as well as forwards. I remember what has gone, as well as looking forward to what will be.
This year more than most, I look back with sadness at the hurts and challenges of 2020, but with great hope that 2021 might be different. And I do it with the God who, in Christ, gives light to those who dwell in darkness, even those in the shadow of death. God’s eyes and heart behold the hopes and fears of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Christ is always the light in the darkness. In him we make sense of our place in the journey of the passing years. He holds out to us a lantern, lighting our path through whatever lies ahead.
GIVE – As the light fades this evening, light a candle and place it carefully in your window as a sign of hope for 2021.
PRAY – Loving God, this New Year, guide my feet, comfort my heart and strengthen my will, that with your hand to lead, we may build a better world. Amen.
More prayers for this season (from The Book of a 1000 prayers compiled by Angela Ashwin)
O Lord, as the years change, may we find rest in your eternal changelessness. Help us to meet this new year bravely, in the faith that, while life changes around us, you are always the same, guiding us with your wisdom and protecting us with your love, through our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
God bless our year, giving us time for the task, peace for the pathway, wisdom for the work, friends for the fireside, love to the last. Amen.
Services for January
The following are services we plan to hold if the current Tier 2 restrictions continue during January – please do check with Churchwardens if the situation changes locally and you are unsure.
3rd January (Christmas 2/ Epiphany)
9.30am Holy Communion – Newton
6.00pm Holy Communion – Butterwick
17th January (Epiphany 2)
9.15am Holy Communion – Sinnington
11.00am Holy Communion – Great Habton
24th January (Epiphany 3)
11.00am Holy Communion – Middleton
6.00pm Evensong – Salton
31st January (Epiphany 4/ Presentation of Christ)
10.00am 5th Sunday service – Sinnington
10.00am 5th Sunday service – Kirby Misperton