“WERE THE WHOLE REALM OF NATURE MINE?”
[The editorial for April has been written by Rev John Barrett. Thank you John for taking time to help us during our period of interregnum]
[The editorial for March has been written by Rev Trevor Morley. Thank you Trevor for taking time to help us during our period of interregnum]
Fortunately by the time that you have received the magazine you will have survived yet another, what has been termed, "Blue Monday"! Said to be the most depressing day of the year which this year’s was 27th January. It's a piece of pseudoscience which received a lot of publicity eight years ago when a Welsh psychologist published a formula by which his reason for identifying a particular date for this disturbing event could be calculated. Unsurprisingly it had to do with the winter season when the Christmas glow had faded away, New Year’s resolutions had been broken, cold winter weather had set in and credit card bills would be landing on doormats across the land – whilst the January pay-cheque was still some way away. The short daylight hours, lack of exercise and eating comfort food I suppose were also implicated in the general lowering of mood at a time of year when the thoughts of the returning spring and summer months were a little way off.
It is the breaking of New Year resolutions is a factor we could all easily identify as one which lowers our self-esteem. Once again we are made to realise we don't have the willpower we thought was ours and secretly see ourselves once again as ‘a bit of a failure’. For that reason, as perhaps for many of you, I for many years have made my only resolution to
[Our Editorial this month has been written by Rev John Barrett. Many thanks for doing this and for all the services you have conducted (so far) during the interregnum]
Today many people may not be aware that on February 2, we celebrate an ancient feast, common to the Church of both East and West, which used to have a great significance in the rural calendar. In fact I was hunting around the Internet for information about Candlemas yesterday and I was surprised that there was more information put on by witches than there was by Christian groups. Lots of witches celebrating a time of the year which naturally forms a transition period in winter - there is a sense in which, thank God, we are moving into brighter and better days.
As Candlemas traditions evolved, many people embraced the legend that if the sun shone on the second day of February, an animal would see its shadow and there would be at least six more weeks of winter. Bears or badgers are watched in some European countries, but the German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania found an
RESOLUTIONS AND PROMISES
[Our message for January has been written by the Magazine Editor with input from Richard Buckley. I would like to thank Richard for his input on this]
I understand that quite a lot of people still keep up the habit making New Year Resolutions. But how many of you keep your resolutions throughout the year? I start the year by making resolutions but I have never kept them. Oh, I start the year with good intentions, but by the time March comes along the enthusiasm has waned. Then, when the year is nearing its end, the feeling of regret often takes over for not having the conviction of carrying out my promises.
And saying goodbye to an old year and welcoming in a new one isn’t always easy. What lies ahead of us might seem rather overwhelming, and what’s behind us might still linger on, leaving feelings of confusion, uncertainty, even resentment. It is natural though to worry about the unknown. And equally normal to be sorry to end what may have been a particularly happy twelve months. However, go on we must.
We have this need to see the whole picture, to understand everything. Well, we can’t but that’s not up to us.
Step forward positively, trusting that everything is seen and understood. Greet the New Year with the words of Dag Hammarskjold: “For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.”
[Our Christmas Message this year comes from Peter, Bishop of Doncaster]
A couple of months ago on National Credit Union Day, I joined - along with Susan Jordan, Chief Executive St. Leger Homes - the South Yorkshire Credit Union. Credit Unions are an excellent way of saving and mutually benefit others in our communities who are less fortunate. When you invest in your local credit union you know it’s your neighbours or colleagues who are benefiting. They offer an alternative to bank and building societies and are easier to open. Savings are insured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and payments can be made into accounts at local collections points or directly deducted from your wages.
The Government’s changes to welfare benefits mean that people will need an account to receive their payments and the credit union is an ideal option for those who don’t currently have a bank account and want a safe place to save money and access affordable loans.
I was inspired to join the credit union because of a deep rooted concern that has grown over the past twelve months for those affected by crippling debt created by taking out loans from ‘Pay Day Lenders’ or ‘Door Step Lenders’. I hope that some of what I pay into the credit union will be able to facilitate loans to support those in financial difficulty. It’s only a small gesture but if we all did something similar it would turn into a very significant one with positive implications. This doesn’t sound very Christmassy I know, but
November, when the clocks have gone back is always rather a gloomy month. December should, of course, be even gloomier, but the Christmas festivities actually mean that it isn't. The Christian church does not help the November mood by holding three commemorations of the dead in the first two weeks of the month. These are All Saints Day (on the 1st), All Souls Day (on the 2nd) and Remembrance Sunday (on the 11th).
All Saints Day (November 1), which is the day to recall the many great Christians of the past, both known and unknown. Just as a country owes a debt to those prepared to fight for it, so does a church owe remembrance to the men and women who have given their lives – either literally or in the sense of a life's choice – for Christ. All Saints Day is not intended at all as a sad occasion. A priest wears white or gold then, the colours of celebration.
All Souls Day (which is now paired with All Saints Day,) is the day when we remember all those we have loved who have died and are now in Heaven. It originally was celebrated in the Easter season, around Pentecost Sunday,
[There was no vicars letter for October, instead this was an article from Bible Society]
BE PART OF THE BIBLE STORY IN CHINA
27th October is Bible Sunday, and this year the focus is on Bibles for China..
Have you heard the amazing story of the Bible in China? How it’s gone from being a banned book to a bestseller? How it’s part of incredible Church growth, where around a million Chinese people come to faith every year?
And did you know that YOU – and your church – can be part of the story?
Bible Sunday, organised by Bible Society, is an annual opportunity to celebrate the blessing of owning and reading your own Bible. This year, it’s also a time to join the amazing story in China – by helping provide Bibles to
A SPIRITUAL message
A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT LOVE
I want to write a short piece about LOVE and the Christian faith. Obviously, there is so much to say, I can only scratch the surface and be very selective in what I cover.
We are aware of a few different, major definitions of love, which highlight very different aspects of it; eg, sexual love, platonic love, a generalized love for all things ‘out there’. We can love other people, animals, objects, experiences, art, films, music, etc.
The Bible has whole chapters devoted to love – Paul’s 1st Epistle to the Corinthians ch.13, and then John’s 1st Epistle ch.4. Paul defines love – ‘love is patient; love is kind, it is not proud’ (v4). ‘Love never fails’ (v8). Years ago, I went to the funeral of