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Churchwardens’ chat

Maureen, our Vicar, is completing her convalescence after knee surgery so for the January magazine “Maureen’s Musings” have been replaced by “Churchwardens’ Chat”

Iain ColemanGena Richards  January 2019  

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

At the turn of another year, there is a comfort in the familiar words that begin the Minnie Louise Haskins poem God Knows as we, too, stand at that gate and peer, perhaps with trepidation, to 2019. Let us pause, then and, a little like the Roman God Janus, look backward as well as forward.

Wasn’t December a wonderful month for us in the parish! To begin with, what a fantastic Christmas Tree Festival. So many organisations provided such brilliant and imaginative decorations of trees that gave a wonderful vista throughout the church, offering light and colour. All topped off by carols, readings, mince pies and mulled wine on the Friday night followed by the marvellous entertainment provided by Casablanca Steps on Saturday. The festival concluded on Sunday evening with a very well attended Youth Service. The Memory Tree received a phenomenal response and remained in place over Christmas. Thank you for contributing so much to this very special tree. It seems to have proved helpful to many people in the parish.

None of this happens, however, without a great deal of work – so many thanks to all involved, especially Chrissie Ringrose and her steering committee.

Barely drawing breath, we had carol singing at the Pigot Arms and Dartmouth Arms before our annual Christingle saw the church bursting at the seams – all the more welcome as this service also supports our collection for the Children’s Society. And on to our similarly well-attended Nine Lessons and Carols, the Crib Service, Midnight and Christmas day services: thank you all for supporting us so readily through the busy Advent and Christmas. And now welcome Epiphany …

The year’s end also saw Chris Bullock retire after many years of helping with Church finances. He has made an important contribution and been of considerable help to treasurers, Thank you Chris.

Our vicar returned safely to us and will be gradually taking up the reins again. Welcome back Maureen! We all hope that the operation has been a complete success and any lingering discomfort passes into memory.

What will 2019 bring to us and what hopes and fears do we have in our parish? We will each have our own private hopes and dreams and almost certainly fears. In the Church we will continue to reflect (and hopefully act) upon how we can serve our parish. What more can we do for the community in which we live? Please feel free to let us know.

The winter months of January and February can seem very desolate and for some people it is often a difficult time. Perhaps we could all remember to keep a neighbourly eye open – just in case someone could do with hearing a friendly voice, a listening ear or a little bit of extra help.

Whatever 2019 does bring, at the gate of the year another verse from Minnie Haskins may help:

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

A very happy new year to you all.

Gena and Iain

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