As I write this we are nearing the end of January, and what a long month it is. Thank you for all of your hard work over Christmas and for your cards and gifts. It was busy as usual and yet wonderful too. Thank you to all who invest in our parish in so many ways and with such self Sacrifice, love and joy. There are lots that simply happen behind the scenes, things we forget to thank others for, things we forget to thank God for.

Thank God for time to rest and switch off from what can be a relentless pace? Mark, Bob and I went to spend 4 days in a cottage near Rossnowlagh. It was so good. I read lots, slept lots, walked lots, ate lots and thought lots too. It was such a blessing to have the space. Thank you to Adam and the ministry team for all their hard work and presence so I can get a break it is very much appreciated.

It seems forever since I wrote in our last Bulletin. Of course it was a long time as the last bulletin was a three month edition. It seems a long time too since we got our last paycheque and the pressure can be on for lots of families to stretch out to the next pay day. This, of course, happens to all kinds of people from all walks of life. It is a luxury to not have any concerns at all isn’t it? We are blessed with the good things we have in life. These are things that money cannot buy.

Still, even though we know the most important things don’t cost money, we still spend. We again regret getting caught up in the spending of Christmas, putting off the inevitable credit card bill that will come whether we are ready or not.

I wonder, do we go on coping with the burden, feeling that God is unconcerned. Do we honestly feel that God is remote from the details of our lives? Do we fail to take to him the questions and struggles that we face because we think he does not care? God is deeply connected to our every breath and is not indifferent to the anxiety and strain that comes from life in general. The past year has brought many challenges and changes to all of our lives and especially to those whose hearts have been broken though the loss of someone they loved so dearly. It was difficult too for those who struggled with ill health and treatment in its varying kinds.

In our sitting room sits a powerful memory of the deep loss of the last few years here in this parish. In a vase are a huge bunch of dried white roses from the Bereavement Service and they will remain there. Many of you found the courage to come and be with others at this service and I hope and pray that it brought healing and comfort as you shared together. There was a deep sense of God’s presence and the love that we share for one another.

Love is a wonderful thing bringing joy, happiness, fulfilment and also at times pain. We see this so powerfully in Jesus. We will again spend money on those we love on Valentines Day but I hope that we will deeply feel that amazing love that is shown in the Cross. Lent and Easter give us another opportunity to remember what God has done for us and to respond in Faith.

Canon Paul Hoey will join us for Palm Sunday and Holy Week and I hope and pray that as we do things a little bit different you will come open to learning and growing and sharing love and faith.