On Sunday, 8th November, we will mark Remembrance Sunday. Many readers will remember the Second World War and a few may have had relatives who fought in it. We are deeply grateful to all whom though their courage and sacrifice secured freedom. Our liberty was won at a terrible cost, the tragic cost of human lives. Thanks to those who sacrificed as successive generations enjoy and sadly perhaps take for granted our freedom.

The faces on our TV screens of young soldiers in places like Afghanistan are a reminder that this Remembrance Sunday is not just about history, but about the sacrifice and courage that continues because war and conflict remain our constant companion. Our hearts go out to all who have suffered in the World Wars, in the Northern Ireland Troubles and in the existing unrest and conflict in our world today.

It is a dream, a dream to live in a place where there will be no need to learn about war anymore. This picture in Isaiah is one of justice, community, prosperity, productivity and peace what a wonderful peaceful image. Each of us are called to be PEACEMAKERS, to care and pray for peace and help others to know true peace through JESUS.

It is a strange thing to be writing looking 3 months ahead, beginning with Remembrance, looking forward to Advent and the coming of the Prince of Peace and planning for the New Year.

Let me begin this part of my letter by saying a huge thank you to all who have worked tirelessly for the Parish and for the Select Vestry and its dedication in serving the Parish. We have had a marvellous year, a very productive and exciting year and there is more to come. We have many projects that need urgent attention. There have been lots already taken care of e.g.: Christ Church Hall externally and work internally and the Rectory. The rectory looks amazing with the tarmac finished, external painting done and the wall taking shape. I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity of individuals on our Gift Day the details of which are further on in the bulletin. Thank you to all who gave so generously.

You will notice on the Parish Calendar that I am away on two Residentials, one in November and the other in January. Why! Well, I was accepted to undertake the Arrow Course which is a two year training programme on Leadership Development with CPAS (Church Pastoral Aids Society). I have started it already and it is challenging but fantastic. This is an important part of my professional development supported by the Bishop and the Select Vestry and I look forward to your support also. Please continue to pray for all who are in Leadership in our Church and community.

November proves to be a very busy month with various things happening including the Concert on the 20th November and the Service for bereaved families on the 29th November at 6.30pm in Christ Church. Can I stress that this service is for all who feel this would be of help and comfort. I know many of you have lost loved ones who are not of the Parish; this service I hope will be of help to the whole community so please forward names to me of anyone you want to be remembered.

December is busy also with some new things including the Advent Communion and the Advent Party, the Nativity, Carol Service and Watchnight Service with Renewal of Baptismal vows and others. The Diary is a really brilliant guide to Parish activities so put all the dates in your own diary so you do not miss out.

January again is a new beginning with lots of opportunities to be together and share. We are trying a new Prayer Breakfast beginning on the 3rd of Jan at 8.30am in Christ Church. We hope to start a Bible study again but details will follow in due course.

Christmas should be a time of great joy and real celebration for everyone. But many people struggle through it – getting into debt, feeling pressurised or stressed, guilty or lonely – and unable to participate fully in the meaning of Christmas. And the focus on shopping and consuming means a huge amount of energy use and waste, damaging the earth at the very time when we are celebrating God’s relationship with the earth through the Incarnation. PLEASE STOP AND THINK

Thank you for all your support and prayers, for your love and enthusiasm these are
exciting times to be the Church. May we truly experience the Advent (coming/arrival) of King of Kings in majesty and power.

May God bless you this time of remembering, Christmas and New year.

With love