Clergy Messages for January & February

EPIPHANY

A season of light

 

Dear Friends,

“Behold! I make all things new!” (Jesus Christ)

Happy New Year!

And what a year it promises to be! Brexit and the future of our country; civil wars in Syria, South Sudan, Yemen to be resolved; delicate situations in the Ukraine/Crimea, North Korea, Burma, Libya and elsewhere to be stabilized, discussed, progressed; the Rugby World Cup and much, much more.

What about our personal lives? What exams, tests, dilemmas, “mile-stones”, celebrations, excitements, challenges, difficulties await us? Some we know about – appointments, anniversaries, birthdays are in the diary. Some we expect but have no clear date for; some we fear or hope for but are not sure will happen.

What does 2019 look like for you? What is your viewpoint?

For those with faith, the promises of God, linked with past positive experiences can help us to face uncertainty with confidence, and a sense of peace “that passes understanding”. “I am with you always”, “I know the plans I have for you…. plans for your welfare and not for your harm”.

How can we cultivate that faith and the peace that comes with it?

This “Viewpoint” magazine has changed too. No-longer monthly but bi-monthly, each issue focusing on a different season of the year or church’s year. Some of the layout has changed too, with hopefully all the useful activities and contact information at the front for easy reference.

 

As we are now publishing bi-monthly, the monthly “Grapevine” newsletter from Salisbury Diocese will no longer be included but copies will be available each month in church or through the office, or it can be accessed on the Salisbury Diocese website.

Similarly, we will put news of forthcoming events on our website and (near the time) on Facebook, as well as referring to them in the magazine where we have the dates and times sufficiently in advance.

Apart from space for more articles, what is new is that we are doubling the prayer resource with a seasonal form of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, plus a “collect” prayer for each week that will be being used by people throughout this country (and beyond). I know that many who read this may not be able to get to church so this is a resource, which, like the learning together pages with the Sunday readings, can help us all to feel linked and united in faith.

What do you think of this new edition? Please let us know. A big thank you to all who have contributed.

So, a new “Viewpoint”, a new season, Epiphany, when we remember the light that Jesus is and which he brought, from the shining of the star that drew wise men from the East onwards, all the way to now. And a New Year – may it be full of blessings for each of us – blessings we receive, and also blessings we give.

I have just read Archbishop Justin Welby’s book “Reimagining Britain”. I recommend it. As we go into 2019 and approach “Brexit” – whatever Brexit will be or not be – how can we “re-imagine” and “re-model our lives, our families, communities and nation? This will require much thought, discussion, cooperation, wisdom, courage and faith.

Jesus changed, and is still changing, the world.

“Behold, I make all things new!” Let’s look to him to inspire, guide and help us.

With very best wishes for 2019.

Jonathan Foster

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Christmas is over, all the rush and bustle done, and soon the decorations will be away until next December. We soon begin our journey towards Easter. But first we will celebrate Epiphany.

Epiphany is an ancient Christian feast day and is significant in a number of ways. In the East, where it originated, the Epiphany celebrates the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. It also celebrates Jesus' birth.

The Western Church began celebrating the Epiphany in the 4th century where it was, and still is, associated with the visit of the magi (wise men) to the infant Jesus when God revealed himself to the world through Jesus coming as a baby. According to Matthew 2:11 they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So we look forward to our coming journey through Lent to Easter, where we celebrate the risen Christ who came to give us life eternal and forgiveness of sins.

Come and join us as we explore the bible together in a new study course. Further details of this course can be found at the back of church or via the office.

Rev Mo