Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

December 3rd is Advent Sunday – the first Sunday in the Christian Year. As we light the first candle on our Advent wreath and begin the journey towards Christmas, we also begin a new cycle, through

Mark’s Gospel.

Mark is fast paced and exciting, a text that goes right to the heart of the good news, to the core of our faith, with the aim of encouraging us as disciples and followers of Jesus. Unlike the other Gospels, there is no introduction, no nativity story or birth narrative – it begins suddenly and abruptly with the arrival of John the Baptist and ends,

in its original form, with the women running from the empty tomb, trembling in fear, and wondering what they had seen.

I look forward to sharing Mark’s Gospel with you over the next year, exploring the text together, as we follow Jesus, and grow closer to him in worship, love, and prayer. It is a Gospel that is easy to read –if you have a spare hour or two, try reading it in one sitting – as you journey with Jesus, reflect on your own faith journey, on your life as a disciple of Jesus, and where he might be calling you, and us, next.

While we tend to focus on the lectionary in our worship – or at least when I am leading worship – and include the readings in the newsletter, Advent is a time when we, largely, set them aside. While you could argue that the season of Christmas doesn’t start until December 25th, the reality is that we tend to begin our celebrations at the beginning of December – how else would we fit everything in!

I am looking forward to leading a range of services across the two churches, and hope that there will be  something for everyone to engage with, and be inspired by, as we prepare to welcome the infant Jesus into our hearts once again.I pray that Advent and Christmas will be a wonderful time for us all, and that we will each find time in the busyness of the next few weeks to reflect on what it really means, on the hope, joy, peace and love of

the season and the birth of the baby born to be King of the Jews, Saviour of the World, and Prince of Peace.

With love and blessings for Christmas and the New Year.


Pickhurst Infant Academy – a message from the Minister

As you know, I have been building a relationship with Pickhurst Infants over the last few years. I go in 3 or 4 times a year to lead assemblies, and the Reception classes will be visiting the church on the 11th December to hear the Christmas story. It’s a lovely school, and one that I enjoy visiting.

They are looking for volunteers to go into the school and help with reading. No qualifications are needed, just a willingness to listen and to engage with the children. They are particularly looking for men, to be grandfather figures in the school community. If you are interested, please let me know, and I will pass your names on to the school.

Thank you

A big thank you to everyone who was present at our Parade service on Remembrance Sunday, when £172.31 was collected for the Royal British Legion. And by the way, I wrote last month about the new design of poppy – but perhaps I was getting ahead of things. In the event I hardly saw any new ones, and you may have found the same. It looks like being a year or two before the transformation to paper poppies will be complete!

Appointments with the Minister

I remain available to meet anyone who would like to see me, but would ask you to contact me beforehand to make an appointment. Please note, though, that I will be away from 27th December to 3rd January inclusive.