My dear friends,
When we began the Church’s New Year in November we were excited to be coming out of another period of ‘lockdown’ and while appreciative of being able to worship together in silence we looked forward to celebrating Mass together again at the beginning of December.
I wrote in December of the careful provision we had made to celebrate the Christmass Festival adapted to social distancing rules and I would like to thank you all for helping us with these changes, in particular those who prepared the Church physically for worship.
We now know what is planned for the secular celebration of the Christmass period but at the time of writing in preparation for publishing not that which shall follow. When preparing this I had just happened upon my copy of ‘The Servant Queen and the King she serves’ published to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. In her forward Her Majesty refers to the poem written by the British poet Minnie Louise Haskins (1875—1957) entitled ‘The Gate of the Year’: it was quoted by the Queen’s father in his Christmass broadcast of 1939: -
‘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.”’
Those words are an inspiring prayer for us all as we begin a new secular year on January 1st that will be followed two days later by the great Feast of the Epiphany which sadly cannot be marked with either procession or parish lunch: however, it does remind us of three intrepid witnesses who journeyed willingly into the unknown in search of the Lord.
Returning to secular matters the New Wagner Trust has purchased a Fogging Machine that deep cleans and sanitises which used after Parish Mass will save on the individual spraying and wiping of all the chairs. The Wardens and I would like to thank those who over the last year have stocked the stall for Christmass and all who have contributed most generously to our general fundraising. We are acutely aware of the financial implications of the pandemic mainly due to loss of rental income and while with your help we have been able to meet the 2020 Parish Share have regretfully decided we can offer no increase in 2021.
There is of course the light on the horizon of the vaccines that we pray and hope will gradually reduce the restrictions to which we have become used to.
To conclude on that happier note Fr. Andrew and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the cards and gifts we have received and to wish you Health and Happiness for 2021.
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