3rd December 2020

Dear Friends

First an apology for any of you wanting to participate in this Thursdays morning mass, sadly the gremlins were at work and for some reason Facebook would not allow me to livestream. As time was ticking away, I had to take the decision to abandon the broadcast. It will have been something that I have, or more likely haven’t, done, but I didn’t have time to investigate.

Please remember that places for our Christmas services are limited, to secure your attendance at any of our Christmas services please visit Eventbrite and order your tickets. We will – I hope, be online, if you are unable to attend.

As I’m sure you all realise that I’m quite a practical person and so am much more interested in the practical implications of our individual, or collective theological enquiry. How do we make God’s loving purposes tangible is for me much more vital a task than pondering the metaphysical implications of faith. Advent is a good time to consider how our faith informs 

our practical action. There are some good things happening at St Nicholas. On Tuesday I was pleased to be able to hand the keys of a flat at Whittingham Court over to a gentleman called Norman who many of you will know. Norman has lived for most of 2020 in the shelter at the end of the graveyard by the Corney Road entrance. It has been wonderful to work with local residents to effect some change. 

On Tuesdays, Harriet, Susan, Sophia and Richard have been welcoming refugees to the parish hall – socially distanced of course – for something to eat and an opportunity to escape the four walls of a local hotel where they are staying. 

These are both wonderful examples of actions guided, informed by our faith. When I was naked you clothed me. When I was hungry you gave me food. As long as we are inspired as individuals and as a community of faith to engage in such activities, I am hopeful for the future.

Take care and stay safe.

God Bless

Simon


Dear Friends

Last Sunday we lit the first candle on our Advent wreath to remind us of the patriarchs and the role they played in the development of our faith.  I offer below this poem entitled ‘Abraham’ by Edwin Muir, to remind us of the role of that first great patriarch. This coming Sunday we shall be lighting the second candle to remind us of the prophets. 

The rivulet-loving wanderer Abraham
Through waterless wastes tracing his fields of pasture
Led his Chaldean herds and fattening flocks
With the meandering art of wavering water
That seeks and finds, yet does not know its way.
He came, rested and prospered, and went on,
Scattering behind him little pastoral kingdoms,
And over each one its own particular sky,
Not the great rounded sky through which he journeyed,
That went with him but when he rested changed.
His mind was full of names
Learned from strange peoples speaking alien tongues,
And all that was theirs one day he would inherit.
He died content and full of years, though still
The Promise had not come, and left his bones,
Far from his father’s house, in alien Canaan.  

A number of people have told me how much they enjoy reading poetry. Some of you might therefore like to buy a copy of a new book ‘Frequencies of God: Walking through Advent with R.S. Thomas’. R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest. This book was written by Revd Dr Carys Walsh, formerly a curate in London diocese and tutor in Christian Spirituality at St Mellitus College, who studied the poetry of R.S. Thomas for her doctorate. She has chosen one of his poems for each day of Advent, with a reflection on each one, and it is my chosen reading for Advent this year.

With every blessing
Mother Eileen