Pastoral Letter

 

My dear friends.

May the blessings of God’s peace be with you and those whom you love this Christmas.

Advent Sunday, the 2nd of December, begins a period of preparation before we celebrate, once again, the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ at Christmas. It is the time to prepare ourselves spiritually for the Christmas celebrations. Time to ponder and think about the wonder of God’s love.

Amongst all the business and preparations for Christmas Day we need to stop and take time to meditate and go deeper into the Christmas story and discover, or re discover, what God is saying to us.

The word ‘Emmanuel’ means God is with us. At the heart of the Christmas celebrations is the reality that God does indeed love us so much that he was prepared to send his son Jesus to demonstrate that love.

I am so looking forward to all of the acts of worship that will be taking place during Advent and Christmas and I do hope that you will be able to join me for some of them. Whether it be the Nine Lessons and Carols, the Christingle Service, the Church Street Nativity, The Crib Services, Midnight Mass or Christmas Day Morning.  There is always a warm welcome for everyone at St Mary’s Willingdon.

Advent Sunday begins a new liturgical year and St Mary‘s will be joining the rest of the Chichester Diocese in celebrating ‘The Year of Vocation’. During the year we shall be focusing on our response to God’s love. Every Christian has a calling from God; a vocation unique to each of us, with gifts and talents to use to further the kingdom of God, where God has placed us.

Here at St Mary‘s Church we must have a very varied and wide ranging set of gifts and talents amongst our various congregations. These can, and should, be used to the glory of God. So, as we begin this Year of Vocation, I pray that we may recognise/ identify these gifts and talents that we have been given, both great and seemingly small, and use them to the glory of God and his people.

In the New Year I will be looking for people who are would be willing to serve on our Parochial Church Council, to help in the leadership of this church; in its mission, pastoral care and outreach. There is a great need for this church to have two churchwardens, and we cannot continue as we are, with just one.

We have some pressing issues to attend to with the fabric of our church building; the restoration of our church organ, the church lighting and the restoration of the church bells.

I ask you to come along to St Mary’s Vision afternoon on Saturday 8th December, from 2pm - 5pm. We shall be reflecting together on the life and witness of St Mary’s and seeking God’s guidance for the future. Please pray about this, and in your prayers ask God what He is calling you to be and do for his praise and glory, both individually and as a member of this wonderful church and its community.

I thank you all for your support, friendship and prayers and I especially thank our wonderful ministry team here at St Mary‘s.

I wish you all a most blessed and happy Christmas and a special welcome to all our visitors at this time.

May you know God’s presence and peace with you this Christmas now and always.

Your priest and friend.

 Fr Kevin