Bulletin for 13 January, Epiphany 2

Bulletin for 13 January

January 2019

A New Year has arrived and many of us have been busy marking a new start and a fresh beginning. Some enjoy a party to start off the new year and look forward to exuberant celebrations with friends and family, others may prefer something rather quieter.

Some of us will have taken on new challenges with resolutions and better fitness and eating regimes. It seems easy to change at the start of a new year but as the weeks unfold, learning new ways can seem harder.

There can be all kinds of mixed emotions at such “liminal” times of change and transition. For some new year is a magical time: New Year’s Eve can feel like a gateway between the past and the future: A time to take stock of the year that’s ending, perhaps to remember previous years, and an opportunity to imagine or dream about things we hope the future may hold.

All of this may fill us with excitement or it might leave us feeling rather unsettled. Standing on a threshold can be scary place; whatever‘s behind us or things that may lie ahead can offer such a mixture of challenge and blessings. We don’t know how the new year will work out, or what will happen in our own lives and in the lives of those we care about.

There’s a lovely Jewish tradition that recognises all of this, in the fixing of words of scripture, as a sign of God’s presence on door posts. Those who pass through are encouraged to touch these as a way of acknowledging that God is our constant guardian, watching over all the comings and goings of life, caring about our joys and sorrows.

Christians may recall that Jesus spoke about doors and gateways as places of hope, invitation and opportunity. He even described himself as “the door” or “the gate” reminding us that there can be something holy about change and transition. He offered words of encouragement to any who feel anxious about the future: “Knock and the door shall be opened” he said. These words might spur us on to welcome whatever the New Year may bring us with hopeful and expectant hearts.

Mary Stallard

December 2018

In The Royal wedding this year, Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church of America sounded the right note in his words to the Royals on God’s love. Afterwards people were talking about the sermon as much as about Meghan Markle’s dress! He quoted form the French Jesuit Priest, mystic, and palaeontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955):

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, winds, the tide and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world [humanity] will have discovered fire.

“God created this evolving universe because God is Love and each of us is God’s gift to the world. Our life purpose is to make a difference in transforming that world….”

For Teilhard, “love is the most universal, the most tremendous and the most mysterious of the cosmic forces.” Love is both human and divine. Divine love is the energy that brought the universe into being and binds it together. Human love is whatever energy we use to help divine love achieve its purpose….

Love of God and love of one another lies at the core of every traditional religion. Love not only permeates those religions, it transcends them and binds them together. Divine love embraces everyone and everything. There is nothing outside the divine embrace.

From Teilhard’s perspective, then, helping the human family move toward the next step of human evolution in love is the most urgent and challenging task of contemporary spirituality.

For Teilhard, love is the essential nature of God, and the best name for God (see 1 John 4:8). As Teilhard envisioned it, divine love is the self-expressive creative force that gave birth to our evolving universe. It is that same divine love that continuously keeps every atom of creation existing and moving forward on its grand evolutionary journey back to God.

It was for the love of all created beings that God the Father sent his Son into the world that we might learn of God’s love for us and that he might show us how to live “The Way” of love.

I think it’s time we talked more about God’s love in Church and to the world God loves. Too many people have a view of God that doesn’t set them free but is based on fear and an understanding of a God who thinks we have to be better or different than who if we are to be lovable by God. So I make no apology if I seem to be going on a bit about this in the pages of this magazine and in sermons. Christmas time of course is an especially important time to meditate upon the subject of Love Incarnate, of God being with us and amongst us in Jesus his son. Let’s share the good news this Christmas by giving people we know a service postcard of the times of services in the Ministry Area over the festive season.

Andrew

Calendar for January 2019

St. Tudno’s Church, January 2019

The next service at St. Tudno’s will be 11.00 am on Sunday 27 January. There is no heating in the church but hot drinks will be served afterwards! During winter the church is open weekends and Wednesdays, weather permitting.

Christmas at Holy Trinity, December 2018

The Nativity scene was placed in front of the nave altar and figures were placed there during the Crib Service, with the baby Jesus added during the midnight Communion service. The figures of the wise med will be added at Epiphany. The church was beautifully decorated with a tree and flower arrangements.

Crib scene

Christmas decorations

Christmas flowers

Christmas decorations

Crib and Christingle Service, December 2018

The Crib and Christingle service was held on Christmas Eve and included a “no rehearsal Nativity” in which all children who wanted to could take part. The congregation also took part, calling out “Amazing! Wow!” at appropriate times and waving their arms. A lot of carols were sung and the service ended with distribution and lighting of the Christingles in the darkened church.

Crib service

Crib service

Christingles

Carols around the Christmas Tree, December 2018

Carols were sung around the Christmas tree at Holy Trinity on Thursday 20 December. Due to inclement weather this was the tree in the church instead of the tree in the grounds. The carols were accompanied by Beulah Brass and two carols were played by Holy Trinity Handbell Ringers.

Carols around the Christmas tree

Carols around the Christmas tree

Christmas tree at Holy Trinity

Handbell Ringers at Christmas, December 2018

Holy Trinity Handbell Ringers took part in Carols around the Christmas Tree at Holy Trinity on Thursday 20 December. Due to inclement weather this was around the tree in the church, rather than the tree in the grounds.

Handbell ringers by the Christmas tree

On Sunday 23 December the Handbell Ringers were performing again, this time at the 4.30 pm service of Carols by Candlelight at St. Tudno’s Church.

Handbell ringers at Carol Service

Holy Trinity Bellringers and Handbell Ringers wish a very happy new year to all ringers everywhere.

Carols by Candlelight at St. Tudno’s, December 2018

The Friends of St. Tudno’s prepared the church on Saturday 22 December, decorating the Christmas trees and setting out the Nativity scene and candles. They continued on Sunday 23 December, putting out path lights, taking part in the services and clearing up afterwards.

The 3.00 pm service was attended by 80+ people and Holy Trinity Choir performed two Christmas pieces. At 4.30 pm there were 90+ people and Holy Trinity Handbell Ringers performed two carols. At 6.00 pm there were 50+ in attendance and the service included a dramatised reading.

Carols by Candlelight preparation

Carols by Candlelight at 3.00 pm

Carols by Candlelight at 4.30 pm

Carols by Candlelight at 4.30 pm

Carols by Candlelight at 6 pm

Carols by Candlelight at 6 pm