UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
News from St Andrew’s
Craig’s letter of 7 January
Revd Craig Bowman
First let me wish you and those close to you a happy and healthy new year.
Since I last wrote the increasing prevalence of Covid-19 has led to tighter restrictions and we find ourselves more or less where we were back in March. However the vaccination programme has begun and this hopefully marks the beginning of the end for the considerable disruption and illness that we have experienced. That said, as one whose sister and sister-in-law are both nurses, I am acutely aware of the pressure on our health services. In our weariness with the restrictions imposed upon us let us not forget the considerable tiredness and exhaustion amongst those seeking to make and keep people well.
We shall continue to provide a weekly audio service for the foreseeable future and I am grateful for the support of those who contribute to the services, not least Peter Campbell Smith. These past 9 months have produced many challenges but we have also found new ways to do some things and to support each other.
I also want to say a particular thank you to those who helped in the preparation of some of the special Christmas services, particularly Peter and Katharyne Crosse, as well as Phil Hyde for last Sunday’s service.
Let me also say thank you to those who produced the gifts that went out to people just before Christmas. Every church household received a gift although the contents differed depending upon the make-up of the household.
The Benevolent Fund
The Elders met this week and one of the things considered was who should benefit from the Benevolent Fund this year. This is not a church fund but one for which the Elders act as trustees and it is for the support of those who are both elderly and needy. For a number of years one of the beneficiaries has been Horizon Church for their provision of a lunchclub. The Elders will decide next month where to distribute the funds, which are not large, but if anyone is aware of a group or organisation that meets the criteria and needs support please let Nigel Dickinson or one of the Elders know so it can be considered.
We are now in the season of Epiphany. In the western church we have had a tendency to reduce Epiphany to the visit of the wise ones but in the eastern church this time, called Theophany, is about the more general manifestation of God’s presence in Jesus of Nazareth. A key event in this is the Baptism of Jesus and a supporting one is the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. We shall consider the Baptism of Jesus on Sunday, recalling how the newly baptized stepped out of the water and didn’t go back to being a carpenter but went forward to carry out God’s call and commissioning. At the end of a challenging year and at the difficult start of a new year I wonder where we might need to avoid the inclination to go back to the old things and instead respond anew to our calling and commissioning?
A reminder that this coming Sunday’s service can be accessed by calling 020 3870 2810 or through the church website.
May we recognise God journeying with us as we move forward into this new year.
Posted on 7 Jan 2021