Rector’s Letter – January 2019

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
(Howard Thurman)

Dear friends,

By the time you read this letter, the Christmas festivities will be over and we will be preparing to greet the New Year. In the Church, as you know, we continue to celebrate Christmas until the Epiphany, singing carols and listening to the accounts of the Nativity in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. The narrative grows darker as the season draws to a close and the cosy stable scene is replaced by the strangely contemporary image of a young family fleeing for their lives to another land. The lesser-known stories of the intrigues of Herod and the massacre of the innocents which throw a dark shadow over the early childhood of Jesus, are a challenge to us to do ‘the work of Christmas’ as outlined in Howard Thurman’s inspiring poem.

Thank you in advance for your generous support of our Advent charity, Aberlour Childcare Trust. I look forward to welcoming Abby Parkhouse, its Regional Fundraiser, to the all-age service on 3rd February to receive our donation and to explore with you how we can further support the work of the charity. We also have an opportunity in January to consider difficult situations facing the world in the company of Christians from Indonesia as we host the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I hope that you will consider getting involved in this event.

Thank you to everyone who helped prepare the church for Christmas and who took part in the services. As we now look towards Lent and Easter, please speak to me if you would like to give reading in services or leading intercessions a go. We are also always looking for welcomers and tea and coffee makers. If you’re interested in learning how to arrange flowers for the church we have organised a tutorial in January. I am quite keen also to identify a couple of people ready to take photographs at church services and events.

Last month we were mourning the loss of Gerry Goddard. This month we grieve for another faithful servant of the church, Walter Abbott who died on 20th December. I ask for your prayers for Judith and the family. You are all welcome to attend Walter’s funeral on Thursday 10th January at 10:45 (not 10:30 as previously intimated) in Falkirk Crematorium followed by a memorial service at St Mary’s at noon and refreshments in the Golf Club. Towards the end of every January, Walter would bring me packages of used Christmas stamps, meticulously sorted and labelled, to give to charity. As a tribute to Walter, I wonder if we could all bring our used stamps to church this year to donate to the RNIB Stamp Appeal. I ask you also to pray for members of St Mary’s who are unwell and their families. Please be assured of my prayers for you all as we enter into the New Year.

With love,