Gentle January and the wisdom of the church tradition

Have you taken down your decorations yet?  We have, and we have replaced them with bowls of bulbs as the promise of spring – something hopeful.  But we are also giving a nod to a continuing festive feeling with lots of candles, an open fire and a string or two of fairy lights still hanging about.  It is too damp and dark to let go of that Christmas cosiness just yet. 

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Epiphany blessing at the door of your house

The tradition of marking the door or doorway of a house or church with chalk at Epiphany is centuries old.  Most often done using chalk on the door or the wall next to the door, you could also use a felt pen on the door’s glass or write on a piece of paper and tuck it into a nearby picture frame.  For 2021, this is what you write:

20 + C + M + B + 21

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Carol singing in Hardwick – how to get involved

Below is a note from Steve Gaze, co-minister of Hardwick Evangelical Church about organising carol singing in the village. If you are interested, do get in touch with him direct.

Because of the pandemic, we will not be hosting the usual Christmas Eve carol singing at the Nativity Scene this year. However, we are planning to have groups of up to six people carol singing around the streets (and walks) of Hardwick on the evenings of Monday 21st and / or Tuesday 22nd December.  We plan to do this as safely as possible, and within government guidance.  Please read on to find how you could be involved:

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Light in the darkness: Covid-compliant regulations for setting up cribs

This week’s thought for the week is a ‘guest post’ from Revd Paul Garnell, Team Curate and interim lead minister for Coton.

In what has been an exceptional year, I have felt stuck somewhat in an endless state of repeat during this extended season of covid-tide. I am often fatigued and weary eyed from hours of staring into a screen of little flickering human tiles on my iPhone, or stacking emails and tasks like some air traffic controller with aircraft during holiday time, and then from 4pm – enduring the protestations of a perpetually “I’m bored” pre-teen chipping away at what little store of resolve I have remaining by 7pm.  I hope you find, as did I, a moment of light relief and satirical #LightInTheDarkness in the following sent to me by a friend:

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Light in the darkness – a theme for Advent and Christmas this year

A quick review of religious and cultural festivals between Remembrance Sunday and the end of the calendar year throws up a list that includes Diwali, Hanukkah and the winter solstice as well as Christmas.  It is noteworthy that these all have some reference to light and, in the northern hemisphere at least, to light in the darkness. 

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Lord, though I am poor, today I believe

Does anyone else feel that despite the hope presented to us by vaccines and anti-body treatments, despite the prospect of the lifting of our current lockdown next week, despite the promise of at least some gathering at Christmas, despite the start of the Advent countdown towards the marking of ‘God with us’, today still feels flat and grey, or a bit of a struggle, or both?    

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Everyday Prayer: Praying with others

As part of the Archbishops’ call to pray during our renewed lockdown there some new options for the Lordsbridge Churches for praying with others on Zoom. You are invited to join any of these Zoom gatherings – apart from ‘Morning prayer for Hardwick’ they are not linked to any particular place.

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Everyday prayer: approaches to prayer

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have identified this period of lockdown as a time of prayer.  There are many different ways to pray depending on personal preferences or circumstances.  The important thing is that prayer draws us closer to God and builds our relationship with God.  Prayer can also help to restore a sense of peace and calmness at a difficult time. 

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Everyday Prayer: Remembering the saints

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have identified this period of renewed lockdown as a time of prayer – daily as well as weekly.  This season between All Saints and Advent is also a good time of year to remember some of the saints and let the stories of their lives help us in our prayers. 

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A brief ‘thought for the week’: cultivating character from good seeds

Like many of us over the last week, I have been watching the US election and its aftermath with awed fascination as Biden, Trump and colleagues have responded to the unfolding events.  At the weekend, I heard with sadness of the death of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, whose wisdom I have found inspiring – I am, as it happens, reading a book of his about leadership, one of the best I have read on that subject.  Alongside these news stories, we been remembering those who have lost lives in the service of others. 

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