From the Team Rector, The Revd Canon Paul Cubitt
Happy New Church Year
There are three ‘New Year’s in the course of 365 days. There is the New Year when the schools all start back in September and the obvious one that is marked on January 1st. There is also the New Year that starts on Advent Sunday when the church calendar begins. Each New Year carries a sense of new possibilities too. The change of class, year group, or school, or university might mean making new friends, or studying a new subject or joining an out-of-school club. January 1st is a time for new resolutions: this year will be different! And the church year? Advent is that time of preparation when we think not only about Christmas and the birth of Jesus but of his return. Advent asks the question ‘are we ready?’.
The Diocesan Vision moving forwards is: Transformed by Christ: Prayerful, Pastoral, Prophetic. Over the coming years these will be developed but the first, ‘Prayerful’, will be especially marked in 2021/22. To begin Advent properly prayer is a must. By praying we start listening to God and as we draw close, our thinking, imagination and actions begin to fall in step with God’s purposes, and thus transformed we have a new longing for God’s kingdom to come.
One of the Diocesan prayer resources is an adaptation of the Methodist Covenant prayer written by John Wesley. Wesley hoped that people would use the prayer at the outset of each calendar year and many churches across the denominations do this as part of a Covenant Service, in which those present commit their lives afresh to God as the new year begins. It is a famously demanding – even difficult - prayer to pray:
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to prayer.
Put me to deepening my life with you by deepening my life of prayer.
Put me to the faithful setting aside of time;
put me to listening;
put me to wonder;
put me to holding a broken world in your love;
put me to trusting.
I willingly expect to be changed by prayer:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield to being transformed by Christ.
Let me be changed by you and so change the world for you.
Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And this covenant now made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
From Friday 10th December it is now manditory for face masks to be worn in places of worship. It would be appreciated if people could take lateral flow tests before attending the busiest of services. We all want to keep well and safe for Christmas and the New Year.
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