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January In the Year of Our Lord 2017

PASTORAL LETTER JANUARY 2017

Dear All,

Janus, the Roman god from whom we get the name of the month of January, was a god with two faces, one – old and lined – looking back to the year that had gone and one – young and immature – looking to the year to come. He was the god of doorways and beginnings, of transitions and change, both feared and embraced.

In this Season we do the same. We look back to where we have come from, to the events of the past year and further back to the stories that have formed us over the years and over the decades. This is in many ways good, for we are the product of our stories, of our history, both as individuals and as communities, both town and church. We hold on to and cherish our traditions, for they are the things that guide and form us, holding on to and communicating values. But we also look forward, to new ways of doing things, to new ways of embracing the authentic experience of the Living God, to the challenges we are set and the opportunities we are offered to grow and move forward.

Two quotes have recently struck me. One was on the wall in a meeting room in Tesco, where we had taken the Youth Group on a “behind the scenes” tour:

“If you always do what you’ve always done,

you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

– a challenge I felt very much for me but I think also for any church community. The other was more positive and I think encouraging: it was on Facebook, where I have been voyaging in recent months:

“Why keep looking back when there are so many good things to come”

At this change of the year we are challenged to trust in God, to move onwards knowing we are held in His love and guided by his providence. In the words George V used in 1939 as the country faced an uncertain future,

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of



God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a



known way.”



In God’s love, I wonder where we shall be this time next year?



Love, Fr. John