(Extract from Parish Magazine December 2019)
As I write, the 'trappings' of Christmas are already in evidence. The Christmas lights have officially been turned on in the main shopping thoroughfares of our city and shopping centres, and the word is that Santa and his helpers have already made their preliminary appearances in stores, shops and centres all over the place!
In our churches too, preparations are being made for the celebration of the birthday of our Saviour. Your clergy have been busy preparing for the special Advent and Christmas Services – details of which are listed in this edition of 'Taney News'. The choirs, including the Junior Choir, have been preparing the hymns, carols and seasonal music to enhance our worship and the Chancel Guild will shortly be decorating the churches – not to mention the huge task of erecting the iconic Christmas lights on the tower of Christ Church!
Why do we do all this? In preparation and celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! More people engage with 'church' at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. It has been said that we are more a people of the Crib than the Cross! Celebration of 'family' with the Holy Family at its heart underpins our celebration, and nowhere is this more evident than within the family of the church at this time of year. Please do take time to join us at our Christmas Services which are designed to cater for all ages.
While for most of us Christmas is a happy family time when we can relax with family members in the comfort of our homes, we must also remember that for many people Christmas can be, and is, a time of fear and dread and even sorrow. Even with a welcome improvement in the economy in recent times, as your Rector, I am acutely and confidentially aware that there are still people within our parish community who struggle financially to make ends meet. This is particularly acute at this time of year with heightened expectations and when increased heating costs put undue pressure on family finances just at the most expensive time of the year. Throughout the year and especially at Christmas time, many people receive some financial assistance from the Parish 'Special Needs Fund'. This help is not given as a charity, but to meet a real need at a critical time. By its very nature, this fund is confidential and is administered personally by myself. Donations are received each year from parishioners and the parish. If you would like to help and give a donation towards this very necessary and much appreciated work of the parish, please send your donation to me at the Parish Office, or place it on the offering plate in the coming weeks, marked 'Taney Special Needs Fund'. Conversely, if you find yourself in difficult financial circumstances and are in need of some financial help, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Patricia Parfrey, Helen Geoffroy and their dedicated group of helpers and stall-holders have been busy preparing for our annual 'Christmas Bazaar' which this year will be held in the Parish Centre on Saturday 7th December. This is our major fundraiser for our donations to Charities and Mission. Please do support us by providing produce and items for sale as well as being present on the day to pick up a bargain or two, and to meet with friends while being entertained by our Junior Choir and School Orchestra – and of course we confidently expect an appearance of the big man himself!
Vera joins me in wishing all of you a very Blessed and Happy Christmas and every good wish for a peaceful and prosperous New Year and we do encourage you to make time over the Christmas Season to join us in our churches for the celebration of what Christmas is really all about – the celebration of the Birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.