It’s January 6th., the Feast of the Epiphany, and I’ve just taken my Christmas cards to the recycling box in Morrisons. The Christmas tree has been shredded and recycled, the baubles and lights put carefully away. I’ve hoovered up the pine needles and bits of tinsel, there’s lots of turkey in the freezer and to my shame, rather fewer chocolates in the cupboard than there were on Christmas Day. I’ve read all my Christmas books, failed to keep up my good resolution of more exercise more often, and it’s with a feeling of relief that I can sit down to write this and look ahead to February. But thank you to everyone who made our churches look so lovely, and to those who worked so hard to welcome the large numbers who attended our Christmas services.
Did you hear the Castle Bytham church bells on the Saturday after Christmas? A team of ringers from the S. Lincs federation of bellringers included us in their annual tour of village churches. The sound they produced made me realise how good it would be to have a team of ringers at Castle Bytham. One or two people have suggested that we should recruit and train some. If you are interested, please let me know, and I will ask the ringers if they could organise some training sessions. (Or maybe we have someone in our midst who has the skills to do this?) We have only three bells (with three at Little Bytham and two at Careby) but they still make a good noise. Aubrey Edinborough currently rings a bell for every service at Little Bytham and Careby, but extra ringers would mean that we could hear all the bells. I’m told it takes about 6 months to train a ringer.
In early December we held the funeral service of Dorothy (‘Dot’) Porter – a truly helped them to experience the love and generosity that more fortunate children often take for granted. You will know that the situation in Zimbabwe is desperate; Cholera is rife, hospitals have closed, and shops are empty. Inflation is currently 3 million %, so Zimbabweans’ money is worthless. We are able to help by paying money into an account in this country. Members of Lesley’s sponsoring church go out at regular intervals (at their own expense) and take with them whatever is most needed, paid for from this account. As well as our regular 5th Sunday collections, this Christmas we have added the proceeds from the Candle Service ( I think the amount will be announced elsewhere) and from the Holywell Carol Service (an amazing remarkable and exceptional woman. Widowed very young, with a large family to support, she was determined that their childhood should be happy. It was a great privilege to hear Dot’s daughters reminisce about family holidays, and of a home that was always full of cousins and friends. Dot’s food could always stretch to feed those visitors. Her sons-in-law loved her as dearly as her children – and that really is a tribute . Our sympathies go to John and his sisters.
On a happier note, Pollyanna Machin was baptised in January. We welcome her in to our church community.
We celebrate Candlemas on February 1st – also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Traditionally, all the candles to be used in the church in the forthcoming year were blessed at the service on Candlemas. Our three lay Ministers will be licensed at Bourne Abbey at 6.30 on that day.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 25th., and we shall have our usual Communion service with Imposition of ashes at 7.00 in Little Bytham.
During Lent, we have a series of evening services at different churches around the Deanery. On March 1st – St. David’s Day – Bishop Tim will preach at our service at Creeton at 6.00.
I have written before about the AIDS orphanage that we support in Zimbabwe. A number of you kindly sent shoeboxes for the children, which were received with great excitement. The contents were distributed amongst the ever-growing number of children, and £280+) and some individual donations. Thank you to everyone who has helped support the orphanage in this way.
Hearing about the situation in Zimbabwe, and in Gaza and the Congo makes our concerns over the Credit crunch seem self-indulgent. We remember the people of these places and their needs daily in our prayers.
I wish you all a happy 2009
With every good wish
Added : 09/01/09 : MG