United Benefice of Altham and Clayton-le-Moors
The Revd Toby Webber, The Vicarage, Church Street, Clayton-le-Moors, BB5 5HT
First of all, congratulations on reaching Christmas and the very end of 2020. I know that hard as it has been for all of us in some ways, it has been especially hard for those living on their own and those caring for loved ones. Surviving hasn’t just meant dodging the virus (or if caught seeing it off), its meant surviving all the dislocation and isolation and for some financial worries too.
Christmas is very different this year. But we perhaps need its message more than for a long time. And though our feasting and celebrating is necessarily pared right back, we can perhaps see more clearly the light that comes from Jesus. I could do a lot worse than share this thought tweeted by Pope Francis a couple of days ago:
“The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are signs of hope, especially in this difficult time. Let us be sure we do not stop at the sign, but get to the meaning, that is, to Jesus, to the love of God that He revealed to us, the infinite goodness that he made shine on the world.”
We are holding some Christmas services in church and all are welcome.
If you would like to attend midnight mass at 11:30pm on Thursday you need to reserve a space – use the eventbrite link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/midnight-communion-tickets-132984605535 (you can also find the link from the church website or FB page) or if its easier simply ring the vicarage.
There will also be a 10am service on Christmas morning, short and suitable for families., for which there will be no need to book and Communion at 11am on Sunday 27th. There will be no service on Wednesday 30th, though.
If you haven’t yet seen it, our 2020 carol service is available on Facebook and is well worth a watch. Our crib service will go live at 4pm on Christmas Eve, again on Facebook. It is a short service featuring children from All Saints’ School. Its followed by a second video with the carols to sing along to if you wish!
Please remember, you DO NOT need a facebook account to watch our videos – just go to www.facebook.com/allsaintsclayton.
You may like to give a Christmas donation to church – always appreciated, but especially so in a year when income has obviously declined significantly. If you’d like to do so then you can use the following link and give on-line https://givealittle.co/campaigns/cb3efd44-e76a-4fdd-918e-c5b4f43d19ab. Don’t forget that 10% of what you give helps support other very worthy charities – this year we’ve donated over £6,000, including £1,500 to Clayton Baptist Church for the food bank, £2,000 to our school, £500 to Christians against poverty and £550 to the Nguringo project in rural Uganda.
We are all praying that 2021 will be a better year. There will be an online service of prayer on New Year’s Eve to help us commit this new year and our part of it to God. The first part will continue to be challenging, but the vaccines are a source of real hope. We know that whatever is in store, the God who came to us in Jesus of Nazareth over 2000 years ago is with us now, will strengthen and uphold us through the storms, and will bring us through. And that calls us, his people, who are called by his name, to live by faith, to share his love, and to rejoice in his hope ‘til he returns or calls us home.’
The churchwardens and Rebecca and the family join me in wishing you a happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy new year.