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St Albans Diocesan President's Letter December 2020
04 Dec 2020
Dear Fellow Members....
We had a lovely Annual Meeting/Autumn Sharing Day and Fellowship Service via zoom on the 7th November, with 75 of us at the morning session and 73 joining for the afternoon service. Bev Jullien gave an interesting and inspiring talk and commissioned our Cluster Coordinators, while our Diocesan Chaplain, Rev Canon Miriam Mugan commissioned the Cluster Chaplains. All in all, it was everything I could have hoped for and I thank you for making the day so special for me in allowing me the opportunity to see and meet so many of you after such a long absence due to Covid. I am also aware that many of you were unable to join us, but hope you sensed the love and prayers we sent your way. Unfortunately, I am not technically capable of producing zoom surveys regarding evaluation of the day, and would ask those of you who were able to make it to comment on your impression of how the day was run and if we can improve upon it. I pray that we will be able to meet on Saturday 27th March for our Spring Sharing Day in Radlett and plans are already underway for that meeting, but we are also realistic enough to acknowledge that there is a slight possibility that we will have to have another zoom meeting. I am interested to hear your views.
We started our 16 Day of Activism on Wednesday (25th November – 10th December) and I joined the MU Facebook/You Tube service at 9am. Please let Jill Thomson, our Newsline Editor, know of any ways in which you and your fellow members are highlighting this MU campaign. Personally, I have sent, via email and with the permission of my vicar to all the congregation at my church, information about the 16 Days of Activism and the 16 Days of Bible Verses and Prayers found on the MU website. Let us all try and raise awareness of this important campaign.
As we reach the end of an exceedingly difficult and challenging year, let us remember in the quiet of our minds the love and lives of all those we have lost through the Coronavirus or through unrelated illnesses; their lives should be celebrated, and memories cherished.
Christmas is a time for families and this year it will be different. Families will not be able to meet up as normal; which leaves difficult questions and problems. Who do we visit? How can we meet together? How can we celebrate the birth of Christ? Practically, there is Amazon for shopping, Parcelforce for deliveries, the post for cards and zoom/WhatsApp/FaceTime to see each other, but most of us enjoy the physical presence of our family and friends. So, let us pray for the Lord to give us the understanding of the challenges being faced, the understanding that families keeping separate are showing love and caring for each other. By working together, but being apart, we are supporting and showing how much we care for one another. We are truly taking part in this season of ‘goodwill to all men’. Let us take this opportunity to appreciate all we have had in the past and all we can look forward to in the future. A period of quiet, a period of reflection, a period of realisation of what the birth of Christ really means. A new beginning, the start of something so momentous that it will change the world. This is the ‘present’ we have been given this Christmas, we are at the beginning of an exciting new world, let us work to make it a world full of love, compassion and fulfilment. A world of equality and diversity, a world we are all proud to be at the beginning of. May God bless you and his love surround you at this time of Advent and always.
Merry Christmas Everyone, with my love to you all.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
(25th December – 6th January)
The twelve days of Christmas is a well-known song sung at Christmas time all around the world. No-one is completely sure of its origins, some believe it is a memory game which started in the 1800s and was played by children having to repeat what had been previously said plus adding a line themselves. There was also a theory, never proven, that it was used to secretly pass on the ideology of Christianity, when Christians were being persecuted.
All I ask you to do on each of the twelve days is to consider what that day means to you. Do you know what the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are? How would you describe the theological virtues to a member of the younger generation? Please use this as an aid, to help with a time of reflection, a time to learn, a time to try and understand what it means to be a Christian.
On the ………….. day of Christmas my true love sent to me;
The Partridge in the Pear Tree is Jesus Christ
The 2 Turtle Doves are The Old and New Testaments
The 3 French Hens are Faith, Hope and Charity, the theological virtues
The 4 Calling Birds are the four gospels and/or the four evangelists
The 5 Golden Rings are the first five books of the Old Testament
The 6 Geese A-laying are the six days of creation
The 7 Swans A-swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
The 8 Maids A-milking are the eight beatitudes
The 9 Ladies Dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
The 10 Lords A-leaping are the ten commandments
The 11 Pipers Piping are the eleven faithful apostles
The 12 Drummers Drumming are the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
Wishing all our members around the Diocese of St Albans a peaceful Christmasand a healthy, safe New Year!
With love from all your Trustees.