Jenny’s letter 17th December

Dear Friends, 

What a week it has been! Some amazing things have happened, and some very difficult thigs have happened. Isn’t that just how life is? The Christmas Tree Festival was reported in the Wirral Globe. I sent the article to the Bishops and Archdeacon Mike and each of them want you to know how impressed they are by the achievement of getting over 3,000 people into the building to see it.

Following that we had a sticky moment when Helene found out, immediately after the Sunday morning service, that Asda head office – not our local store – had gone back on their agreement to provide food worth around £3,500. Some prayers were prayed by those of us still in church and a lot of hard work by Helene, with help from husband Steve and a great team, meant that in the end the only thing that we didn’t get was eggs. That meant that as planned, on Monday and Tuesday, some of you were at Kangaroo storage to pack the dozens of food bags and join them up with the gifts that Lin Longshaw Parr and her fabulous team had already wrapped. 

If that wasn’t enough, we have spent this week welcoming our local Primary Schools into church for their Christmas carol services. During each one, they told the story of Jesus and allowed me to tell them about how he is the king of my life. It has been such a privilege to do this work alongside Gill Walker and her very capable and welcoming team. On Tuesday, thanks to Fiona’s work and a great kitchen team, Messy Church was wonderful. 

I am very aware that none of this happens without the grace of God and the prayers of many of you who don’t physically take part in the work but pray for those of us doing it. Please don’t underestimate the importance of your role in our ministry. It is essential. Alongside that are the people who just keep the whole machine going. In so much of this there are large sums of money involved and that has given work to Julie our treasurer and Jean and the Counting team as well as Thelma. Communications are looked after, the website continues to develop, posters have been put up and the group of leaders has grown. God is so good. So are our volunteers. 

In the midst of this there has been great sadness too. Dear Jane Hunt was just 50 when she died this week. Funds are being raised for her funeral. Our own Barbara Baxter’s husband sadly died this week. They had both longed for one more Christmas and it was not to be. This adds to the sad death of Les Henderson last week and Ellen’s husband Peter before that. There is never a good time to die but Christmas seems especially hard. The TV sells the image of perfect Christmas but there are struggles of one sort or another for so many. 

When Jesus was born around 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem, he was born into a land that was occupied by the Roman Empire. His birth whether in stable or, as some believe, in a cave was a birth into poverty. His family were quickly exiled into Egypt to save Jesus from Herod’s slaughter of the Holy Innocents. As refugees, they travelled some years before they were able to return to their own country. Jesus’s life and ministry was challenging. The disciples travelled from place to place, mostly reliant on the generosity of others. He was beaten and crucified and then those who followed him often lived in fear of their lives because of their faith. Some were martyred. 

If you are struggling mentally, physically or spiritually, if you are bereaved or lonely or sad, remember God understands your pain and empathises with you in your weakness. If you allow him, he will walk beside you, offering strength, wisdom and guidance. Our God is a God of great compassion. The prophet Isaiah tells us, ‘those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ [Isaiah 40.31]

I have had my trust in God tested to its limits at times this week, but he has been beside me as have the people I have met and worked with. God has spoken to me every day through the words of scripture and I leave you with one of my favourite images and that he unexpectedly gifted me today.

The prophet Zephaniah writes, ‘The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.’ [Zephaniah 3.17] Dear friends, remember that word this week. Whatever has happened, whatever you are going through, please know that God delights in YOU. Listen out for his singing. It will be there. 

Wishing you every blessing for the remainder of the Advent season, 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *