Christmas Greetings and temporary closure

Beloved in Christ

John 1: verse 14: ‘The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.’ (The Message. Eugene Petersen)
Welcome Christ! Our neighbourhood has been talking about your arrival.  We are glad you are moving in to live with us.  We welcome you and will look after you, and share our concerns and lives with you!  
Tonight’s midnight mass at St Margaret’s, and tomorrow’s Christmas service at St Mary’s, both at 11, will be special and poignant.  We will bless our traditional nativity scenes and re-member this picture, this year, different and personal, as Christ comes to share our lives as they are. It remains for us to colour in the picture that is right outside our house! We pray for every one of you and your families this Christmas.  Live in the Light, brighter than the gloom of our winter, and the general gloom that Covid restrictions impose on us. 
To this end, St Margaret’s and St Mary’s churches will be closed from after the Christmas service on Friday in Newport, until the 24th January.  Hard as the decision has been, we need to be sensible and pragmatic.  As much as we take care of ourselves, we should take care of each other.  One of the Vestry members sums it up for us: ‘We feel that given Government advice about the new strain of Covid which is apparently much more contagious and the elderly congregation, it would be wise to close after Christmas day, and then reconsider, dependent on Government advice at that time.  All the omens seem to indicate we might well be in another full lockdown by then anyway. This action not only safeguards the congregation but also the visiting organists.’
There is a lot we can follow online: the Episcopal church’s Sunday and weekday services.Various other interesting podcasts and radio programmes are available.  If you have a special one, please share it with us, so we can all enjoy it together. David Smith offers, ‘This is a link to the best Christmas music that has come my way this year.From Victoria BC, Canada.‘I offer you ,’ Candles in the dark. Faith, Hope and Love in the Pandemic’ by Rowan Williams. It is very readable, in the form of a diary, and unearths some pressing personal and human issues.  You will hear echoes of it in my thoughts in the next few weeks!<image.png>

On Tuesday 14 January our new ‘JOIN THE CONVERSATION’ ecumenical Zoom series starts.  I will be notifying  you of the link and the topic.
On Wednesday 13 January, our weekly  Zoom meeting resumes.  I will re-send the link.  We will do a continuous reading of Mark’s gospel.  All you need to do is bring your version of choice, and we will take turns to read.  It will take a few weeks.
Much as all this technology might be a nuisance to get the hang of, I cannot urgently implore you to set yourself up to join in with us.  It is hugely rewarding to feed our faith, see each other and chat, and get together with any friends near or far who join us: it is an open invitation.
This applies to our groups and to Vestries.  Yes, it is a far second to meeting face to face, but we have to adapt and make ourselves available to others who need US, in ways we might not even admit that we need them! It is a way of sharing ourselves, making ourselves available to others who need us! Readings for Midnight mass are: 

Isaiah 52: 7-10

Hebrews 1: 1-4

John 1: 1-14Readings for Christmas day are

Isaiah 62: 6-12

Psalm 97

Titus 4: 4-7

Luke 2: 1-20
As always, I ask you to call or email me should any need arise, practical, physical, spiritual or mental. We live in the same neighbourhood and we love one another, the mark of a Christian!
God bless

Kathy Barrable07552 503859