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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

Advent 4 PEACE December 20th 2020

An unusual opening from me to you: today has been full of grandchildren’s activities and the laughter one only experiences when the world is viewed through a little person’s eyes. How envious I am of their utter trust and innocence in thought, word and deed is! And how much we need to remember that Jesus must have enjoyed the antidote of children, in the midst of his issue-filled adult company! It’s with an innocence that I plan to experience whatever I can this Christmas. I wish to look at the Christ child in wonder and awe as I do look at a baby.  I want to renew my own baptismal vows, and my confirmation vows, and my priestly vows, as I trustfully take on what the future holds. I also hope to look at each of you with wonder as my spiritual family members, each with distinctive personalities and callings. Bless you all!  It is only 8 days to witness that birth, again, and be offered a new way of loving the child Christ. Beloved in Christ

We had two quiet and meaningful Blue Christmas services, and we thought deeply of each of you as we hung our ‘blue’ messages on the tree.  If you are with us tomorrow you could do the same – write a message to God, from you and as you feel right now.

This Sunday we look forward to sharing the Word with Revd Jim Thompson, lighting the pink candle (known as the Angel’s candle as it symbolises the annunciation of Christ’s birth).   

Readings for the day are:

2 Samuel 7; 1-11, 16

Psalm 891-4, 19-26

Romans 16: 25-27

Luke 1: 26-38

If you are watching on YouTube, tomorrow is a special contribution of the lay readers of the Diocese: we look forward to seeing you, Margaret Gray! The link from the Diocese is:

Do remember that next week, the Midnight mass is at 11pm on Christmas Eve, at St Margaret’s; Christmas Day service at 11am is in St Mary’s.

I will be sending you a Christmas message, and it is a short week till then.

With every blessing. Be of good cheer, pray all the time, and may the Christ child birth joy in you

Kathy Barrable

07552 503 859–
Revd Katharine Ann Barrable M Ed., M Th.Cell 07552503859

Grace and Peace be with you

Advent 3 December 13th 2020

e-newsletter 13 December Advent 3

I greet you, using appropriate words of our Christmas hymn, ‘in the bleak midwinter’ (based on a poem by Christina Rossetti – well worth a reflection)! Our inner light is brighter and growing steadily, visibly now. Along the way we will no doubt have a couple of startling sunshiny crisp days to balance the scales of drear and bright! In the locking down of so many of our activities, we might echo the hymn in our lives, yet we know that we will get through this outer journey by following the star, and that the inner light of Christ is waxing and is in view!


To cheer and inspire you, here is a link to Gordon Stewart’s Christmas Concert:

Organ Concert – Six – YouTubeSupport our Digital Programme: is no ticket income for our digital broadcasts, because our beautiful Town Hall is empty. Please c…

As we prepare for the cheer at the 2020 Christmas we are able to have, let us prepare too for the birth of our Saviour, Jesus.  It is fun to plan and purchase from our own inner store, ONE gift to him.  What would you give him of yourself?  What would appeal to him this particular Christmas? (I have turned outward in my intention.  Last night I swept the steps of St Mary’s, clearing all the cigarette stumps accumulated.  I found myself asking God why I felt compelled to do this – and the answer was… pray for the people who stood here, pray for their circumstance, pray that here, so close to the entrance of St Mary’s that they too might feel the welcome of the Christ, and perhaps be drawn into his circle of light in some way.  I pledge to continue to do this as an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace).  We can pray for people we know who are in dis-ease – even if the circumstances are beyond us, the person has already passed away, a stranger, a foreigner, an attitudinal enemy, a circumstance, a source of hurt, a miscarriage of justice. Today, every day, Christ gives a transcendent view of our journey and ways of making a difference in the Kingdom of heaven on earth.

I urge you to plan for your spiritual journey in our communion, and watch some of the ongoing services of the Scottish Episcopal church, on YouTube on Thursday evenings in the Service of the Word, and the Sunday Eucharist.

Last week I promised that I would ask Bishop Ian to give us a copy of his sermon, and here it is. It was a highlight to host him, and he is very happy with our churches and delighted to see our people.  He also did a mini live installation of me as priest in charge, so there is a photo to share with you too!

On the subject of growing church and mission, Revd Dr Amos Chewachong was a most welcome guest on Zoom: he stirred up enquiry and challenged us on church today, our future and on mission in 2021. We hope that we might continue to draw closer to our cousins in the Church of Scotland. Our dear friends in Tayport United Free Church, the Catholic church and the Church of Scotland might not be able to meet us face to face, but we hold them in prayers and wish to create every opportunity for dialogue and friendship.  Jesus didn’t know ‘church’ or ‘denomination’: in our small towns, staying open to share within community is vital, healthy co-dependency!

I am intrigued to reflect on two people who have joined our group – people who might never even meet face to face. Both came from an internet connection and enquiry.  Christ is in every soul, and in wondrous ways, we are a global community, and virtual space and social media give us opportunities for mission. Perhaps you could share this e-letter with at least one other person?

Next week we look forward to having Revd Jim Thompson to preach to us – it is a treat to host him at one of his many homes once again.

On Sunday we have the Christmas Carol service – only 5 lessons which span the history of our people, interspersed with beautiful carols.  If you can’t be with us, do read and listen to sacred music, and – pray all the time! By the way, you can download any version or translation of the Bible , free.  It is a great way of getting refreshment!

Readings for Sunday are:

Carol   1                      Hark the herald angels sing

First Reading              Isaiah 9:2b, 6, 7

Carol 2                         O little town of Bethlehem

Second Reading         Luke 1:26-38

Carol 3                         Away in a manager

Third Reading            Luke 2:1-7

Carol 4                         While shepherds watched

Fourth Reading         Luke 2:8-16

Carol 5                                    The First Nowell

Fifth Reading              Matthew 2:1-11

Carol 6                                    Joy to the world!

God bless you and keep you safe, hope-filled and joyful!

Kathy  Barrable 

07552 503 859

Advent 2 December 6th 2020

Beloved in Christ

December has settled upon us, but the sun has spilt gold through the clouds this Saturday afternoon!  Later what a joy it is to walk in the neighbourhood in the dark, and see the joyous, dazzling lights and quite competitive brilliant displays, hear the children laughing and looking up and around, and even the dogs with their LED lights flash in joy! It feels like the Mass of Christ season is here. As Christians, we lift our face to Christ in anticipation and in reflecting what this particular Advent 2020 brings to our spirits.

Perhaps you would like to light a candle and pray through this reflection 


You may wish to light a candle as you say:

Dear Lord, we are surrounded by darkness. Our joy is tempered by tears of sorrow, pain and confusion and news of the world’s despair.  Yet, even in the midst of this darkness, our joy cannot be repressed.  For you have come to free the captive.  You have come to make the blind see, and the deaf hear.  You have come to bring peace to the nations. You have come to give sustenance to the poor, and provide justice for the oppressed. Come Lord Jesus AND TEACH US JOY BEYOND CIRCUMSTANCE.  COME LORD JESUS AND GIVE US REASON TO REJOICE.  COME LORD JESUS THAT OUR JOY MAY BE ABUNDANT, SPILLING FROM OUR MOUTHS TO LIGHT OUR COMMUNITY, AND EVEN OUR WORLD.. COME LORD JESUS, COME!

Last week we enjoyed ‘JOY’ as our theme, and this week, we move into ‘LOVE’ as the baby in the womb readies itself to be birthed into our world.  And we are caught up anew in this celebration, for light comes into our lives and we kindle that warm promise.

As you go through today’s readings, how do you respond to the visions of the new heaven and the new earth that Isaiah, the Psalmist and Peter encourage, and that Mark’s Gospel heralds in the words of John the Baptist? It sounds to modern ears too good to be true. Our world often looks so unlike this heavenly vision that we could throw up our hands and call it all a nonsense. At best it is a childish dream, at worst a fantasy to escape into and ignore the world around us. But Peter offers us some practical advice, and in it some comfort. We can look for this kingdom, keep ready for it, never knowing when God might arrive to turn everything on its head. And while we look for the signs, we can work to bring a reflection of the new heaven and earth into our own lives and the lives of those around us.

John had to deny he was the Messiah many times. How easy would it be for you to refuse a position of power if it were offered to you by others?

What do you think of Peter’s desire for us to be “without spot or blemish” while waiting for Jesus’ return?

What can you do to proclaim the kingdom of God? Is it easy for you to do so? If not, can you ask God what you need to help you?

Readings for the day are:

Isaiah 40: 1-11

Psalm 85

2 Peter 3: 8 – 15A

Mark 1: 1-8


Almighty God, who sent your servant John the Baptist to prepare your people to welcome the Messiah, inspire us, the ministers and stewards of your truth, to turn our disobedient hearts to you, that when the Christ shall come again to be our judge, we may stand with confidence before his glory; who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Bishop Ian Paton will be our Visitor on Sunday, and it will be lovely to broaden into the Diocese and share some refreshing thoughts and inspirations, about other brothers and sisters out there. Please pray for him, and Carrie his wife, for the work he does and for his vision, and his particular gift in sharing it with others.

God bless.  I am sure you feel heartened that we have a vaccine and that there IS a light at the end of this tunnel.  Please know that you are in our prayers, and that I am here at the end of a phone to chat to you about anything you wish.

May God hold you in the Palm of His hand till we meet again!

God bless you

Kathy Barrable

07552 503 859