Picture: Census in Bethlehem by Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Rejoice the Lord is near. Gaudete!
This blog will be the final one for this year. I thank those responsible for its production throughout the year, and those of you who share the link with others. Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.
Bible readings to ponder this week.
Isaiah 61v 1-11. Luke 1: 57-66
The bible readings for this week are full of encouragement. There is a joyful hope as we draw closer to the birthday of Jesus, God’s Son coming to live amongst us.
The first reading announces the coming of the anointed one which is a cause for rejoicing. He will bring freedom, healing and good news to the people. Images of clothing bodies and growing seeds celebrate God’s activity in the world and in our lives.
The focus of the Gospel is John the Baptist, who bears witness, testifying to the true identity of ‘the light’: Jesus himself. John answers the priests’ questions about his own identity and ministry, then announces that the Saviour they seek, Jesus, is already amongst them, though ‘unknown to them’.
A series of “I wonder question”….as we prepare for a Christmas
1. I wonder, how am I bearing witness to Jesus, reflecting his light to others? Maybe this is in simple acts of kindness, by sharing my time, my gifts and resources …?
2. I wonder how God may be shedding his light on any area of my own life that feels to be in darkness.
In the Isaiah 61:1- 11 reading we find the phrase … “to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.”
The ‘jubilee’ took place every fifty years. It gave the people an opportunity to make a fresh start in their lives (Leviticus 25:8–55). Debts were cancelled, slaves were freed, and people who had been driven away from their homes by poverty etc were now able to return. What an amazing vision for our times!!! Just imagine.
Morning Prayer each morning at 8am via zoom link
Do remember that each morning people meet online to pray together. There is a short discussion and a time to pray for whatever is on our hearts. It is such an uplifting way to start each day…..why not join us from time to time?
Advent Calendar, more than a piece of chocolate!
Have you been following our Penlee Cluster online Advent calendar? It is a wonderful adult resource which so many people find so moving. It helps to create an oasis of daily thoughtfulness: a poem, a piece of music, a thought to ponder throughout the day. All planting “seeds of peace” in our world.
Manger in the rubble
This year there will be no Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem. Streets and hotels that are usually filled with Christmas pilgrims and visitors remain empty. The people living in Bethlehem are suffering in so many ways. In solidarity with many across the world we will not light the Second Advent candle…a time of sadness and sorrow.
In Penlee cluster our cribs will be filled with rubble, linking with the Lutheran church in Bethlehem. Our “stable” for the Christchild is usually too sanitised with the poverty, smells and loneliness of the situation airbrushed out. So this year we will create a “cradle” from rubble, symbolising homes and lives that have been wrecked and praying for all newborns throughout the world that are born in war torn places.
Yet the seeds of hope in the Christmas story is that God chose such a place and time as this to bring the light of hope and peace into our damaged world.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem,
So still in our minds’ eye
With candle lights and starlit nights,
And angels drawing nigh.
Yet in thy dark streets soundeth
The echoed wails of grief,
Of ancient fears, of bombs and tears,
Of agony and strife.
For Christ was born of Mary
And Joseph, born in love;
But soldiers came, in someone’s name,
With something left to prove.
So Mary brought up Jesus
In lands broken and cursed,
To preach and sing of no more kings,
Of peace to all the Earth.
How desperately, how desperately
That peace is needed now,
Which Love imparts to human hearts.
To flower and to grow.
Our ears are numbed by anguish,
Cries from this world of sin.
Our weak souls yearn to feel the burn
Of Sacred Power within.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Reveal to us thy Way
Of justice, peace, and healing Grace;
Be born in us today.
We are the Christmas angels;
Help us glad tidings tell.
O walk with us, shine forth through us:
Each one, Emmanuel!
A variety of angel messages are now beginning to appear in all the cluster churches. They look very beautiful and are a powerful reminder of our commitment to pray for world peace.
You might like to join in offering prayers of peace and having conversations about peace by contacting friends and families across the UK and world and asking the person to write a message of peace and hope. Write it on one of our angel cards, cut it out and hang it up in one of our churches.
Walking angel trails …
Angel trails have now been laid around Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole. Why not go around one of these areas looking for the angels and the words and you might want to write a poem. Family workers Molly and Jane are keen that you try out the trails.
“Hi Andrew, Also a huge thank you to you and your team for your help and support with RE week. It was special for the children. “ Sarah: Headteacher of Mousehole school.
Angel project on view at Penzance Railway station
During November your children’s class may have been visited by Sally Crabtree (poetry postie), local artist John and family worker Molly. The children participated in an art workshop, creating beautiful angels some of which are going to be used to decorate the Penzance train station.
Your child / children are invited for a GWR photo shoot on Tuesday 19th December at 4pm. If your child / children would like to take part, please arrive at the train station entrance for 3.50pm. All children who attend will receive a FREE entry to Sea Life Soft Play and chocolate surprise.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christmas Carols in the pub
Back by popular demand! We’ll be in the Red Lion in Newlyn on Saturday 23rd of December at 7.30pm – if you enjoy singing carols then please come and join us! If you’d like further info please call Derath on 07962 168440.
Christmas Day lunch
Christmas Day lunch
25th December 12.30 – 4pm St Mary’s church Pz. Once again we are holding a community Christmas Day lunch….with all the trimmings and gifts. We now have enough volunteers but you might be able to help out by providing hot Christmas lunch food or gifts for those attending.
Please contact Keno or Alice.
Church Christmas Card
The cards are now ready and available in each of our churches. We ask that you take cards and deliver them to your friends and neighbours. You might want to deliver to the whole of your street or a group that you belong to.
BBC songs of praise.
Did you see BBC songs of praise last week? It featured “it came upon a midnight clear” that was recorded in Paul in 2018….it was so uplifting to watch this again and to recall that fun time….and remember those people who have passed into God’s safe keeping.
Click on the image to view.
Cluster Service for 2024
7th January 10.30am at St Peter’s Church Newlyn.
Epiphany: Seeing Stars!
We ask that those who would like to be involved in the music at that service meet at 9.45am
Do bring along any festive nibbles to share.
You and your money
Jesus taught more about MONEY than PRAYER, so we should think about how we use our money as his followers. It doesn’t matter if you have little or much money, or if you don’t know much about finance. You can still make ethical choices when you buy financial products like bank accounts, insurance, pensions, loans and mortgages. By aligning our money with our values, we can support good practices and avoid companies that harm the environment or society.
WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES? The first thing to decide is what constitutes ‘ethical’ for you. If you know your values, you can then ask appropriate questions of potential and current financial suppliers – whether they are your bank, insurance company or pension provider. Use the ECCR (the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility) Bible study to explore the ethical issues around money: https://www.eccr.org.uk/money-makes-change
Social investment is the use of repayable finance to help an organisation achieve its purposes. You either loan money to an organisation or take a share in something, meaning you also share in the profit or loss.
Examples of Christian social investment opportunities are
Hope into Action. Hope into Action is a Christian charity partnering with investors and churches to house the homeless. Investors can participate in house ownership, whilst a local church charity provides the support for individuals to get back on their feet. The minimum investment is £5,000 and there is no maximum. https://www.hopeintoaction.org.uk/investinahome
Green Pastures owns properties to enable Christian ministry. To expand the number of properties and impact, up to 5% interest is offered to individual investors on unsecured loans. The minimum investment is £1,000 and there is no maximum: https://www.greenpastures.net/invest
Stewardship Services has a vision ‘For the world to encounter Jesus through the generosity of his church’. The resources they offer churches are numerous including banking, charity formation, a payroll bureau and accounts examination. A new venture is to engage with individuals to invest in loans to churches to achieve ‘financial, social, and spiritual financial returns’. Social Impact Investing (stewardship.org.uk)