Pastoral Team Easter Tea for residents and staff of the local care homes and the community in our parish. Tuesday 18th April, 3:00pm. All the congregation is more than welcome, and please bring a friend or neighbour. Please contact the Office to let us know if you intend to attend so we can judge how many cakes to bake – well worth coming for. Look forward to seeing you all.
The Christmas nativity is quite remarkable on a number of levels. Traditionally we rejoice in the story of Jesus’ birth – the birth of the world’s great King, who continues to reign with God’s Love.
The Gospel of John, describes how “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. Before taking Communion, we say the Anglican Prayer of Humble Access: “we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us”. But what does it really mean to have the Christ dwell in us? Beyond the concrete Jesus, the living Christ is something much more cosmic and abstract – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.
Considering the nativity from a psychological perspective, it isn’t difficult to appreciate how the Christ might struggle to find a birthplace within us. Our human preoccupations and emotional complexes leave little “room at the Inn”. The only place left is amongst the “animals”, amongst the muck and the grime – luckily our minds still harbour some kindly animals so that the Christ child needn’t face up to the mind’s lions and tigers straight away.
Having found a birthplace within us (“Bethlehem” – the house of bread), Christ’s survival is still touch-and-go. Herod (our ego and desires) wants to destroy all threats to his supremacy, and he’ll stop at nothing – he’ll even destroy the purest parts of us to ensure the Christ seed cannot grow, to ensure the bread cannot rise. Fortunately, unlike the wise men and shepherds, Herod is unaware of the secret star which provides a direct path to Christ. Herod cannot see let alone know how to “follow the light” and by this our inner Christ is protected from harm. We, on the other hand, can seek Christ within us by following the star of Bethlehem.
Christmas means so many different things to so many people. However, if we could only allow the nativity to live within us we could truly “behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” and “see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man”.
May Christ be born within us this Christmas, and may our inner Christ grow so that we may truly “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” and “love thy neighbour as thyself”.
The Angel Festival ‘wire angel’ in the tower has now, as you’ll have seen, been joined by a constellation of decorative and artistic stars, made during their pre-Christmas visit to St M’s by pupils of Pownall Green Primary School. An unexpected additional result of this creativity was that we’ve discovered something that spreads faster (and farther) than news on the proverbial grapevine. What is it? – Glitter.
Many households in Bramhall, Cheadle Hulme, and Woodford recently went without a supply of running water for 24 hours or more. Think what it would be like never to have water constantly on tap, for that’s the way it is for most village families in the Diocese of Newala. That’s why St Michael’s is doing all it can to help Newala’s Mothers’ Union build water tanks in villages to store rainwater otherwise going to waste.
We understand our water supplier is giving each affected household £25 in compensation for interruption of supply. Some of the St M’s congregation are donating their £25 to the Newala Water Tank Project. How about doing the same? Please hand cash or cheque (payable to St Michael’s PCC Newala) in to the Office. Many thanks to everyone who takes up this idea.
Belated congratulations to Fr Bob, who mentioned en passant at the beginning of last Sunday’s 10am service that it was the 45th anniversary of his Ordination, which took place on 18th December 1971 in Durham Cathedral. Rising to the occasion, the Churchwardens presented gifts to Bob and Joan at the end of the service. They hadn’t been tipped off, Bob had said nothing beforehand, but – in a genuine coincidence – they had got these marks of our appreciation of Bob’s guidance, particularly noting that – with Fr David being heavily committed in Stockport – Fr Bob would single-handedly be leading all the service in the coming week, up to and including Christmas.
Our first event of the New Year is a Supper with a talk – ‘Finding True Peace’ – by Bryan Corke. Bryan has been involved in missionary work in Europe as well as in part-time ministry since 1995. He worked for 48 years in health care as a prosthetist, and misses the privilege of working with so many inspiring and courageous patients and staff. We look forward to hearing his experiences and bringing his Christian faith to personal and working life. Thurs 19th January at the Deanwater Hotel, 7:45pm. Bookings, £12, please contact us.
Next Kaleidoscope Eucharist is on 15th January, and not on 22nd January as stated on last Sunday’s Kaleidoscope service-sheet. The celebrant and preacher (at 8am and Kaleidoscope) will be the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, the Ven Ian Bishop. We look forward to welcoming you to the first Kaleidoscope of 2017.
Envelopes for donations to Christian Aid’s emergency appeal for Yemen are available in the porches. Please ask a sidesperson if you want one and can’t see them. Please complete the section on the envelope to Gift Aid your donation, if applicable, and put the envelope in the collection plates at the rear of the church.
It is intended to organise a quiet retreat to Foxhill (the Chester Diocesan conference and retreat centre, near Frodsham) from 3rd to 5th October next year. If you’d like to join in please sign the list on the noticeboard in the church hall lobby, or for further details please contact David or Ann Walker or the parish office.