St Peter & St Paul's Newsletter - December 2023 to January 2024

Letter from Revd Helen Burnett.

This newsletter will span the 3 church seasons of Advent – Christmas – Epiphany, December/January 2024.

What a surfeit of riches we have in store to see us through the dark cold days of midwinter and what temptations lie ahead, temptations that will, if we don’t take care, find us spiralling into busier and busier days trying to do everything and please everyone….

This newsletter stands as a reminder to you that the Church calendar calls us to a different way, to march to a different drum.

The seven newly confirmed members of our church community are all busy parents with jobs and homes, family and children to juggle.

How will they find time to remember God?

How do any of us put God at the centre of all we do instead of being an ‘add on’ when there is no other distraction, when we can make it to church, when the going gets tough?

Most of all perhaps, how can we say ‘no’ to the pressure to conform to the all-consuming pattern of buying and busy-ness.

If you have read this far you have already taken a little time out of the from your daily round, can you think of other ways to step back, step aside and cast your eyes heavenward?

Perhaps there is a piece of music, a particular short walk, a car journey, a view, a simple chore that allows your heart and mind to connect with God.

This is a time of watching and wakefulness, tempting though it is to be dormant at this time of year, our broken world needs us to watch with open hearts, to act with generosity, to pray fervently.

This does not mean a lack of joy, the watching, acting generously and praying bring a joy all of their own.

The season of Advent is designed for us to prepare our hearts for God:
At Advent we should try the key to our heart’s door.
It may have gathered rust.
If so, this is the time to oil it,
In order that the heart’s door may open more easily when the Lord Jesus wants to enter at Christmas time!
Lord, oil the hinges of our hearts’ doors
That they may swing gently and easily to welcome your coming


I hope you find time to oil the hinges of your heart this Advent so that when the moment comes to remember the coming of Christ into the world you can respond with joy and generosity to the call that comes in the midst of our brokenness to open our doors both real and metaphorical to welcome the stranger and follow the star as the wise ones of the Feast of Epiphany show us what it means to seek the truth in the strangest of places and then return home to proclaim that truth in our own community.