Welcome to all of you who have come today to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Saviour and King who came to us as a weak and helpless child, to confound the strong and bring peace to all.
At least this Christmas we are able to meet as families again and celebrate this wonderful birth. I would like to this opportunity to thank all those of our parish that have done so much throughout the year, especially during lockdown and after, to help in the smooth running of this parish community.
I was humbled to see so many step-up and volunteer to keep the church open during the times of Covid restrictions. It was good to have the extended times of adoration each day. Thank you for sharing your time and talents.
I would like to thank all those who look after the sacristy, prepare for the Masses, clean the brass, the linen and care for church building. Flower and colour are important, and we thank those who week after week do the flowers. They are lovely this Christmas.
For us the Mass is the source and submit of our life in Christ. I know that there are those who have not been able to return to Mass and join us live-streaming. We miss you. It hasn’t been easy for Fr. John and myself to visit the hospital or care homes. Gradually some of the Eucharistic ministers are making home visits.
Music is such an important part of the Liturgy and I am very grateful for the ingenuity of the 9:30 am group who record the music we us. They have just recorded Silent Night with some our children’s voices. We have benefited from the excellent skills of a mixing engineer. (Not sure if that the right term!).
The musicians at 6pm Sunday evening have returned, which is a great blessing. I am grateful to those who read at Mass and those who serve Mass. We also remember all that who act as welcomers.
We were very fortunate that Archbishop John Wilson visited us for the feast of the Translation of St. Thomas of Canterbury in July. He also blessed our fully refurbished shop which is doing good things thanks to new and old volunteers.
Thanks also goes to all our catechists who prepare adults for Baptism and the other sacraments of Initiation, those prepare our children for Reconciliation and Holy Communion. We are gradually reintroducing the children liturgy of the Word at 9:30am Mass. We had a good celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation last month and were lucky to have had a good team of catechists to prepare our young people. Thank you.
Thanks also to those who have been involved in the synodal process. There was a great response from you and the parish council will be looking at the responses that relate to parish life as a way forward for us.
The administration of the parish is important to us. We thank all those who are on the finance and maintenance committee. They give their time and talent to tackle the difficult task of making sure the building is in good order and that we using money given with due diligence. At present we are not having a collection during Mass.
Thank you to all who have moved to standing orders for their weekly contribution. My thanks go to those who are involved in Safeguarding and thanks goes to our parish administrator for her cheerful presence and welcome when people come to the door or phone, and to our housekeeper who keeps everything ship shape.
We thank our premise manger and those who help to keep everything in working order so that so many can use the facilities.
Last but not least I would like to thank Fr. John for all his work as assistant and our Episcopal Vicar for Kent who lives with us.
A Christmas Blessing
May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the Magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.