As this newsletter covers the next fortnight, I will take the opportunity on behalf of the clergy and staff here at St Edmund’s, to wish you a very holy, joyful and peaceful Christmas and I extend this wish for the New Year.

Enough has been said of the fear and suffering caused by the pandemic this past year and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. So, whilst I acknowledge its demoralising effect and empathise with all of you, I remain fervent in my belief that the Covid experience could yet be, if we allow it, an opportunity for positive change and growth in each one of us and the Church. This would involve taking seriously the many dimensions of our Faith, but for the time being I wish to briefly draw your attention to just two. Evangelisation and pastoral outreach are vital if we are to live the Gospel authentically. There are many of you who already give humble witness to your faith unconsciously and in many and varied ways, but, think for a moment what could be achieved if every member of our parish played his or her part, no matter how small, in actively drawing people into a deep faith in Jesus Christ. This is evangelisation. Think of what could be achieved if we were all praying for and working towards the spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing of our brothers and sisters in Christ. This active care for the whole person is pastoral outreach.

I think, more now than ever before, all of us need to become involved with this work and to share our experiences and learn from one another. This will involve praying and working with and alongside our Christian brothers and sisters from other churches. Please pray about this and commit it to prayer.

For the last three years the clergy team at St Edmunds have been praying about and discussing a parish mission statement. We decided upon the following statement and I would dearly like you to reflect upon it over this coming Christmas Season.

Being formed in the likeness of Christ we strive to become a truly Christ centred community, through humble witness, love, compassion and communion.

I will share more of what the team has discussed in the coming year. I conclude with a prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for all people especially those who feel crushed, lost and abandoned, left without hope, that they may be mightily restored and renewed. Show us clearly Lord how we can help them. May your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, born for our salvation, heal your broken people with your love. May we all experience the joy and peace that only the Christ Child can bring.

Amen.

Fr Steve