©  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God.  (Isaiah 40. v.28) St. Leonard, Clent

Christmas Messages

“Much   of   life   seems   to   hover   between darkness and light. Too    much    of    2017    seems    to    have been   about   darkness:   uncertainty   on the      world      stage      and      dangerous threats   in   tweets;   the   continued   plight of      refugees      and      minorities;      the bombing     of     a     pop     concert;     knife attacks   on   our   streets;   the   horrifying fire     at     Grenfell     Tower;     and     the hardships   that   have   resulted   from   the roll out of Universal Credit. Christmas   reminds   us   that   God’s   way is   one   of   light:   human   lives   that   are flourishing;      seeking      the      common good    for    our    communities;    bringing healing   out   of   brokenness,   hope   out of   despair,   peace   out   of   hatred,   and joy out of sorrow. So   see   again   around   the   back   of   the inn   and   peer   in   at   that   stable   carved out    of    honeycomb    rock    where    the faces   of   new   parents   are   picked   out   in the light of an oil lamp. See   again   the   dark   Judean   hillside,   the rocky    terraces,    and    the    shepherds being    woken    from    their    slumber    by the light that shone all around them. And    see    again    the    magi    travelling from   afar,   their   faith   resting   on   the light   of   a   new   star   that   shines   in   the night sky and guides their path. All   of   these   characters’   eyes   are   soon set   on   the   infant   Jesus.   They   see   how he       radiates       and       reflects       the unimaginable   beauty   and   light   of   the source    from    which    he    comes.    This child   brings   light   in   the   darkness   not to   some   lives   but   to   all   lives.   When   we open   our   hearts   to   him,   so   something of   that   light   also   radiates   from   us.   In turn,    we    bring    light    in    places    and situations of darkness. My   prayer   is   that   the   light   of   Jesus   will fill your Christmas this year.”

Graham  +  Dudley

“Christmas   is   a   time   of   goodwill. ‘Glory   to   God   in   the   highest,   and on    earth    peace,    good    will    to    all people’    sang    the    angels    at    the birth   of   Jesus,   as   recorded   by   St Luke in the Bible. I       recently       visited       Worcester foodbank,   which   like   many   others, is    organised    by    local    churches, and   which   is   a   hive   of   activity   at Christmas     time.     When     thinking about   goodwill,   you   won’t   find   a better    example    than    foodbanks. They      are      a      tangible      sign      of goodwill,   of   people   demonstrating concern      for      those      in      need. Foodbanks    show    love    in    action rather    than    an    airy,    sentimental sort of love. Similarly,    Christmas    makes    clear that   God   doesn't   just   love   us   in   an airy,   sentimental,   romantic   sort   of fashion   which   doesn't   actually   do anything.   God’s   love   takes   action in   order   to   care   for   us,   in   order   to save us. ‘God    so    loved    the    world    that    he sent   his   only   son   into   the   world.’ St   John   tells   us.   The   word   ‘Jesus’ means    ‘he    saves’.    Jesus    came    to Earth   in   order   to   demonstrate   the great   love   that   God   has   for   us,   to enfold    us    and    save    us    with    that love. And    although    at    Christmas    the shelves    of    foodbanks    are    filled with   Christmassy   things   as   well   as essentials,   in   order   to   try   and   give people   just   that   little   bit   extra   to be       cheerful       about,       in       fact foodbanks    operate    all    the    year round   –   goodwill   should   be   for   all seasons.   The   same   is   true   of   God’s love. For    what    God    shows    us    in    the birth   of   the   Christ   child,   which   we celebrate     at     this     time,     is     his unending,    invincible    and    abiding love   for   us.   A   love   which   will   be   in action for us into all eternity. I       wish       you       a       very       happy Christmas.”

John + Worcester

“An   Amnesty’s   report   -   “Struggling   To Survive:     Refugees     From     Syria     In Turkey”    -    found    the    failure    of    the international   community   to   deal   with the    growing    number    of    refugees    in Turkey   alone   –   1.6   million   -   has   led   to a          crisis          of          unprecedented proportions. Being      able      to      support      others, whether    they    are    from    Aleppo    or Acomb,   is   a   wonderful   privilege   but   it does   not   feel   like   this   in   the   middle   of the   crisis,   far   from   it.   It   is   all   too   easy, under      pressure,      to      put      up      the barriers   and   think   only   of   ourselves, our   own   stresses   and   strains,   and   to forget the stranger at the gates. In   the   Christmas   story,   on   the   night that   Jesus   was   born,   we   are   told   that Jesus   was   born   in   a   manger   because there was no room at the inn. In   reading   the   account   as   written   in Luke’s     Gospel,     though     he     is     not specifically   mentioned,   I   have   a   lot   of time   for   the   innkeeper.   He   must   have been     under     tremendous     pressure. Bethlehem   was   heaving   with   people, and   it   wasn’t   his   fault   that   there   were no   rooms   left.   If   he   did   offer   space   in the   Inn’s   back   yard   this   was   generous and       compassionate       within       the bounds of what was possible. On   Boxing   Day   last   year,   here   in   York, a    remarkable    community    response occurred   that   reminded   us   all   of   the message:    “Let    us    never    weary    of doing   something   good” .   600   military personnel   responded,   125   mountain rescue   members   rallied,   York   Rescue Boat   teams   and   countless   volunteers were   there   to   rescue   flood   victims   or to   fill   and   distribute   10,000   sandbags around   the   flooded   areas   across   the City. At    Christmas,    we    have    a    fantastic opportunity    to    gather    together    with loved    ones    –    friends,    families,    our near   neighbours   and   our   global   ones –    and    make    new    beginnings.    The birth   of   Jesus   reminds   us   of   the   most fantastic     new     beginning,     one     that transformed   and   reshaped   the   world we live in. May   you   have   a   blessed   and   peaceful Christmas.”

Dr John Sentamu

+ Archbishop of York

© John 14:6   I am the way, the truth, and the life.
St. Leonardís


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 3rd December Christingle Service 10.00am 17th December Carols by Candlelight 6.30pm Christmas Eve Crib Service 3.00pm Midnight Communion 11.30pm Christmas Day Worship4All 10.00am


Bible Study   Tuesday 19th December 7.30pm   Belbroughton Church Office Coffee Morning   Friday 5th January 10.30am   Churchill Village Hall Coffee Morning   Friday 12th January 10.00am   Belbroughton Church Hall Caring & Sharing   Saturday 13th January 10.30am   Belbroughton Church Office ____________________________



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Clent church is open daily 8:00am to 8:00pm Blakedown church is open every day Churchill's porch is open daily and the church is open every Friday The porch of Broome church is open daily Unfortunately, Belbroughton and Fairfield churches are locked at the present time. You can contact the Parish Office - see <Contacts> page on this web - to be put in touch with a member of the Ministry Team: Talk to Christine Thomas or Chrissy Roberts at Church Office, 19, Church Road, Belbroughton. DY9 9TE Email: bfcoffice@btconnect.com     01562 730777

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