December 2018
Services
2nd 10:30am Welcome Service - Welcome to Advent    
  6:00pm Royal Names - Mighty God Revelation 5:12 (C)
9th 10:30am Mary - Serving Luke 1:38 (C)
6:00pm Royal Names - Everlasting Father John 10:30
16th 10:30am Mary - Gloryfying (with Toddlers' Nativity) Luke 1:46
6:00pm Royal Names - Prince of Peace Ephesians 2:14
23rd 10:30am Mary - Mothering Matthew 1:16
6:00pm Carols by Candle Light
25th 10.00am Christmas Day - Mary Ponders Luke 2:19
30th 10.30am Rev Ray Lewis    
(C) denotes communion will be held as part of the worship service

Weekday Meetings
Monday

Craft Group

Ladies' Meeting

2:00pm

Afternoon Tea

3rd and 17th

10th (with Craft Group)

Wednesday Luncheon Club 11:30am for 12:00 noon 12h - Christmas Dinner
Thursday Mums and Toddlers 9.15 to 11.30 Except 27th
Bible Study

3.00pm

7.00pm

6th and 20th - Mark

6th and 13th - Bible Course

       
     

Christmas Specials
Phoenix Choir - Friday 7th at 7.30
The Phoenix Choir will be giving their regular Christmas Concert in support of the British Heart Foundation and Llanwenarth Baptist Chapel. This is always a very good evening, so please come and join us to get the Christmas Season under way.
Churches Together Scratch Nativity - Saturday 8th at 1.30
There will be a walking 'Scratch Nativity', starting at the Methodist church and ending at Gateway. The Christmas story will be told as we walk along - with Father Mark in the role of the grumpy innkeeper as narrator. Come dressed as one of the characters and join in - there is room for everyone. This will be followed by a service at Gateway at 4.
Village Carols - Saturday 22nd at 6
Once more the outdoor service of carols and readings will be held in Church Road - followed by mulled wine and mince pies in the Village Hall. Come along prepared to sing of the Saviour's birth.


Gardener's Corner    

Well here we are Christmastime again! Holly is the king of evergreens they say and certainly the berries have been wonderful this year so far. Will they last until Christmas though is the question? Now the weather is getting colder we might get some lovely frosts on the greenery too. It's interesting to see some bulbs just poking their heads out of the soil now and maybe the odd primrose or two. One of my particular favourites is the Christmas Rose (Hellebores) which seem to go on for ages at this time of year.
Brussel sprouts are said to be at their best after a frost, so make the most of them. Please ensure plenty of bird food as the winter is the hardest time for these lovely creatures.
This is also a good time to fumigate your greenhouse and give it a good clean ready for early planting next year.
Make the best of all the lovely berries and evergreens to make lovely wreaths and table decorations for Christmas.
Most of all enjoy the rest over these weeks and make the best of the festive season.


Minister's Musings
Its that time of year again - when it is cold and dark outside, and the plans for the big family day are only half formed, and your inner Scrooge is crying out Bah! Humbug! every time you go into a shop a shop and hear Slade reminding you that Here it is, Merry Christmas, its only just begun (as if you could forget, with all the cards and adverts and subtle - or even unsubtle - hints of what is wanted this year) and there are another six weeks to follow.
Yes, Christmas is coming, and you long for the days of innocence once more. The joy you see on your children and grandchildren as they open the presents with wide eyes. The memory you have of waiting up all night just to catch your parents putting your presents at the foot of the bed, or waking up early to empty the stocking and get the tangerine out of its foot.
And as a preacher, I wonder what new thing I can say to catch the imagination, to make the story come to life, to live up to the expectation. What else can be said after 30 years of telling the old familiar tale.
There lies the trouble - we take it all for granted. I remember when I first came here, looking out of the window each morning and seeing the Sugar Loaf. I did not actually pinch myself, but it was hard to believe that this was where I worked - not a prolonged holiday. Now - yes, I love walking in the hills, and go to the top of Sugar Loaf many times a year (mainly to wait for DofE groups). But day by day, it is just there, and no longer a thing of wonder.
It is much the same with Christmas. Of course we enjoy the day when it finally arrives - even with its family tensions and financial problems. But it has become all too familiar. We need to remember the story once more - that there and then, long ago, the God who made the universe became a baby in a backwater of the Roman Empire. That the God who set the course of the nations became a baby, dependent on his mother and father for every need. As John put it so well:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

God pitched his tent on our lawn.
When we stop and think, we realise just how amazing that was. And this God who came long ago is with us now. Enjoy your Christmas. And in the midst of all, stop for a moment and wonder. For behind all the music and the adverts and the fuss, there is the birth of a new world, as God draws near to us in Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem and Lord of the Universe.
Have a very merry Christmas.

 

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