Today in the Church calendar it is the feast of the Epiphany, though we did celebrate this on Sunday as the nearest Sunday to this day. Epiphany comes from the Greek word ‘epiphanos’ which means the ‘showing forth’ (or manifestation) of God’s glory. We remember today how God’s glory was shown to all people, symbolised by the arrival of the Magi, or wise men, to visit the Christ-child. For these were Gentiles (non-Jews) coming to visit Jesus, an indication that his birth was for all.
I don’t know about you but it feels to me that we particularly need to focus on such moments of God’s glory, or light, at present. The news of another national lockdown, particularly at this time of year, can make things feel rather dark, indeed depressing. So Epiphany is a moment, indeed a season (for it runs until Candlemas on 2 February) to have our spirits lifted by the reminder that the coming of Jesus into the world is good news for all people, and as we were reminded in John’s gospel at Christmas, ‘the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’.
Whilst we are under the current lockdown, churches have been allowed by the government to remain open, which I think is a welcome indication that people’s spiritual health is also important at this present time. Bishop Paul had made it clear that he is supportive of churches remaining open providing they have a thorough risk assessment in place which emphasises the importance of strict social distancing (which we do) and that those attending do not mingle with those from other household groups either inside or outside of the building. So if you wish to come to church at present, please do be mindful of this, for your own safety and that of others. I recognise that some will either not wish to, or be unable to, attend church at present (due to shielding) and so we will continue to offer services on Sundays on Zoom at 10am.
Speaking of Zoom, we began last night our latest Growing in Faith Course, which looks at the practical implications of Christian faith for how we live our lives today. Seven of us met online and we began by thinking about the importance of prayer. Also, the zoom bible study group on Thursday mornings continues under Kathryn Hayward’s leadership and on 21st January will be beginning a new 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, who He is and what He does. This will be using material provided by Resource, whose Director Kevin Roberts lead our reflection day at the end of November. If you would like to take part, please let Kathryn know or just simply turn up online. The zoom details are: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85489356805?pwd=V2VBUlJuK0cyMkExb1hQdEFZQXZsdz09
Meeting ID: 854 8935 6805 Passcode: 761680
Finally, I would like to thank all those who supported the work of the Children’s Society though this year’s Christingle service. Over 70 people attended online and we have so far raised £285 for their important work. If you have not yet donated and would like to do so, please visit https://thyg.uk/CUS049788 or contact Ros and John Lawrie.
With my best wishes for the year ahead. Stay safe
Pioneer Team Vicar
For this Sunday’s Zoom service, the link is
Meeting ID: 810 9430 0851 Passcode: 838533