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  January 2018
CHRISTMAS & EPIPHANY SEASONS

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EPIPHANY – A Season of Great Joy

In the Western churches, the Epiphany (‘manifestation’) became an occasion to celebrate one element in the story of Christ’s birth, the visit of the far-travelled magi, understood as the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. Matthew’s account speaks simply of ‘wise men from the east’; later tradition fixed their number at three, made them kings and recalled their resonant names – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. In this perspective, Epiphanytide is an apt season to pray for the worldwide mission of the Church. The feast of the Conversion of St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, appropriately falls in the Epiphany season, as does the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the Eastern churches, the Epiphany is, rather, the celebration of Christ’s baptism at the hands of John, when the heavens were opened and a voice from heaven declared Jesus to be God’s beloved Son. The miracle of Cana in Galilee, where Jesus ‘first manifested his glory’, follows immediately:

Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme;
and at Cana wedding-guest
in thy Godhead manifest.

(Christopher Wordsworth)

The season of joyful celebration that begins at Christmas now continues through the successive Sundays of Epiphany, and the festal cycle ends only with the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas). The child who has been manifested to the magi at his birth is now recognized by Simeon and Anna, when he comes to be presented in the Temple according to the Law of Israel. He is both ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles’ and ‘the glory of God’s people Israel’. But the redemption he will bring must be won through suffering; the Incarnation is directed to the Passion; and Simeon’s final words move our attention away from the celebration of Christmas and towards the mysteries of Easter.

Prayers in Epiphany

At Epiphanytide we pray for:

  • The unity of the Church
  • The peace of the world
  •  The healing of the sick
  •  The revelation of Christ to those from whom his glory is hidden
  •  All who travel

An Epiphany Prayer:

From the rising of the sun to its setting, let us pray to the Lord.

That the people of God in all the world
may worship in spirit and in truth,
let us pray to the Lord: R

That the Church may discover again that unity which
is the Father’s will,
let us pray to the Lord: R

That the nations of the earth
may seek after the ways that make for peace,
let us pray to the Lord: R

That the whole creation, groaning in travail,
may be set free to enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God,
let us pray to the Lord: R

That all who with Christ have entered the shadow of death
may rest in peace and rise in glory,
let us pray to the Lord: R

Let us commend the world, to which Christ showed the way,
to the mercy and protection of God.

R =
Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer

The Epiphany Collect

O God,
who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
mercifully grant that we,
who know you now by faith,
may at last behold your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

OTHER TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY!

News from the Parish of St Mary and All Saints, Droxford

St Mary and All Saints, the Church in Droxford, has at last been given permission, both by Winchester City Council and the Church of England, to build the extension on the north side of the Church to house a much-needed kitchen and toilets. This is the culmination of five years of hard work by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and Friends of Droxford Church (FODC).

The first task we faced was to save the Church, which was in danger of being closed and mothballed. An intense campaign of fundraising was undertaken, and the result was spectacular, over £250,000 was raised, largely from a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).  These funds have enabled the Church to be saved and repairs to the roof, tower, eastern walls and drains were completed last year.

An integral commitment in the successful HLF application was the promise of a community room to make the Church accessible to the wider community in Droxford.  The north chapel has already been prepared for transformation into a community room. Do look at the stylish glass screens, if you have not seen them yet – you can start to see the potential of the whole space.

Now, we turn our focus towards building an extension on the North side of the church to house the kitchen, office and toilets.

Fundraising for building this extension has already started, and we have funding pledged by a number of bodies and institutions including HLF, Hampshire County Council and South Downs National Park Authority. We are over half way to the funds we need, but we are not there yet, and need every bit of help from the community we can get.

Please help support this very worthwhile cause. A community room which can be used by individuals, clubs and even as a pop-up cafe will be a tremendous asset to the village, and the new facilities will enable our church to welcome worshippers and visitors alike as they and we would expect in the 21st Century.

You can help by participating in fund raising events which will be rolled out in 2018. Or by a straight donation through the FODC`s website (www.friendsofdroxfordchurch.org.uk) .  We would welcome any suggestions for fund-raising events – especially ideas and volunteers to help organise them:  please contact one of our Churchwardens, Ann Symes (ann.symes@btinternet.com) or Sheila Matthissen (sheila-s-j@hotmail.co.uk) if you can help.

To keep up-to-date, please sign up for on the form on the back of this flyer and return it to me, or one of the Church Wardens. This flyer can also be downloaded from the this link so you can email it to me or a Church Warden.

Thank you in advance. I hope you enjoy all the Christmas Celebrations, too.

With the Season’s greetings, the hope of a joyous Christmas and and my prayers for you and for those you love for the New Year.

The Rev’d Tony Forrest

Rector

The Rectory, Rectory Lane, Meonstoke. SO32 3NF 01489 877422 rector@meonbridge.onmicrosoft.com

 

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Hackney and Bishop’s Waltham Deaneries Link

For many years the Deanery has collected food and clothes for a variety of church needs in Hackney to be taken up in December. Earlier this year our friends in Hackney told us that they now have built up their local contacts including food collections in their local Waitrose and several Schools so that they no longer need distance support. They have asked us to convey their warm thanks for our help over the years. Because of this there will be no collection of food and clothes for Hackney this Autumn. We shall still be grateful for any gifts of money which can be made payable to Bishop’s Waltham Deanery and will support our seven partners including the Winter Night Shelter. We will hope to meet our partners again during a Walk of Prayer probably in August next year. Norman Chatfield.

Meon Valley Food Bank – PLEASE HELP

A very Big ‘Thank You’ for all your kind donations,

MVFB have been able to help a further 58 people over the first couple of weeks of December which would not be possible without all your support.

1275 people have now been given food since our opening in February 2015.

Being able to support our local people who are at ‘Financial Crisis Point’ with the provision of food is such a wonderful testimony to our local churches and Community.

The items needed for the coming week are UHT Long Life Milk, tinned peas/carrots, long-life fruit juice/squash and tinned fruit.

THANK YOUs

Toys–Thank you for all the wonderful toys collected for children who will spend Christmas in a refuge and away from home. Together with Meonstoke School you have made an outstanding collection for children who would have very little this Christmas. Know you have brought joy and cheer to a child who may not have much to smile about.

Pipers – Thank you to FOSACC for enabling us to celebrate St Andrew’s Day with pipers once more.

Faculty – Thank you to all those involved in securing the granting of the Faculty for the Extension to Droxford Church by the Chancellor. This has been a gargantuan task over years and months. Well done!

Flowers, Cribs and Decorations: A huge vote of thanks from us all to all those who have arranged flowers throughout the year, but especially for Christmas, to those who have faithfully cleaned and decorated the churches and who have set up the cribs.

THANK YOU ALL

Happy New Year.
God bless you and all those you love.

 

 

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