Weekly Update – 23rd & 30th Jan
In 1908 a catholic priest, Fr Paul Wattson, proposed a new initiative within the Roman Catholic Church called ‘The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ (WPCU). Since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948, many other Christian denominations around the world have come to celebrate the WPCU between the 18th and 25th January each year.
As you receive this, we are in the middle of the 2022 WPCU. Each year different churches from around the world provide resources that can be used during the week for prayer and reflection – this year it is the turn of the churches of the Middle East, and you can access those resources here;
They have based their reflections on the Epiphany story of the coming of the wise men, Magi, to visit the Christ-child. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago in relation to the gifts they bring but I thought it would be worth sharing with you a selection of poignant words from their reflections as follows;
The story of the Magi visiting the Holy Family in Bethlehem is one very familiar to us. The Magi have sometimes been seen as a symbol of the world’s diversity – different religions and cultures – that comes to pay homage to the Christ-child. The story might therefore represent the unity of all created that God desires.
…….. Christians are called to seek the new-born king, the king of gentleness, peace and love. But where is the star that leads the way to him? It is the mission of the Church to be the star that lights the way to Christ who is the light of the world. By word and through action the Christian people are called to light the way so that Christ might be revealed, once again, to the nations.
The Covid-19 global pandemic; the economic crisis that has followed and the failure of political, economic and social structures to protect the weakest and most vulnerable; and the racism that blights our communities have underlined the global need for a light to shine in the darkness.
After encountering the Saviour and worshipping him together, the Magi return to their countries by a different way, having been warned in a dream. The communion we share in our prayer together must inspire us to return to ourselves, our churches and our world by new ways. Serving the Gospel today requires a commitment to humankind, especially the poorest, the weakest and those marginalized. This means churches need to cooperate to provide relief to the afflicted, to welcome the displaced, to relieve the burdened, and to build a just and honest society. This is a call for churches to work together so that we can all build a good future according to God’s heart, a future in which all human beings can experience life, peace, justice, and love.
I would like to thank all those that put in so much time and energy in the provision of various activities over the Christmas period. This is with particular reference to the Christmas Market which presented the additional challenges of keeping everything Covid safe – I am pleased to say that £2389 was raised to aid church funds.
I would also like to express my thanks to David & Margaret for their efforts with the Christmas Card scheme that raised £120 for the charity Water Aid.
Following on from the government announcement this week of the removal of ‘Plan B’ Covid restrictions from the 26th January. In accordance with these changes the requirement to wear face coverings in church will end after that date, although individuals are welcome to continue to wear one if they wish to do so.
There isn’t going to be an update for next week as I will be away so please don’t worry if you think you’ve missed something.