Vicar’s Letter Christmas and New Year 2017/18

Like many churches we have a wonderful nativity set – lovingly made by some of the women in our church – and we are just getting it ready.

This year in Madeley the Mary and Joseph figures from our Crib scene are going on a journey! During Advent they will be travelling around the parish and spending a night in many different homes.

We hope the children will really enjoy opening their homes to Mary and Joseph, taking a picture of themselves with the figures and writing a diary about what happened on their visit.

As part of the visit we ask each family to read the story of Mary and Joseph’s original journey to Bethlehem – some 60 miles.  Mary, of course was heavily pregnant and having to travel because of the census – forcing them to journey at an unimaginably bad time.

And as Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, the town was so heaving with visitors that the only place they could stay was where the animals lived.

Which is why at Betley Court Farm on Christmas Eve (thanks to the kind invitation of Frank and Jayne Speed) we will be holding a Farmyard Crib Service at 2.30pm IN THE LAMBING SHED and surrounded by animals – to which you are warmly invited – please come warmly dressed and DON’T FORGET YOUR WELLIES! Our Madeley Crib Service is later the same afternoon, at 4.30pm in Church.

But the Crib Service isn’t just a reminder of the first Christmas but also highlights that even today there are people like the Holy family who are a long way from home and desperately looking for a safe place to stay – and as such are vulnerable and in danger.

The Christmas story is a vital reminder of God coming to us – to you and to me and especially to all those who struggle and suffer and who need help. It’s not just an amazing story but one packed with love and compassion and challenge – the challenge to live generous and supportive lives.

May you and your family know the joy and peace and purpose of Immanuel: God with us.

Peter Chantry

About Stephen

Lay Chair of All Saints’ Church Council and Treasurer. Retired Head of University Secretariat at Keele, Secretary of North Staffs Classical Association, Secretary of North Shropshire CLP, former Woore Parish Councillor, & now Vice-Chairman of Woore Neighbourhood Plan Team.

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