2022 is drawing to a close. And looking back over the last year it’s hard to take in all that has been happening in the life of our church and also the wider life of society. This time last year the Omicron Covid variant was growing at pace and we weren’t even sure if all the Christmas services would be able to take place. This year, such a thought hasn’t really registered with me. A year ago there were growing conversations about what to do with the incredibly generous Ikin bequest we received. Now we have a fantastic new addition to our staff team with Ruth Fish joining us in the summer as our Children, Youth and Families Minister. Our church life is different from a year ago.
Looking more widely into our society and beyond the world feels very different to a year ago. A war in Ukraine has led to the biggest invasion in Europe since WWII. People across the country have welcomed Ukrainian refugees into their homes. We’ve had three Prime Ministers this year. The war in Ukraine, the post-Covid recovery and broader other factors have led to a cost-of-living crisis compounded by what is already being called, “Trussonomics”. And this year we celebrated the Platinum Jubilee and then said a sad goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II in October. The final year of the Second Elizabethan age has been a turbulent one.
Whatever awaits us in 2023 one constant we can rely on is God: God’s presence, God’s love. Whatever the world throws at us over the next 12 months, let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who was born and laid in a manger. Jesus, who lived and died and rose again. Jesus, the Son of God, our saviour. Amen.