It is really illogical to regard a single date as a new start, but we do, most of us, think of New Year in that way. The church's calendar supports this as, during the first few months of the year, we shall be recalling our Lord's baptism and then his presentation in the Temple. The latter was rather more like the way families use baptism today, the time when parents brought their babies to church in an act of thanksgiving.
What will 2012 bring? We think we know and may already have booked things like holidays. But in fact, of course, we don't know if we shall be doing any of the things we imagine we will. Even in the 21st Century, life is uncertain. I am sure you know the lines which follow, though perhaps not the concluding couplet.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
'Give me a light that I might tread safely into the unknown!'
And he replied: 'Go out into the darkness
And put your hand into the hand of God!
This shall be to you better than light
And safer than a known way'.
So I went forth, and finding the hand of God
Trod gladly into the night.
The one thing we do know for sure is that Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, God with us. And we can meet him, whenever we choose, at the altar. We can speak to him, whenever we want, in prayer. And he will be with us, what're betide.
Still on time, let me say what a wonderful job Stephen Clapham made of this year's church calendars. The selection of his photos was superb and the result was evidently popular, as we sold out very quickly.
And moving on . . . to the time of your life. A wedding day is always memorable and we have the privilege at Holy Trinity of helping to provide good memories for a large number of couples. If any of the 2011 crop are still reading the magazine, we wish you well as you begin to establish your marriage together. And in the year ahead we currently have around 50 bookings. I am sure that must be record for us, and I know we have one of the largest number of ceremonies in the entire diocese. I hope that the start we give to (mostly) young men and women will help them to avoid the tragedy of divorce, which sadly – after some years of a declining rate – is on the rise again.
All couples will be getting an email or letter from our wedding organiser, Carolyn Gregory, inviting you to three events in the early part of the year.
1st. On Thursday 19th January Richard Taylor and the choir will be performing from their repertoire of wedding music. This takes place at Wentworth Church from 7.00 p.m. and the idea is to help you decide about the music and hymns at your own wedding.
2nd. On either Monday 6th or Wednesday 15th February you can come to an evening at Harley Church (just slightly warmer than Wentworth!). I shall talk about some of the practical things you might want to know as well as about marriage itself. This is a choice; come on either evening, but the content is the same each night. Both events are entirely voluntary.
If I add Jim Gelder, who keeps a fatherly eye on everyone, Chris Hayes, the verger, and Mike Wood, the scribe, that completes the wedding line up. It is very much a team effort, with the admin people, the musicians, and those present on the day, and everyone is a necessary part of it. I am very grateful for all the hard work that you do.
With my very best wishes to all our readers for 2012.