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Parish Magazine Letters from 2014
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STAPLEHURST PARISH MAGAZINE is far more than just a Church Magazine; it contains a lot of information about a wide range of organisations, activities and events of general interest in the village. It also carries advertisements for many of the local tradesmen and businesses.
All this for just £1.00 per month (or £11.00 per year).
In a village appraisal the Magazine was voted the best source of information available in the village, which is probably why around half the households in the village already subscribe.
For a complimentary copy of Staplehurst Parish Magazine, totally without obligation, contact Sue de St Jorre on (01580) 893922 or Email: Sue de St Jorre
We are confident that you will be impressed!
Sue de St Jorre (Distribution)The Magazine Committee
LETTER FROM THE READER
The actress, Dawn French, is a lady who just exudes confidence. But it was not always so. In a newspaper article I read a while ago, when she was 14 and teased mercilessly at school, Dawn's father took her aside and told her she was uncommonly beautiful, the most precious thing in his life and that he prized her above everything and was so proud to be her father!
Those words deeply affected the way Dawn thought about herself for the rest of her life. She no longer saw herself as a short, fat girl who couldn't get a boyfriend. Instead she was secure in the knowledge that she was loved for who she was, not for what she thought she looked like. Those words, backed up by actions, of course, gave her the feeling of being loved and supported which equipped her for the trials of life.
Mothering Sunday is on the 30th March. It is a time to thank our mothers, especially, for their love and care which has had such an influence in making us the people we are today. As a parent myself, it is also a reminder of the importance of that role.
Parenting is much in the news. Everyone agrees how important it is for children to grow up in a happy, secure and loving home environment. Our words can have such an influence - a power to crush or to build up. In today's busy world, it is quite easy to get into the habit of being negative and critical, especially if we are feeling stressed and inadequate ourselves. Prof. John Gottmann tells us that for every critical comment from their parents, children need at least five positive comments!
Mothering Sunday is a reminder of how much we owe to our parents, especially for their love. And love is often expressed in words, and words have a power, for good or bad. What we say to our children, and indeed partners and friends, is likely to stick in their memory and affect the way they see themselves, as it did for Dawn French. This should be a source of reassurance and comfort, because they feel loved.
God is the “ultimate parent” who shows us the way, affirming His Son Jesus, (and through Him us, His children!) with those famous words:
“You are my beloved child, with you I am well pleased!”
What a difference a few words of appreciation can make!
SonjaBack to Top
On February 2nd, which is Candlemas, we close the Christmas season. The crib will be removed from the Church and, this year, there is a period of just over four weeks before the season of Lent begins.
Candlemas is also known as the Presentation in the Temple of Jesus by his parents. This was to give thanks for His safe birth and to offer Him to do God's work.
Many parents now-a-days bring their children to Church to present them to God and ask His blessing on their lives. Our service is called Baptism, or Christening. The child is anointed with oil which has been blessed, has holy water poured gently on their head and is given their Christian name. A candle is lit to symbolise Jesus as the Light of the World ---- a light to follow in His Way throughout the life of the child. Of course, without the positive help and guidance of their parents, Godparents, relations, schools and everyone else with whom they come into contact, life could be very difficult. Let Jesus be our guide, our leader, our strength and comfort as we welcome and guide these children in all that is right.
A poem by a five year old:-
“Look what I have found, snowdrops in the ground.
May we all receive God's blessing.
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PLOUGH THE GROUNDS OF YOUR HEART
Happy New Year Everybody.
One of my most joyful Christmas presents was when a young boy at school said that he enjoyed the quiet time (prayer time) during my assemblies. Children do like quiet time!! I think we all like quiet time or better time to reflect. To reflect helps us to make the right decisions. No doubt this New Year will ask us again to make many decisions.
One familiar story we often hear this time of the year is the Parable of ‘The sower and the seed’. If you would like to read the story you can find it in the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 13 verses 1-23. In this story Jesus explains to his farming friends in farming terms what is necessary to harvest the kingdom of God. He spoke of a farmer who sowed seed.
He said to them:
People had to persist in asking Jesus for the meaning and then meditated on his stories to gain understanding. Like the people of old, like the children at Staplehurst Primary school, so can we enjoy quiet time to reflect and pray to ask Jesus to help us to understand the meaning of life by reflecting on his stories. When we meditate on them and allow the meaning to grow up as a seed in our hearts, we will be able to harvest the fruit of the Spirits, which are Joy, peace and love.
This year provides wonderful opportunities and one is at our special Plough Sunday Service on Sunday, 12th January 2014, 10.00am at All Saints Church.
For the New Year I wish joy, peace and love
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CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE READER
As I write this letter, I can hardly believe that we are heading for the season of Advent, and Christmas will soon be round the corner. Christmas is a time when we often sit around with family and friends telling stories and remembering times past. Many of us have Christmas family traditions such as making the cake or the puddings together. We enjoy telling stories of how things used to be. It is good to share memories and recollections, to make people smile and to maintain some of the family traditions.
However I wonder how many of us feel as compelled to share the story of the true meaning of Christmas with our family and friends. That amazing story of how God came to live among us in human form through the birth of a baby to parents who enjoyed none of life's advantages, who lived a basic life in a remote town, and whose very existence relied on the support and love of their relatives and community. In many ways it is a very simple story and yet it has had a profound effect on the world over two millennia. It is a story that generates deep faith in some, hostile rejection in others; it is a story that initiates complicated and intense theological debate, yet brings peace and comfort to many who are unable to even read or write. It is a story though that can actually be quite hard to tell, so what are we to do?
Well sometimes stories don't always need to be told in words. This Christmas why not think about how you can share the message of the Christmas story through actions. The cards you send - will they contain a brief message pertaining to the story of Jesus' birth? The presents you give - perhaps you might consider ethical gifts, gifts bought from a charity that works with communities overseas to bring peace or with individuals at home to bring sustenance and independent living? Could you invite a neighbour or a lonely person to share your Christmas dinner or offer a cup of tea and some cake and a listening ear for an hour or two over the Christmas period? Christmas is the opening chapter of a story about a loving and gracious God who gave everything he could to understand us, to empathise with us and to show us how much he cares. The greatest way in which we can share that story is by living it and not just retelling it.
May you, and all those whom you love and care for, have a very happy and meaningful Christmas, and a peaceful New Year.
SonjaBack to Top
If you would like to look at previous Clergy Letters see below: