Nor Lye News Monthly Article
January 2020 Article for Nor’Lye News
Firstly, let me wish you a very Happy New Year. But not only is it a new year but the beginning of a new decade. I hope that we can make a fresh start in which we can rebuild a different and more cohesive way of being community, of being a nation; and way of dealing with people that expresses much more positive messages. 2019 has rather highlighted some of the negative aspects of human lives – through expressing hurtful comments to others across social media, in public life and in our dealings with others.
We have had a somewhat strange few years and we need to really begin to take stock of some important decisions for our nation and internationally. We need to think about what we see as important about being a country – what makes us distinctly British. In schools, across the country all children are taught the 5 `British Values’. The Government decided that what was distinctive about the UK were: democracy – the rule of law – mutual respect – individual liberty and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. All good values to have and live under that have helped to shape our lives; although I’m not certain that they are distinctly British and many other countries would be able to agree that they shared the same values.
The problem arises when part of our society, whether individuals, groups or even the institutions of state break these rules for their own ends. When the lives of the many are shaped and threatened by the few. Whether that is as victims of crime, terrorism, politicians or state employees at all levels bending rules for their own ends. We need to begin this decade with a sense of hope for the future. Whether that is a desire to do something about the threat to our own lives and future generations on Earth, to live more cohesive lives shaped by a willingness to be kinder to others, to be willing to work for the good of others across our communities.
I was heartened by the theme of the school Christmas Service – the children worked on different aspects of thinking of those who are usually forgotten – the old, bereaved, homeless, lonely, sick, the refugees and the poor. Christ came into the world to show us a different way of behaving that involved serving others particularly those who were outsiders. If we could all just undertake one additional act of kindness every week then just think of the impact this would have within the area and the great difference it would make in uniting this country after the last few years of division.
Now as we celebrate the beginning of the New Year let us be open and willing to live new lives that make a real difference.
I hope that 2020 will be a peaceful year for you all.
Nor’Lye News December 2019
We are now at the beginning of Advent; a time of preparation before the celebration of Christmas. But far from being a time of quiet preparation and reflection we are faced with a General Election. The last three ½ years often being a time of national uncertainty and division, while most of the population have just got on with normal everyday life. Advent is a good time to try and reflect on what is important – what should and does give your life greater depth and meaning. We can get caught up into a period of frenzied activity as we try to create a `perfect’ Christmas and buy into an image portrayed in films and advertising for it all to turn into a nightmare of family arguments and disappointment.
Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus – God’s gift to the world, a gift that revealed how much God cared for each and everyone of us. During your Christmas celebrations do spare a thought for the reason we are celebrating – you would be very welcome to come and give thanks at one of our services or to come and use the `Experience Christmas’ reflective prayer stations that will be up in church during Advent and Christmas. It is hoped that they will help you prepare for Christmas and to think, prayerfully and thankfully, about celebrating Jesus’ birth.
As we prepare for the season of goodwill, we are collecting goods for the Besom food bank. They use the goods to support local families and individuals who have little of nothing. If you would like to help support local people in need there is a collection point in church all year round.
Shortly, we will be delivering the church Christmas cards around the parish. They contain information about all the special Christmas services. I would particularly like to draw your attention to the Carols by Candlelight on Sunday 22nd at 6.30pm, the Christingle Service at 4pm on Christmas Eve, the Midnight Communion beginning at 11.15pm and the 10am Christmas Morning communion. During December the Mary and Joseph Posada figures will again be touring the parish, before arriving at church during the Christingle service. If you would like the nativity figures to stay a night in your home then – please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you can take the time to join us at one of the services to thank God for the most wonderful gift of Love, JESUS. I would like to wish you a very Happy Christmas.
Nor’Lye article - November 2019
Over the last couple of weeks, while the village has been divided by the work on the sewer at the top of Common Road it has given us all a reminder of the difficulties that can be caused by such division. For us it has been about the rerouting of the buses and the extra time needed to get through North Leigh or the extra traffic on Windmill Road. But it is also a reminder of the difficulties caused by division between people. This month, we will again be remembering the great loss of life caused by conflict during the last hundred years – this year marks the centenary of the first Remembrance Day. But, far from learning from our past, we seem destined to repeat the same mistakes of being in conflict with others. Our disagreements may not always lead to actual war but we are often so fixed in our opinions that we cannot see other peoples’ side and feel that `all right-minded’ people must agree with us.
Unfortunately, we are witnessing this in our public life. Politicians, berating each other and not listening to different opinions. A couple of years ago, the Government decided, in order to help combat extremism, that all schools needed to teach the 5 British Values. These are: democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect, individual liberty and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. Values with which everyone could agree but as has been demonstrated don’t always follow. We need to put away our differences – and learn to live together in harmony. Teaching our children and young people to follow and respect these values while acting in opposition to them does not lead to a cohesive community.
We need to work together and not put up barriers between us but try to live in peace with those around us. As we enter this month of Remembrance and the lead up to the season of peace and goodwill, let us try to build that sense of community where we can live in harmony with those who have different beliefs, different ways of behaving, different opinions and remember that we are all children of God, who loves each one of us and wants us to be a people of peace.
During our Advent Café Church (on 1st December at 10am in the Turner Hall), we are again beginning a Posada procession around the Parish of North Leigh. The figures of Mary, Joseph and the donkey will travel from house to house, staying the night with different people as we prepare to commemorate and proclaim the imminent arrival of Jesus. The figures will then be brought to church on Christmas Eve for the 4pm Christingle Service where they will be placed in the crib. There will be more details later this month on the church website.
We do hope that different families will be pleased to look after Mary and Joseph for a night and would ask if you could email our church office at email@example.com with your details and available nights so that we can draw up a suitable route.
Nor’Lye article – October 2019
During Autumn the church celebrates creation and harvest – a time when we give thanks for the annual harvest and all God’s gifts. The non-perishable food and other donations that we receive are forwarded to Besom in Witney. They help to support many families in the West Oxfordshire area with parcels that consist of about three days of food.
Living in West Oxfordshire it sometimes seems hard to imagine that there are many homeless people or families in need but it is often in the leafiest rural areas, where poverty and hardship are less visible, that many struggle and may not find it easy to ask for help. Jesus, in Matthew’s Gospel, (Matt 25:35-40) tells his disciples to look after the hungry, poor and those in hospital and that when we do that we are serving God. If you would like to help we keep a box in North Leigh Church in which food donations can be left at any time and will be regularly passed on to Besom. They are also happy to receive items of furniture, bedding and kitchen utensils in good condition too.
Autumn is also a time when we remember loved ones and we are again holding our special service at which we remember those who have died, and give thanks for all that they meant to us and pray for those who are grieving. Losing a loved one is the most painful experience and we are often left with a sense of things left unsaid, as well as a huge hole that is left in our own lives. Our `Remembering with Love’ service, will be held on Sunday 3rd November at 6pm and will provide an opportunity to remember our loved ones during a gentle service of words, and music. Everyone who wants to remember a loved one, whether they died recently or many years ago, is welcome to come along to this service.
I would also like to extend an invitation to our Seniors’ Lunch and Tea Club. This meets monthly from 12 noon to 4pm on a Wednesday in the Turner Hall. This is a time for a wonderful lunch (special diets can be catered for), conversation, and some activities; including quizzes, sharing memories, special visitors etc. If you would like to know more or need transport to the club then please contact Rachael Jarvie, 869195 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Gill Fettes 882237 (email@example.com) or myself. The next lunches are on 23rd October, and 20th November.
Please join us at 10am in North Leigh School on Sunday 6th October for our Café Church and the blessing of the new classrooms with an opportunity to see what is happening in the school – there will be coffee and croissants available.