Dear Friends, it’s almost December again, my favourite month of the year. There is so much to love about this season of the year, all wrapped around the Christmas theme. Mostly we make a special effort to meet and communicate with friends and family so that we can share the happiness of the season. We all bustle around in the busyness of the season, buying Christmas presents and cards. And stocking up on the traditional food stuffs that only seem to appear at Christmas, turkeys with all their trimmings, Christmas puddings, cakes and minced pies, everything Christmassy which is already in the shops trying to tempt us. But why do we celebrate? The reason often gets lost in the thrilling mayhem. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of Mary and placed in a manger among the animals, and cared for by Joseph her husband. They brought him up teaching him that not only was he divine, but also to be of earthly human nature. To celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the churches of: St James, High Wych. St Mary, Gilston and St Botolph, Eastwick, will be holding seasonal services of Community Carols and the ever popular Christingle and Crib service, plus Midnight Mass at St James. Details and dates are advertised in the magazine. If you always attend, good, we look forward to seeing you, or if this is new to you, please come, you will be made very welcome. There is another side to December, there are many people who are not in a position to enjoy the season as most of us do, they have no home or income and for them the Christmas season brings cold, hunger and uncertainty. But there is some comfort on offer at Holy Trinity Winter Night Shelter in Bishops Stortford. They provide a safe sleeping space, a hot meal, a shower, laundry facilities, breakfast and a place to come during the daytime. Staffing this is all done by volunteers, and they need our help. (there is a separate page about Holy Trinity’s work). A group from St. James Church go out each Christmas time and sing carols in the local villages public houses, this year we are singing for the night shelter, it is a little help from us and we will be looking if there is more we can do. I ask you to look at the web site of Holy Trinity Church and see what wonderful caring work they are doing. Changing the subject entirely, I am pleased to tell you that the Diocese of St Albans has appointed a short term priest of 18 months, while they consider the best way forward to accommodate the needs of Gilston Park Estate, so in January we will be joined by our past priest Wendy Carter, I am sure we will all make her very welcome back into our villages. I wish you all God’s blessing, a very happy, peaceful and loving Christmas, and please give a thought to the child whose birth we are celebrating. Joy (Reader)
I am sitting writing this letter in early October. It was cold this morning when I got up at just about dawn, but surprisingly warm by lunch time when I was gardening. Now I am looking out of the window at the bird feeders – sometimes full of jostling tits, both great and blue, the occasional nuthatch, robins and sparrows waiting for the crumbs underneath. Sometimes there seem to be no birds.
By the time that you read this letter it will be even more obvious that November is on its way, with its early darkness and short days. One thought seems to come to mind –the need to treasure each moment of the light. Life has its dark times, but God does provide glimpses of His goodness during those dark times. Perhaps it is a glowing sunny day or perhaps it is a kindly offer of help. Perhaps it is someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. Each a moment to accept with gratitude, and to remember when we feel low.
November also brings a time of communal sadness. Remembrance Sunday Nov 12th.
The day when we meet together to bring to mind those who have died in war or those who have lived and died in the service of mankind. For some of you these memories are personal. For all of us they are times to pause and reflect. Times to pray for peace and the horrors of war.
Please join as at 10.45 am at one of the war memorials in High Wych, or Gilston (Pye Corner), or Eastwick.
It is a long time since I last wrote a letter in the Link. This task, or should I say privilege, only falls to Readers when we have no priest. Writing again has made me think of the changes in the village since I first came here. More houses some in full view from the main roads, some tucked into corners between exiting dwellings. More and bigger cars on the roads and they seem to be driving faster. I find myself more concerned about safety when walking along the lanes.
But it is the people whom you used to seeing as you walked down to the shop, the village hall or the Church. The people who are no longer with us. Some who have moved elsewhere and some who have departed this life. All missed in some way by those who live here, and very much more missed by their families and close friends.
It is these people that we remember at the All Souls Service on November 5th in St James Church. You are all welcome to this quiet reflective service.
On a more cheerful note I would like to thank past contributors to the Link for their articles on the history of the village and its inhabitants. I would also like to thank contributors to the Gilston and Eastwick magazine.
May I take this opportunity to welcome the new editor of the Link, Ali Geller. May the Link flourish under her care.
Wishing you all a peaceable and enjoyable November.
May God bless you. Judith. (Reader)