- I praise the Lord who guides me; even in the darkest night He leads me. Ps 16:7
- The Lord says “I will guide you, teach you and watch over you”. Ps 32:8
- Whatever I go through, Your hand can guide me, Your strength can protect me. Ps 139: 7, 10.
From the Sanctuary
“I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now. And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. You are always in my heart!
And so, it is only right for me to feel as I do about you. For you have all shared with me in this privilege that God has given me… God is my witness that I tell the truth when I say that my deep feeling for you all comes from the heart… I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that you will be able to choose what is best… Your lives will be filled with the truly good qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, for the glory and praise of God.”
Although these words are from Philippians 1:3-11 (Good News Translation) and written by St Paul in his epistle to the Philippians, they couldn’t more aptly describe how I feel about the congregation at Dukinfield after the ten years that I have served Dukinfield Moravian Church as Minister. Yes, it has had its challenges. Yes, my ministry has been compromised by my earning my living in secular employment, by my not living locally and by my caring for my elderly father. Yes, there are things that I wish I had done differently and there are some relationships that remain ruptured which I sincerely wish wasn’t the case. But it has genuinely been a privilege and honour to have served the congregation in this ministerial role, to have worked with such an excellent Church committee, and to have served in such a forward-looking congregation. I have met and accompanied some truly wonderful people at some significant times in their lives. We only have to look around at the physical building and Church Garden to symbolically see something of what we have achieved together. Spiritually, it is more difficult to see what impact there has been, as only God will know that. Emotionally, there have been times of precious encounter. But now, just as the year ends and a new year begins, so this decade of my ministry will end, and a new era with new ministers and a new ministry will begin for you. Yes, it will be different. Many things will be better, and some things less so. However, “ I pray that your love will keep on growing more and more, together with true knowledge and perfect judgment, so that you will be able to choose what is best…”
Change always brings uncertainty, just as we don’t know what 2023 will bring. But I ask that the warmth of your welcome and support that you have shown me over ten years will be extended to your new Ministers and to their ministry among you. In the words of St Paul to the Philippians, “I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy because of the way in which you have helped me in the work of the gospel from the very first day until now. And so I am sure that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it on until it is finished on the Day of Christ Jesus. You are always in my heart! And so, it is only right for me to feel as I do about you. For you have all shared with me in this privilege that God has given me…”
You have shared in, and hosted, my ordination as a Deacon and consecration as a Presbyter. You have tolerated my year on the Provincial Board, and I have my Dukinfield scar on my forehead as a physical imprinted reminder of you for the rest of my life (not that I will need that to remind me of you). So, in this last ‘From the Sanctuary’, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your kindness and for the many things you have taught me. ‘Go well’ into the future with God and with each other, knowing that you will always be a part of me and my formation as a Minister.
Wishing you every blessing,
Response from the Editor: I am sure we all feel blessed by Peter’s decade of Ministry at Dukinfield. His help has been spiritual, physical, emotional, and financial. Thank you Peter, from us all. May you walk all your days with God as your guide.
Please try to come along to church on 5th February at 11 a.m. to say your own personal goodbyes to Peter. It will be his last service as our Minister and will include Holy Communion.
On 6th January we celebrate Epiphany – the visit of the Wise Men to the baby Jesus. But who were these Wise Men? No one knows for sure. Matthew calls them ‘Magi’, and that was the name of an ancient caste of a priestly kind from Persia. It wasn’t until the third century that they were called kings – by a church father, Tertullian.
Another church father, Origin, assumed there were three – to correspond with the gifts given. Later Christian interpretation came to understand gold as a symbol of wisdom and wealth, incense as a symbol of worship and sacrifice, and myrrh as a symbol of healing – and even embalming. Certainly Jesus challenged and set aright the way in which the world handled all three of these things. Since the 8th century, the Magi have had the names Balthasar, Caspar and Melchior.
Answers to the Christmas Quiz:
- No Vac Novak became No Match Novak because Novak Djokovic was due to play at the Australian Open but prevented because he had declined a covid vaccination.
- 35 years ago ITV wanted a detective story set within 50 miles of the Midlands to rival BBC’s Agatha Christie stories. They choose to the Morse stories.
- Meatloaf was the rock star who died in January and would do anything for love, but not that.
- It snowed at the Winter Olympics caused problems as the organisers had not expected it.
- Actor and singer Michael Flanders would have celebrated his 100th birthday in March and was one of a duo who wrote the hippopotamus song Mud, mud, and glorious mud.
- Before he entered politics the President of Ukraine was a comedian.
- In May footballer Diego Maradona’s shirt was sold for the record breaking £7.1 million.
- The two places outside the UK that gained city status this year were Ramsey on the Isle of Man and Stanley in the Falklands. Before you google it the Isle of Man is not part of the UK.
- A surprise guest of Her Majesty for tea over the jubilee was Paddington Bear. Paddington was played by Ukrainian President in the Ukrainian language version of the film.
- At the age of nearly 90, Bernard Cribbins published an autobiography looking back on his years in show business in 2018. Its title was Bernard Who? 75 Years of Doing Absolutely Everything.
A Prayer for the New Year
Heir of the promise,
Hope of the years,
You are here.
Help us Lord,
To know that You are there, too,
As You are behind us,
Already in the new moment,
The new day,
The new year.
Help us Lord
To delight in Your company,
To walk Your safe way,
Of Hope for the year
By Daphne Kitching
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