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HELLO FROM JEREMY Dear Friends, Sometimes it is all too easy to look at Christmas with nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles, especially for us adults, in that almost Monty Python like style. “When we were children, Christmas was all so much simpler and we were happy to get an orange and some nuts, and the other presents we got were always a bonus, it always snowed, and everyone was happy and never rowed or got stressed out…”. Indeed I remember going to visit a parishioner in an old people’s home who told me just that!! But in truth it was never fully like that and it is easy to get carried away by the nostalgia of Christmas and it should not be forgotten that for some the memories are painful and sad. And it can’t have been easy or comfortable for Mary and Joseph as they made their hard and uncomfortable journey to an overcrowded and unfamiliar Bethlehem. We are familiar with the privations of the experience, the danger of the travelling and the difficulty in finding suitable accommodation, and then Mary giving birth without the support of her mum, and other closer female relations, which would have been the norm. But due to the Census and having to be in Bethlehem with her husband, Mary is denied this comfort and re-assurance. It must have been both an anxious and frightening experience for her. This year, in our world, there are many who will spend Christmas in the rubble of their homes or in shelters for the homeless and refugee camps, forced to leave their homes because of war or famine or natural disaster. There will be babies born in the same excruciating conditions as Jesus, the Son of God. If it is our happy lot to spend Christmas safe and warm in the loving environment of family and friends, let us rejoice and give thanks, but also remember and offer some of our resources to those whose experience will be one of uncertainty, desperation and fear. But of course Christmas is not just the 25th December, that is only the start of Christmas, and like so many other periods of the Christian year Christmas lasts for 40 days, throughout the season of Epiphany until the feast of Candlemas or the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple which takes place on the 2nd February, and I intend that our Christmas lights will remain until then. I finish with a prayer for the New Year written by Brother John Vockler— “For all the possibilities ahead in this new year make us thankful, O Lord. Give us wisdom, courage, and discernment in the face of so much chaos, despair, and fear. Help us to see how, in our circumstances, we can contribute towards peace, faith and love. And give us the will to translate our desires into actions.” Wishing you and all those you love a very blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year. All my love PRAYER CORNER In a world filled with chaos, we pray because prayer is the antidote to anxiety. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4: 6-7. Please pray— For our government and political leaders, that those who govern may be governed by God’s love. May those who lead be led by God’s directing; and may the whole world come to know its need of God, by making us a caring world, honest in promises, far-sighted in the management of resources, and open-hearted in charitable giving. For all the countries that are going through conflict and political instability; we ask for peace, and that their citizens be free from fear and know stability once more. For all who are affected by natural disasters, from earthquakes, floods, fires, devastating mudslides that destroy homes and livelihoods, putting lives at risk. For all who are struggling financially; for those who are worried about how they will pay their bills, how they will afford to eat, how they will keep their homes warm this winter. For people throughout the world who struggle to get enough food. May God inspire us all to reach out with small acts of love, making a big difference, so that no one goes hungry. For our Christmas services across the Benefice that they will engage and connect with people in a special way and that the light of the Christ-child will be reflected in us to the families who we meet this Christmas. For our Benefice and Parishioners, especially those who are suffering with their health; and the recently bereaved. For our church buildings that funds may be found for their urgent repair.
DISTRIBUTION OF COMMUNION
A Message from Jeremy
At our recent Ministry Team meeting we had a very long discussion about the ongoing distribution of Communion within the Benefice, as we are now somewhat unique in still wearing face coverings and giving communion in only one kind.
What we are proposing is that from Sunday 1st October we will go back to the pre-covid system of having the priest distributing the bread and a communion assistant offering the chalice.
However, we want to stress that if anyone feels uncomfortable receiving the wine they do not have to, and it is still a full communion if only the bread is consumed.
Also, we do not want communicants to intinct their own wafers in the wine, as in studies from a hygiene perspective this has the potential to spread far more germs than sharing a common cup.
If, at the end of communion, any of the Clergy feel uncomfortable with consuming the wine from the chalice after it has been shared by members of the congregation, it is theologically acceptable to pour the remains of the wine to the ground, either using the piscina in the churches that have one or pouring it to ground outside somewhere on the consecrated land.
I have also requested that if any members of the Ministry Team (or servers) contract a cold, and cannot find someone to take their place, they should wear a face covering when they come anywhere near the communion elements; and that, at all times, both Clergy and those administering the chalice must adhere to strict hand hygiene and continue to use sanitiser.
I hope this all makes sense, and that we will be able to make a smooth transition in our communion practice. Obviously, we will also monitor the public health situation with regards to Covid 19 in North Norfolk, and at any time, if necessary, will be prepared to change what we do.
SAFEGUARDING, HELP AND ADVICE
Safeguarding means protecting the health, wellbeing and human rights of children and adults at risk of, or experiencing, emotional, psychological, physical or spiritual harm and/or neglect.
Safeguarding means enabling those who are affected to live safely, free from any kind of abuse or neglect. It is about people and organizations working together to prevent and reduce both the risks and actual experience of abuse in all of its forms.
We take safeguarding very seriously, at all of the Benefice Churches and care about all those we seek to serve within our churches and our communities.
We conform to the policy of Norwich Diocese which can be found at https://www.dioceseofnorwich.org/about/safeguarding
If you believe that either yourself or someone you know may be at risk of harm or neglect, please contact the Benefice Safeguarding Officer Rev. Paul Yeomans 07437203535 to discuss your concerns and what the next steps might be.
Alternatively, you may contact the Norwich Diocese Safeguarding Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on: 01603 882345.
If you yourself or someone you know is in immediate danger of being harmed then please call 999 to be advised by the emergency services.