Welcome

REFLECTIONS  FROM THE RECTORY 

Reverend Robert ThewseyDear friends

I can hardly believe that Christmas is almost upon us – my desk currently has Advent services and Carol services all over it, and hopefully in the next few days I will finally put together all the services planned for this special time of year. I would urge you all to look at the calendar in this issue so that you do not miss any of the opportunities that each of our churches offer during this Christmas season – and why not bring along a friend to a service, they might just enjoy it.

Remembrance Sunday saw services around the Benefice, and amazingly the torrential rain that we had had all week stopped and we were able to continue our acts of remembrance in the dry, with many locals joining the services at the War Memorials in Dunsden and Shiplake. I always find these services deeply moving, especially when the names of the fallen are read out and the last post is sounded. All our communities were at the time of the first and second World Wars actually very small communities and the number of people who gave their lives for the freedom of their country is quite staggering, even in today’s larger villages to lose so many young people would be devastating. Let us thank God for their sacrifice and let us not forget our past so that we may truly go forward into the future to seek peace and pursue it.

A prayer from USPG:

God, our refuge and strength
bring near the day when wars shall cease
and poverty and pain shall end,
that earth may know the peace of heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Looking forward to Christmas there are many services that I would encourage you
to come to and I would like to highlight three, one from each of our beautiful
churches.
Harpsden – 9 lessons and carols, a lovely service with the choir signing
magnificently and congregational carols for all to join in. This is on Sunday 15th
December at 6pm.
Dunsden – Carol Service, with hand bells and carol singing followed by lovely
refreshments in the beautifully redecorated Dunsden Church – again Sunday 15th
December but at 11am – please note that there is no service at Shiplake on the 15th
as we are trying to encourage as many people as possible to come to our special
services.
Shiplake – Saturday 14th December, 11am and 4pm – the Benefice Live Nativity. A
service/celebration for all the family. Lots of dressing up – we have many costumes,
including this year several camels!! Lots of refreshments provided by Shiplake
College, and the service itself is in candlelight – last year we had over 200 candles lit
in the church to create a truly amazing atmosphere. This event is particularly
suitable for people of ALL ages, children, elderly, all are very welcome.

There will be at the back of church from Advent Sunday a hard copy of next years
diary of services which I would encourage you to take and make a note of all the
activities and event that go on in this amazing benefice. I would also encourage you
to try something new next year – there are lots to choose from, and if you do not
come to these services/event how do you know that you do not like them? and if you
came to a new event last year and enjoyed it them please do tell others and bring
them along.

May I wish you all a very Blessed and Peaceful Christmas and New Year.
Yours in Christ
Robert


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