Church update – December

The Vicar writes: Sing Silent Night – marking the centenary of the 1914 Christmas Truce

At Christmas in 1914 the guns fell silent and troops began to sing.  The much-loved carol Silent Night rang out and troops ventured into No Man’s Land to exchange gifts – some even played football.  This Christmas in football stadia, schools, churches and wherever people sing carols, Silent Night will be sung again as football fans, churchgoers and whole communities are invited to reflect on the losses of war and the lasting peace and reconciliation Jesus offers.  The Silent Night Carols initiative, which has the backing of Prince William, President of the Football Association, and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, is being co-ordinated by HOPE and Sports Chaplaincy as part of HOPE’s Greater Love Campaign.  A new verse and chorus has been commissioned for the carol and a free programme with the words of 10 favourite carols is being published in partnership with Tearfund for the Silent Night Carols event.  In the programme’s introduction Prince William invites carol singers to take inspiration from the 1914 truce and to build bridges of friendship.  The Archbishop of Canterbury also takes up the theme of reconciliation saying: “We are invited to leave our defended positions and meet those we might consider to be our enemies, exchange greetings, make peace and sing carols.  We do this not because of the actions of those soldiers 100 years ago, but because of the actions of God over 2000 years ago as he came to us, at great cost, to bring reconciliation and peace, joy and hope, life and light.  And he came to us not just to bring change for one day, but for the whole of our lives.”

Christian denominations, military chaplaincies and a wide range of Christian organisations have collaborated to produce resources for Silent Night Carols.  A TV documentary about the carol is to feature the new version and some cathedral choirs are planning to include it in their Christmas carols programme.  Music scores for the new version of the carol can be downloaded here . Roy Crowne, HOPE’s director says: “We are thrilled that Silent Night Carols events are to take place in premier league stadiums and cathedrals as well as non-league clubs and village churches.  The new chorus for the carol says ‘Peace and hope have come, through Jesus Christ the Son’.  We are praying that churches all over the country will take this unique opportunity, building on the rhythm of mission through the year to, to introduce people to Jesus so that they can find lasting hope.  Every church does something special at Christmas, this year let’s make sure everyone who joins us for our Christmas events has an opportunity to take the next step to becoming a follower of Jesus.”  So come along to a carol service or our Christmas communions and celebrate the birth of the King of Kings.  Blessings to you all, Ian (Rev Canon I Greenhalgh)

All change at Austwick village shop and post office

The owners of Austwick village shop and post office have retired and have been treated to a surprise party by the communities whcih they have served.  Popular couple Christine and John Hooley were at the counter at Crossleigh stores in the village for nearly ten years.  At the surprise party in the village hall, Rev Ian Greenhalgh vicar of Austwick commended the couple for their hard work and dedicated service to the village and the surrounding communities of Eldroth and Lawkland.  “John and Christine have always been cheerful and welcoming” Mr Greenhalgh said.  “They have been at the very heart of things and have been trusted friends to so many of us.”  Over 120 people attended the party, with many others sending best wishes.  A funny and touching ditty written especially for the occasion ended in a heartfelt toast from all present.  The pair were given a generous cheque as well as other gifts, and a huge handmade card featuring an illustration of the shop.

John and Christine came to Austwick over nine and a half years ago from Warrington after a career in banking.  “We have been privileged to serve the people of Austwick.  It’s been great fun and rewarding and we have made friends for life here” Christine said.  “It has been more of a lifestyle than a job for us both, but we have really enjoyed being involved in the community so much.”  They will continue to live in Feizor and plan to enjoy more time with their grandchildren as well as take a holiday for the first time in over a year!  New onwers Mike, Sue and Beth Lowe have moved up from Sussex to take on the thriving business.

Eldroth news

The Nativity Play at Eldroth this year is a what if sort of theme, showing just how miraculous the Christmas story is.  Written, produced and performed by people from Eldroth and Lawkland, it will take place in the church on Sunday 21 December at 7pm.  Several local farmers will inevitable be type-cast as shepherds but we might struggle to find many wise people again this year!  Mulled wine and mince pies will be served to add to the seasonal atmosphere.

Eldroth church has some Christmas cards for sale featuring lovely photos of the church.  They cost 50p each or £3mfor a pack of six.  Please contact Avril airey 015242 51221;  all proceeds in aid of the church.

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