REV RICHARD ENGLAND: We’re full of hope at the start of the year

Lots of people visited the live nativity
Lots of people visited the live nativity
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WE had an amazing Advent and Christmas in Holy Rood and St Edmund’s Churches – how about you?

Our churches were packed throughout December for all sorts of events connected with the festive season.

And they all linked in with our Advent theme of hope.

We welcomed the village’s guides, brownies, rainbows, scouts, cubs and beavers, as well as many other families to the Holy Rood Christingle service.

This reminded us that Jesus is the light of the world, using a whole series of unforgettable symbols.

Our live nativity was as popular as ever.

Hundreds of mums, dads and children squeezed into the church to see the familiar story told with real animals and churchgoers dressed as nativity characters.

They saw Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the stable with sheep, donkeys and goats.

They met worshippers dressed as shepherds, angels and kings, who told the nativity story, and they made Christmas-themed crafts.

We also joined in with the carols on the village green.

There was a great turnout, despite the rain, and I was privileged to be able to talk a little about why we celebrate Christmas.

And of course we hosted a variety of carol services, including those for all the local schools.

St Edmund’s hosted two nativity services on Christmas Eve so that everyone who wanted to could get in.

All of it was based around the theme of hope – hope based not on our abilities, but on what God has done and is still doing.

As we discovered on Christmas Day, HOPE stands for

H – How God

O – Offers

P – Peace

E – Every day

We’re often full of hope at the start of a New Year – that it will be a chance for a new start, perhaps if the previous year hasn’t gone to plan.

Fortunately, God’s offer of hope doesn’t change whatever has happened previously.

He offers a fresh start every single day.

We’d love to welcome you to Holy Rood or St Edmund’s churches to see what that could mean for you in 2017.

n Holy Rood Church is in Gosport Road, Stubbington.

St Edmund’s Church is in Lychgate Green, Stubbington.

Visit croftonparish.org.uk.