Reepham & Wensum Valley Team Churches - at the Heart of the Community
Merry Christmas

Rev’d Keith’s Pastoral Letter – December 2019/January 2020

So now we know.  We are going to have the first December General Election since 1923.  I suspect that if you are a Pollster or an Election Specialist Journalist then your Christmas has come early, but what about for the rest of us?  Maybe you can relate to Brenda from Bristol who at the last early election only 2 years ago exclaimed, ‘Your joking, another one!!’

Social Media has also been active in this area with one quote reading words to the effect of, ‘A December election, why not?  Christmas is the only thing the (name of a political party omitted) haven’t ruined yet!!’  Or one animated character saying to another, ‘A December General Election will put an end to all this Peace and Goodwill nonsense!’  Peace and Goodwill, this does seem to be in pretty short supply in our country.  I, for one, would like to think that an election will bring about some kind of resolution and stability for our nation, but I’m not holding my breath!

December always seems to be such a busy and stressful month, and it shouldn’t be this way.  It is an insult to Christmas if all we do is spend, spend, spend – often money we do not have.   Earlier this year The Independent reported that the 3rd Monday of January (20th in 2020) is alleged to be the most depressing day of the year – nicknamed ‘Blue Monday’.  This is due to various factors, including failed new year resolutions, cold weather and the enormity of our Christmas over spend being reflected in Bank Statements and Credit Card Bills arriving in our ‘inboxes’ and/or on our doormats.

This year I want to plug a service that has been offered at Reepham for the past 2 years and is on offer again this December, namely Advent Compline that will be taking place at 8pm on each of the Thursdays during Advent.  Compline is the last of the monastic services of the day where in the past monks or nuns would have retired to bed in silence immediately after the service.  It is a peaceful, relaxing and short service (20-30minutes max’) a sort of spiritual hot chocolate as the day draws to a close.  It is an attempt by our church to do a bit of quiet reflection as the service is sung by the officiant using an ancient and beautiful plainsong chant.  There are congregational responses which congregation members are invited to sing if they know them or wish to get to know them, but it is also quite okay to sit in silence and let the whole experience wash over you.  It is, at this time of year, a chance to do a small piece of Advent in Advent – a season that has largely been overshadowed by our ever earlier celebration of Christmas. It is a chance for just 20-30 minutes a week to stop and be still.

Mindfulness is becoming a big ‘buzz word’ in our society as we begin to revalue times of peace and tranquillity in our hectic, busy and stressful lives.  As a Christian Priest I am a huge fan of Mindfulness, because as Advent Compline shows, we have been doing this in the church for centuries – you are most welcome to joins us on Thursday 5th, 12th and 19th December at St. Mary’s Reepham at 8pm.  I hope you all have a blessed Christmas and a refreshing new year.