PASTORAL LETTER FROM STEPHEN FREEMANTLE 23rd DECEMBER 2020

Are you ready for Christmas yet? Or maybe you were ready but now the plans you did have you’re no longer able to do. Well like it or not Christmas is going to happen, probably in a way like no other. No Christmas event at work, no nativity play at school, no club social meal, no carol service singing carols together in church, no big family meal around a bulging table heavily laden with food.

While all the aforementioned may be a part of what we expect to happen at Christmas, just not in 2020. Life has a habit of not taking the path we expect it to take. Over the last few months our circuit has been on a path of finding a replacement minister. This Christmas will be Joseph & Anna’s last Christmas in the cold & damp of the Meon Valley & we wish them well as they return home to Zambia. We set out seeking his replacement not sure if we would. We joined the stationing process in round 2 having missed out on the 1st round due to our late entry into the process. But God was in control & has provided us with a replacement, against all of the odds. A minister, Rev Phillip Griffin & his family will be joining us in September, subject to conference approval. A miracle? Or a miraculous answer to our prayers.

Life has its twists & turns, but we know that God is with us in every twist & every turn, good or bad.

The Christmas story is all about Emmanuel, God with us. Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the inn keeper, the shepherds, the angels, the Magi, all meet in the nativity story. Christmas is about the birth of the baby Jesus, the Saviour of the world, my Saviour & hopefully yours as well.

Whatever shape, or form this Christmas may take, be assured that Christ came that we may have peace with his Father who is in heaven.

May the peace of God be with you all this Christmas.

Stephen Freemantle

Senior Circuit steward

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