Christmas letter from us all at Trinity

Christmas letter from us all at Trinity

What a year.

With Christmas coming up we’re wanting to write to everyone who belongs to the life of Trinity Churches. These last nine months have seen some big changes for many of us, and some profound difficulties to live with. Thank you to all those who have put faith into action with words and deeds in so many different ways. And I’m sorry where we haven’t supported and encouraged people as well as we might have done.

I don’t know about you, but especially at Christmas I’m really missing the many opportunities to see different people from across Holy Trinity, Christ the King and the Meole Estate. To be together in services, or bump into each other at Café Connect. To be welcoming friends old and new into the Trinity Centre or sitting down together in a midweek group. “We’ll meet again” as the Queen put it a few months ago, though the journey to vaccination and beyond will need patience and resilience.

And yet at the same time we’ve seen steps forward in “faith, hope and love” in different ways. We’ve seen new opportunities to be serving those who are vulnerable and lonely in our communities. We’ve been able to reach out to neighbours and those closest to us. We’ve stepped forward into a life that is slightly less frenetic or more intentional. Whether gathered or scattered, we remain united in Christ.

Christmas Events coming up

Of course, Christmas in churches will look somewhat different this year. Alongside our Sunday 9am and 11am Sunday gatherings at Holy Trinity Meole Brace, and regular Pyjama Church gatherings at 9.30am, we would love you to get involved in a few other special events at this time of year.

 

December Date Time Service How to join in
Sunday 20th 6.30pm to 7.30pm Christmas Carols by Candlelight Online Only – building closed
 
Thursday 24th 5pm to 5.30pm Christmas Eve Pyjama Crib Service Online Only – building closed
Thursday 24th 9pm to 10pm Christmas Eve Communion In person and online
Thursday 24th 11.30pm to 12.30am Christmas Eve Communion In person and online
Friday 25th 9am to 10am Christmas Morning Communion In person and online
Friday 25th 11am to 12pm Christmas morning celebration In person and online
 
Sunday 27th 10.30am to 11.30am Mid-morning Online gathering Online only – building closed
 
Thursday 31st 6pm to 7pm End the year service In person and online

To help with our planning we are asking people to let us know they are coming. It’s easiest to do that via our website at www.trinitychurches.org. Alternatively please phone the Church Office on 01743 362399. Don’t forget that our very own Trinity Churches dial-a-service will be up and running each week through Christmas, playing out one of our regular gatherings. You can access that by dialling 01743 298249.

New Year 2021

It is hard to know what the new year will look like in the life of our nation, as well as across Trinity Churches.  We trust that we’ll continue to be able to gather in person on Sundays as well as develop our online presence. Youth and childrens work will also continue midweek and Sundays, as will many of the supportive relationships of small groups and friendships across the parish. The Café continues to hold its own in difficult trading conditions, the Trinity Centre will reopen albeit at a reduced rate, and our support for our neighbouring parish of Belle Vue carries on. However we continue to struggle with when and how Christ the King might meet on a Sunday, and how some of the community groups which make up Meole Estate ministries will start up once more. Many are talking about Easter at the earliest for greater freedoms to meet together. Do please be praying for wisdom as to how to navigate this.

What we do know is that on Sundays we’ll be walking through “The Bible Series” from the Bible Society, which touches on some of the big themes in the Bible like meaning, freedom and love. Then on Tuesday evenings from 5th January we’re going to be doing “The Wellbeing Journey”, a new course which explores being well in body, mind and spirit instead of running on empty all the time. More details – and sign up – on our website.

Your generosity is making a difference

Meanwhile we would also like to say “thank you” to each and every one of you who have continued to support the church with your giving. Our gratitude goes to those whose generosity has continued despite the huge uncertainties of the economy on a national and personal level, and particularly to those who have transferred their giving from Sunday envelopes to regular standing orders.

In simple terms regular giving to the church has gone down by at least 5% this year. We also saw a big drop in income from the Trinity Centre, though partly offset by reduced costs and support from the government’s furlough scheme.  Overall, we’re predicting a budget deficit of more than £30,000 in 2020. It’s not yet a crisis, and we are blessed with strong reserves. But it is a concern. Of course for some these difficult days will necessitate a reduction in your giving. But, for those who are able, Christmas and New Year may be the time to think about giving a bit more, either by reviewing your regular planned giving or by making a one-off gift. As we all know at this time of year, giving generously is much more than a duty; it’s a privilege and a joy. You can find all the information you need on the “giving” section of the church website, or by contacting Rob Surl (Stewardship Team) via the Church Office.

Celebrating Christmas at home?

Finally COVID has led me to be thinking about the Christmas story with fresh eyes this year. In a lockdown world I’ve noticed how the good news of the coming of Christ comes primarily in people’s homes. Luke’s gospel has an angel appearing to Mary at home, going about her daily existence and trying to work out what God is up to – as many of us have been this year. God speaks to Joseph in a dream about this coming child – “Emmanuel” – as he is asleep, a signal thankfully better than some of the bedroom-bound ZOOM calls people have been on since March. And the Magnificat – that great song of hope and deliverance – comes in a one-to-one home visit between Mary and Elizabeth. Thankfully no social distancing or “Christmas bubbles” needed there!

And then comes the birth of Christ. I’ve preached elsewhere how “Jesus wasn’t born in a stable”, which spoils our collective memories of amazing school nativities and of grumpy innkeepers but might lead to a deeper truth. When Luke talks about there being “no space in the guest room” he describes the coming of Christ in the midst of family, and all the visiting relations, and the precious animals, right in the thick of it and demanding our attention. They made room for Jesus at the heart of their homes and the heart of their family. God with us, God in us, God alongside us. Emmanuel.

Whatever our Christmas guest list looks like on the 25th December, may we know God with us in every way wherever  we are. With our love and our prayers from us all.

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