Rev d Ad am Ear le It never cea ses to amaze me ho w qui ck ly things come around. It has bee n a year since we launched “Conn ect” s o th is i s the fift h edition! Christmas is again on the not - s o- distant horizon and t he Christma s songs a re echoi ng around t he s tores . The cale nda r is looking fairly full. There’s a n array of Adve nt and Christma s services and events to pre pare for and e njoy; p arties a nd Christma s mea ls to share a nd a se nse o f anti cipation i n the air. T he shorter da ys, culminat ing wit h the shortest day o n 21 st Decembe r, are an inevitable pa rt of living o n a parti cu lar line of l atitu de i n the no rth er n he misphere. In t his e diti on we have news from ea ch o f t he churches, as usual. You can find details o f Adve nt and Chr istm as services ac ros s the past orate plenty o f variety incl udi ng well establi s hed tr adit ions a nd some n ew vent ures . The re’s an i nteresti ng Adve nt traditi on to consider i n the form of the “Jesse Tree” and ne ws a nd articles from ot her so urces. I ho pe yo u all hav e a joyful A dvent and Christma s season.





L eisto n C hris tians Together: I n a pre viou s edition of Conne c t we men t ioned o ur on goin g involveme nt wit h Leiston Christ ians Togethe r, worki ng al ong side and s upporti n g frie nds from t he various churches and fellowships with in th e town. At the meeting of re prese ntatives, o n 6 th November, we agreed to increase the reg ularity of our community pra yer meeti ngs fr om quart erly to monthly (wit h the possible exception o f August), beginning i n January. We will be tak ing tu rn s to h ost the mee ting s i n t he different church settings. The meetings are led b y the different churches in the ir style and trad ition. Our f irst meeti ng for 2024 wil l be on 9 th Janua ry a t Leiston Baptist Church. Food Bank: Demand for t he Food Bank remains high not g ood ne ws but honest; as the c ost- o f-l iving cr isis is still ver y much with u s. The fina ncial res o urces o f the proje ct have bee n much dimi ni she d, influe nced e spe cial l y by hig her food price s. We would welcome any
donati ons i n support of the work, espe cia lly as Christmas approache s. We are ple ased that we have be en able to deve l o p partners hi p wit h the Project 40Sev en Community Pantry supporti ng one another i n bot h obtai ni ng and s hari ng f ood as nee de d. Sound System: Hav ing a fu nctioning sound system is importa nt to ensu r e th at all o f u s ca n en gage i n wor ship witho ut stru ggling t o hear . Unfort un ately, th e amplifier i n the church ha d started to play u p w i th increa sin gly lo u d and inva sive crackl ing noises. It has done sterlin g work over the years and it appears t hat it ha d not been rem ove d nor requi red atte nti on since it’s installati on some years a go. Howe ver, it has no w come to t he end o f its life. W e are awaiting delive ry of a replacement, albeit second-ha nd, a mp lifier . It’s the same make but a newer model. This should b e up and running shortly, once i t has been de livere d. We have also obtai ned some new microphones (i n add ition to our ra di o mic) as seve ral of our existi ng ones ha d fail ed and were a little wor se for wea r. Town Pastors: In the most recent edition of the combined Leiston U nited Church and Saxm undham URC Magazine we incl ude d a n arti cle abo ut the Leiston Town Pastors. If you wou ld like to read t he article a nd fi nd o ut mo re, yo u can downloa d the l atest edition from t he new s page o f ou r joi n t website: www.saxurcleistonuc.  or We were del ighte d t o ho st the To w n Past ors for t heir a nnua l m eeting and celeb rat ion worship. The team use the United Church building as their base . At present t heir office is base d in an upstai rs room ab ove the h all. In t he n ot-to o-dista n t futu re, as pa rt o f ou r
dec lutt er, we are i nte ndi ng to make t he do wn stair s vest ry availa ble a s a mo re acce ssible o ffi ce for the team.


Start t he We ek: We have perse vere d wit h ou r “Start th e We ek” gath er ing s o n the fou rt h Monday o f each month , with some new and fa miliar face s adding t o the numbers. We gather t o share refres hment s and t o enjoy c onversat i on, games a nd act ivities. We have bee n entertai ned wit h mu sic f rom Rev d A da m o n the piano, and visits from a very friendly loca l cat. W e have explored some new t hi ngs i ncl ud ing th e wonde rful word game, “Ba nana grams” a board-les s word ga me wit h tile s similar to Scra bble but it is faster p a ced as eve ry on e plays at once. Our ne xt meeti ng will be i n t he new year on 22 nd J anuary from 10:00 to 11:30(ish ). Also, in the new y ear, we are hopi ng to relaunch a monthly “film-night” and tea or supper. We will have more news o f this in the next ed ition o f Connect . Harvest Sale: We hel d our Harvest Coffee and Sale on 23 rd Septe m ber. We were plea sed to welc ome a number o f pe ople, wi th the raffle and cake stalls prov in g parti cular ly p op ula r. W e were delig ht ed , after expenses, to raise £222. Thank you to everyone who contribute d i n any wa y. Harves t Se rvic e: It has bec ome a b it o f a tradition at Saxmundha m that t he Elder s le ad our ha rvest cele bration, this year was n o ex ception. On Sunday 1 st October we gathere d f or wor ship led b y S ue, Gl ori a a nd
Ann - with a series o f readi ngs, pra yers and favour ite harve st h ymns accom pa nie d b y Ann at the pia n o. In addition to gi fts of non-peri sha ble food items we collected money for “Tools With A Mission” (TWAM) a nd were able to sen d a gift of £50 towards t hei r valua ble work. T WAM i s a charity supported b y a number o f folk ac ross the past orate . You c an find out more b y visiti ng thei r websit e: www.t They alway s welcome support a nd donations of to ols t hat are i n usea ble conditi on (even if they require cleaning and sharpening). You can find a list of the t hin g s they are looki ng f or o n the website . Declu tt er: We have started work on a bit of a decl utter . It is a ma zing ju st how much st uf f we accrue in our c hurch bu ildings, some o f which has lai n unt ou che d and forgotten for some time. We are gathering all the items to be d ispose d of i n readi nes s for a skip which we will b e sha ring with Leiston U nited Church. Some o f the equipme nt which w e had left from years o f holiday clubs and Sunday school activit ies went to the Girls’ Bri gade at Castle Hill we ho pe they find it use f ul. Safeguarding Lea d: We are continuing to devel op ou r work in partners hi p with Leis ton United Church. Sue Liddell has recently agreed to tak e o n th e role of “Safeguardi n g Lead” for both the churche s. Sharing various tasks and responsibilities bet ween t he churches re d uce s the p ressure on individ uals .







elder s, Ann, ha s been
supporti ng t he Ride and Stride event for many years. The church took part again this year wit h vari ou s folk taki ng a tur n at welc omi ng p arti ci pan ts and en s uri ng th at th e church was open. Folk gathered sponsorship for the time they spent at the c h ur ch welc omi ng visit ors . We were delighted to rai s e £254.




Pantomime: In the last edition o f Connect we were l ooki ng forward to t he Castle Hill Amateu r Performe rs (CHA Ps) production of “The Wizar d o f Oz” . This was not t he familia r mu sica l version whi ch, for copyr ight reas ons, was beyond our resources . There were some entertai ni n g twists and tur ns. Well done to everyone who took part, front o f house, beh ind the sce ne s or o n the stage. The show s were well supporte d and attende d b y ent husia sti c au die nce s . Procee ds, after cov ering c osts, were f or Myeloma UK a charity that supp orts folk and fa milie s o f fol k suf fering f rom t hi s parti cular for m of bl ood cancer that af fect s blood plasma wit h i n the bone marrow. They provide an informa tion hub and supp ort research. You can find out more by visiting www.myel k includ ing detai ls of the diffe rent research work bei n g undertake n. Warm Welcome: Fo r so me time now the church has hosted a well-suppo rted, mont hly Coffee and Cake gathering. Foll owing discus sion it was agree d to extend th is to a weekly “Warm Wel come du ring the winter m onths. These are offer ed, free o f charge, ea ch Tuesday from 10:00am to 12:00noon. There are hot drink s, snacks
(quite a se lecti on of chocolate b is cuit s include d), chat, ga me s and activ ities . G irls’ Brigade: The GB continue to meet, du ri ng te rm-time, o n Tuesday even ing s from 18:00 to 19:3 0. We are parti cular ly p lease d t o ha ve welcomed a number of ne w rec ruits t o t he group. The girls continue to be enthusiastic and pa rticula rly e njo y the c reative a ctiv iti es, the games and the time together . Sna ck time is a mu ch-appre ciate d weekly feat ure . Castle Hill School: The church i s situat ed directly opp osite th e Castle Hill Infant and Juni or School. Whe n the school was first establi s hed , t hey u sed t he Castle Hill church building as a hall w hil st vari ous eleme nts were still bei ng constructe d o n the sch ool site. It has been some time since the school and church have h ad the opport unity to undertake a ny acti vit ies together . Foll owing some encouragi ng mee ti ngs betwee n the mi niste rs and member s of the school team we ha ve put i n place some p la ns to supp ort the school i n various ways a nd ho pef ully provide lea rni ng o pp ort unities f or the children. O n Monday 13 t h November, as part of their Multi-faith focus, Revd Da vid and Rev d A da m were please d t o wel com e the two Yea r 2 classe s to the church building. The childre n were de lightful a nd engage d i n an “eye-spy” a ctivity, searchi ng for a nd thi nkin g ab out di ffere nt feat ures a nd artefacts in the church. The chil dren were parti cular ly intere s ted i n the org an, demonstrate d for them b y Revd Adam. We are looki ng forward to further a ctiv ities i n th e new year .
Eastern Synod Meetin g: O n Saturday 14 th Oct ober Castle Hill welcomed repre sentatives o f churche s acr oss t he area o f the Easter n Syno d o f the URC. It was an engagi ng and chal le ngi ng day wit h vari ou s prese ntations. A hug e thankyo u to everyone who supporte d before and on the day, setting u p, w elcom i ng, pro vidi ng refres hment s, soup and bread, a spec ial meal for the jubilee mi ni sters (tho se cele brati ng parti cular a nn iver saries since th eir ordination), sound, I T and audio supp ort, car park supe rvision and welcoming. (If I’ve mi ssed any one I apologis e please be assure d of m y gratitude – Ed) . Christmas Festiva l Service: As part o f our annua l Christmas c elebrati on s we ha ve a Fe stival Service. I n the pa st thi s has p rovide d a n oppo rtunity f or members o f the Sund ay School to join in prese nti ng the nati vit y story. I n more rece nt years we are please d that the children a nd ad ults ass oc iate d w ith CHAPS have bee n willing t o pr ovide a joyf ul rete ll ing of t he Christma s stor y. Last year the serv ice include d Dr Who and the appeara nce of a Dalek and some Cybe rme n. This year w e a re go ing do wn a some wh at more traditi onal route althoug h the stor y, set in a card sho p, will i nclud e a talkin g snowma n, a talki ng C hristma s tree, a talk i ng parcel and Santa Claus. W e will share in a simple rete lli ng o f the sto ry o f the fi rst Christma s. The servic e takes pl ace o n Sund ay 17 th Dece mber at 10:30am and will be led b y Andrea Rumsby .



New Membe r: When a minister is i nd u ct ed to a pastorate they a ut omat ica lly become a membe r of each of the churches i n t he pastorate. Howe ver, for statistical reasons, s o they, like an y member, are only counted once, the y are recorde d and welcomed at a particular church. O n the first Sunday i n Septemb er, at our communion servi ce, led b y Re vd David, Revd Jo hn Cook welcomed D avid into member ship o n beh alf of the churc h. Church Front Garden: In an earlier edition of Connect we mentioned that an ambulance had swerve d to avoid a car (the fault o f the car) and ploug he d into t he front gard en of th e church dest royin g the establi s hed but rat her larg e bu she s and plant s. Mercifully the p lants enabled t he ambula nce to come to a h alt before hitti ng the church building. Since then w e have received an insu rance payment whi ch e na ble d u s to pu rchase a number o f new (but much smaller) p lants which, ha ving clea red the de br is, ha ve no w been p lante d. Sadly in the last few d ays someone felt i t nec essary to pu ll u p a nd damage many of t hes e but we will perseve re . We will, t ha nks t o a donati on, be installin g a small pave d area with a fixed be nch made from recycle d plastic material, to be locat e d next to the bus stop i n s upp ort of th o se waiting there o r in ne ed of a rest as the y pass b y. Hymn Sin g 2: On Saturday 4 th Nove mber we held ou r late st Hymn Sing foll owe d by tea and cake. T he Ma ster of
Ceremonie s was Re vd David, int rod ucin g each hymn, wit h Re vd Ada m o n the org an and members of th e church b ringi ng t he readi ngs and refle cti ons. Unlike the previ ous Hymn Sing, rathe r than hymns reque sted b y church folk, we followed a theme the “I am” stateme nts i n the Gospel a cc ordi ng to John. The hymns we re as f ollo ws: At the na me of Je s us Ou r Fat her (Caribbea n Tradition ) Lord, t he light o f yo u r love is s hi ni ng Good Chr istia ns al l rejoice (In d ul ci jubi lo) The Lord’s my she pherd (Modern) Thi ne be the gl ory Guide me, O tho u gre at redeeme r You are t he vine, we are the bra nche s. We pla n to hold o ur next h ymn sing i n t he new year. Next ti me will be hymns b y re quest. Bible Studies: Revd David has been leading us i n a series o f “in - pers on” Bible st udie s over the last couple m ont hs. Having ide n tifie d dis ci ples hi p as a n ar ea for devel opme nt in our mission acti on pl anni ng, we thoug ht t his wou ld be a g ood way to g et to know the Bible more. Our studies have focu sse d on some mi nor chara cters or “O ne Hit Wonders” from script ure, some bett er known t ha n others. We will be taking a br eak over Christmas and then joi ni ng in t he past orate Lent c ou rs e. Link T o Hope Sh oeboxe s : Si n ce 2015 St Joh n’s ha ve suppo rted th e annual shoe b ox appeal fo r “Link t o Hope a cha rit y which pro vides s u pport t o peo ple i n Easter n Eu rope a n countries. In the pa st folk have gathere d a nd
• • • • • • • •
filled the b oxes t hemselves but n ow we make donati ons to e na ble bo xes to be com pil ed and tra nspo rted. T his year w e c olle ct ed £380.



Charity Coffee Morning: On 16 th September we held anot her c offe e morning and sale. There we re few e r cha rities rep rese n ted than the prev i ou s occasion but i t was still a succe ssful eve nt and, by selling refres hme nts, cake s and fair trade items we raise d £200 for Commitm ent for Life (Bangladesh). CfL is the URC charity supporti ng the work of “Christia n Aid” a nd “Global Ju sti ce No w”. Harvest Gifts: The first Sunday of October was o ur Ha rvest Fest ival serv ice , led b y Revd Adam. We collected gifts of food which w ere donate d to the “Pop-up Shop” – a community support p roject run b y St Peter & St Paul’s Church in Old Felixstowe. O ur church wa s beauti ful ly de c orate d wit h flowers and pr odu ce includi ng a magn ifi ce nt serpe nti ne marrow, far more snake-like th a n the ill ust ration here, dis pla yed o n a pe des tal in front o f the lecte rn. New Members: Also on 1 st October, as part of our Harve st Communi on servi ce Rev d Joh n Cook welc o med Rev d A da m an d Gillian i nto memb ership a t Felixstowe. The me mbers were please d to gree t them bot h a nd have them joi n us in membe rship.
As mentione d in the S t John’s report, Re vd Ada m i s a member of all the pa stora te churches, for sta tistica l p urpo ses hi s membe rship has been reco rde d at Feli xstowe U RC. Remember ing Service: On S unday 29 th Oct ober w e held our annu a l service o f rememberi ng for love d ones. Our theme this year wa s “God has pr omise d ” and ou r time o f wor ship inclu ded rec orde d mu sic b y boys’ choir “Libera”, reflective rea di ngs, a short addre ss and ti me for light ing candl es. The service w as foll owe d b y re fres hme nts and cake. This year the service, hel d i n the aftern oon, took the place of our usual Sund ay mo rn ing se rvi ce. Churches Together in Felixstowe: Worki ng in and deve lo pi ng partners hi ps in m i ssion and servi ce are i mp o rtant aspects for an y churc h. Here in Feli xstowe w e co ntinue to b e part o f the well estab lishe d and long standi ng “Churches Together in Felixst owe”. The group orga ni ses sha r ed wors hi p a nd eve n ts, pro jec ts a nd mee ti ngs to pla n an d l ead working t ogether. O n 22 nd Novemb er, Felixstowe URC were please d to host the CTF Forum, an infor ma l evening w here the churches meet to hea r abo ut what’ s goi ng on in our town and to wors hi p and pr ay toget her .



Adven t and Onwards Singers: A number o f fo lk fro m St John’s U RC an d Castle Hill U RC are currently gat hering to rehearse for tw o fort hcomi ng ser vice s as part o f a new sing ers group. The aim o f the group is to offer music at a number of pl ann ed joi nt services a cr o ss
the year as well as recording some ite ms to add to our c olle ction o f mu sic hymns a nd songs f or use a cr oss the past orate. T he gro up will b e involv ed i n t he joi nt A dv ent Carol service, held at St John’s o n Sunda y 3 rd Decembe r and i n the Carols b y Candlelight service at Castle Hill on Sunday 17 th Decembe r. 16:00 Sunday After noo n Services: In response to a numbe r of requests and sugge stions, we will be offe rin g, for a tri al peri od initia lly, a Sunday Aftern oon Service. The services will be held at 16:00 . The dates for the servi ces pl an ne d so far wi ll be: 28 th January 2024 , 25 th F ebruary 2024 an d 24 th Marc h 2024. The s ervice s wi ll b e held a t Castle Hill U RC and live streamed o n YouT ube; accessible via the live st ream l i nk o n t he home page of the Castle Hill we bsi te. The services wil l be about 30 minutes i n lengt h and si mp le and refle ctive i n style . ADVENT & CHRISTMAS Across the Pastorate





Adve nt S unday

14:30 Advent Carol Service &


@ St J

ohn’s URC (Ipswich)

Led by Re vd Da vid & Rev d Ad am




Adve nt 2


Family Caro

l Service

@ Felixstowe U


Led by Re vd Da vid & Rev d Ad am




Adve nt 3

10:30 Christmas Fes

tival Servic


@ Castle

Hill URC (Ipswich)

Led by CHAPS & Andr ea Rumsby

10:45 Christmas C

arol Ser


@ St J

ohn’s URC (Ipswich)

Led by Re vd Da vid 10:45 Christmas C arol Ser vice @ Saxmu ndham U RC Led by Wil lia m Glas s e

14:00 Car

ols &

Cake Ce




@ Leiston Un


Led by Re vd A da m

18:00 Christmas Carols by Candleli


@ Castle

Hill URC (Ipswich)

Led by Re vd Da vid & Rev d Ad am




Adve nt 4 Christma s Eve 10:30 Christmas Ev e Worship @ Castle Hill URC (Ipswich) Led by Wil lia m Glas s e 10:30 Christmas Ev e Worship Felixstowe U RC Led by Re vd Da vid 10:45 Christmas Ev e Worship @ St J ohn’s URC (Ipswich) Led by Sa ra Pells

10:45 Christmas Ev



@ Saxmundham U


Joint Service wit h Leiston U nite d Led by Re vd A da m


Family Caro

l Service

@ Castle

Hill URC (Ipswich)

Led by Re vd Da vid & Rev d Ad am 18:00 LCT Carols in t he Square @ Post Offi ce Squa re Leiston Led by Leiston Bapti st Church
23:30 Midni ght Comm uni on @ St John’s URC (Ipswich ) Led by Pet er Daw son





Christma s Day 10:30 Christmas Day Worship @ Castle Hill URC (Ipswich) Led by Re vd Ma rtin C amr oux 10:30 Christmas Day Worship @ Felixstowe URC ( With Trinity Met hodi st) Led by Re vd A da m

10:45 Christmas

Day Worship

@ St J

ohn’s URC (Ipswich)

Led by





No services @ Leiston or Saxmundham

On the 3 r d and 10 th Decembe r all churches have thei r own Sund ay morni ng wors hip at the us ual ti mes . Each Sunday, d uri ng Adve nt, there w ill be a spe cial, pre-re corded, service ava ila ble to onl ine vie wer s and frame u sers.



The O ctober Sy nod mee ting wa s held at Castle Hill on Sat urday 14 th October . The Synod re prese ntati ve s meet twice each ye ar, in Mar ch an d O cto be r. Sue Li ddell, Saxmu ndham U RC, attended the mee ti ng and s hare d the fol lo wing tho ug h ts on the eve nt. What We Learned: There is a prog ramm e called Stepwi se that runs a course “Fa i th- Filled Life”. It i s open to everyone, even those over 75! The perso n who runs it is Revd Jo Clare-Young. She i s coming to take a service
for us in January; and is willing to lead the course lo cally. A booklet, “Leading a Whole-life Discip le- making Church” abou t a course ab out exploring growth i n our local churche s was made ava ilable . You can see tha t ther e is a desire for us to be disciples all day and every day in the way we lead our lives. What questions w e are all aske d as followers of Jesus? What are you r daily lif e places and what might God be asking o f y ou ther e? Wha t can you offer? Wha t m ight you r gifts be? [We had a c hat wi th people near us and the lady next t o me said he r gi ft was making a goo d cup of tea.] Jesu s said the harvest i s ready but the worker s are few s o what is the harve st field you could work in? What i s our church known for locally? What ca n w e do better toget her if we work together wi th loc al churches, with the pa stora te? Where are we i n our mission partnership? As you know we are working on a Mission Action Plan and thes e question s might help us. Help from other churc hes: A speaker fr om East Midlands Synod talked abou t how w e can offer and share ours elves in Missio nal Partnerships and w e all sang spont aneou sly most o f the hymn - Tak e my lif e , my mo ments, my days, my hands, my feet, my voice, my lips, my silv er, my gold, my int ellect, my will, my heart , my love and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee. Duri ng the afte rno on ses sion we heard various re ports. The afternoon conc lud ed with worship (with commun ion) le d b y R evd Lytha n Nevard, Mod erator, and inclu ded the in duc tion o f t he new Ea stern Synod Transitional Minister, Revd Alex Jacob. His role wil l b e to work i n spe cific area s to help
establi s h Missi onal Partner ship s groups of churches work ing t ogether i n va rious wa ys, sha rin g mi nist ry.
Moderator Revd Lythan Nevar d and Synod Clerk Rev d Dave Coaker
Michael and Mick o pera ting the Sou nd, IT and livest ream
Revd Adam give fee dbac k about the General Asse mbly 2023
Revd Alex Jacob’s Induc t i on
Synod me mbers, including Revd David, listen and concentrate hard









An Advent Traditio n
The Jesse Tree i s an ancient tra dition th at first appeare d i n me dieva l times. The na me relates to a p ro phec y i n the bo ok of Isai ah, which refe rs to a new shoot or b ra nch bursting from the stu mp o f Jesse. The tree leads u s from Creation to Christmas a s ort of “Fa mil y Tree” for Je sus . The first Jesse trees were large carvi n gs, tapestries or even staine d-g lass windo ws that help e d peo ple t o learn abo ut the Bible . No w they are use d as a kind of A dve nt Calend ar. Ea ch da y focuses o n a differe nt symb ol, associ ated w ith a Bible pa ssage . The rea dings may be use d each da y, d urin g Adve nt, to ins pi re our thi nki ng and to trac k the day s leadi ng u p t o Christma s Day. Day 1 Creatio n (World) Genes is 1 Day 2 The Fall (Apple & Sn a ke) Genes is 2:4 3:24 Day 3 The Flood (Rai nb ow) Genes is 6:9 9:17 Day 4 Promise to Abraha m (Star s) Genes is 12:1-17 Day 5 The Promise d Land (T ent) Exodu s 6:6-8 Day 6 Isaac (Kni fe) Genes is 2 2:1-18 Day 7 Jacob’s Ladder (Ladd er) Genes is 28:10-19 Day 8 Joseph (Co at of Ma ny Colou rs) Genesis 27 & 50 Day 9 Moses (Bur ni ng Bus h) Exodu s 2:1 - 4:20
Day 10 Commandments (Two Tablet s) Exodu s 19:1 – 20:20 Day 11 Joshua & Rahab (Cord & Trumpet) Joshua 2 & J oshua 6: 1-20 Day 12 Ruth (Sheaf of Wheat ) Book of R uth Day 13 King Da vid (Sta r of D avid) Sam uel 16:1-3 Day  14 King Solomon (Temp l e) Ki n gs 6 Day 15 Jesse Prophe cy (Stump & Branch) Isaia h 11:1-11 Day 16 Jonah (W hale) Book of Jonah Day 17 John The Bapti st (S ca llop She ll) Matt hew 3:13-17 Day 18 Mary (W hite Lill y) Luke 1: 26-38 Day 19 Elizabet h (Dove) Luke 1:39-56 Day 20 Zecharia h ( Slate & St ylus) Luke 1:57-8 0 Day 21 Joseph (Hamme r & S aw) Luke 1:19-2 5 Day 22 The Shepherds ( Shee p) Luke 2:8-2 0 Day 23 The Wise Me n (Gifts) Matt hew  2:1-12 Day 24 Je sus ( Ba by i n the M anger) Luke  2:1-8
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Watching the news over the past weeks has often been a disturbi ng and tra uma tic experience as we have witnessed the terror and conflict un fold b etween Israel a nd Ga za. The actions of Hamas in the terror attack on 7 th October were horrific and ine xcusable . We also recognise the n umber of people taken hostage and the major con cern for their fa mil ies . Many have spoken o ut in suppo rt of Is rae l in its rig ht t o act i n self defe nce agai nst th os e who perpetrate d the attack. However, as t he actions o f the Israel Defence Force (IDF) ha ve procee ded, we hav e seen many inn o c en t peo ple kille d, inju red or dis pla ced. Ma ny voi ces, includ ing UN agencies and the gro up of form e r lead e rs and state s-peo ple k now n as “The Elde rs” ( have expre sse d great concer n - especia lly wi th attacks on civilians, healt hca re faci lities and the severe limits to aid and sup port being ma de available a genuine, hone st and justi fia ble res ponse . At the ti me o f writi n g the deat h t oll i n Gaza has passe d 13,000, includi ng ove r 5000 children. Ca ug ht u p i n all t hi s, ove r 100 huma nita rian and m edical support work ers for orga nis ations s uch a s Méde ci ns S ans Frontières and the World Healt h Orga ni sation have be en killed w hil st seekin g to bri ng relie f. We may look o n with a sense o f horror , combi ned with a sen se o f he lplessnes s as we see these t hings rumble on, wit h more innocent li ves and liv elihoods de stro yed. Ou r primar y res ponse must be to pray for an end to conf li ct and a last ing , pea cefu l sol ution. Let us persevere in t his (whilst a lso
remembering other areas troubled by war, conflict a nd terror). Here is a prayer offered by Tear Fund that you mig ht like to u se: Dear God, W e cry out to you on behalf of t he people seriously affected by the confli ct in Gaza and Israel. Ou r heart s break at t he deva stat ion and suff ering tha t we se e, and we know i t breaks yours, too. We ask that you would stretch out your mighty han d to bring an end to this war. W e cry out for peopl e w ho hav e been injur ed o r traum atis ed, who ha ve lost loved ones or their homes. Please provide everything they need and be their comfort, their hope, their healer, and th eir safe refuge. We pray for your peace to reign. We look to you as o ur Saviour and th e ho pe of th e world. Am en. Tear fund have a page to guide us in praying furt her f or the s ituati on: http s://www orie s/2023/10/ how-to -p ray-for-gaza-and-israel Tear Fund also have a “Mi d dle East Emerge ncy Appeal” t o whi ch you m ight l i ke to contribute. You can d o s o online here: https://www mpa ign s/middl e-east-emerge ncy-appeal You m ay also like to read the letter publi she d b y the Elder s which can be found o n their website .
































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