Newsletter (December 2016)

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Newsletter for December 2016 from Settle Vicarage

Dear Friends,

With Advent already under way, we are into Church New Year, a season rather than a day. While the secular world is busily revving up the consumption and doing Christmas all the way to Dec 25th, and then starting the sales the next day, we do not have to buy into that mindset. We do well if we use Advent to take time to examine ourselves, and allow God to speak into our hearts and minds, so we may receive the love and self-giving healing of the Eternal, that love which we celebrate at Christmas in the Word made flesh. That does not mean we do not prepare for Christmas in practical ways, only that those preparations do not become all-consuming.
The Church calendar does not always coincide with the calendar of our lives, but I know there are many who, with me, enjoy Advent, some more than Christmas. That may be in part because, whatever is going on for us, the Advent message is still relevant. We all need God's love, and we have it, unconditionally. But whether we are receptive to it is another matter.
In C.S. Lewis' story 'The Last Battle', the magical land of Narnia, where the great Lion Aslan is King, comes to an end. All of Narnia is gathered into a world beyond the door of a stable, which turns out to be very different inside from its outside appearance. The dwarves, who have fought everyone on both sides ('The Dwarves are for the Dwarves') have been thrown into the stable, but unlike the others who see a wonderful land of sun and plenty, they remain sitting huddled together as though in the confines of a small, dark, smelly space such as the stable would be expected to be. When Aslan gives them a wonderful feast they cannot enjoy it because they are bound by what they expect to find in a stable and end up fighting over even what they only perceive as the likes of old turnips and dirty stable water. They cannot receive what is on offer because of their own mindset. It is a telling allegory for the way in which we can limit our receiving of God's love, not because it isn't given, but because we won't let it be what it is. So let us use this Advent season to be ready, inside and out, to welcome Love come down at Christmas, but with us always.                     Love from Hilary

Remembrance Sunday services

took place at all 3 churches. Special thanks go to everyone from our schools and community who contributed to these effective events. We are blessed with musicians and other contributors.

St Alkelda’s Evensong times

A reminder that from the start of the new Church year, Evensong at St Alkelda’s, normally on the first Sunday of the month, will be at 6.00pm.

St Alkelda’s 4th Sunday services
The 4th Sunday services at St Alkelda’s are now Common Worship Services of the Word rather than straight Morning Prayer. They are led by combinations of Ali, Ray and Jan, our Worship Leaders, and Dan, our Lay Reader.

Posada and Christmas Crib
The Holy family (Posada) is making its way round Rathmell School families and Methodist and Anglican friends initiated by Maggie Patchett, Methodist rural missioner. The knitted figures and accompanying materials will be visiting Rathmell Carol services (Methodist and Anglican) and end up at the Midnight service, symbolising the welcome Christians of all denominations give to their God at this time. 
The Mothers' Union Crib is similarly doing the rounds, blessed and sent from Holy Ascension Advent Sunday service, and ending back at Holy Ascension on Christmas Eve. Among other venues, it was hosted at Settle Primary School on Tuesday November 29th and Rathmell Primary School later that week.

Tuesday Lunches at Holy Ascension

Please note that the last lunch of 2016 will be held on 13th December in order to give the staff a well-earned break. Meals will start again on Tuesday, 10th January 2017.  Happy Christmas from the catering team!

Christmas Flowers

If you would like to contribute to the purchase of flowers for decorating the church buildings this year, please give your donation to Margaret or Maureen at Holy Ascension or to Ray at St. Alkelda’s. Thank you.

Charity Boxes

This is a last call!!  Please hand any charity collecting boxes to Andy, Olwyn or Ray so that the money can be counted and sent off before Christmas.  Thank you.

Andy’s Annual Quiz    is on sale to stimulate your little grey cells!


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