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Dear Friends - Happy New Year 2018!

So here we are again at the beginning of another secular year. We started the new Church year at the beginning of Advent, with a new service pattern and a set of Advent materials to help anyone who was willing and able to engage with it to look at the over-arching story of the Bible. Our secular New Year begins, and we reflect on a year past, ourselves a year older, and look into the next year wondering what it will hold. What are your feelings as you look at the last year and contemplate the next? Will you be making resolutions for the coming year? Did you make any last year, and if so did they make a difference? 

Norman and I have had a very mixed year on a personal level, with some great highs and also some significant lows – the latter particularly to do with bereavements. Some plans came to fruition while others did not. What is for sure, a good deal has happened I could not have predicted, a fact we will have reflected on at our New Year’s Eve shared service. It is really important to take stock of past events, so easy to lose track of lessons to be learned if we do not. One of my highs has been the Advent course, which I have greatly enjoyed producing. I have had some appreciative comments about this material, but also silences where I suspect people have just not had the time and/or will to engage, and some folk who have freely admitted they didn't manage to keep up. That I can truly relate to, as my own schedule hasn't allowed me to follow my own material in the way I had originally envisaged. I am looking to refine and add to the work I've done this year to make this something which can enrich Advent in years to come, so if you have followed the course, do let me know any thoughts. It isn't too late to have a look even if you haven't tried yet – after all there are 12 days of Christmas, so we've not finished the season yet, and we will have Epiphany to keep us mindful of what Advent was about even after the Christmas decorations come down. There are still copies in church, and I can email you the material if you prefer.

So as we take stock of 2017, how has it been for you in your walk with God? For me a stand-out among many highlights over Christmas was a visitor finding God in our Settle Christmas morning service, likewise visitors moved by our Tom Twisleton celebrations. If nothing else this next year, let us take seriously seeking Christ, God made Man, in our worship and relationships.

Every blessing for 2018, with much love Hilary

January Specials
On January 7th, our First Sunday shared service by the new pattern is at Rathmell and will be celebrating Epiphany, a day after the actual festival.

As usual the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is upon us almost as soon as we have celebrated Epiphany. Churches Together in Settle and District Prayer for Christian Unity Service, led by Father Frank, takes place on January 18th at 2.00p.m. in St Mary & St Michael’s.  See posters for further details of events during this week.

Looking Ahead to February 
Schools Half Term begins Feb 9th,
CTIS&D Reps’ Meeting is on Tuesday, February 13th at 7.30p.m..

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday Feb 14th, (during Half Term) -  there will be more on the Churches Together Lent Course next month, meetings will be on Wednesdays from Feb 21st.

St Cyprian's choir will be with us for a concert and sung Sunday morning service on the following weekend, Feb 16-18 There is an early Spring wedding at Settle. Charles Lawson and Kimberley Craven will 'tie the knot' on Feb 24th