Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!
The words of this old Christmas rhyme come to mind as I write this letter to you all. First off, ‘Christmas is coming’ – rather fast now – and we have much to offer everyone in the way of our Christmas services and events this December. There are all the usual favourites and I do hope you will join us in one or more of our services. Please do note that the title ‘midnight communion’ is a bit misleading and that due to your vicar needing some sleep we begin at 11 and that by midnight communion has taken place and we will be ready to wish one another a happy Christmas as we sing Silent Night by candlelight. Of course Father Christmas would rather you were all tucked up in bed early too!!
Next, ‘the geese are getting fat’ – I do feel a bit sorry for all poultry at this time of the year but I am afraid my sorrow hasn’t made me into a vegetarian yet although if I worked at a turkey farm…. but I don’t intend to! This line though evokes thoughts of this season of plenty, of tables groaning with festive food, but of course there are many who struggle at this time of the year, trying to put festive food on the table, not to mention buying Christmas presents. With this in mind, we do our usual trip to Christ Church Brixton with presents kindly donated by many in our community for any adults or children who are in need. See our Church diary page for more details of when and how to be involved. Many thanks to Phil Partridge for being our Christmas delivery man. We also as a church help BESOM put together some special Christmas hampers for those in our community who they as an organisation have assisted this year. BESOM is a Dorking based project which offers practical help and support to those who need it. If you would like to contribute something to the Christmas hampers pop into church and there will be a list for you to put a tick against and more details. BESOM also collect and distribute much needed items of furniture and homeware so pick up a leaflet about them in church if you think you might have something to pass on.
Then ‘please put a penny in the old man’s hat’. Christmas is a key time for charities to ask for money isn’t it and in the last few weeks and months we have been asking for money for our rebuilding and repointing of the church boundary walls. We have been doing a lot of fundraising events and we thank you so much for your kind and very generous contributions. Work will once again be underway when the building conditions are right and we look forward to seeing more boundary wall completed. Our art group St John’s Artists, following on from our successful Art Exhibition in October have also now printed some Christmas cards for sale. They are all individually designed and painted by our members. They will be on sale at all Christmas services and events so do have a look at them. There is a lovely one of the Christmas tree lights against the backdrop of our church in snowy conditions! Any proceeds will go to the wall fund again and we have many creative and entertaining ideas for fundraising next year too! We have not just been raising money for the wall though. Suzanne Cole our local Children’s Society representative recently held her annual coffee morning and raised funds for this wonderful cause. The big one will be our annual Christingle service which returns to its end of January slot, when the children will have saved their pennies in their special Christingle collecting pot, and this along with our Christingle collection will help towards the work of The Children’s Society. We also collected over £300 for the work of CMS (Church Mission Society) at the last Capel teas of the year. Teas will begin again on Mothering Sunday 2017 so don’t forget to collect your free Capel Church Diary for 2017 which is now available in church too.
‘If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do’ – suggests we give as we can afford. In February next year we will distributing a leaflet to every household in our parish asking for your help in maintaining our church. The costs of running our church are £152 per day! We can only afford to pay our bills and maintenance costs by the generous giving of so many of you. However we have a daily shortfall of £37.72 which we manage to cover partially from income gained from investments, but £10.35 is left outstanding every day. If all could give a ha’penny (if there is such a thing these days!) but in other words a very small amount it would really help to keep providing a warm, dry, welcoming church for everyone.
Finally ‘if you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you’ – the gift of money is just one way of giving and we wish you God’s richest blessings for the year ahead and beyond. God’s gift to us is his blessing always and never more so than in the gift of his son Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus was born to show us who God is – a God who wanted to come alongside us – a God who is present with us through dark times and light. A God who never leaves us. May God bless you this Christmas time + Happy Christmas to you all.
With my love and prayers