2014 Christmas Celebrations at St Thomas’s Church

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We had some wonderful services in St Thomas’s Church over Christmas. On Sunday 21st December two special services were held. In the morning it was the Nativity led by Junior Church. We had lots of helpers to play the roles of Joseph, Mary, Shepherds, Wise Men and the Angel. Thanks go to Andy Smith and Pat Squire for arranging the service.

In the evening it was the traditional service of lessons and carols by Candlelight. This is a beautiful service and a great opportunity to hear the Christmas message. Thanks go to all the readers and contributors and of course to Dafydd Meares for arranging all the candles and making sure the Church didn’t burn down!!

Afterwards there was a Candlelit Supper in the Church Hall in support of Christian Aid. This get-together is the perfect finish to a great day. Special thanks go to Mrs Lucy Lake for arranging this Candlelit Supper as it will be her last one in charge as she is taking well deserved retirement from catering!

Christmas Day worship was a simple, short service led by our Minister, Rev Gareth Roberts and was the perfect way to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s always a lovely service and an opportunity to see friends of St Thomas’s who we don’t normally see throughout the year as they return home to see family.

 

Operation Christmas Child 2014

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It’s that time of year again when St Thomas’s Church fills shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child!

Since 1990, more than 113 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child,  organised by charity, Samaritans Purse.
Over the years we have filled hundreds of boxes and it is a tradition that we are proud to continue.
How can YOU help?
We are in need of suitable items to go in the shoe boxes. There are strict rules and regulations about what can go in the boxes. This is for a number of reasons including safety and appropriateness. Remember that our shoe boxes could be sent anywhere in the world.

GIFT SUGGESTIONS

TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls or stuffed toys (with CE label), toy trucks, harmonica, yo-yo, skipping rope, ball, small puzzles etc.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Pens, pencils & sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks & paper, solar calculators, colouring & picture books etc.

HYGIENE ITEMS: Toothbrush and toothpaste, bars of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel.

OTHER ITEMS: Hat, cap, gloves or scarf, sunglasses, hair accessories, jewellery set, wind up torch, wrapped sweets (sell by date must be at least March of the following year).

DO NOT INCLUDE: used or damaged items, war related items such as toy guns, play soldiers or knives; chocolate or other food items; liquids or lotions of any type including bubbles; medicines; hand-made or knitted stuffed toys; anything of a political, racial or religious nature; marbles or sharp objects; glass containers, mirrors or fragile items; clothing other than as listed above.

Please place all your gifts in the large wrapped box in the Church foyer in preparation for box-filling day. Also, each box needs to be accompanied by a minimum £3 shipping donation to cover UK transportation, overseas shipping and promotion for each box you prepare. Please pass all donations to Andy Smith.
We will filling the shoe boxes on Sunday 23rd November 2014 at 10:30am. We need as much help as possible. Can YOU help? Also if you have already filled a box at home then you are welcome to drop it off at St Thomas’s for onward transportation.
For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit the Samaritans Purse website: http://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child

Teddy Bears Picnic!

When infants are baptised in St. Thomas’s they are presented with a colourful Bible and a teddy, in addition to a card and baptism certificate.

The teddies – pink for girls, and blue for boys! – are knitted by a member of the church, and are used as a means of keeping in touch with the children and their families following the baptism.

Periodically we hold a “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” and those on the Cradle Roll, as well as the younger members of Junior Church, are invited to bring their teddies along for an afternoon of fun.   Such a “Fun Afternoon/Teddy Bears’ Picnic” was arranged to be held in a local park at the end of August, but due to a very showery morning, we met in the church. After an activity time in the hall, we had our picnic which included teddy crisps, teddy biscuits and teddy cakes!

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A Favourite Prayer from Mike and Lesley Freeman

This prayer written by Rev. Bill Kyle has a special meaning for us as we first met Bill when we attended his church in London before and after we were married, indeed he was the Minister who officiated at our wedding 50 years ago.

Bill was a ‘follower’ of Leslie Weatherhead and strong on pastoral care. He set up the Westminster Pastoral Foundation before his tragically early death at 49. This prayer encapsulates something of his faith and his love for people that inspired us then and since.

That we may Accept the Nature of Life

The world which is our home is a place of light and dark, sunshine and shadow, laughter and crying, gaiety and drabness, a cradle of innocence, a mountain of
glory, a hill of anguish, a cross of agony, a tomb of death and a garden of life.

We try, O God, for innumerable and unknowable reasons, to hold those things
which seem satisfying and enriching – we strive to banish darkness, to be rid of
pain to forget death and to live without the ravages of experience and age.

All of us have moments when we fight realities we can never vanquish and, in
the struggle, a part of ourselves seems destroyed. The vision of Jesus Christ
beckons us to a world which has no authority to destroy us. “Fear not,” His calm
voice speaks, “I have overcome the world.”

Enable us to deal with each moment – to see meaning in grief as well as in
ecstasy – to find a deeper sympathy and tolerance through our suffering – to
enshrine an eternity of joy in a brief encounter; to find through all things seen-and
experienced that which can enable and bring depth to the dimensions of our
existence.

Save us from hiding in the corners of life like frightened children; may we
believe in strength when only weakness is our experience. Help us to grow in
mind, spirit and soul and may our immortality be not only a hope beyond this
mortality but may it be the light and joy, laughter and love that people find in us
now.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen