From the Rectory December 2018
as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life
Rev Canon Simon Ward
A week ago, I stood at the back of the Minster as everyone tucked into their fish and chips and looked forward to hearing from Archbishop Justin. It was a good place to stand and from there I could look over a sea of people (about 800!) gathered from all kinds of places and backgrounds. There was the High Steward and the Mayor, a gaggle of lifeboat crew, people from our churches, people from various churches across the diocese, ecumenical friends from other churches in the town, an assortment of cathedral chapter, young people, old people, and a few people enjoying fish and chips followed by a snooze at the back before facing a night on the streets. Seldom can such a diverse gathering be seen under one roof and there are times when the church is exceedingly good at all sorts of people together. It was extraordinary
For all of us who were there it was a wonderful experience and it felt like a blessing to us as a parish to be able to host the event. The people who supported us from the Diocese of Norwich events team were fantastic and their work, along with the preparation of many others, allowed the evening to run smoothly and to be a source of encouragement. There were a number of people from our parish who helped and put a lot of time and effort into making a memorable evening for us all. And what a splendidly large and diverse gathering!
As you read this you will be beginning to think about the gatherings which will be a part of your Christmas and again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a wonderful mixture of people gathering in our churches in the coming weeks. It underlines the truth of God with us that this is good news for all, just as a motley assortment of visitors gathered around a manger in a stable all those years ago
This Advent and Christmas we extend a warm welcome to absolutely everyone. Think about what you do to extend that open, generous, inclusive, Christ-like welcome to others in the days and weeks to come
Enjoy the days of Advent: the looking forward and expectation of all that is to come. And enjoy the lavish and generous joy of Christmas!
Wishing you every joy and happiness this season
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