LETTER FROM A MINISTER

 
I have never been a great one for New Year celebrations—this year I will be
working 9-5 on New Year’s Eve and will be doing the same again on 2nd
January so I don’t think too much midnight oil will be burnt in our house on
New Year’s Eve. I often wonder just what it is that people celebrate: is it that one year is over or that another has begun?
 
For me, 2014 was a year of partings. In January I attended the funeral of a
former neighbour, in August, my Father-in-law died and later in the same
month, our parish priest—Fr James Evans—was moved to another parish. But this is not to say that 2014 was a year that I am glad to be able to consign to history—there were moments of great happiness and when I look back on it there is much for which I must be thankful. Even when I think of my fatherin-law’s passing, I am reminded of the tremendous care he received from all at Westbury Grange.
 
Perhaps like me you have had ups and downs in 2014 and maybe you are
wondering what 2015 has in store for you. Will the coming year bring
changes in your life or will it bring more of the same routine? As you look
forward to the new year do you look forward in hope or with trepidation or
even fear?
 
As I am writing this, a phrase keeps coming to mind—Do not be afraid. It has been said that this phrase occurs 365 times in The Bible and to me that suggests the message is meant for each and every day. Those four words form a message of hope for the new year, a message that whatever may come in the new year, there is someone to whom we can turn, whatever the situation, because the giver of the message—Jesus—is with us as he promised:
 
Do not be afraid.
Do not be afraid, I am with you.
I am with you always, yes to the end of time.
 
I wish you all a blessed and a happy new year.
 
Deacon Jon Walls, St Bede’s