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The Vicar writesJeremy Fletcher
I heard my first ‘Happy New Year’ in mid November. I’m never quite sure when to start or to stop saying it, but I’m on safe ground doing so in the January magazine, even if I’m writing it well before Christmas.
It’s not so profound a reflection that we only understand our lives when we look back, but if we live in the past we’re not ready for the future, and the present will take us by surprise. What we can do is to make sure that we learn from all that has happened to us, take strength from the faithfulness of God, and bring all the gifts God has given us to bear on the events which will unfold each day.
Some things are pretty certain for 2018. November will mark the centenary of the Armistice. There will be a royal wedding on May 19. A new Bishop of London, Bishop Sarah, will be enthroned. At church we will welcome a new Director of Music, Peter Foggitt, in January, and a new curate, Dr Ayla Lepine, in June. In January the PCC will meet to reflect on where we have come as a church, and where we may be being led by God. Our Mission Action Plan will be discussed as widely as possible so that we can look back, look forward and act now.
Two things I hope will be certain for 2018: firstly is that we will continue to be a venue for the C4WS shelter; and secondly that we will have welcomed a refugee family. Our experience at the shelter so far has that it has been humbling and profound to share the lives of people homeless for whatever reason, and to provide food, warmth and company for one night a week. And we have been working hard to ensure that we can welcome a refugee family under the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.
In 2017 I have been moved and inspired by the work and witness of so many at Hampstead Parish Church to live out what it is to be a Christian. My prayer for 2018 is that, in what we can expect and in what simply lands in our lap, we can continue to serve, to bear witness and to worship. I pray too that, for each of you, 2018 will be full of joy and peace. What I know in faith is that, whatever happens, God’s love for us is certain, sure and unbreakable. God bless you all.