A very big thank you to the ministry teams across our churches for all your help and assistance in making Christmas 2020 so special for so many. How wonderful it is to be part of both a church community and local community that knows how to celebrate Christmas so well.
Christmas, as special a season it is, I am in no doubt however, that for many these past few weeks especially, will have been tough, long and slow, with so many restrictions being placed on us at the moment to ensure that we stay safe.
It is a new year. It is important I think that even though we begin this year with continued restrictions placed on us, that we still enter this year – full of hope. There is lots to be ‘hopeful’ for at this time. A vaccine has been discovered, tested, approved, and the UK-wide vaccination programme is well underway. The nights may be long at the moment, but we are past the winter solstice – the days are getting longer – Spring is on the way – we have an Epiphany season ahead of us, and an Easter season ahead of us. It looks very hopeful, when we look at the bigger picture, that we will come through the next few months well together – as a church, as a community, as a nation, as an international community.
Reflecting further on ‘hope’, have you tried the Church of England’s “Daily Hope” free phone line? Daily Hope is a free phone line of hymns, reflections and prayers. It was, “launched in April in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, to offer inspiration and hope to the elderly and isolated, who do not have access to the internet.”
I recommend it to you. Try it! Give it a go! The number is free to use in the UK. The number to call is 0800 804 8044.
This isn’t a phone line where you enter into a conversation with anyone. Rather you listen to pre-recorded content from people such as Pam Rhodes and the Archbishop, cathedral choirs singing hymns and carols, clergy leading traditional morning and evening prayer and the Mothers’ Union leading their Midday Prayers. It’s a little like listening to a church service on the radio, except that you decide what time of day you will listen to the programme.
On calling the free-phone number, you are greeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. You are then given the following (current) options:
As well as Daily Hope, have you tried our own Dial-A-Church-Service line? 01244 566311. (Local call rates apply to this number.) This phone-line enables you to listen to a service, presented by members of our very own ministry team here in Hope, Penyffordd, Penymynydd & Llanfynydd – familiar voices to you. When you dial the number, you are greeted by a computerised voice saying “Hello and Welcome to Hope-Emmanuel-St John’s Dial A Church Service”, you then must hold the line for up to ten seconds while you are connected to our service for the week or month. Our next service is Epiphany Carols and Lessons and will be available from 6pm, Sunday 3rd January. Do give it a go!
As you join in our Epiphany worship this month, from your home, online or on the phone, or in person in church, may the God of Hope bless you and enrich yours and your family’s lives with his peace, joy and strength and give you all a New Year filled with hope.
Fr. Paul Wheeler