I hope everyone is keeping well and safe. Remember if you or anyone you know would like a phone call, visit or home communion just get in touch.
Well here we are, the end of another year, and it ends with more of a whimper than a bang! Big celebrations are off but it is good to reflect on the year we’ve had. Like many of you it has not been the end of the year we were expecting. At the beginning of Advent we thought we’d be putting the pandemic behind us and looking to something resembling normality as we step into a new year. To be honest though, after nearly 2 years in Dyffryn Clwyd I have yet to see what normal looks like!
And yet as we look back on the year that’s been we can see God’s hand at work helping us through difficult times. The new year is likely to see new restrictions continue if not strengthen and yet I look forward in hope and in faith. Despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, we are seeing the need for faith in our communities and our churches open and in use by many who are not regular church goers. We’ve held concerts with choirs and the Welsh Elvis, we’ve gathered outside for worship and recreation (does Hymn’s & Pimms count as both?), the Wild churches in Clocaenog & Llanbedr have been exciting new ventures, the Bridge in Ruthin has grown and we’ve seen Clwb Cynhafal restart along with Beveredges, Teen Screen (and Teen’s go wild as well!) and of course the Song School has begun and we have a number of kids gathering weekly to learn the lifelong joy of church music. We’ve had new prayer groups and study groups and the meditations on Fridays both in person and on Zoom has grown. Building projects in town, Clocaenog, Llanbedr & Llanynys are gaining pace, and the drains are finally connected in Llanfair completing their project.
The new year will see these building projects continue in their planning and we hope to begin work on them later in 2022, but we’re not waiting to for them to be completed before we start doing things… we’ll be looking to continue to develop our Wild Worship, Champing (camping inside our churches) is being explored to start in Llanfwrog during the year and we’ve got a number of quiet days and pilgrimages planned (the first of which will be on Ash Wednesday to begin our Lenten observance). I’ve attached the diary for 2022 for you to peruse, more will be added to it as I’m still waiting for dates from some of our churches.
So as you reflect on the year that’s been, where can you see God at work in your life?
Maybe pick out just one or two times where you really felt connected with God, spend some time thinking over those moments and thanking God for them. Reflect with God and ask, what was it about those moments that brought you closer to God? How can you seek out those moments more in the coming year?
And maybe pick out just one or two times where you felt most distant from God. Spend some time reflecting on those moments, ask God why it was He felt so distant at those times, then ask how, if you encounter such moments again, can you bring God into them, to help you through those times…
This is a prayer I have prayed for the new year for the last few years… as we see then end of 2021, spend a few moments to pray it for yourselves and your loved ones as we look to 2022.
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help…
GOD’S LOVE, PEACE, HOPE & JOY
To you for the year ahead.
Happy New Year!
I’m afraid that for the time being we are asking people to reserve their pews in church for Sunday Worship. This is to help us ensure that we can fit everyone in and keep to social distancing. It also helps in the event that we are contacted by Track & Trace teams having a list of attendee’s through eventrbrite is quick and easy for us to access. It really does make a big difference to my stress levels knowing that I can access the list from anywhere if I am contacted and won’t have to chase around our churches searching for handwritten pieces of paper so please do try and use it. It takes 2 minutes, and if you have any problems then please just ring your churchwarden or any of the clergy and we’ll get you booked in.
This coming week sees our monthly prayer for growth group meeting on Wednesday at 7pm on Zoom (details on the newsletter, contact Judi for the Zoom link), and also the start of the Alpha Course. Alpha is a course for those seeking or new to the faith, a chance to ask some of the big questions of life and explore the Christian response to them. We’d hoped to do it in person, but due to Covid it will be held online with Zoom. Details are on the newsletter, please contact Rev Stuart for the Zoom link.
Mission Area Leader of Dyffryn Clwyd www.DyffrynClwyd.Co.Uk