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December & January

By Ian Cardinal - Posted on 01 December 2012

Rectory Ramblings


Christmas has come early to Stone! Well, not really; but as I write I have just returned from a “Messy Christmas” in St Michael’s Hall. The idea is that parents and children are invited to a very “hands on” session with crafts and other activities, culminating in a short act of worship and then a light snack of a meal. The session has been incredibly successful and over 50 children, plus adults have crowded in to the session entitled “Countdown to Christmas.” The comment was made “you need a larger Hall!”

So are you ready for Christmas? I doubt it – few of us usually are – and there is a lot to do before the next weeks are out. But of course it’s not really about being ready with the cards and gifts – much more to do with being ready for the King of Kings! And that’s what the messy Church session has been preparing us for

Because getting ready for a person takes such a lot of doing. At various stages in our time in the Ministry, Steph and I have ended up giving sanctuary to various kinds of people – a battered wife, a homeless member of the congregation and even a complete stranger who turned up on our doorstep! Each time it takes some courage to have them stay (especially if you think an irate husband may be on the prowl outside, or you are wondering if you have taken a sensible option with the stranger!) Having someone stay with you takes a lot of “space” in your home – and maybe you will be put out with having to be on your best behaviour!

So how much more space does it take to have God incarnate in your home? It cost Mary and Joseph hugely: not just the embarrassment of the child out of wedlock – but the loss of home as they went to Egypt – and the terrible fear of Herod’s soldiers as they sought for the child

But that’s what we are asked to do! Jesus asks us to have him in our lives – not just for Christmas but for the whole year around. He may demand space – but he also enriches our lives for good! We have a great many people in our congregations whose lives have been changed forever by their discovery of Christ in our midst!

So – are you ready for Christmas? Probably not – who could be? But spare a thought for our new Archbishop who faces a life turned upside down by his new role. What will Jesus ask of you? Whatever it is, it will not be dull!


Ian Cardinal



May I express my thanks to everyone who made it to the All Souls Day service on November 2nd? Once again it turned out to be an occasion that, although bitter/sweet obviously helped many on the road of their bereavement. It looks rather as if we shall be having a bumper number of funerals again this year, and this is a very important part of the work of our two Churches




8am Stone

9.15am Aston

10.45am Stone

December 2nd

Ted Pick

Bryan Fletcher

Andy King

9th December

Annette Hawkins

Berwyn Babb

Dennis Abbott

16th December

Roy Ball

Mike Ducie

Steph Cardinal

24th December




Nichola Abbott

25th December


Lin Davies


30th December

Ted Pick

Sheila Howells

Bob Davis

6th January

Annette Hawkins

Mary Babb

Richard Moss

13th January

Roy Ball

Berwyn Babb

Margaret Moss

20th January


Steph Cardinal

Sue Coles

27th January

Ted Pick


Andy King

3rd February

Annette Hawkins

Bryan Fletcher

Steph Cardinal


Christmas Tree Festival

30th November – 2nd December will be St Michael & St Wulfad’s annual Christmas Tree Festival – with 24(!) displays promised so far. This is a delightful occasion and culminates in the Christingle service at 4pm on that Sunday afternoon, when our Town Mayor will judge the best display. Do come at some point over the weekend and support a real Community event!


Christmas Greetings

Obviously we should love to be able to send Christmas cards to all our friends in these two parishes, but your clergy recognise that this is simply not feasible, so please, within this magazine, take our blessings and good wishes for this time of year from


Ian & Steph Cardinal


Malcolm Clark RIP

Malcolm was a stalwart of the 8am Holy Communion service, bravely volunteering to lead intercessions there at the age of 90! For the last two years he has been a resident of Autumn House, where he quietly slipped away last month. His funeral service was held at St Michael’s, very much his spiritual home and we send our love and prayers to his family


Thank you

Once again it is my privilege to say a huge thank you, on your behalf, to all those who continue to make our parish magazine the delightful and successful publication that it is! Can I thank particularly: Preb Michael Harding, Bryan Fletcher, Berwyn & Mary Babb who do most of the “donkey work” to ensure we have a good read over the year!


In addition there are faithful souls who collate the magazine each month, who deliver it all around the area – and then those who simply write such lovely items that grace our doorsteps. Thank you to you all!


Healing Services

Last month those involved with the Ministry of Healing managed to try a different kind of service: instead of Holy Communion, this was a quiet a meditative approach, involving music and contemplation as well as anointing and laying on of hands. Those who attended said how much they had valued this and we should like to try it again


So the next date for your diaries is:


4pm, Sunday 6th January at St Michael & St Wulfad’s.


Do join us if you are able


Messy Church

The next session of “Messy Church” will be held on Saturday19th January –

3-5.30pm at St Michael’s Hall. All are welcome