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December 2010 & January 2011

By Ian Cardinal - Posted on 01 December 2010

Rectory Ramblings


            Recently Steph and I were able to spend a day in York: it’s one of our favourite cities, being the place we had our honeymoon amongst other things. From time to time we have been able to spend time there, but in 1996 we rented a house and spent most of the week “within the walls”

            But that was a slightly unnerving experience: the place was filled with beggars! Wherever you went you would be haunted by the constant refrain “can you spare any change?” Thankfully on this most recent visit we only spotted one obviously homeless soul – and I hope that this might be a rather kinder and gentler society emerging.

            The homeless: the refugee: the asylum seeker. What is your attitude towards all these kinds of people? I remember being accosted in a supermarket queue once, by an elderly gentleman telling me he wasn’t doing “the lottery” anymore as it was supporting “them asylum seekers.” Consequently I wrote for our local paper of the time about the Christian attitude to such people – that Christians were on their side!

            Because right from the Old Testament days, the people of God were exhorted to care for “the alien that is within your midst” – and it was quite obvious, even from the Ten Commandments that so much applied to people who were living amongst the group as strangers. God’s good things were not to be kept for just a tight little group of people – and even today the Church is called to be outward looking, not to indulge in too much navel gazing!

            But of course at this time of year I am writing this because of the Christmas story. Although we can self-indulgently make it rather twee, the fact of the matter is that Jesus was born into poverty: he was homeless and born in a manger! After that, according to St Matthew, his parents became asylum seekers themselves: fleeing from a wrathful and genocidal regime, they went to Egypt. We who call ourselves by his name cannot afford the indulgence of putting ourselves first!

            And in a time of economic straitness, perhaps we are asked once again about our attitude to those who are so much less well-off than ourselves? What are you doing at Christmas this year? Are you cutting back – or are you carrying on much as normal? because the truth is quite naturally that those who have least are so often the ones to suffer most. Perhaps we should consider a Christmas charity this year?

            May God bless us in our celebrations of Christmas this year: may he give us a wonderful Advent – and indeed a blessed new Year, whence it come. But he also give us a heart to keep us mindful of the needs of others



Ian Cardinal



Many thanks to all who came and supported the All Souls day service last month: The service was deeply moving – many people have told me how helpful they found it, as we joined our prayers with “angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.” Thank you








8am Stone

9.15am Aston

10.45am Stone

5th December

Ted Pick


Andy King

12th December

Annette Hawkins

Steph Cardinal

Dennis Abbott

19th December

Roy Ball

Sheila Howells

Richard Moss

24th December




Nichola Abbott

25th December




26th December




2nd January


Mary Babb

Steph Cardinal

9th January

Ted Pick

Berwyn Babb

Sue Coles

16th January

Annette Hawkins

Mike Ducie

Bob Davies

23rd January

Roy Ball

Lin Davies


30th January



Margaret Moss

6th February


Bryan Fletcher

Andy King


Christmas Tree Festival

The second weekend in December St Michael & St Wulfad will be holding a “Christmas Tree Festival” in Church – some of you may have come across this idea before. The notion is that different organisations will erect a small tree or display in Church, including their own emblems within it. Half the proceeds will then go to the Donna Louise Hospice – and we do hope that many will visit the Church over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see what has been wrought



One December 12th at 10.45am we welcome Bishop Geoff, the new Bishop of Stafford for his first visit to our benefice. Bishop Geoff is due to Confirm 8 candidates from our Diocese. Do come and support them in that special moment on this day – and please pray for:

Helen Smith, Pauline & Tony Lindsay, Edith Leason, Kizzy Smith, Hannah Scott, Sophie Scott & Emilia Wesson Wyatt


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                                    Sally & Roy Smith