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December 2011 & January 2012

By Ian Cardinal - Posted on 01 December 2011


Rectory Ramblings


Last Christmas

I gave you my heart

But the very next day

You gave it away


Have you ever had that kind of experience? I remember many years ago (and long since forgiven, I hope) Steph and I spending rather more than we could afford on a gift for someone, only to see it very quickly passed over and someone else’s offering obviously preferred. These things hurt at the time, and it took some getting over!

            And I wonder if that is how God feels at Christmas? He is the giver of all good gifts of course – and so much of what we take for granted is given to us daily: life, health, a home and people that love us. But do we ever stop to thank him as we cast our envious eyes on things we imagine we want; that we fondly imagine might make our lives better?

            “We hope his life is a living hell!” – a quote of course, from the parents of the murdered girl, Joanna Yates. Now please understand that I am not criticising in what follows: none of us can begin to imagine what those poor people are going through – and I am not saying that I would not feel the same! But I do hope I might realise that, even were their wishes to come true it would not bring back loved ones. Gandhi had it right when he suggested that such reprisals leave the whole world blind and toothless!

            And what I would like to do is to contrast our own attitudes with God! To an unkind, ungrateful people, what does God do? Does he insist on like for like punishment? Does he give up on the whole experiment of creation and simply turn off the sun, as the old poem suggests? Does he just choose to ignore human beings and go away and try again?

            Not for one moment! Instead of any number of radical solutions to the ingrates that we are, God chooses to give a gift beyond all measure:- he chooses to give us his Son! Born in the stable, prey to all kinds of risks, not least a genocidal and megalomaniacal ruler, God chooses to come himself in the person of a small child! And this gift above all gifts demonstrates the extreme lengths to which this God will go: he understands what it is like to be human – he’s “been there, done that and got the tee-shirt!” Christmas is the evidence that God loves us and will go to any lengths to make us realise how much!

            So as we celebrate this Christmas, and as we labour our way through writing cards and wrapping parcels, take a moment and stop to think of him who is the Lord of all: his love for us is beyond all telling – and that is the true meaning of the Season


Ian Cardinal



Many thanks to all who came and supported the All Souls day service last month: Several times I have been stopped and told by people how moving they found it all, and how supportive and sympathetic it was as they sought to find some kind of closure on their grief. I couldn’t do that alone of course and am grateful to all those who give their support and prayers








8am Stone

9.15am Aston

10.45am Stone

4th December

Annette Hawkins

Bryan Fletcher

Dennis Abbott

11th December



Andy King

18th December

Roy Ball

Mike Ducie

Nichola Abbott

24th December




Bob Davis

25th December



Steph Cardinal

1st  January

Ted Pick

Mary Babb

Sue Coles

8th January

Annette Hawkins

Berwyn Babb


15th January

Roy Ball


Margaret Moss

22nd  January


Lin Davies

Richard Moss

29th January



Dennis Abbott

5th February

Ted Pick

Bryan Fletcher

Andy King


Christmas Tree Festival

The first weekend in December St Michael & St Wulfad will be holding a “Christmas Tree Festival” in Church – just as we did last year. 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. We are delighted to see already that there will be twice as many displays as last year!


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



Frank Shelton RIP

Many of you who knew Frank will be saddened to see that Frank passed away in Hospital after a long slow decline in these last few months. Our love and prayers go to Dorothy, his widow, Maureen his daughter and all the family at a sad time


Thank you


It’s the time of year when, on behalf of you all, I would like to express our appreciation to all those who manage our Church magazine. As you know it has a wide circulation of nearly 500 and many people tell me how much they enjoy reading it each month.


So can I give thanks to:


Preb. Michael Harding who as format editor labours each month to get the articles into readable form. He stepped in “temporarily” to begin with, but does a wonderful job in making the magazine both entertaining and informative



Bryan Fletcher who oversees both the adverts and the finances of the magazine. This is the first parish I have known where the magazine generates cash for thr two Churches – and we are grateful!


Mary Babb, who takes the finished form for duplicating: no small feat for 500 copies of course – and to our Brothers and Sisters at Christ Church who allow us the use of their equipment at a very reasonable rate. To everyone who then takes the printed sheets and assembles them into the form that we then know and love


Berwyn Babb who takes the finished article and delivers it around a willing band of distributors, who then pass the magazine on to the various places it is delivered. These silent folks do a sterling job, come rain or shine- and we are grateful


And then finally to yourselves, good people, who contribute regular articles and information, month by month, year by year. Our magazine is a high quality and desirable publication at a small cost. Thank you all – and Season’s greetings to you