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December 2016

Hilary writes: Journey to the Manger

Many years ago, after a year that had been particularly difficult and troubling, Henry van Dyke wrote a short story called The Other Wise Man.  He said later that he did not know where the story had come from – ’out of the air perhaps’.

The ‘other’ wise man in the story is Artaban, who set out to join the rather better known wise visitors on their pilgrimage to visit Jesus.  Before he left, he sold everything he had and bought a sapphire, ruby and pearl to take as gifts for the child.  He never did find his travelling companions because he stopped to tend to a refugee lying ill and exhausted in the road.  This first act of kindness ended with him giving away his sapphire so that his journey could continue.

When Artaban eventually reached Bethlehem, his companions had gone and Jesus and his parents had fled to safety.  Determined to continue his pilgrimage, his journey was delayed once again when he stopped to save a young baby from one of Herod’s soldiers.  The baby’s safety came in exchange for his ruby.

Years passed and he covered many miles, with only the pearl left in his pocket.  Just as he was losing hope of ever finding him he arrived in Jerusalem where Jesus was about to be crucified. Within moments of finally coming face to face with Jesus, he stopped, moved by the pleadings of a young girl about to be sold into slavery. He rescued her, giving away his pearl to seal her freedom.

As he handed over the last of his gifts, the world grew dark and the earth shook as Jesus died on the cross.  In the tremors, Artaban was struck by a falling roof tile.  As the old man lay dying, he cried out in anguish and regret that he had never seen Jesus nor given him his gifts. In the silence that followed he heard the voice of Jesus say:

I was a stranger and you welcomed me, sick and you cared for me, imprisoned and you visited me. 

Artaban whispered back: When did I welcome you, care for you and visit you? I have never seen your face. 

And Jesus replied: When you did it for the least of my sisters and brothers, you did it for me.

Artaban knew that his journey had ended.  He had found Jesus.  His treasures had been accepted.

There have been good and uplifting moments in 2016, but also some profoundly sad and difficult ones right across the world. As this year ends and a new one begins let’s gather together at the manger to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Let’s pray for the world. Let’s commit ourselves to working for an end to division and discrimination. And let’s fill the world with treasures of love, kindness and hope.   Hilary

Christmas Eve Nativity with Donkey!

This year we will be continuing the tradition of a Mission Community service on Christmas Eve at 4pm in St Andrew’s Colyton.  As usual, we will tell the story of Jesus’ birth, sing carols and everyone is very welcome to dress up (or not!) as angels, shepherds and wise men.  Do come and celebrate Jesus’ birth! Please see the downloadable leaflet on the welcome page for details of all Christmas services around the Mission Community.


New Year Supper Party

St Michael’s New Year Supper Party will be at the Memorial Hall on Saturday 7th January, 6.30-10.30

We will be happy to welcome The Blackmore Singers who will be providing fitting entertainment to celebrate the New Year. This promises to be an evening of enjoyable music with a healthy dash of humour.

Bring and Share supper as usual – tickets and food list will be at the Village Shop after Christmas. Our thanks to Geoff and Rachel.

Advent Complines and Bible Discussions

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a short service of night prayer – will be said at St Andrew’s at 7 pm on Mondays 28 Nov, 5 and 19 Dec, and at 7.30 on Monday 12 December.

Mission Community Bible Discussion Evenings
We will be holding a short series of discussion groups in the Sunday School Building in Colyton after compline. These evenings are designed to ask questions about what the Bible means to us today. For example, why do we read the Old Testament? How do we respond to ‘difficult’ texts which seem to contradict the Gospel message of love? You don’t need to know the Bible inside out – just come with some questions!
Nov 28th 7.30 pm: The Bible: This is the word of the Lord? Really?
Dec 5th – 7.30 pm: The Bible: joys and qualities of the scriptures Jesus read.
Dec 12th – 8.00 pm: The Bible: love, violence, and hard texts.

Carol Singing, Colyford

Friday 16th December. We meet at St Michael’s at 6.00 for mulled wine before setting off at 6.30 to visit round the centre of the village, then down at the Wheelwright for refreshment and more carols before going on down Swan Hill Road if the weather is dry.

Christingle Services


All are welcome to the Christingle Services in our Mission Community.

Branscombe on Monday 5th December at 6pm.

Southleigh on Sunday 11th December at 11.15

Colyton “Messy Christingle” on Sunday 11th December in St Andrew’s: activities and Christingle making from 4pm, Service at 5pm followed by a simple meal

Mission Community Advent Carol Service

Come and celebrate the start of Advent at St Winifred’s Church, Branscombe

on Sunday 27th November at 6pm.

 This Mission Community service will be a wonderful opportunity to come together in prayer and song to reflect on God’s grace, to look forward to celebrating Christ’s birth and to anticipate his coming again. We will be joined by choir members across the Holyford Mission Community.  Please come along to join in the celebrations.  During the service there will be a collection for Seaton Friends Hospiscare@Home.

Please let us know if you would like help with transport.


Colyton Christmas Fair

The lighting up will be on Wednesday 7th December. The church path will be candle lit, and inside St Andrew’s will be hosting the entries to the 12 Days of Christmas competition.


Summer Exhibition 2017

Coming soon to St Andrew’s Church……….

June 21st-25th 2017: a special week exploring the life and teaching of Jesus and Christian faith in the 21st century.   This will be a very special project involving drama, art, flowers and story-telling.    A working group has been formed and we will soon be looking for help with welcoming, stewarding, refreshments, flower arranging, staging etc.  Do let us know if you would like to be involved.  This is a new venture for St Andrew’s and promises to be very exciting for all ages.   More details in the New Year………

Christine Sansom, Church Warden

Teddies for tragedies 2016


In the last two years we have sent over 200 knitted teddies to help children in difficult situations. In 2016 they went to an orphanage in Zambia, India with The Neem Tree Trust and some stayed in the UK for a Women’s Refuge project.

Everyone knows that the need continues & this year they will go to two organisations:
RAFT (Refugee Aid from Taunton) who will be putting the Teddies in pockets of coats for children – currently planning shipments to Syria & Lebanon.
OHOB Ltd (Open Hearts Open Borders) operating from Plymouth to refugee camps worldwide who are delighted to receive hand knitted items.

So the patterns are in church again (on the desk just inside the door). Please follow the instructions as this is what is required – if you still have last year’s that will be fine, as this year’s is identical.

Teddies need to be in church by 31 December 2016

If you don’t knit, please think about finding someone who would like to become involved in this very worthwhile project, to help a child smile.

Thank you for considering this. Christine

Colyford Christmas Fair


Saturday 26 November 10.00-2.30

Colyford Memorial Hall – entry free.

Refreshments and lunch available and festive stalls, including:

“this and that”, cakes, cards, Christmas food and drinks, children’s books and games, decorations, Christmas presents, cushions, pictures, jewellery, soft toy, raffle and lucky dip.