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January 2020

Caroline, John, Henry and I have been overwhelmed by the wonderful welcome we have received from the communities of Colyford, Musbury, Northleigh, Southleigh, Branscombe and Colyton. Thank you for all your cards, letters, messages and your thoughtful gifts, including some wonderful hampers and local food—all greatly appreciated.   

At the beginning of January we celebrate the Epiphany when gifts and greetings were taken to the Holy Family. ‘Epiphany’ is a fancy Greek word which means something like ‘manifestation’ or ‘appearance’. It is a rich celebration which (in the Western Church) marks the visit of the Three Kings who bring gifts to the manger, which is one of the early signs that the birth of the baby Jesus is not simply a good human being, or wise teacher and moral example, but is in fact God made man. The readings we hear in church around this time look beyond the crib, at all the miracles and wonders Jesus did during his life and ministry to help us to think about who exactly Jesus Christ is, and what he might accomplish if we were to allow ourselves to trust in him a little more and our friendship with him to grow. 

As I travel the East Devon lanes (avoiding the potholes….sometimes more successfully than others…) travelling from one church to another, I am aware how fortunate I am to be a part of the life of the six churches which make up the Holyford group. The Church is a people, but it is buildings too, and each of our beautiful buildings is a gift and sign of the Epiphany; each  stands as a manifestation to remind us that we have a God who is Emmanuel—‘God with us’—present at the heart of the community, come wind or weather.

Arriving at the beginning of Advent and leading up to Christmas has provided a great opportunity to get to know quite a few new faces. Thank you to all those who have said hello. If we haven’t already met, I hope that we shall soon. Until then…

 Wishing you every blessing and a Happy New Year,

 Fr Steven.

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