Church Blog

The traditions of Christmas

Posted by Jude Pitcher on Tuesday, 11th December 2018

Have you heard of the Christmas Pickle? Neither had I.

Apparently this “old German tradition” involves hiding a pickle, or a pickle-shaped ornament, deep in the branches of the Christmas tree. The first child to find it on Christmas morning gets an extra present. And there I was thinking it was just a description of my life two days before Christmas.

There are two puzzles in the history of this old German tradition. The first is that the most popular area for celebrating it is in the Midwestern United States. The second is that if you ask an actual German about their ancient pickle tradition, nine out of ten (at least) will say “Never heard of it”. In fact it doesn’t seem that anyone, anywhere in the world, had heard much about it before the late 19th century, when – surprise! – Christmas tree ornaments became widely sold.

“Traditions” range from the merely habitual through the manufactured to the very odd. Sometimes the reason disappears but the tradition is fiercely protected. For centuries the Royal Navy had a tradition a giving sailors a tot of rum daily. When this started, rum was healthier than rancid water. The tot was finally abolished, amidst much mourning, in 1970, when the Navy became concerned about sailors’ ability to operate machinery safely. Apparently in bygone years it had been quite safe to climb a hundred-foot mast and shuffle out to the yard arm.

December is full of tradition, and we are going to love them. Advent calendars which no longer have any discernible connection to Advent. Hauling trees (trees!) inside the house and putting lights and tinsel on them. Hanging odd things from the ceiling. Singing songs seldom heard at any other time of year. Insisting that a fat man in a red suit, heedless of all the health and safety requirements, circumnavigates the world at over 1,000mph, pausing only to slide down numerous chimneys inches wide. And pretending it’s snowing.

Christmas in 21st-century UK, and much of the world, is almost its own free-standing tradition independent of roots – pagan, Christian, or otherwise. It’s perfectly possibly to celebrate it simply to chase the feel-good factor.

But it is worth reflecting on origins. Although centuries ago Christians hitched a ride on a midwinter festival when they picked a season to celebrate the birth of Christ, we still wouldn’t recognise Christmas without Christianity. Carols. Angels. Gifts. The message of “goodwill to men”. Even the fat man in the red suit is a caricature of a 3rd-century Christian Bishop. Why did this start?

In the absolute conviction that it marked the most important event in history. A world past self-help, entered by its Creator, in order to join his life to ours and so give us the kiss of life. The birth of a baby who could overcome the darkness in us, carry your life and mine to the grave, and then break us out of the tomb. Confirmation that God’s desire for the Earth was always, in the words of Luke 2:14 “Peace, goodwill toward men.”

Happy Christmas and all blessings.

Andrew Pearson, Minister for Albury

Thank you from the Food Bank team

Posted by Jude Pitcher on Monday, 26th November 2018

“When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.” Psalm 86:7

A recent report on Guildford Borough Council’s draft homelessness strategy has warned that the introduction of universal credit presents “major risks” while a lack of affordable housing presents the “most significant” risk. The report follows the end of the current strategy. The report and others can be found on GBC website.

I wanted to draw your attention to this, not to start a political or moral debate, but to highlight that the need to continue to give in our area is still very important. So, let me thank all those who have continued to support out Food Bank initiative this year, by giving items or indeed their time to ensure our regular deliveries to the Salvation Army and the North Guildford Food Bank.

We had a wonderful response at harvest, which included our collections, totalling £397.46.

A young member of our Parish visited the Salvation Army in Guildford to present the cheque to Major Kevin Rand, who was extremely grateful and said “this wonderful donation will be absolutely vital at this time of year, God Bless you all.”

Please continue to give and remember those in need this Christmas time.

Summer Food Bank Campaign

Posted by Jude Pitcher on Thursday, 2nd August 2018

Please feel free to drop an item into our Food Bank collections this summer. Many families struggle to make ends meet in the school holidays.

Useful items include: quick cook noodles, long life milk, tinned meats, tinned soup.

We support the Salvation Army in Guildford, the North Guildford Foodbank and the Bellfields Foodbank.

How to help those in need…

Posted by Jude Pitcher on Wednesday, 7th March 2018

The Diocese of Guildford have put together a fantastic booklet with information to help those in need in the area. It covers help for the homeless, debt advice, counselling services, Foodbank info, Emergency housing info, day centres, hostels and furniture.

Please click the link below to visit the Church Housing Trust resources.

http://www.churchhousingtrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/How-to-Help-Homeless-People-online-2017.pdf

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35

‘Broken’ Discussion Group

Posted by Jude Pitcher on Thursday, 1st March 2018

Sean Bean plays Father Michael Kerrigan in ‘Broken’

Join us in Shere Village Hall on Mondays 5, 12, 19, 26 March from 7.30-9.30pm to watch an episode a week, followed by refreshments and discussion. All welcome.

Afternoon Songs of Harvest Praise

Posted by Jude Pitcher on Wednesday, 6th September 2017

Wednesday, September 13

2.30pm, St James’, Shere

We invite you to join us for Songs of Praise for God’s creation and goodness, and stay for a chat over tea and cake. We look forward to seeing you and do let us know if you would like a lift.

Contact: Judy Potter on 01483 203352 or Rosemary Mason on 07783 965119

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