This months edition is provided by
Revd Margaret Dimmick
A Happy New Year
‘Happy New Year’. Our greetings ring out at midnight on 31st December as we sing ‘For Auld Lang Syne’ and let off fireworks. We may go to a Watchnight Service and thank God for the year that is past and commit ourselves in hope into his hands to guide our future, but however we express it, we might look forward to 2019 with foreboding, or maybe excitement for the new year to come.
There have been joys and sorrows in my life in 2018 as I expect many of you have had, too. We did not quite follow the pattern of the film ‘Four weddings and a Funeral’. It was one wedding and thirteen funerals. The one wedding was great fun and eagerly looked forward to. It was our son’s, with the girlfriend he had met at Parkrun. At this point, I must recommend Parkrun. It is a good way of keeping fit, but also of meeting a partner, for our daughter was married two years ago to the husband she met at Parkrun!
This brings us to things you can learn from these occasional services not held in a church. The wedding was in a register office, the couple had not wanted to come to church, but they wanted me to give one of the readings. I chose the meaning of true love, with 1 Corinthians: 4-7 at the back of my mind, from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. I was astounded to receive applause.
The funerals, whether I took them or mostly went to them were mainly in a Crematorium Chapel. They were celebrations of a life, with thanksgiving. Yes, there was sadness, particularly as two of them were close family members, but also food for thought. The people had served their families, but had also served the community, they may not have realised that their lives had reflected what it means to follow Jesus Christ (Matthew: 25 37-40).
There were also two of our Franciscan brothers and sisters. One of the sisters had written a poem, which was based on the phrase in the ‘Canticle of the Sun’. She accepted that she would not recover from her illness and was waiting for her kind and gentle sister, waiting to lead her by the hand on the next stage of life’s journey as she hushed her latest breath. All of the people believed in the Resurrection and eternal life in some way.
As I close, I can tell you that I had some inspiration from an article in my newspaper telling us that this year more people that ever are going to have a vegan or vegetarian feast. People are resolving to lead healthier lives, eating less meat, more vegetables and exercising. Whatever your New Year’s resolutions, whether it be ‘Veganuary’ or ‘dry January’, or foregoing the sales-following the principle of Pope Francis’ theology of enough – may I wish you a ‘Happy New Year!’
Revd. Margaret Dimmick PTO curate, based at
Caversham Park Ecumenical Church