From the Vicar – December 2016

The Best Christmas Advert of All?

Over the last several years, an intriguing competition has emerged concerning which television advertiser has invented the ‘best’ Christmas advertisement in a given year. In 2016, there are some key contenders…

* The John Lewis ad has, in recent years, received huge acclaim for ‘best Christmas ad’, and this year features Buster the Boxer yearning to have a go on the Christmas gift of a trampoline (intended for the children, but surprisingly enjoyed by many other forms for wildlife!).  I’m delighted that, before the end of the commercial, Buster gets the opportunity to ‘have a go’ after all the other animals have had their opportunity…..advertising ‘gifts that everyone will love’.

* The Sainsbury’s ad features a family man who is at his wits end trying to meet the competing demands of work and other responsibilities, and is so busy he hasn’t any quality time with his family….he dreams up the bright idea of creating ‘clones’ of himself so that while they are representing him at work, etc., he can be at home with his family, since he recognises that he is the best gift he can give to his loved ones this Christmas…..thereby demonstrating the theme of ‘Christmas is for sharing.’

Although these (and many other) ads are enjoyable to watch, to my mind the very best Christmas advertisement is the ‘original one’, well before mass communication was ever invented…..the awesome drama of the Creator of the universe choosing to send his very own son, Jesus, to be born amongst us as Emmanuel – ‘God with us’ as a fully human being, sharing our joys and sorrows, revealing God’s amazing, gracious love and compassion to those who least expect or deserve it, and revealing the very heart and will of God for our lives, ‘that we might have life to the fullest’.

The great news is that all of us can continue to experience the wonder and joy of this ‘ad’ by joining in the numerous Christmas services being held in the churches of Alrewas, Fradley and Wychnor (see inside for a full listing of services). Come and discover for yourself why Jesus truly is the heart of Christmas, and let’s make room in our festive celebrations for ‘God with us’…..and welcome him into our lives this new year!

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The Future of the Parish Magazine

As you will know from his announcement in September, after 28 years of extremely dedicated effort as the Editor – and indeed publisher – of the monthly Parish Magazine, Brian Goodwin has decided that it is time for him to retire. I am confident that everyone who has enjoyed receiving and reading the P.M. over the years of Brian’s gifted leadership will join me in expressing our very deepest appreciation and gratitude for Brian’s creativity, commitment to excellence, and indeed his remarkable resilience over nearly three decades of outstanding service to our churches and their village communities. I also wish to thank his wife Janet for her superb contribution in recruiting local advertisers for those same 28 years, as well as the numerous people who have offered humble and committed monthly service in assembling, as well as delivering several hundred Magazines to very appreciative readers!  Further thanks to all involved will be expressed in Annual Church Meetings in 2017.

Since, to date, no one has expressed an interest in serving as an Editor to succeed Brian, this December issue will be the final Parish Magazine in its current format. Assuming that a good number of people would like a Magazine to continue in some form, we’ve identified a company that would be able to do the advertising recruitment, layout and editing, printing and assembling colour A5 magazines for us….but in order to take up this offer, we need to have some media-interested people offer themselves to join together in a new Church Media Forum!  May I please urge you, or others you know who might be interested, to contact me by letter, phone or e-mail if you’d like to offer yourself, or to know more.

Finally, may I wish each of you a Christ-centered, joyful Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017!

Messy Church

Messy Church

A variety of craft activities and refreshments followed by a short celebration service and hot meal for children and parents. More..