Dear friends and neighbours,

Happy February and March! It seems a bit late to wish you all a Happy New Year, but that’s the way the publishing schedule of the Parish Paper works. But it is a New Year, with new hopes and challenges.

One of our hopes in the St. Giles community is that we can complete the works in the church to restore the Frowyk Chapel – and raise all the money to pay for it! I’ve written a separate report elsewhere in the Parish Paper.

Another hope is that we will be able to appoint a new Vicar. Our vacancy has lasted 16 months so far, which is almost twice as long as the last one in 2014/5. Both St. Margaret’s and St. Giles are still in good heart, ready to welcome all who come to our two churches, whether old friends or new, and this should be encouraging for anyone who applies for our post. But we cannot appoint unless someone applies, so we are planning to re-advertise the post, trying to make it more attractive. Please hold this in your prayers. The churches are for the whole community, not just the regular congregations, and can provide help and hope in surprising ways to all who live here.

We are very blessed with a regular supply of priests to take our services. I know that they look forward to re-visiting us, just as we appreciate their support. I was particularly taken with the sermon the Revd. Iain Lane preached at Epiphany. He explained the significance of lambs, who are generally part of a crib scene (in ours one of the shepherds is holding two lambs). Now Iain grew up in Yorkshire, where they know about sheep, and they used to roam on the moorside above the village where he came from (where I used to live also).

The point is, they don’t normally appear at Christmas. They are born in the early Spring. So the lambs that are part of the traditional Christmas story are exceptional: they signify Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. And when they are born, they immediately get up and run about. They are full of life. And so is the God born at Christmas as a baby, giving life and hope to all of us.

So, once again, a Happy and lively New Year to us all!!!

With my best wishes,
William Marsterson, Churchwarden, St. Giles South Mymms