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GroomNews Christmas 2011 December 16, 2011

Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Life.
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GroomNews Christmas 2011 - printer-friendly version (pdf, 193kb)

GroomNews Christmas 2011 - printer-friendly version (pdf, 193kb)

A Card Free Zone
Last year we invited you to vote for the charity that would receive our Christmas card money: the charity you chose was WaterAid, so we’ve gone with the flow and designated them for this year too — a much better cause than Royal Mail, we hope you’ll agree…

2011: A Year of Years
10 years since UKCBD, the UK Christian Bookshops Directory, was launched. Christian booksellers are suffering along with other retailers, with dozens of shops closing down.
15 years since Sue’s ordination, and still going strong — from ordinand to DDO: see below!
20 years since we set sail to London on Almost to become students at London Bible College, now London School of Theology. Sadly LST is still struggling to balance the books, with more redundancies kicking in over Christmas/New Year: please pray for those leaving, those left behind and those with the unfortunate task of liaising with the staff affected.

Visiting York for Phil's 50th

Visiting York for Phil's 50th

50 years since Phil’s Mum unleashed him on the world: it’s all your fault, mother!! We celebrated with a few days away in York, and you’ll be relieved to know that the city survived the experience.

Church, Work and Research
Sue has now been formally appointed as St Albans DDO, Diocesan Director of Ordinands, which is keeping her busier then ever alongside parish responsibilities and research. DDO work is supposed to take 21 hours a week but in practice it’s nearer 30 — not surprising since her predecessor was full-time. The parishes have been growing in responsibility if not numerically: we now have a trained baptism preparation team and a bereavement visiting team who work across the benefice. Find out more on the church websites, which Phil is now looking after: www.henlowchurch.org.uk and www.langfordchurch.org.uk

The DThM has taken the hit from the workload: Sue has been unable to do as much as she would have liked and now that she’s in year 6, it gets scary. She has, however, negotiated a sabbatical (Sept – Nov 2012) and aims to produce a full draft of the final thesis during that time.

Sue also gives a ‘Thought for the Day’ on our local radio station on the first Thursday of each month: tune in to Biggles FM 104.8 if you’re in range!

Almost on the Nene, July 2011

Almost on the Nene, July 2011

Holidays
This year we set off along a waterway we hadn’t visited before: the River Nene. It’s a lovely stretch of water: Almost fairly flew along and we found some very pleasant moorings along the way. Two weeks gave us enough time to make Peterborough and back. Almost finished the year with a week in dry dock and now has a spendidly shiny black bottom.

In May Sue joined some of her friends in the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis for a pilgrimage to Assisi. It was a wonderful week revisiting some of the well-known churches but also getting out into the countryside to see where Francis escaped on retreat. For her own annual retreat, Sue returned to Alnmouth Friary in Northumberland and renewed her acquaintance with some of the writings of Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, two of her favourite spiritual writers.

A New Generation
We’re delighted to report that we are now a Great Uncle and Aunt to Oliver, born to nephew John and his wife Laura in October. Oliver is already taking swimming lessons and is expected to win Gold in the 2012 Olympics: Oliver, we salute you!

A Super Slimline Sue!
Over the summer Sue realised that she was slowly but surely putting on weight (a factor of increasing age apparently!), so she increased her swimming to five mornings a week bright and early and is now slimmer, fitter and healthier than she has been in years.

5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net

5 Quid for Life: A Mental Health Safety Net

5 Quid for Life
5 Quid for Life is a new charity launched this year by Phil and a group of friends to support people with mental health problems whose lives and livelihoods are under threat due to changes to the UK benefits system: discover more online at 5quidforlife.org.uk.

Thank You
Thank you for being there with us through 2011. This comes as always with our love, best wishes for Christmas and prayers for peace in the year ahead,

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O West Bank Town of Bethlehem December 9, 2011

Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas.
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THANK YOU to Kevin Mayhew Ltd for publishing the full text of Martin Leckebusch’s version of the popular Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem — offered, they say, “as a more realistic description of Bethlehem today” than the traditional words. I couldn’t agree more:

O West Bank town of Bethlehem,
how still thy victims lie;
the grieving weep, deprived of sleep;
militiamen roam by;
for through thy dark streets rageth
the never-ending fight:
such hopes and fears, such bitter tears
are met in thee tonight.

O morning news, O papers,
report the dreadful dearth
of saints who sing to praise the King,
of peace across the earth;
where Christ was born of Mary
‘midst wondering angels’ love,
in anguish deep, sad mortals keep
few thoughts of things above.

How violently, how violently
the hope of peace is riven;
can God imparts to these torn hearts
the blessings of his heaven?
Who now recalls his coming
to this dark world of sin?
Where harsh words still promote ill-will,
can Christ now enter in?

O Child once born in Bethlehem,
draw near again, we pray;
you died to win this world from sin –
yet sin persists today.
May we, like Christmas angels,
annouce Immanuel,
till all are given a glimpse of heaven
and not a taste of hell.

– Martin Leckebusch
Copyright 2010 Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Reproduced, complete with typos, in accordance with Kevin Mayhew Ltd’s fair use copyright policy.

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