Faith journeys are a vital part of who we are. One way of reflecting on your own faith journey is to jot down a time-line of, for example how you first found faith; who or what influenced your life in the choices you made, and so on.
This will almost always start a chain of thoughts that will take you deeper into who you are now and, importantly, help you to understand where you are going in the future.
It's a fascinating exercise and needn't be arduous. Sharing faith journeys can provide a wonderful 'collage' effect of the uniqueness of each of us and how God is ever-present even though often unrecognised at the time.
The story of Simeon and Anna, in the Candlemas (Presentation in the Temple) readings, centred on recognition. Both had patiently and faithfully served God and now at the end of their lives they both recognised the infant Jesus as the promised Messiah. Recognising God and responding to what that might mean for each of us will be part of our faith journey.
As we travel together as a church community, we keep moving forwards, building on our experiences and learning from our time of prayer and worship together. A strong sense of travelling together gives us encouragement to keep going, even when the going is difficult.
We have plenty to be thankful for as we strive to become a more Christlike church.
Enjoy the frosty winter scenes even if through the window!
NEW BEGINNINGS by Rev Dilys
Stubbings' snowdrops have started to appear and the days are very slowly beginning to lengthen. The first flowers of the new year are a welcome sight when we are still in the grip of the cold and grey of winter.
This year Easter is late. This means we have more of a breathing space between Candlemas (February 3) and Ash Wednesday (March 6) which marks the beginning of Lent. Instead of having to squeeze in Epiphany and pre-Lenten Sundays, we have time to enjoy them.
New person needed
Bishop Andrew will be retiring in April and the process of finding a new Area Bishop of Reading will have already begun. We have three area bishops in the Oxford Diocese, led by Bishop Steven, and it's important that across the Diocese we keep a balance of gender and style of churchmanship.
Oxford has traditionally been an open and inclusive diocese and I hope the new appointment will continue to support this, Through prayer and discernment, I am confident that the right person will be chosen.
Bishop Steven has initiated .some excellent study days and continues to challenge the church to become fit for purpose in the world of today ie to be outward looking, and more Christlike. We all have a responsibility to make this happen.
Epiphany is the season for inviting others to consider belonging to the church in a real sense, through actively responding to the call to discipleship: to be baptised, confirmed and to serve one another in many practical, often small ways.
The Stubbings' churchwardens recently hosted a coffee morning to thank people who serve in Stubbings in a variety of ways. Thirty five people were able to attend and the overview of the commitment to various tasks was inspiring.