Christmas Day Greetings!

starTo you, from the people of Wesley Hall Methodist Church:

“Wishing everyone a happy Christmas and New Year.”
– From the Officers, Staff and Girls of 1st Sydenham Girls Brigade.

“The best gifts in life will never be found under a tree, but in family and friends all wrapped up in each other. May we wish a very happy and joyful Christmas to all our members, leaders and supporters…”
– From the 19th London Boys’ Brigade Company.

Christingle“A joyful, playful and safe Christmas to everyone!”
– From the Junior Church, with love x

“Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. May it bring you joy, happiness and be filled with lots of fun and laughter.”
– From SFC (Sunday Fellowship Club)

“May you be blessed with love joy and peace for Christmas and throughout the New Year.”
– From the Stewards

“Praying the hope, peace, joy and love of God is with you this Christmas and fills your homes and communities. May God be near and bless you in the coming new year.”
– Rev Dee

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December 2018 / January 2019: Is Christmas just for Christians?

christmasThe old joke goes…

What did Adam say the day before Christmas?
“It’s Christmas, Eve!”

Sometimes Christians can be guilty of implying that Christmas has always been a Christian festival, even if we know it does not go as far back as Adam and Eve!

Is that true? Do Christians have a precedence on Christmas?

For many years before Christmas became a Christian celebration it was already a festival where people celebrated the earth and its seasons by bringing green branches into their homes to remind them that spring would come again, and lit fires to warm the darkness.

I wonder what is important to you as you celebrate Christmas? Coming to church, singing carols, hearing again the Christmas story? But what about all those, some of whom will be reading this, who can no longer get to church? Can they no longer celebrate Christmas? Has Christmas lost it’s meaning for them?

Of course not. Plus, many of us actually tend to spend very little of our time in Church at Christmas. In fact very few attend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day services as they are busy with their families. Does that matter?

Research has found that the most important things for people at Christmas are:

  • Spending time with family and friends,
  • giving presents,
  • enjoying Christmas food and drink, and
  • putting up lights and decorations.

But are they not what we as Christians also enjoy, and do they not echo our beliefs about loving and sharing with others and bringing love, light and joy into the world?

It also seems that that giving to charity is more common at Christmas time with people showing more empathy and compassion, again echoed in our Christian values.

Instead of bemoaning those who don’t hold religious beliefs this Christmas and complaining about terms like ‘Winter Festival’ or ‘Happy Holidays’, may we show empathy and compassion and realise that our Christmas is not that different to that of other people as we share common values.

Whilst we do not have a precedence on Christmas may we remember that the precedence of the Christmas story is that God became human in order to show the world love. It’s not how we celebrate Christmas that matters but how much we live what it means and show God’s love, justice, peace, and hope in our world today.

May you have a Happy Holiday and enjoy the Winter Festival;
as you bring Christmas joy by putting up decorations and lights,
as you bring Christmas love by giving gifts to others and charities,
as you bring Christmas peace by visiting or telephoning others, and
knowing and showing that Immanuel, God is with us.

Have a blessed Christmas that will help bring hope to us all for the New Year.

Rev Dee

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December dates for your diary – Advent, Christmas and New Year

Sunday 2 December is the First Sunday in Advent and we will light the first Advent candle during the Sunday Service. It’s a busy time of year, so here are all the key Christmas services and events that are coming up at Wesley Hall:

  • Christmas TreeSaturday 1 December: A Christmas Afternoon, 2-5pm
    Join us for carols, cakes and company – contact us for more info & tickets.
  • Sunday 2 December: Gift and Toy Service, 11am
    Bring gifts for Voluntary Services Lewisham to use making hampers for the elderly and children in need in the local community. What to bring.
  • Sunday 16 December: Christingle Cafe Worship, 11am
    Join us for a Christingle in ‘cafe style’ with food and drink.
  • Sunday 23 December: Carol Service, 11am
    Nine lessons and carols.
  • Monday 24 December: Midnight Communion Service, 11.15pm
    Join us at Forest Hill Methodist Church.
  • Tuesday 25 December: Christmas Day Service, 10.30am
    A slightly earlier than usual service. Children are asked to bring a present that they’ve received, to show & tell.
  • Monday 31 December: Watchnight Service, 11.15pm
    Join us at Forest Hill Methodist Church.

We look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events and services!

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A Christmas Afternoon

Christmas cookiesJoin us for A Christmas Afternoon on 1 December.

There will be stalls to browse and pick up some Christmassy treats and gifts, musical entertainment and a festive afternoon tea…
If you’re looking for a lovely afternoon to begin Advent and get you in the mood for Christmas, look no further!

Date: Saturday 1 December 2018
Time: 2 – 5pm
Tickets: Adults £5 / Children £3
Contact us for more info / to book tickets, or just pay on the door.

All welcome!

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Dates for your diary

calendarThe Wesley Hall Sunday Service details for December 2018 to February 2019 have now been added to the online calendar.

It’s a busy month with activities such as our ‘Christmas Afternoon’ of entertainment and festive stalls and special services such as Christingle (cafe style!) and our traditional Carol Service.Come and celebrate with us!

The calendar also includes other events including Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade meetings, Church Council etc., plus relevant circuit-wide events.

Take a look at the calendar and if there’s something you expect to see but don’t, or if there’s anything you’d like to find out more about, do leave a reply and we’ll get back to you.

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November 2018: Peace

red poppywhite poppyUnfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed!
Psalm 85:10

Some experts claim that the way to achieve true peace is to finish things rather than have unfinished business hanging over us. One person took this advice literally and found peace by finishing things they had started. They were very content after finishing … a bottle of wine, a packet of biscuits, a bar of chocolate and a strawberry cheesecake.

Of course, that is not what was meant! But equally we are aware that unfinished issues continue to cause unrest in our world. This November we will be marking Remembrance Sunday and 100 years since the end of World War One. This may well make us ask what peace means in a world where troubles persist, wars are repeated and people continue to be treated inhumanely by others. There is unfinished business.

Is peace possible?
Is our God a God of peace?

When we look at the Old Testament we can find a God who seems to instigate war and enable his people to revel in destroying others, or who punishes his chosen people for their sins by letting them be destroyed by other nations. Also, in the New Testament it is not all love and peace. In one passage Jesus tells us not to think he came to bring peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34). That of course has to be balanced with other passages that talk of peace and turning the other cheek. This is such a wide and complicated subject that I cannot begin to do it justice here, but as our verse from Psalm 85 above indicates, it’s not just about peace on its own: there has to be righteousness alongside peace, justice is part of peace. Sometimes it is Christian to fight for what is right, to stand up against injustice, be that to do with political rulers, trade issues, poverty, unfair benefit systems or whatever.

There are unfinished things that need sorting out.

Although complicated, and with no easy answers, I would encourage you try to think a bit more, as you prepare for Remembrance Sunday, about what peace means and how to let its lessons change your life for the future. Remembrance 100, which is part of the Hope movement, has been giving thoughts and prayers since 4 August for the 100 days leading up to Remembrance Sunday. Its not too late to look it up and let it help you as you seek to make sense of your experiences and beliefs about peace.

Whether we are white or red poppy wearers, pacifists or those who support military interventions, those who have experienced war or those who can’t imagine it, those who welcome refugees or those who feel we have to be more protective of our countries, may we each make sure we think it through and be at peace with what we believe, and respect and pray for each other in this.

And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are
good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honourable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.

And the God who gives peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:7-9

Blessings,

Rev Dee

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Quiz Night!

Question markThe next Wesley Hall Quiz Evening is on Saturday 10 November – come along to exercise your brain, or just to have a laugh!

  • Time: 7.00 for a 7.30pm start
  • Teams: Maximum 6 people
  • Tickets: £7 per person
  • Supper, tea and coffee provided during the evening
  • Please bring your own nibbles
  • There will be a raffle
  • All proceeds go towards church funds

Contact us for more info and to book your team’s place. See you there!

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