Reflecting on his former appointments in East London and Newcastle-on-Tyne of working as Methodist Minister, Hospital Chaplain and part time tutor with the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield, Stephen is clearly committed to encouraging individuals and communities to be honest about their hopes and needs and finding how faith in God can help them be met in Body, Mind and Spirit.
Stephen is our Minister but is already known to us and well known on the Fylde Coast having lived and worked in Fylde for 18 years and prior to that he was a Minister in Blackpool.
What do you want for Christmas? A question I loved as a youngster. The hope and excitement of sending that letter to Santa. As I got older the threat of getting a bag of cinders rather than a sack of toys became a reminder to behave properly and act responsibly. Perhaps it was a good job there was no Santa-cam when I was young!
As I got older and my understanding of Christmas changed, I remember that dilemma of knowing what I wanted for Christmas and reconciling that with what was affordable. It is interesting how my perspective has changed over the years from childhood to grandparent.
Like many others I also wonder what to buy brothers and sisters who, like me, have what they need and, in their mature years, have refined tastes and preferred brands. I know that sometimes the Charity Shop may be the winner but then I’m frustrated at the thought of the gift being sold for a fraction of its cost. So this year we decided to be brave and sent an email to family members suggesting that they make a donation to a charity who then send us a card saying it has bought chickens, sheep or goats for farmers in developing countries or clean water or education packs for families.
As Christmas draws close it feels strange knowing there will not be as many parcels in the post or under the tree. I don’t think it will be a major loss to the local economy but already it feels different. I know money will not have been wasted and those with real and urgent needs have benefitted. I’m beginning to realise it’s like when I was little, I can’t have everything! As you prepare for Christmas please remember there is more to Christmas than presents.