Dear Friends,

Gail and I wish you a very HAPPY and PEACEFUL NEW YEAR!

This is our first attempt to create a common magazine for the two parishes of St. Peter’s, Minshull Vernon and St. Leonard’s, Warmingham. You will no doubt give us feedback, and no doubt we will be making a few faltering steps as we discover what “works” best.

Have we a star to follow? Not exactly. But we’ve looked at other parish magazines and we are sourcing items of interest from a range of sources. If we think creatively enough there is a spiritual dimension to so much that is going on. If we look around at what people with a connection to the church are doing it is much more than most people realise.

Why do we bother? Well, we believe that Jesus is Lord and we serve Him by celebrating everything that is done in his name or could be done in his name. So that is the aspiration for the magazine.

Let’s broaden the discussion. The three Wise men or Kings (often called Magi) probably had a pretty hazy idea of what this new King would be like, or would do in his life, as they headed for Bethlehem.  But they believed, according to the story, that He would be worthy of their worship.

They provide a powerful picture of the journey we make in searching for God in our lives. Like them, it requires time and effort (they travelled probably for months) and will not always be easy! As they followed the star, so we are called to pursue God’s light in our lives.

What does this say to us at the beginning of a New Year? Are we ready to go deeper in our relationship with God? Are we looking for new ways to use our time, treasure and talents for Him? It is a great time to offer these things to Him, and like the Magi, commit ourselves to pursue them. His light, through prayer, worship and His Word, will be our guide on the way.

 T S Eliot wrote a famous poem: Journey of the Magi. He used the imagined journey of the magi to reflect on his own spiritual journey. It reveals the pain and doubts he experienced on his long and troubled journey to find the light of Christ.

Here are some lines from the poem. See if they fit at all with your own experience of the journey to faith.

 And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted

The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.                                                      Philip

Dear Friends

So we come to the end of an era. Monica and Ted Bermingham are relinquishing their role as joint editors of the St Peter’s Parish Magazine over the past 12 years. This December issue will be their last. In that time they have edited the news of the parish to reflect sad losses and new faces, change and hope, heritage and tradition. It has been a labour of love which has been relentless, as deadlines have to be met, and procrastinating contributors chivvied. So we say a big, big thank you for a fantastic dedicated achievement.

The future magazine we plan to be a joint publication with our sister parish, St Leonard’s Warmingham. There is much that we can do in tandem, or even as one. I don’t think we are now forcing the pace of this prematurely. At one level there is an economy of scale and effort in producing one publication, and advertising is going to reach more people in a way that should offset costs of production in a meaningful way. At another level, we can learn from the example and experience of the two parishes as we see what each does. At a more profound level, we might think less parochially as we find ourselves not simply a local congregation but members of a church which is more than the sum of its parts.

A parish magazine speaks to people who may have very little to do with what goes on in church, or even in the community hall. For those who window shop it is a window on our life and faith. It may bring comfort and support to folks who may be reluctant to cross the threshold, or don’t quite know how to make an approach. For them it may seem a less daunting prospect than attending a church service. For others the magazine is a continuing part of a church life they once knew, but have, for whatever reason, found hard to sustain.

The new magazine will hopefully be online for the whole world to read. Great in one sense, of course, but what if we wrote something controversial?

So our very grateful thanks go to Monica and Ted. We wish them a long and happy “retirement”.           Philip