REVEREND JULIA WRITES…
As we reluctantly turn our back on summer it’s good to find ways to cheer up the shorter, darker days that mark the onset of winter. For some it’s cosy jumpers, comfort food and a blazing fire; for others its Halloween and Bonfire night!
The origins of Halloween are pagan: it marked the beginning of the Celtic year when it was believed that Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves. The approach of dark winter made the evil spirits play nasty tricks, most of our Halloween practices can be traced back to these old pagan rites and superstitions.
In the early church, rather than alienating other cultures, Christians assimilated their festivals and traditions. In the 4th century Christians co-opted the holiday by celebrating the lives of faithful Christian saints in a conscious attempt to take attention away from ghouls, goblins and witches and focus instead on the light rather than the dark. More recently the festival has again been co-opted, this time by the dark forces of commerce that encourage children to dress as skeletons, witches, pumpkins and, more confusingly, cowboys and superman, to extract money and sweets from both friends and strangers.
As a church we do not want to be killjoys but neither can we be comfortable with this celebration of dark forces. Alternative ‘Light Parties’ are becoming increasingly popular. I heard of one that ended with a white cake and a joke candle that couldn’t be blown out. A wonderful reminder of the beginning of John’s Gospel that we will soon be hearing at another great festival of light:
‘In him was life,
and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness,
but the darkness has not overcome it.’
Pre Advent Talk and Discussion ‘Near Neighbours’
24th October 7:00pm at the Methodist Chapel, Litcham
Bishop David Gillett is coming to lead this evening, he writes….
Our two nearest neighbours in the world’s faith communities are Judaism and Islam. We have not always understood each other, or got on well together. This evening will be an opportunity to look at some of the similarities and differences between us. Hopefully, it will give us more background to help us understand, when we come across them, either as near neighbours or through the media. This evening is open to everyone, those of faith or none.
For any more information please contact Heather 01328 700071
Calling all musicians
I am hoping to get together a group of singers to sing at the Group Service at Weasenham St. Peter at 10am on Sunday 29th October. We shall be rehearsed by Colin Dowdeswell, the retired Head of Music at Norwich School. Please sign up young and old, high or low singers.
Rehearsal dates to follow.
I would also like to get together a little music group for the same service. If you can play an instrument and would like to join in, please let me know. Parts will be provided, do come even if you are beginning to learn an instrument. Young and old welcome.
Do give me a ring on 01328 700071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to hear from you soon, Heather