Dear Friends

Having now recovered from an unpleasant bout of 'flu (despite having had 'the jab'!), I'm able to catch up with my Christmas presents. I seem to have received a considerable number of DVDs, one of which is entitled Glorious 39, and stars Romola Garai as Anne, a girl who has been adopted into what she assumes is a happy family. The 'Glorious 39' of the title refers to the glorious summer of 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. As Anne, a budding young actress, stumbles across secret recordings of a sinister plot to appease the Nazis, she fmds herself swept into a web of dark secrets and increasing danger from a powerful and menacing enemy. The story is told through her eyes, and shows her development from a trusting but naive young person to a mature woman, whose most precious certainties have been destroyed, and who fmds she is unable to trust even those closest to her - but who, nevertheless, courageously acts to defend the right, as she perceives it. There are many cross-currents, twists and turns in this subtle film, which is directed by Stephen Poliakoff, and it serves as a reminder that, during the late 1930s, there was a strong Government policy aimed at appeasement - and, for a time, prior to Winston Churchill's leadership, it looked as though this was going to carry the day. It is a reminder, too, that, even within the same family, differing, and strongly held, views were held on this issue - something that came to the fore again within the last few years during the Brexit debate, now, thankfully, apparently settled, at least for the time being! Within our Christian communities, too, there are frequently differing perspectives and approaches to doctrine, worship and a whole range of Church-related matters. But we can rejoice that, in Christ, we are united by a common baptism and can trust that He, who is the Light of the world, will give us grace to develop a 'right judgement in all things' in so far as our human capacities permit. This is one of the themes which comes to the fore during Candlemas, when we celebrate the presentation of Christ in the temple, as the infant Lord is recognized by Simeon as the one who is to be the 'light to enlighten the gentiles and to be the glory of God's people, Israel'. Do join us if you can for this Family Communion service, which commences at 10.00am in the parish rooms on Sunday, 2 February.

Stephen