Minister's letter

A message for January

from the Revd. Julia Chard


The Christmas festivities are past, memories of New Year celebrations fading for many of us party poppers! Nativity figures are sadly returned to the cupboard and dusty decorations are either discarded or packed away for revival next Christmas.  Perhaps you are feeling overloaded - food wise and TV with the battle of the ‘soaps’ and election fever! 


Well, Christmas is past and what do we have to look forward in 2020? The UK has a new government of sorts, and climate change is a very real concern to our planet that we have to take seriously and take action to preserve.

In society we have become accustomed to looking on the dark side of life, so what will it take to get positively motivated and reignite or recover our sense of hope?  Giving the body a detox might help. This is not just looking at food and drink consumption, but how much TV, social media and activity is taking our time away from family and friends.  For the body seen as the community, detox could mean reviewing our activity, or lack of it, and looking around at others who might need a helping hand or a listening ear. Perhaps looking away from our mobile phones to take time to smile and say good morning, or even to thank a stranger for an act of kindness.

Making New Year resolutions can increase guilt, in my experience of a few weeks of trying hard to change!  Have you ever exclaimed “how can God help me in my confused and tired state?” We could try feeling less guilty about the do’s and don’ts, by giving time to our inner lives - deemed prayer.  It might be the fresh start we need, and entering into a prayer life might be the means to move on positively, personally enriching and together in Fromeside in 2020. There are many approaches to prayer that are always accessible, for all ages, to cope with the dark days that we all face at some time during our lives. It is in the handing over to a greater power - and for me that is the adult Jesus in God - that we find help, fulfilment and spiritual food for the journey ahead. 


We can thank God for the past, as we can always sift goodness from difficult situations. During 2019 Fromeside Benefice made strong connections within the schools, setting up Messy Church, prayer quiet days and building on the work of the past in community projects. In 2020 we hope to reach out to more people in surrounding communities as a thriving Mission Area, to strive for unity and purpose, engaging with all ages. How? Being honest to our feelings, finding ways to connect with others and new opportunities to invest positively in our community. This begins with prayer.



A few years ago, a prayer came to my notice, written by a local lady Minnie Louise Haskins from Warmley and quoted by King George VI in his Christmas message back in 1939, as the country faced uncertainty. Its relevance I believe speaks to us as we begin 2020 and face an unknown future. 


I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown” and he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”  So I went forth, and finding the hand of God, trod gladly into the night.



May God bless your journey of faith and fill your lives with hope for the future.

Revd Julia Chard