4th Sunday of Advent – 23.12.18
Please note the Crib Collection box will be in both porches from this Sunday
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Welcome to the last Sunday of Advent. Today we hear from Elizabeth as she greets Mary and feels St John the Baptist stir in her womb. Perhaps this moment was what used to be called the ‘quickening’ – the first perceptible movement of the new child and the moment it was thought when God infused it with its soul. If so, the evangelist has been quick to link the greeting of the two in utero children with the gift of the soul. Another way in which Jesus’ divinity is suggested through the Gospel.
Elizabeth went on to say “Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.” The promise, of course, being the one made by God through the Angel Gabriel – that Mary would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceive a child. Mary’s acceptance speech was remarkably short – “I am the handmaid of the Lord” – almost “At your service Lord” – Mary takes it as given that she should accept the gift and the responsibility of her vocation. For this gift of obedience Elizabeth counts her as blessed. And so do we. In Mary we have an image of the perfect disciple – one who accepts the will of God without explanation and who also accepts the consequences – uncertainty, insecurity, loss of her own desires and objectives all in pursuit of the will of God.
In our own lives each one of us is given a vocation too. Each one is called to a particular service of the Gospel and of God according to their abilities and talents. Elizabeth’s words imply that it is precisely in taking up these vocations that we find our blessedness – or as the Second Vatican Council might have put it – our sanctification. Pope Francis in his last encyclical exhortation spoke eloquently of how each of us finds our sanctification – or holiness – and we find it in surprising places. In the home, among friends, at work, in our recreation and relaxation as well as in participating in Mass and prayer.
Mary was not expecting this particular call, but she was open to the will of God – she expected something, at least. So when the call came she was ready and willing. Am I? Are you?
With my love and best wishes for the coming season. Fr David
300 Club Applications
Over the years, the 300 club has been here to help raise funds for the church. Over the past 10 years, over £11,000 has been raised. The draws start in January with a New Year draw and end in December with a Christmas draw, with 12 monthly draws during the year.
Entry forms are available at the back of each church in the parish and should be returned no later than 13 January 2019 to be included in all the draws for the year. Return entries by putting them in an envelope in the collection at a Sunday mass or direct to the parish office in Cranleigh.
In the current year, there are 124 entries, each one costing £12. After taking away the prize money this had left £648 as a contribution to the church’s funds. Let’s see if we can make 2019 a bumper year and raise over £1000 for the church. Good luck!
The Finance Committee would like to remind you that all Christmas monetary gifts for Father David should be placed in an envelope clearly marked with “Father David”. This includes cash or cheques made payable to “David Osborne”. Pre-addressed envelopes will be available at the back of both Bramley and Cranleigh churches. Any loose cash or unmarked envelopes placed in the collection plate will be assumed to be a gift to the Parish funds.
The next Cameo Evening will take place on Tuesday 8th January – if you would be willing to host one of the 12 CAMEO meetings in 2019 please speak with Tracy in the Parish Office who will gladly support you. For everyone please note the CAMEO meetings will take place on the first Tuesday of each month to which all ladies of the Parish are welcome to join.
The Parish AGM will take place on 5th February 2019. If you have an item for the agenda please submit this to the Parish Office well in advance. The AGM is open to all members of the Parish and will take place in the Cranleigh Parish Meeting Room.
The Village Carol Service takes place in St Nicolas Church this weekend Sunday 23rd December from 6.30pm.
Please note the Mass dates and times over the next two weeks are adjusted with no Masses in the period 2/1 to 4/1.
The first over 50’s coffee morning will take place on Wednesday 9th January to which all are welcome.
If you know of someone who is hoping to have a child baptised please direct them to the parish website to sign up for the next course which is 10th and 17th January.
Community Christmas Day Lunch: If you cannot be with family or friends on Christmas Day this year, you are warmly invited to a Churches Together event in St Nicolas Church Rooms. There will be a traditional Christmas Lunch, carols, presents and entertainment. The event will run from 1pm to 4.30pm and everyone is welcome. Please contact the Church Office on 01483 273620 to book and let us know of any dietary requirements and/or if you need transport. This is a community event supported by local volunteers, charities and businesses. Help would be appreciated on Christmas Eve from 10.30am to set up the Hall.
Cranleigh Lions Club – Project Wenceslas
Will you be nice and cosy in your home this winter?
How would you feel about helping those that won’t be?
Please consider helping Cranleigh Lions to help others by taking part in Project Wenceslas and donating some or, perhaps, all of your Winter Fuel Payment to us.
The Winter Fuel Payment is paid to those born on or before 5th November 1953 and those living in the UK for at least one day during the week of 17th – 23rd September 2018.
This payment is not means tested, it is tax free and will not affect other benefits.
The payment is £200, or £100 each for a couple, and increased to £300 for those born on or before 23rd September 1938.
If you are eligible you will usually get the payment automatically. Most payments are made in November and December. You may need to claim it if you have not had it before or if certain conditions apply – details at www.gov.uk. You have until 31st March 2019 to claim for winter 2018-2019.
Cranleigh Lions are asking that if you do not need this money you donate your Winter Fuel Payment, or some of it, to the Cranleigh Lions’ Wenceslas Project.
Working in conjunction with the Citizens Advice Bureau, SureStart, local churches and other organisations funds will be used to help local people who have problems with their fuel bills. Some even have to choose between heating or eating.
Money is not given to individuals – we make payment direct to energy companies or we top pre-payment cards up with cash.
If you would like to help those who are unable to keep warm this winter please consider donating your Winter Fuel Payment or some of it to Cranleigh Lions.
If you are a UK tax payer we can also claim Gift Aid on your donation which means we can help more people. Bear in mind that Gift Aided donations can be included on your tax return.
Please see our website www.cranleighlions.orgfor more details and donations can be made quickly and simply online at www.cranleighlions.org/project-wenceslas
This will be our fifth year of running Project Wenceslas and to date it has raised about £14,000. Thank you