We are one parish with the good fortune of having two churches in Surbiton with their own histories and styles.
When it comes to it, thereís nothing especially different about January 1st compared with December 31st. The nights are still long. Itís still pretty cold. The pantomime season is still far from over.
However, thereís something in the change of digits, the move from 2014 to 2015, which causes most of us to think about ourselves, our actions and our routines. Routines can be a good thing. They give purpose to our lives and when they are beneficial, they help us to be virtuous without thinking about it. I brush my teeth every morning and every evening. I donít really even think about it. Itís a habit someone drilled into me, probably my parents, which means my teeth are broadly in good condition. Itís good routine. Routines arenít always good. Why do I turn the radio on every time I go into the kitchen? Why do I seem to need a coffee at 11am every morning? And so on. Itís good then to challenge them and the New Year is a natural time to review them.
So hereís a suggestion. Amid the resolutions regarding not drinking beer for a month, joining a gym and refraining from chocolate, may I suggest that you consider going to church? It doesnít even have to be one of our churches (though ours are wonderful places to go.) We do have midweek services, but the essentials are at 9.15am at St Markís and at 11am at St Andrewís on a Sunday morning. In these, you get a chance to hear the Bible, hear thoughts about how to live your life, to pray for yourself and for others, to say sorry, to acknowledge you are part of a wider community and to frame your life in the way that God might want you to. There are services to suit those with children and those without.
I started going to church in 1991 and Iíve been there pretty much every Sunday ever since. In that time, Iíve gone to university, got a job, been unemployed, got another job, had a sabbatical, been to theological college, got married, got ordained and now become a vicar. The church has sustained me throughout the ups and downs. Weirdly, I now do actually get paid to turn up, so itís not quite the same, but the habit started long before that. Try it for yourself.
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25 January 2015
Monday 26 January @ 7.30pm, St Mark's The next module of the Emmaus course entitled ĎBeing Churchí begins on Monday 26th January at 7.30pm and the following 3 Monday evenings at St.Markís. See Celia OíNeill or Tim Lavis for more details.
Saturday 7th February @ 7.30pm, St Mark's Create a team of 4/5 or just turn up on the night. Cost: £10 per person in aid of Oxygen our charity of the month for February. If you would like to attend please sign the list at the back of the church or email Tim Lavis.
Understanding Israel & Palestine
Tuesday 24 February @ St Mark's Church 8pm Christine Elliott is the Director of World Church Programmes for Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. She will be giving us an ABC of the current situation to help us try to understand what is happening there today. This is a preparation meeting for the 2015 Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and all are welcome whether or not you are going to Israel.