Pastoral Letter: w/e 19th December 21020

Dear Friend from Bridport United Church, Uploders Methodist Church, Hope & Radipole United Reformed Churches,


Before I start let me let you know of services over the festive period:

Sunday 20th December 

10:30am Bridport - led by Gill Bumphrey 

10:30am Uploders - led by Peter Clark 

Thursday 24th 

3pm Carol Service at Bridport United Church - led by Peter Clark

11:30pm - Midnight Service jointly with St. Mary’s AT St. Mary’s 

Friday 25th

10:30am - Christmas Day Service at Bridport UC - led by Peter Clark

Sunday 27th December - NO SERVICE AT Bridport United Church!!!

So … with this communication we fast approach the end of the calendar year … and what a year 2020 has been!  Much like the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities, it has been the best of years and the worst of years.  It has tended to feel the latter if I’m honest and most of us are thoroughly sick and tired of the lockdowns, restrictions, additional queues and rules and not to mention masks and foggy glasses!  The aloneness and isolation have been of a different order from normal loneliness and some of the separations from loved ones has been acutely and painfully felt by many of us.

On the other hand, there have been many positives too.  I have witnessed and heard of many acts of good-neighbourliness and pastoral support.  Folk ringing other folk who they haven’t talked on the phone to for years, people doing shopping and errands, sorting problems and just being there for them.  And the church organisation has adapted and managed things.  Video Services (who’d’ve thought I would have my own YouTube Channel !!) … Zoom services, meetings and prayer groups (I don’t know about you but I’d not even heard of Zoom until March!), church volunteers making sure that we can meet safely when allowed and regular minimum fortnightly contact from me, not to mention the Harbour House and United Church mini-Tree Festivals!  Surely that all has some positive elements?

And so we move from pandemic-tinged Advent into a pandemic-tinged Christmas season and our focus moves from grumbling about not being able to sing, not being allowed to hug (or even see) out loved ones as we would wish to … and just for a moment our eyes lift up.  They lift up away from the difficulties we are facing and focus instead on those faced by a single couple traveling miles in difficult circumstances.  They had no accommodation as they might have hoped and in fact needed, since she was about to give birth.  They were grateful for what they did gain even though they had to lay the new-born babe, wrapped only in bands of cloth, in an animal’s feeding trough.  

And in that moment, the world changed!  After a year of a changed world, it is good to remember that God was (literally) there in the midst of that chaotic and difficult time … just as God is very definitely here in the midst of our own chaotic and challenging situation!

Light has come into the world, friends and the darkness has not overcome it!

However you celebrate it, have a blessed and love-filled, God-filled Christmas.

Rev'd Peter Clark
01308 425978
URC Minister of the Bridport & Dorchester Joint Pastorate