From Nancy Jean Whitehead...

Dear Friends
It is cold! The ground is damp underfoot. The glorious colours in the trees are going as the trees drop their leaves often in the teeth of a strong, cold southerly. It was clear and sunny earlier this morning and it is now clouding over. It is a day for settling down in front of the fire with a good book or some good TV to watch. In short – it is winter!

Winter is often not a good time for doing things that are creative and energising. Our instinct is to copy nature and go into a time of hibernation and slow growth so we can build up our energy for Spring and Summer. While we have enjoyed the beauty of the autumn colours we now see the bare trees and there is much less colour in our flower gardens. Yet those bare branches have a beauty of their own. They stand out starkly against the winter sky and remind us that beneath the usual finery of leaves, flowers or fruits, there is a very strong structure. That structure is there to support the new growth and through its roots and veins to provide the nutrients the tree will need to again come back to life.

This has got me thinking about our own structure as churches. How strong and deep are our roots? How well does energy and nourishment flow through us? Are we becoming root-bound? Do we need to be thoroughly pruned and tidied up so that our next season will be better? Or is it just easier to snuggle down in the warmth and pull the covers over our heads and hope Spring arrives?

Brian Hardie’s Psalm / Prayer Winter Gathering rings a lot of bells for me and I hope it will for you too.









God, with the onset of winter
it’s hard to get out of bed in the mornings,
the frost keeps us tucked up in our warm beds,
the icy wind beats up back behind closed doors;
we are a snowbound, snowed-in community.
We have frozen relationships that are locked in time,
we have iced-over grief that refuses to melt,
we have cold memories that won’t budge,
smiles of steel that will not soften.
God, warm us up, heat up the atmosphere,
breathe life into our relationships,
let us feel your lifeblood pulsating through our veins,
impassion our friends, fire up our prophets,
place hot coals in our hearts
that we may glow with praise.



Keep warm, keep safe and keep praying