Benefice of Seaview, St Helens, Brading & Yaverland
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Drawing showing the extent of the Anglican Benefice of Seaview, St Helens, Brading & Yaverland on the Isle of Wight

Benefice Blog

The Season of Goodwill

Peace on earth, Goodwill towards all peoples, the season of Love and Joy

Christmas is that time, it always has been. Last year our Christmas was shattered by COVID and the regulations on travel and gathering, but through it all brave attempts at community spirit and caring for each other lightened the season.

This year with the shops open, and the hospitality industry looking to recoup losses, it looks like a bumper year for a Christmas of consumption - but is that really what we want? If our houses and fridges are already full, do we really want more, or is there something else that we really need?

Our What's On magazine is growing and comes to those living  in the Haven Benefice free this winter as it wants to tell a different story about Christmas (and all the year); one in which people, not presents are the most important, and where community celebration and getting to know each other are the meaning of the season.

So many of the things that the church and community are doing are free. You can sing carols, go to concerts, talks and services; gathering inside and out, with the family and on your own, you will be welcome. The TV and central heating may be appealing, but this year, from Christmas nativity walks to visiting the community farm, from Santa in St Peter's Garden to planting trees in Nettlestone, the villages have safe outside tun for all the family.

As I write this  I remember that this Peace we are looking tor, for the whole world, is not something that iust happens, we have to make it happen. At War memorials across our parishes last month we pledged ourselves to be peacemakers and seekers after justice for all people.

Goodwill begins in our streets, our villages and our communities as we come out and meet each other and share our lives. As the years ahead look to be hard tor many people, and the long ripples of COVID meet the returning waves of climate and environmental destruction, it is the  strength of our shared lives that will once again bring us the lives we long for.

Peaceful and joyful. God Bless,

Ali

December 2021

The Future of the Planet

In the run up to COP26 in Glasgow, three leaders of the worldwide Christian church - Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Justin Welby - urged everyone to play their part in ‘choosing life’ for the future of the planet.

ln a ioint statement they called on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, ‘to listen to the cry of the earth and of  people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us.’

Their declaration warned that ‘today, we are paying the price’ and ‘tomorrow could be worse’. ‘Our children's future and the future of our common home depend on it.’

They said we are facing ‘the inevitable consequences of our actions, since we have greedily consumed more of the earth's resources than the planet can endure. But we also face a profound iniustice: the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest on the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them.‘

As our leaders go to discuss how the global drivers of destruction can be tackled, here on our Island we can come together and look at our own small patch of God-given earth and see how we can be stewards of a flourishing future. The archbishop and our new bishop have spoken passionately about the churches‘ role, and our Eco Church endeavours are helping us become fully in line with this priority.

From global to local to personal, great changes are being asked of us; and there are simple things we can do that have far reaching, positive results. Our churches are helping us to make these changes.

l. We can buy organic food... when we do this, we directly contribute to the nourishment of our soil and the biodiversity of the countryside (both on a local and global scale);
2. We can trade fairly with the worid... when we buy our food from local producers we know, or when we buy Fairtrade products, we encourage the best farming practices and ensure that people and the planet are nourished and supported;
3. We can reduce our plastic waste... when we limit our house-hold products, reduce our packaging and refill our containers, we help cut plastic pollution, one piece at a time.

Here in the benefice we have started to follow this, and people have already found the Market at St Mary’s Church (now called Level Land Larder) and become regular clients who shop, order and bulk-buy through us. As we use big-chain supermarkets less, protits go to the community farm rather than anonymous shareholders.

The Larder is not a conventional shop; it is a place tor gathering what we need to survive - the basics of lite. It is run by community volunteers and supported by Haven Eco Church - because the biggest single thing we can all do is ‘live simply’. This spiritual and life-changing discipline is at the heart of our churches’ message for this time.

Let‘s make a commitment and make a change. The Time is Now.

God Bless

Ali

November 2021

The task: to strengthen the things that remain

Canon Hugh Wright, Vicar of St Catherine’s and Holy Trinity, Ventnor, and Rector of St Boniface’s, Bonchurch, has written a great article for Church Times about the Church's need to wake up to its place in an increasingly secular society.

It can be accessed by using this lnk followed by clicking on Continue to Article.

Ali

4 September 2021

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