From the Rectory 01759 369974:

In 1999 at this time of the year Mike and I were in the Holy Land preparing for the Archbishop’s pilgrimage that was to take place to mark the Millennium. There were surreal moments –like counting the inflatable Father Christmases in the shops on the Via Dolorosa, the way pilgrims remember Jesus carrying the cross on the way to Golgotha. But there were also disturbing moments. We got caught up in a standoff between Palestinian youths in a half built tower block as they threw stones at members of the Israeli defence force - young men too and not much older.

The terrible scenes of our TV screen of the unfolding tragedy in Gaza that followed the horrors of the Hamas incursion made us think of the Israeli and Palestinian guides and bus drivers who worked alongside us and each other during the pilgrimage and modelled how life could be, signs of hope.

Also, we cannot forget the ongoing tragedy in Ukraine which feels very close to home with local families from the war zone displaced by the conflict living locally.

But when we were in Israel all those years ago it was also the Jewish celebration of Hanukah or the Festival of Light. The nine branched candlestick, the Menorah, is used. The middle candle is lit and over the course of the eight days of the festival the other candles are lit from the one candle. It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. But with the festivities

and special food it is a festival of hope, of light overcoming darkness. In November Hindu’s and Sikh’s have the festival of Diwali which is also a time of celebration when good conquers evil and light overcomes darkness. In our Christmas celebrations we have the lighting of the Christingles celebrating the coming of Jesus as the light of the world.

We can sometimes forget in all the lovely tinsel clad fun of Christmas that Jesus came to earth during a time of occupation with the Romans in Jerusalem and life being really difficult for many people, and that he was born in poverty in a stable after a long journey so the his family could be counted in the census. But the heart of the Christmas message is that God comes alongside us to share our struggles but also to give each of us the courage to live a braver, more courageous life that seeks to make a difference. Whatever our faith or belief the Christmas story, the Hanukah candles and the lights of Diwali challenge us to bring light as a New Year begins, to love and as Ghandi said, “to be the change we want to see in the world”. We can have hope even as we look at places of conflict but we all have our part to play in building a more inclusive, compassionate and light filled world.

Love Linda x


Garrowby Churches Meditation Group

All are very welcome. Blankets provided and the heating will be on. Because of Christmas preparations, there will be no meeting in December and the next one will be on Thursday 18th January at 7.00pm for about 40 minutes. For those who find quiet reflection helpful see below “From Darkness to Light”.

Advent Sunday 3rd December

08.00 Holy Communion St Edith’s
10.00 Service for All St Mary’s, Skirpenbeck

3pm St Edith’s Bishop Wilton “From Darkness to Light” with the Garrowby Singers – this time of music and meditation is a lovely way to start Advent. Even if you don’t normally come to church it is a helpful way to have some calm before the storm of Christmas shopping.

Christmas Services

All our services are for all the villages so please come to any that you or your family and friends might find helpful as we celebrate Christmas together.

Saturday 16th December

4pm Christmas Carol Concert with the Garrowby Singers at St Edith’s, Bishop Wilton – a lovely evening with mulled wine, mince pies and a mix of music and readings both sacred and secular. Tickets £5, pay at the door.

Sunday 17th December

10.15 Nativity St Edith’s, Bishop Wilton
A relaxed service for all ages with selection boxes for the children

3pm Lessons and Carols at All Saints Kirby Underdale
A chance to sing Carols and hear the Christmas story. Please note there is no 11.15 service at Kirby Underdale or 4.00pm at Full Sutton today

Saturday December 23rd

2pm Nativity and Blessing of the Crib at St Mary’s, Skirpenbeck – please dress up as a character from the Christmas Story if you would like to – adults and children!

Sunday 24th December Christmas Eve

3.00pm St Mary Full Sutton Christingle Service
5.00pm St Andrew’s Bugthorpe Blessing of the Crib and Carols
11.00pm St Edith’s Bishop Wilton Midnight Mass

Monday 25th December Christmas Day

10.00 All Saints, Kirby Underdale, Benefice Holy Communion – please note time (not 11.15)

Sunday 31st December New Year’s Eve

10.30 St Andrew’s, Bugthorpe Holy Communion 5th Sunday BENEFICE SERVICE

Sunday 7th January: Epiphany - The Visit of the Three Wise Men

08.00 St Edith’s, Bishop Wilton Holy Communion
10.00 St Mary Skirpenbeck Epiphany Holy Communion Service for All
11.15 All Saints, Kirby Underdale Holy Communion

Please note there will be no 4.00pm service at Full Sutton on the 21st January

Carol Singing

We do hope to some carol singing and will publicise these in the villages and on this website. You will find details for Bishop Wilton elsewhere in the Pump.

From the Registers


30th September ... Elsie Margaret Doris and Grace Florence Wilson Ward ... St Edith’s, Bishop Wilton

“We welcome you into the Lord’s family”


Wednesday 8th November ... Edgar Price ... St Mary’s Skirpenbeck
Tuesday 21st November ... Grace Brent ... St Andrew’s Bugthorpe

May Mark rest in peace and rise in glory

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