|Reverend Carolyn Oley and the leadership team
Please note: REVEREND CAROLYN WILL BE AWAY BETWEEN
28th DECEMBER 2014 AND 3rd JANUARY 2015
we approach Christmas this year it may seem hard to notice the goodness of God amidst the never ending bad news. The baby
in the manger is in danger of seeming a rather sentimental story in the face of war and disease. So I want to encourage us
all to open our eyes to those other events that are going on across the world. I have one example but if we look, there are
Bernard Kinvi arrived in London this week. He received an award from Human Rights Watch for "unwavering courage and dedication"
in protecting civilians in an easily forgotten conflict. A smiling, slight 32 year old, Father Bernard recounted how in 2010
the peaceful community in the Central African Republic where he is a Christian priest, slowly slid into violence and ethnic
division. The cleric acted with one aim to save anyone - regardless of creed. When a Muslim rebel movement, known as Seleka,
reached the town, the priest treated not only those from his church who survived their murderous raids, but also injured fighters.
They were offered shelter in the church. He ran the gauntlet by collecting casualties and corpses. He negotiated with
the militia to spare lives, including his own. He said, "I had moments of great fear, but I had taken a vow to help the
sick even if my own life was at risk. When the moment arrived I had to keep it, to stay and help. Some 1,000 Muslims were
treated in the small hospital and helped to escape to neighbouring Chad. Father Bernard said that the symbols
of the church carried enough authority to give pause for thought. He said, They are scared of my clothing, the long robe with
a large red cross. When I saw this, I made sure I always wore it".
In the face of overwhelming odds, goodness
is recognisable. Even when those who fear it, try to destroy it, it returns with gentle power. Jesus, newly born was taken
from Bethlehem to Nazareth to escape those who would have destroyed Him. He came to show us what God is like and what Love
can do even when the world is at its worst. He came for all of us whatever creed, colour or race, young or old. Knowing Him
is the greatest gift we shall ever receive.
I wish you love and peace in your hearts and homes this Christmas
Filling the Christ shaped hole in the heart of
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