Dear Friends,
Today, 11th November, has been notable in Southampton for two reasons. Firstly, at 11am a ceremony of remembrance was held: no surprises there. And secondly, at 5pm, who should arrive in town but Flying Santa!

You can fill in your own reactions as to the timeliness of Santa’s arrival in Southampton, but I must admit some sympathy for him. Because my recent past has also involved a lot of journeying, and I can tell you, it’s not always easy, even without reindeer management.

Dear Friends,
As I sit here writing this letter in the middle of May my mind wanders back in time...I know all the jokes about wandering minds, thank you...and I remember what this time of year has meant to me in the past. Maypole dancing as a child and then helping with the same activity at my children’s school later on, lots of family birthdays coming up, long sunny days ahead to go exploring on my bike where the M25 now runs, catching the train to Wimbledon to watch the tennis after school when people used to give away their tickets after tea. Mmmmm.....but I also recall revising and school exams and that awful sick feeling, stopping you eating, that went along with it. I used to worry myself silly as the staff put so much pressure on us to do well or we would be letting the school down!! I never heard a word about my best being good enough and several of my friends were labelled failures from an early age because they found academic work so difficult.

Hello Friends,

I hope that 2017 has begun well for you but if not I hope and pray that you know that God is with you through the fellowship of your church family. In our group of churches the SWHG ministry team are meeting regularly to exchange news and pray together which is bringing us closer and helping us to be more aware of the joys and challenges in each fellowship. We are learning from each other and swapping worship and outreach ideas and are growing in our appreciation of each other - growing in our relationship together. It is interesting to note how we each respond differently and learn differently.

Dear Friends,

The Book of Proverbs (Chapter 6) tells us to consider the ways of the ant. Or at least, it gives that advice to those people (including me) who sometimes have trouble getting up in the morning. I have to say I'm reluctant. After all, as Ogden Nash has mused:

Dear Friends,

                   Happy New Year! Is a fairly safe thing to wish one another at the beginning of a new calendar year. But the word “new”, when it is not wrapped up in celebration – and the novelty behind it – is one that people either love or hate.

     If the adverts are anything to go by, the people who market goods and services to us seem to think we all believe that “new” has to mean an improvement on the “old” – even if the only difference in a product is a change in colour, its desirability and price go up accordingly!