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C o n t a c t The Parish Magazine

St Mary’s Church, Ilkeston The Church in the Market Place

THE VICAR’S CHRISTMAS LETTER Dear Friends, What else can I talk about in the December magazine but Christmas? It’s a wonderful time of year, a time when we decorate our homes, eat special food (probably too much of it), give presents to those we love, receive presents, get together with family and friends and, of course, the time we celebrate the most amazing event of all – the birth of a tiny baby whose coming has changed so many lives. And yet, not wanting to put a damper on the occasion, it can be a time of stress for some. Remember and pray for those who are spending this Christmas seeking work; those who feel they can’t provide adequately for their families; those who find themselves alone; those who’ve lost family members this year; those whose relationships are breaking down; those who’ve been dispossessed; those living on the streets; children whose parents neglect them; and many many others. God became human to share in the suffering of his people. It’s an appealing story - a tiny baby in the manger with loving parents watching over him – cute animals looking on, all surrounded by angels. But we’ve sanitised the story. Let’s be honest, oxen and asses are messy - they’re not house trained, the manger was possibly dirty, it would have needed a good clean before putting a new-born baby in it, there’d be no running water, no ambulance to call if things went wrong – Joseph may have had to dash off to find a local ‘midwife’ to attend Mary, leaving her alone in pain hoping he’d be back in time. It was a human story – amid the joy there was mess, confusion and disarray. And that’s the point of Christmas. Jesus’ birth wasn’t any different to any other birth – in fact it was probably more difficult. He became just like us, he knew pain, he felt compassion, he suffered rejection. The Christian faith is so different from other faiths because of Jesus. In Jesus God is with us in our suffering – he knows the pain of human loss, he joins with us in our loneliness, he experiences the rejection we feel. And that means that he stands alongside us whenever we need him, he carries us in our need and he comforts us in our pain. So this Christmas enjoy your celebrations, celebrate with those you love, but remember that in those celebrations many are in pain and try to be aware of it and, if at all possible, try to help to alleviate that pain. Wishing you all a very happy and holy Christmas. Yours in Christ, 3


Dates for your diary (in addition to the regular Sunday & Wednesday Services) 1st -

Ilkeston Christmas Lights Switch-On Cantelupe Centre Roof Appeal event - see page 5

3rd -

Advent Carol Service at 6.00pm Revd Canon Dr Simon Taylor from Derby Cathedral to preach

6th -

St Nicholas – patron saint of children A serious theologian who died in Myra about AD343, Nicholas was a participant at the First Council of Nicaea, which formulated the Creed.

9th - Christmas Music & Carol Concert at 2.00pm - CANCELLED 12th - Relaunch of Smalley & District Mothers’ Union There is an invitation for friends at St Mary’s to attend a service in St John the Baptist Church, Main Rd, Smalley DE7 6DS at 2.00pm. Contact Sue Attenborough for details.

17th - Christingle Service at 4.00pm The Christingles will be prepared after the 10am service.

19th - Mother & Toddler Group’s Christmas Party In the Cantelupe Centre starting at at 9.45am with a special guest in red arriving about 11.00am 21st - Winter Solstice - see page 9

23rd - Carol Service at 2.00pm (Saturday) 24th - Christmas Eve - Regular services at 8.00am & 10.00am plus Midnight Communion at 11.00pm (NB revised start time)

Also:Civic Carol Service at 7.00pm in the Market Place Carol singing at Ilkeston Hospital - organised by Christ Church, Cotmanhay; meeting in the foyer to go to the wards at 8:00pm. Please let John Puxty know (Tel: 930 1601) if you are interested in attending.

25th - Christmas Day Informal Service of Holy Communion with Carols at 10.00am (NB there will be no 8.00 am Service on Christmas Day) 26th - St Stephen – “Look out for Wenceslas” see page 11

28th - Holy Innocents The day in the church calendar to join with bereaved parents to grieve the loss of babies and young children recalling the massacre of the young male children of Bethlehem by Herod the Great.


Friday Evening 1st December

Ilkeston Town Centre Christmas Lights Switch-On The Cantelupe Centre will be open from 6.00 pm Serving REFRESHMENTS And running STALLS & GAMES Please come along and support the Centre as we continue to raise funds for our Roof Appeal. Thank You So Much!

Easy Fundraising In the November issue of “Contact” John Bell wrote in some detail about how to sign up at the easyfundraising website so that any purchases made on-line from a large number of retailers would result in them donating to St Mary’s. If you have not already done so, you can join the scheme at: One of the on-line retailers involved - and there are many - is Amazon. Our very own Franklin Bishop has written a book titled “How to be a Christmas Curmudgeon” which can be purchased from Amazon. Franklin says “The book is concerned with the lost memoirs of a relative of the infamous Ebenezer Scrooge” and adds that it is “a comic take on the festive period and a really amusing read especially for Christians with a healthy sense of humour!” So if you’re looking for a stocking filler or just an entertaining read for yourself, search for it on Amazon but remember to sign up to easyfundraising first and help St Mary’s in the process. 5

Bishop Alastair To Retire Bishop Alastair has announced his plans to retire from 31st August 2018. In a letter on the Diocese website he writes “ It is an enormous privilege to be working with you and I hope that this early notice will give time for prayerful discernment of God’s call into the future. Thank you for your partnership in the Gospel. Every blessing. Yours ever, Bishop Alastair” More details will follow in due course.


Christmas and St Luke’s Gospel It is to St Luke’s wonderful gospel that many Christians turn as the year draws to a close and Christmas approaches, for it is to St Luke that we owe the fullest account of the nativity. Luke alone tells us the story of Mary and the angel’s visit to her, and has thus given the Church the wonderful Magnificat of Mary. Luke alone tells us the story of Simeon’s hymn of praise, thus giving us the wonderful Nunc Dimmittis. Imagine an Anglican evensong without the Nunc Dimmittis. Luke alone tells us the story of how the angels appeared to the shepherds and how the shepherds then visited the infant Jesus. So – imagine Christmas cards and nativity scenes every year without the shepherds arriving to visit baby Jesus. Imagine school nativity plays without our children dressed as shepherds or sheep. So – thank you, Luke! What makes it so amazing is that Luke was not a Jew! The man who wrote the fullest nativity story, and indeed more of the New Testament than any other single person, was a Gentile!

Why was Jesus born in a barn? Our pretty Christmas cards do not do it justice – the stable that Jesus was born in would have been smelly, dirty, and full of mess. So why did God not provide something better for His beloved Son? Why let Joseph and Mary scrounge around until they ended up in a smelly stable? Perhaps because the King of Kings being born in a foul stable is a perfect picture of redemption. Jesus came from glory into a world filled with the dirt, filth and darkness of sin. And Jesus was not put off by darkness in the least – instead, He came to be the Light of the World. Thank God for His unspeakable gift. No wonder the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14) 7

The Man Who Married Mary By Lester Amann The traditional Nativity scene on our Christmas cards has Mary with the Holy Babe. Around her are the shepherds and Magi. We may also see stable animals, angels and a star! While Joseph is often included, his presence seems to be of minor importance. After all, we praise God for Jesus with our familiar Christmas carols, mentioning angels, shepherds, Wise men and Mary but the name of Joseph is absent! Why is Joseph given a low profile? For he is a man to be remembered. Joseph was a resident of Nazareth. He worked as a carpenter and his skills would have included making furniture, repairing buildings and crafting agricultural tools. Although Joseph had an honourable profession, he would not have been a man of great wealth. The gospel writers Matthew and Luke give Joseph a few brief mentions. After the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary go to the temple in Jerusalem to dedicate the Baby to God. Afterwards, they flee into Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod and much later return to Nazareth. Twelve years later, Mary and Joseph go with Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. Here they lose Jesus, and find Him in the Temple talking with religious leaders! Apart from these verses, the New Testament is silent about the rest of Joseph’s life. However, we do know that Joseph was father to other children by Mary. His four sons are named and they had at least two daughters. (See Matthew 13:55) And we also know that Joseph was someone who quietly and humbly took on the awesome role in caring for the early life of the Son of God. Joseph would have taught Jesus many things – not just the skills of a labourer, but the lore of the countryside which was evident in our Lord’s teaching. Jesus grew up within a loving family and described God as ‘Father’, knowing also the good fatherly qualities of Joseph. In the Christmas story, Joseph is placed into a situation that brought him misunderstanding and suspicion. But Joseph remained faithful in the knowledge that as long as God had spoken, the opinion of others 8

mattered little. Before Jesus began His ministry it is believed that Joseph died. It is likely Jesus took on many of his father’s responsibilities before He left home. In the eyes of the world, Joseph was a nobody. He was not a man of valour, fame and fortune. But he was the one who had parental responsibility for the greatest person who has ever lived! It is sad that we often equate ordinariness with ineffectiveness. Down the ages, God has used many ordinary people to accomplish great things. God continues to use ordinary people. Like Joseph, we need to know that doing God’s will is the most important thing in life. May we, this Christmas, respond to God’s call to us and please Him in all that we do.

21st December - Winter Solstice A Midwinter festival has been a part of life since pre-Christian times. When the hours of daylight are fewest, the warmth of the sun weakest, and life itself seemingly at a standstill, our ancestors, the pagan peoples of Europe and Western Asia, lit bonfires and decorated their buildings with evergreens. With the advent of Christianity, the Spring gods became identified with Christ, and the birthday of the sun with the birthday of the Light of the World. The early church father Tertullian did not approve of Christmas decorations but by the time of St Gregory and St Augustine, four centuries later, this had changed and so many customs were never discarded, but simply endowed with a new significance.



26 December - Look out for Wenceslas Most of us probably know that on December 26th (the Feast of Stephen) ‘Good King Wenceslas’ looked out, writes David Winter. We probably also know that the snow lay round about, ‘deep and crisp and even’. Beyond that, he’s just someone in a carol. However, Wenceslas was a real person, a duke, and effectively king of Bohemia in the 10th century. In modern terms, he was Czechoslovakian. He was known as a generous and kind monarch, deeply Christian and given to good works. So the story in the carol by the Victorian hymn-writer J.M. Neale, while possibly fictitious, is at least in line with his recognised character. ‘Page and monarch’ braved the ‘bitter weather’ and the ‘cruel wind’s wild lament’ to take food and fuel to a poor man living rough. Neale’s carol was enormously popular in the 19th century, because it perfectly expressed Victorian Christian ideals of benevolence and alms-giving. Christian men of ‘wealth and rank’ are urged to help the poor, and so ‘find blessing’. Ignoring the ‘wealth and rank and men’ bit, it’s still good advice, at Christmas or any other time.


I WENT INTO A CHURCH …. Part 6 by Garth Newton I went into a church for a Carol Service during Advent many years ago and decided to write this “piece for Christmas” based on that service. In truth I’ve been in many churches at this time of year – there was a memorable service in St Mary’s of nine lessons and carols whilst I was still a schoolboy at Hallcroft when we all traipsed by St Mary's Schoolrooms (our gym) and up the path to reach the church from the rear. Then there was the Cantelupe School’s carol service at St John’s on Nottingham Road when my son played his keyboard in the School Orchestra. I remember with affection a Christingle Service at the URC on Wharncliffe Road and all those happy faces at the "Toy" Services there when children donated unwanted toys to be given to others less fortunate than themselves at Christmas. But the Christmas service that I recollect every year took place in Kensington Mission getting on for fifty years ago. The Mission stood on Nottingham Road opposite Park Drive, right where the new road into Morrisons supermarket has been built. Originally associated with the Congregational Church it chose to remain independent when the Congregational movement became the

Kensington Mission

URC. My wife and I actually met at the Mission as infants and we attended Sunday School there through to our teenage years when, in an attempt to encourage more people of our age to attend the evening chapel services, we started and ran a Youth Club in the 1960s. Eventually though an ageing congregation and mounting repair bills and running costs forced the closure of the Mission. It must have been some time in the 1970s then that the memorable Carol Service took place. We were a small congregation but the service was full of praise. Four of the men Arthur Winson, Graham Trussell, Bill Howard and Mr Eyre sang a verse each of “We Three Kings”; my mother, Doris, recited one of 12

Helen Steiner-Rice’s Christmas poems as did mother-in-law Elsie; Peggy Reid, Nellie Wittering (who by the way, celebrated her 102nd birthday in October this year) and my wife Sandra sang solos and/or duets and everyone who was able, contributed something to the service. Most of those names will mean little to you but to me they are part of my heritage. You may wonder why I remember this particular service so well. The answer is that I recorded part of it on a portable cassette recorder and I play the cassette nearly every December. It always brings a warm feeling inside and also a smile to my face – partly because the rechargeable battery ran out midway through the service. The final carol that I recorded catches the congregation in full voice but as the battery ran down, it could not supply enough power to drive the motor at the correct speed. Consequently when played back now at normal speed, the voices get quicker and quicker and end up sounding like “The Chipmunks”. Nostalgia it may be, but such memories induce a good feeling. I always feel nostalgic at this time of year anyway as my parents were married on Christmas Day, Sandra’s on Christmas Eve and aunts, uncles and cousins around the same time. I fondly remember family get-togethers at home and with relatives to celebrate and enjoy a special family time together. We were also a family in Christianity at the Mission and of course the essence of Christmas is the family – Joseph, Mary and Jesus. It is good to step back from the hurly-burly of everyday life and ponder on treasured gifts from God and Christmas is a good time to do it. I know you will have your own memories of Advents, Christmases and New Years from times gone by but let me remind you of the angels’ greeting when Jesus was born – “Peace on earth, goodwill to all men”. In fact, I’ll conclude my “piece for Christmas” by wishing you all not only “PEACE FOR CHRISTMAS” but for the forthcoming New Year too. 13

November News On Remembrance Sunday we welcomed the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, the Mayor of Erewash and Councillors to our service followed by an Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on the Market Place.

The Cantelupe Centre has a New Roof. We are so pleased to be able to look forward to a dry and warm winter. Our builders D&G Roofing Services have completed (in record time) the external roofing, so the centre is now completely waterproof and insulated. We would like to express our thanks to everyone who has helped to raise the money needed especially Derbyshire County Council (during Labour’s term in office) for match funding £25,000.00, and to an anonymous donor without whom the task would have been much harder.

All the internal work still has to be done, but we will be able to do this gradually without getting wet! 14

All in the month of December It was: ★

125 years ago: on 18th Dec 1892 that Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker was performed for the first time, at the Mariinsky Theatre, in St Petersburg, Russia.

60 years ago: on 25th Dec 1957 that Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Message was televised for the first time.

50 years ago: on 3rd Dec 1967 that the world’s first successful human heart transplant was performed by a team led by Dr Christian Barnard in Cape Town. The patient, Louis Washkansky, survived for 18 days before dying from pneumonia due to a weakened immune system.

30 years ago: on 25th Dec 1987 that in the British TV soap opera Coronation Street, Hilda Ogden left the street to become her doctor’s housekeeper in the country. It was one of the most-watched episodes in the show’s history.

20 years ago: on 11th Dec 1997 that the Kyoto Protocol, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas and combating global warming, was adopted at a conference in Japan. (Over 190 countries have signed the agreement, which came into effect in Feb 2005. Canada withdrew in Dec 2012.)

15 years ago: on 7th Dec 2002 that Iraq submitted a weapons declaration to the United Nations in which it stated it had no weapons of mass destruction.

10 years ago: on 23rd Dec 2007 that the British royal family launched The Royal Channel on the video sharing website YouTube.

See page 16 for “Joyce’s Jottings” as Joyce Rich delves into Ilkeston Library’s archives for the month of December 15

Joyce’s Jottings from the Ilkeston Library archives for …. …. DECEMBER 1954 An article written in December, 1954, about ancient records, says: "May 23rd l769. During the funeral of Joseph Cocker, with many people in the church, there came a violent hailstorm. Large blocks of ice blew in from the West, breaking many windows." Many years later the same Cocker family objected violently to the original scheme to extend the Church eastwards as there was a Cocker grave in front of the Altar.

and DECEMBER 1974 In December, 1974, about 400 people filled St. Mary's for Ilkeston's first Christingle service, held in aid of the Church of England Children's Society. The children took their purses of money up to the Altar and were given Christingles in return - oranges decorated with a candle, red ribbons and fruit. Over £102 was raised for the Society. The Service included special music sung by the Choir, with Mr. Wilf Severn as soloist and Mr. Celyn Kingsbury at the organ. By 18th December, 1975, after a depressing account of falling numbers of worshippers a few years earlier, the Revd. Arthur Robertson was delighted to report that over 2,000 people had been to St. Mary's during the week. The attraction? Carol services, school services, weddings, a performance of George Frideric Handel’s "The Messiah" as well as normal services, culminating with the Christingle Service attended by about 600. 16

We’re grateful to Jennifer Flanders for allowing reproduction of this Scramble


The Journey to Bethlehem An Advent Bible Reading Guide adapted from His Coming Foretold Dec 1: His Birth Foretold Read: Isaiah 9:1-7 Reflect: What are the special names given to the child who is to be born? Dec 2: His Peace Foretold Read: Isaiah 11:1-10 Reflect: What will empower this “root of Jesse” to bring such peace and justice to the world? Dec 3: His Suffering Foretold Read: Isaiah 53:1-6 Reflect: What was the reason for this one’s sorrow and suffering? Dec 4: His Birthplace Foretold Read: Micah 5:2-5 Reflect: Where does the prophet say the “promised ruler” will be born? Dec 5: His Kingship Foretold Read: Zechariah 9: 9-13 Reflect: What might surprise someone about the description of this King? His Coming Prepared Dec 6: At The Right Time Read: Galatians 4:4-7 Reflect: For what reason did God send his son “at the right time”? Dec 7: By the Holy Spirit Read: Matthew 1: 18-24 Reflect: Why was important that the baby be conceived by the Holy Spirit? Dec 8: Preceded by John Read: Luke 1:5-17 Reflect: What did the angel say was to be John’s task in life? Dec 9: Announced by the Angel Read: Luke 1:26-38 Reflect: How did Mary feel when she heard this momentous announcement? Dec 10: With Great Rejoicing! Read: Luke 1:39-45 Reflect: How did Elizabeth show her joy at Mary’s news? The Child is Born Dec 11: The Birth of Jesus Read: Luke 2:1-7 Reflect: Why did Mary and Joseph have their baby in Bethlehem? Dec 12: The Angel’s Good News Read: Luke 2: 8-14 Reflect: What immediately followed the announcement of good news? Dec 13: The Shepherds Find Him Read: Luke 2:15-20 Reflect: How did people react to the shepherd’s report about the child? Dec 14: The Child in the Temple Read: Luke 2:21-32 Reflect: Why was Simeon so moved by seeing this baby? Dec 15: The Child’s Future Read: Luke 2: 33-40 Reflect: What did Simeon and Anna see for Jesus’ future? 18

His Childhood and Youth Dec 16: The Magi’s Search & Worship Read: Matthew 2: 1-12 Reflect: When the Magi finally saw the child, what was their response? Dec 17: The Flight to Egypt Read: Matthew 2: 13-18 Reflect: How was the baby delivered from being murdered? Dec 18: The Return to Nazareth Read: Matthew 2:19-23 Reflect: What was significant about Jesus growing up in Nazareth? Dec 19: The Father’s House Read: Luke 2: 41-52 Reflect: What was so surprising about Jesus’ time in the Temple? His Incarnation Explained Dec 20: His Divine Being Read: Colossians 1:15-20 Reflect: What is given as God’s purpose and intention for Christ here? Dec 21: His Superiority Read: Hebrews 1:1-4 Reflect: Why is Jesus clearly so “superior”? Dec 22: He Humbled Himself Read: Phil. 2: 5-11 Reflect: How and why did Jesus “humble himself”? Dec 23: His Offering for Sin Read: Romans 8:1-4 Reflect: What has been accomplished for us through Christ’s coming? Dec 24: His Gift to Us Read: Ephesians 2:1-10 Reflect: What is the gift Christ gives and how does one receive it? CHRISTMAS DAY: The Word Became Flesh Read: John 1: 1-17 Reflect: What blessings has “the word become flesh” brought to us?

CHRISTMAS TIME by Janet Reeve Come, come into Church on Christmas morn. Hear familiar carols sung by the crib, Remember the Christ Child newly born, Imagine if you’d been there! Shepherds blinded by th’ Angelic Host Telling them songfully to follow the star, Magi three, more majestic than most, Abundant with sumptuous gifts. Seeing the bright star stop over the stable. The stable wherein lay Jesus, a baby boy In a stall with the sheep and the cattle, Mary His mother, her face filled with joy, Eternally glowing with Hope! 19

Wordsearch Puzzle Christmas cards, shopping, school nativity plays, carol concerts, ordering the turkey, wrapping presents, bringing home the Christmas tree.... all in preparation for the big day itself! How many Christmas related words can you find in the following word search? baby tree Jesus nativity shepherds angels donkey sheep inn mary virgin Joseph manger star hallelujah heavenlyhost Turkey holly presents mistletoe stuffing pudding carols

Solution on page 29

A little boy arrived at the gate of heaven. There he met an angel. ‘Before you come in, can you tell me God’s name?’ said the angel. ‘Oh, that's easy,’ the little boy replied, ‘His name is Harold.’ ‘What make you think His name is Harold?’ the angel asked incredulously. The little boy explained: ‘Because at Christmas we sing “Hark while Harold’s angels sing...” and also, when we pray, we say: “Our Father in Heaven, Harold be Thy Name...”’ 20


A Day Out in Lichfield By Sheila Spencer The highlight of this city is of course the Cathedral but having been there recently I looked for what more it could offer. The 12th century the street pattern was laid out as it survives today. However its heyday was in the 18th century when it was a thriving coaching city between London, Birmingham and the north. At this time of great intellectual activity it was the home of Samuel Johnson and Erasmus Darwin grandfather of Charles.

Lichfield Cathedral

You can visit Johnson`s birthplace on a corner in the old market square. He was born in 1709 and compiled the first dictionary. The house is now a museum and contains his first dictionary dated 1755. His talents included actor, poet and journalist. He was also a wit and one of his entries is as follows: oats: A grain, which in England is generally given to horses but in Scotland supports the people! Left - Dr. Samuel Johnson’s birthplace. Although born on 7th September 1709 the change in 1752 to the Gregorian calendar with the "loss" of 11 days means that his birthday is now reckoned to be 18th September. Right - Johnson’s statue under Lichfield’s Christmas lights Both photos above © Rob Farrow (cc-by-sa/2.0)

A narrow passage leads to a view of the triple spired Cathedral which stands above Minster`s Pond home for several varieties of ducks and swans. A short passage off the cathedral close leads to a pleasant garden surrounded by elegant Georgian town houses. This is where, in the late 18th century Litchfield became the meeting place of great thinkers and inventors of the day. Founding what is still known as the `Lunar Society`, they met at the night of the full moon to discuss philosophical matters and expand theories of scientific interest. 22

The house where Erasmus Darwin the poet, inventor and botanist lived is open to the public. (He published his theory of evolution 60 years before his grandson). This was a meeting place of industrialists such as James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood and Joseph Priestly who first isolated oxygen and discovered carbon dioxide. Many of the papers produced by these great men, and more, are on display along with models of their inventions.

Residence of Erasmus Darwin

The town centre has a varied selection of shops and restaurants. Its importance as an ecclesiastical has saved the heart of the city from industrial and commercial development. There are 250 listed buildings and a walk along the streets and through the gardens makes a wonderful day out!

Christian Aid Christmas Appeal This Christmas, for every pound you give to the appeal, the UK Government will also give a pound, meaning even more mothers and children under-five across Sub Saharan Africa will be saved from the life threatening effects of malnutrition. Your donation could help Christian Aid prevent many thousands of unnecessary deaths from malnutrition. Just £5 could provide a cash voucher to provide enough food for a family for four days, and £150 could provide 10 families with fishing gear. Donations made to the Christmas appeal between 6 November 2017 and 5 February 2018 will be matched up to £2.7 million. The UK Government’s match will fund our work in South Sudan. 23

Please donate at


Here we have the latest letter from the elderly Anglo-Catholic vicar, Eustace, in the parish of St James-the-Least to his nephew Darren, a low-church curate recently ordained on the subject of “Keeping warm in church”. My dear Nephew Darren It was delightful to have a family from your church visiting ours last week, but perhaps if it happens again, you may suggest a certain dress code to them. That the man arrived without wearing a tie was probably forgivable, but I do think you should have warned them about the temperature. Your church building may be warmer than a nursing home, but the only time that hot air is blown over the heads of our congregation, is when the archdeacon preaches. Thus, by early December, our congregation knows to come to church equipped with overcoats, scarves, gloves and thermal socks. And the Verger’s regular disappearance into the side chapel during Services isn’t on urgent ecclesiastical business, but to warm himself up with a swig from his hip flask. So, your poor visitors suffered from the cold. In fact, by the time of the sermon, were they to have been laid horizontally, they would have been indistinguishable from the marble effigies of the Earls of Stowe lying in state in the north aisle. As they limped out at the end of the Service, totally numb, my offer of a sherry at the Rectory was more medicinal than social. December is almost always the month when I gracefully concede defeat regarding the church boiler. True, the congregation has been dropping hints to me since Harvest about the autumnal nip in the air, or of the flowers keeping well in church because it is cool there, or even the slightly more pointed remark that it will soon be time for the heating to be turned on. But all are studiously ignored. I live in an arctic 17th century Rectory, and am hardened to it. But when members of the congregation arrive bearing travelling rugs and flasks of hot tea, I begin to realise that the time approaches to fire the boilers up. Then on the Sunday when Colonel Richards lights up his primus stove next to him on the pew, I know it is appropriate to announce that next Sunday the church will be heated – although ‘heated’ is rather more an aspiration than a reality. Should any of our congregation be tempted to pay a visit to your own church, I will tell them to dress for a Mediterranean August – although the men will certainly wear a tie. One does have standards to maintain. Your loving uncle, Eustace 25

Two pages for the children



The First Christmas How did the early Christians celebrate Christmas? The simple answer is: they didn’t! Christmas was first celebrated as late as 336, during the reign of Emperor Constantine. The first Christians didn’t celebrate Jesus’ birth or any other birthdays, regarding them as pagan customs to be avoided. By the 4th century however, many Christian groups observed Christ's birthday, although on different days. So, in 345, Pope Julius I officially fixed the date of Christmas as 25th December. Nigel Beeton writes: It is good that we celebrate Christmas in midwinter. Yes, I know it is supposed to be rooted in the old pagan winter solstice festivals, but there is rich symbolism in celebrating Christ’s birth at a time when nature is at a low ebb. For God intervenes when humans are at a low ebb; Christ breaks in when we are lost in the depths of our sin, and His new life brings us to the bearing of verdant leaves and rich fruit.

A Prayer at Christmas By Daphne Kitching Father of all good gifts, Thank you for the greatest gift of all – your precious Son, Jesus. Thank you that He chose to live with us so that all who trust Him will one day live with you in peace and wholeness. Help us Father, this Christmas, to keep you at the centre of our celebrations and, in the midst of all the busy-ness and rush, to know your presence and the peace that only you can give. And Lord, may we reflect your love to those who don’t yet know that you are real and alive and able to help, whatever their situation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Wordsearch Solution From page 20


Rotas for December Please swap with someone if you are unable to make any of these dates. Thank you.

Sunday Service at 10am Date Reader Dec 3rd Dec 10th Dec 17th Dec 24th Dec 31st


David Bamford Sylvia Puxty Sue Bell S. Attenborough Franklin Bishop

John Puxty A. Swarbrick Sylvia Puxty Janet Reeve Mary Hawkins

Coffee Pauline Hyde & Sue Bell Sandra Neep & Val Rennie Janet Reeve & Margaret Turner Sharon Topping & Sue Attenborough Mary Hawkins & Mary Morton

Sunday Sides Persons Rota Date 8am


Dec 3rd Dec 10th Dec 17th Dec 24th Dec31st

Sue Baker Mary Hawkins Sylvia Puxty Sue Attenborough Garth & Sandra Newton

B Spibey Frank Pinder B Spibey Peter Brown B Spibey

Tuesday - Mother and Toddler Drinks & Snacks Date Dec 5th Dec 12th Dec 19th Dec 26th

Sandra Neep Janet Reeve CHRISTMAS PARTY No Meeting

Wednesday Service at 9.30am Date Reader


Dec 6ih Dec 13h Dec 20th Dec 27th

Sue Attenborough & Margaret Turner Val Rennie Sue & John Bell Janet Reeve & Pauline Hyde

Janet Reeve Margaret Turner John Bell Patricia McHale

Saturday Coffee Bar Date Dec 2nd Dec 9th Dec 16th Dec 23rd Dec 30th

Janet Reeve, Mary Morton & Ceril Little Mary Hawkins, Sandra Newton, Garth Newton Sue Bell, John Bell, Margaret Turner Sue Attenborough, James New Sheila Spencer, Helen Crisp, Val Rennie 30

St Mary’s Church, Ilkeston Who’s Who


Interim Priest In Charge: Revd. Carole Lloyd - Tel: 930 8316 1 Ascot Close West Hallam Ilkeston DE7 6LB

Sunday 8.00am -Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer)

Reader: Andrea Swarbrick - Tel: 932 6523 7 Drummond Rd, Ilkeston email: Reader & Churchwarden: John Puxty - Tel: 930 1601 32 Summerfield Way, Shipley View email: Churchwarden: Peter Hodson - Tel: 932 2974 Verger: Sue Attenborough - Tel: 930 4140 Cantelupe Centre: James New - Tel: 932 1329 Website: Contact Magazine: Editorial Team

10.00am - Main Service Followed by Coffee and Fellowship

First Sunday of the Month J.C. Club and Creche Wednesday 9.30am Holy Communion (Common Worship) Followed by Coffee and Fellowship

Other Regular Events Thursday 7.30pm - 9.00pm Bell Ringing Practice Contact: Colin Shaw – 0115 932 7072

Last Saturday of Each Month Friends of St Mary’s Churchyard 10am - Working Party (Mar-Oct)

Uniformed Groups Rainbows Contact: Candy – 0115 932 8244

Brownies Contact: Brown Owl Lynne Cresswell – 0115 877 1592

Contact - December 2017  
Contact - December 2017  

The Parish magazine of St Mary's Church, Ilkeston, Derbyshire