Dear Friends

Happy New Year and a Claydons and Calvert Green welcome to 2020.

I hope you had a welcome break during this Christmas season, time with your family and friends.  And it was lovely to see some of you in our church services.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce once said: “We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”   What words will you add for New Year’s Day and thereafter?  Could this be the time to review your year of 2019 in order to inform your opportunities for 2020?

Some commentators say, self-reflection is vital if you want to live your life by design.  Just as you should review each day, week, and month, at the end of each year you should set aside some time to review the year and reflect on it. This will allow you to do all of the following:

  • Recognise your accomplishments and give yourself credit for what you did well;
  • Reflect on the lessons you learned, as well as the knowledge and skills you acquired;
  • Acknowledge your mistakes so you can use them as stepping stones for learning;
  • Analyse how you could do better moving forward;
  • Figure out what gives you joy and what you’re truly passionate about.

As a Christian community, we journey together.  We recognise our accomplishments and celebrate as a community.  We also share each other’s pain knowing that by journeying together, we might just bring that ounce of difference and comfort for our Parish community of villages, particularly, our residents bearing their pain alone.

As all go in search of opportunity in 2020, and moving on from 2019, we are open to journeying with you as you reflect on how you could do better moving forward.  Perhaps, we can explore together what gives us joy and discovering what makes us truly passionate.

The 23rd chapter of the Book of Job cites: “The Lord knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out like gold”.  And that’s what he does, we navigate our lives amongst life challenges in order to discover who we really are and our worth – nothing less than the value of gold!  We don’t need to be influenced by external circumstances, but what’s really in our hearts.

The fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians also cites: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves”.

2020 will be a time of challenge as we all reflect on the outcome of the recent national elections.  We also face the ongoing challenges of HS2, East West Expressway and Brexit amongst our villages.  Yet, according to an unknown commentator, “there is a wonderful law of nature that the three things we crave most – happiness, freedom, and peace of mind – are always attained by giving them to someone else”.

By sharing our happiness, freedom and peace of mind with each other, we strengthen our villages in readiness for the journeys ahead so that we may observe: “a friend is one who sees through us and still enjoys the view”.

Happy New Year with love

Reverend Rickey Simpson-Gray
Parish of the Claydons