Life has been a bit hectic this week, and certainly was nothing like I planned, but such is life and I have to confirm that" Just where He needs me my God has placed me.
Last Sunday we held our Carol Service which included the Nativity which involved our Toddler group and some other children attached to the Church. It was lovely to see the hall full with people from the community attending. After refreshments a group of us made our way to the centre of Stanford and joined in with Carols on the Green. The weather was kind to us staying dry and pleasantly mild.
Monday saw an early start as I had to attend a budget meeting at DHQ at Chelmsford at 9am. After this meeting I managed to find an hour to try and finish my Christmas present shopping. I then went to Basildon Hospital to visit one of my folk who was taken ill on Saturday, little did I know on arriving at the Hospital that I would not leave until 17 hours later. I had the privilege of staying at the bedside of Dorothy, with her two daughters until she was Promoted to Glory at 5:10am on Tuesday. I have only known Dorothy for a couple of months but her faith shone from her and even though she struggled with Parkinson's disease she had a quiet and positive influence on every person she met.
After grabbing just over an hours sleep, I then went to the Toddlers Christmas Party, which was well attended and there was a visit from Father Christmas and presents, including some for myself and the Toddler leader, we were overwhelmed by the kindness of the parents. I managed to grab another hours rest over lunch time before a group from the Church visited Thameside Wildlife centre and we had the privilege of watching a submarine travel up the Thames towards London. Needless to say I needed to rest in the evening and have an early night.
Wednesday the leadership team and myself prepared for the Fellowship Christmas meal, wrapped lots of presents and welcomed church folk to the meal, this was followed by the Ladies meting Christmas Carol Service and worship was led to two singers belonging to a church in Grays Peter and Shirley Spreadborough. It really was a lovely afternoon.
Wednesday evening I travelled to Tring so that I would be able to attend my GP Alison Woodward's funeral. Needless to say the Crematorium was packed on Thursday morning. I am so grateful to her for the care she gave me during my cancer journey over the last 4 years, and am sad that she was taken from us at just 60 years of age, and therefore never got chance to enjoy retirement. The tributes by her brother, daughter, son and a Doctor from Rothschild House surgery were very moving, and I am glad I was able to attend and thank God for such a wonderful person who influenced so many people through her life.
After the service I travelled on to Croydon so that I could assist mum with her final preparations and shopping for Christmas, the family will be joining us on Boxing Day it will be good to see them all.
Friday was spent preparing three services, which took most of the day. I was grateful for time for myself on Saturday, however most of the day was spent doing housework, shopping and ironing.
Today (Sunday) has been a different type of day. People from the Church went out for a Christmas Dinner at the Treacle Mine at Grays, the meal was good and everyone enjoyed each others company. Then at 3pm we led Carol Singing at Chafford Gorge Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre, it was good to see so many children enjoying time with their parents making Marshmallow Snowmen and other crafts as they waited to see Father Christmas.
Tomorrow I shall be conducting Dorothy Downing's funeral service at 9:30am at the Salvation Army Stanford le Hope. I shall be praying for her daughters Elaine and Hilary and their families as they say good bye to a very special lady, I pray that God will surround them with His love and comfort and that they may be aware of His presence in a very real way.
Tuesday we will be celebrating the birth of Jesus at our Christmas Day service, then I shall be travelling to my mums for a few days holiday.
Let me take this opportunity of wishing each of you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful new year. I have attached some photos of some of the activities I have mentioned above.