War Memorial Gary Trouton

Northwold, Wretton,Stoke Ferry and Whittington Parish newsletter

January 2004

Keith MacLeods Newsletter for his parishioners

The Parishes of St. Andrew, Northwold; All Saints, Wretton with Stoke Ferry;

and Christ Church, Whittington.

For more details contact me, Keith MacLeod at West Barn, Whindrove Farm, West Dereham (07766 766 137) (email: keith.macleod@virgin.net)

Diary for January 2004

24th December (Christmas Eve)

11.30pm Holy Communion at St Andrews

11.30pm Holy Communion at Christ Church

25th December (Christmas Day)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Matins at St Andrews

28th December (1st Sunday of Christmas)

9.30am Benefice Matins at All Saints

4th January (2nd Sunday of Christmas)

11.00am Matins at St Andrews

11th January (The Baptism of Christ)

9.30am Service of the Word at All Saints

11.00am Benefice Holy Communion at St Andrews (led by the Archdeacon of Huntingdon)

18th January (2nd Sunday of Epiphany)

8.00am Holy Communion at St Andrews

9.30 Holy Communion by Extension

at Christ Church

25th January (3rd Sunday of Epiphany)

9.30am Benefice Holy Communion

at All Saints

1st February (2nd February - Candlemas

11.00am All Age Worship at Christ Church

Sunday School - All Welcome

There is a Sunday School during the main Sunday services at St. Andrew's Church, Northwold (except for Sunday's with All Age Worship). This is open to any school age child living in the villages of Northwold, Wretton, Stoke Ferry, Whittington and Brookville. If you are not able to stay with your child please drop them off by 10.50 and collect them by 12.15.

Rotas for Church cleaning and flowers

January Christ Church: Mrs P Voutt & Angie All Saints': Mrs E Russell and Mrs P Willis

February Christ Church: Mrs D Eves & Penny All Saints': Mrs E Russell and Mrs P Willis

Happy New Year

As I write we are still waiting for the excitement of Christmas. Some of the Christmas Concerts and Carol Singing are underway - and the Nativity industry in our Primary Schools is in full swing. But, as you read this, Christmas should be behind us and we are looking forward to the New Year. The Time for New Resolutions.

I have been reading some of the letters of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a middle class German, born in 1906, who lived most of his life in Berlin and became a Protestant Pastor. Eventually he became Director of a theological seminary in the anti-Hitler Confessing Church. Through his family, he was closely involved with the Abwehr, the German security organization, which contained a focal point for opposition to Hitler and was even connected with attempts on his life. On 5th April 1943 Bonhoeffer was arrested and taken to Tegel prison, where he was interrogated for 18 months, before being transferred to the Gestapo prison in Prinz Albrecht Strasse. After heavy bombing of the prison as the Allies closed in on Berlin, he was evacuated and finally hanged in Flossenburg prison camp on 9th April 1945. One of his brothers and two brothers-in-law were hanged at the same time.

Throughout his imprisonment maintained a (sometimes secret) correspondence with his parents and with his close friend Eberhard Bethge. I have not read any letters to his fiancee, Maria, but he refers to her often in his letters to others. As we approach our New Year, I read again the letter he wrote to his mother as he approached his last New Year and reproduce it here (with acknowledgements to SCM Press's 'Dietrich Bonhoeffer - Letters and Papers from Prison - (c) SCVM Press 1953 - 1981)

I'm so glad to have just got permission to write you a birthday letter. I have to write in some haste, as the post is just going. All I really want to do is to help cheer you a little in these days that you must be finding so bleak. Dear mother, I want you to know that I am constantly thinking of you and father every day, and that I thank God for all that you are to me and the whole family. I know you've always lived for us and haven't lived a life of your own. That is why you're the only one with whom I can share all that I'm going through. It's a very great comfort to me in my cell from you during the past year, and has made every day easier for me. I think these hard years have brought us closer together than we ever were before. My wish for you and father and Maria and for us all is that the New Year may bring us at least a glimmer of light, and that we may once more have the joy of being together. May God keep you both well.

With most loving wishes, dear, dear mother, for a happy birthday.

Your grateful Dietrich

This gentle letter gives us a clue to how we should look forward to a new year. After nearly two years of what must have been a terrifying imprisonment, Bonhoeffer refers to his own situation only briefly and only then in order to show his gratitude to his mother. He apparently has no hatred for those who have imprisoned him - only concern for those he loves. To make a Resolution to be as gentle and compassionate as Bonhoeffer would be so much easier than the detailed Resolutions I have sometimes tried to live up to - on the other hand keeping such a Resolution may cost me more dearly. The worst part of it is, of course, that this will be difficult to forget, unlike all those other lost Resolutions of the past.

Reading Bonhoeffer also reminds of that other mid 20th Century German Pastor - who was also a victim of the Holocaust. If we pay attention to what follows, then we should Resolve always to be honest and courageous.

First they came for the communists

And I did not speak out - Because I was not a communist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out - Because I was not a trade unionist

Next they came for the Catholics

And I did not speak out - Because I was not a Catholic

Then the came for me

And there was no one left to speak out for me.

Be of good courage.

Happy New Year

Keith MacLeod


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