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Anglican Church Bordeaux – December Newsletter

Lest We Forget

I am sure that throughout the pages of this month’s Chaplaincy ‘Spreading the Word’ magazine there will be reports from the Remembrance Day Services held throughout our Anglican Chaplaincy of Aquitaine.

Our Service in Bordeaux was held at St Pierre, a beautiful church in central Bordeaux, and was sensitively led by our Chaplain, Tony.

I was in the UK for the Remembrance weekend, in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.  It was so very chilly! Catterick Garrison is a military town, home to thousands of British Soldiers including my son, Luke. I was there for his passing out parade, a proud moment for any parent.  It would not have been my chosen career for one of my children, the threat of war feels so imminent at times, and any parent’s instinct is to want keep their child safe.

However, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the change in him, from someone who by their own admission had “lost their way” to a soldier, standing tall with confidence, surety and hope for a brighter future.

Being a military town one of things you couldn’t forget was that it was that Remembrance Sunday was just a few days away. Streets and roundabouts were covered in poppies. Restaurants and hotels covered in little white flags, with “Lest We Forget” printed on them alongside the silhouette of a soldier leaning over a cross.  The local shops were no different, yes there were poppies and the “Lest We forget” flags but they were surrounded by displays of bright boxes containing fireworks (now heavily discounted!) on one side and shelves of glittery Christmas decorations and gifts on the other.

It struck me that given all this imagery the people of Catterick Garrison were unlikely to forget any of the above events but neither were they being given the opportunity to simply Stop, Pause and Remember.

Is this a symptom of our modern age that we can’t just simply commemorate one event before having our senses bombarded with advertising for the next calendar event or holiday?

On a happier note we had a beautiful All Age Worship Service led by Nellie Salvi, now training to be a Lay Reader. Praise be to God that the parking area was too full with cars!

Nellie gave a nice children’s talk and shared Daniel’s firm trust and faith in God despite human intervention. The children are rehearsing for the Carol Service and added their share to Nellie’s talk to the adults by providing a musical background from the sacristy!

The season of Advent is a time when we are called to stop, pause and remember. It is a time of patience, and anticipation as we wait for the birth of the Christ Child, but also a time to quietly remember God’s provision and blessing in the past year and our hopes for the year ahead. The difficult task for every Christian, myself included, is to make space for this in a month that is the very busiest in our church and family lives!

In our bible study group in Bordeaux, we are currently studying the book “Advent of The Savior by Cindy Bunch”. Six sessions that can be used in a group or for individual study. Last week, we looked at various suggestions on how to find a few minutes each day to stop, pause, and remember as we journey through Advent. I won’t list them because I’m sure that for each of us this quiet time of reflection looks different, but I do think the rewards of being able to put time aside each day will help us to keep our minds and our bodies rested and even help us cope with other stresses that the season brings!

My own way of preparing each year is to treat myself to an Advent book, as well as an Advent calendar, (although, this year a very kind member of the congregation has already bought me one,
oh, how well you know me my friends!)

For my book this year I chose something which is not seasonal, but which has nonetheless inspired me and I highly recommend it to you. “The Story of Paul by Trevor Galpin” is a book which unfolds the conversion of the Apostle Paul and his early missionary journeys.

If you have ever struggled with the language and the meaning of Paul’s letter to the Galatians then this is the book for you! It is not a heavy theological tome, it’s just something to encourage you to “Stop” sit down on the sofa and take a “Pause” in the midst of your busy day to “Remember” those early missionaries and the struggle of the early church.

However you find time to stop, pause, remember this Advent may you be very blessed.

Charlotte xx

PS  Do not forget our Bordeaux Church Christmas Bazaar – Saturday 30 November from 14.00 to 17.00 at Saint Jean-Marie Vianney Church (23, rue Felix Faure, 33600 Pessac).  ( Map )

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