For me, 2015 was a year of great change: I moved from Nottingham to Teddington, I started wearing a dog collar and I left behind lecturing at a university in order to embrace the new challenge of learning to communicate with toddlers at our weekly midweek service ‘Church Mice’.

Looking outward, we’ve seen changes in our country over the past year too: a Conservative government, Jeremy Corbyn leading the Labour party, and fresh questions being raised about how we respond to the refugee crisis and the onslaught of terrorist attacks around the world.

Whether we like it or not, a New Year often heralds change. Sometimes we might instigate the changes, for example, through making New Year’s Resolutions, but sometimes changes are forced upon us, like the death of a loved one, or the breakdown of a relationship. Whatever the nature of the change, the Christian message speaks hope into every situation.

Through the various Christmas services at St Mary with St Alban and St. Peter with St. Paul,
we welcomed hundreds of people through our doors. We did this in order to celebrate the God
who came into the world to bring transformation, hope to the hopeless and love to the unloved. The
good news is that God’s love for us does not change. Jesus Christ cares about this world as
much now as when he walked upon the earth; a New Year means that there is more to
discover about his love for us and how we live as his followers. This is why Christians are
often referred to as pilgrims, because we are life-long learners on a journey of faith together.

At St Mary with St Alban, January sees the start of more Pilgrim courses; these involve a
small number of people gathering together to consider questions of faith for which Sundays
are often too busy. The courses work for people who have been Christians for years
right through to those who would not even want to identify with being a Christian, but who
are simply curious about what faith might mean for them. Details of the courses are available
from the Parish Office – we’d love you to come along, whatever your stage of faith.

In the meantime, all of God’s blessings to you for 2016.

Gabby Thomas