Dear Colleagues,

As I write my weekly letter to you this week it happens to be the last day of the year 2020 by the current secular Calendar. We will be aware that the Christian Calendrical year begins on the First Sunday in Advent, and in this currently passing year the last Sunday in November fell on "Advent Sunday"; so already we have begun the new year, as it should be begun, in the contemplation of, and looking forward to, the Coming of Jesus. For the Christian, such an attitude, focussed on at the beginning of the Christian  calendrical year, will remain with us throughout the year along with the highly significant contemplative trigger of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus as well as the various other commemorations that will be held  throughout the year.

Even today, cultures round the world provide different dates for what they describe as the New Year, in spite of a general agreement of our own time that it occurs with the 1st January. We should not forget that there are a Jewish New Year, an Islamic New year, a Chinese New year and doubtless others all at different times. It is not more than a few thousand years since the culture out of which we ourselves spring, celebrated the New Year in March, then the first month of the calendar year: the months Sept-, Oct-, Nov- and Dec-ember being respectively the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th months of the year, to which the Latin in their names still bears to us clear witness. (In our own time, these are the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th months of the year, of course.)

Might it be possible that one or more of our descendants in any future that may remain to the earth will think of a New Year in a way that is entirely foreign to our own current perspectives?

The 1662 Prayer Book provides that on any second Sunday after Christmas Day that may occur (as well as all other days from the 1st Januarybefore the 6th Januarythe Collect for the commemoration of the Circumcision of Christ be used.  This Collect runs as follows:

ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In its direct way this Collect summons our own wayward culture to the truths that God (1) chose incarnation as a male, and that (2) God chose to be incarnated into the Jewish culture and to submit to it and its meaning. Arising from that identification can the profound meaning of that culture be the saving light to the world that God always intended for it to become.

For directions on the services on Sunday please see the website

Mr. Peter Westin will deliver the address on Sunday.

May we be the beneficiaries of our Lord's unlimited guidance as we seek to follow His will day by day.

In His holy Name Jesus,

Bishop Nicholas