Dear Friends,

Faith, hope, love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love.

This verse from 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most well known in the New Testament and it has been on my mind throughout this amazing week of seeing the Chilean miners saved and returned to those who love them.

The strength of character, commitment to the common good and depth of trust in God have been so moving to witness. As details emerge about how they organised themselves and kept hope and faith alive for each other, there will be more lessons for all of us about focussing on the things we hope for and realising what our true treasures in life really are. What do we really need to live a good life, what is our unique gift to others, in our homes and our community, what are we meant to do? ‘How then must we live?' Their 69 days trapped underground can give us all food for thought.

At the same time as rejoicing at those lives restored every news bulletin brings warning of Government spending cuts to be announced - by the time you read this we will know. All of us will know someone whose life is going to get harder, if we don't already. Personal debt as well as national debt is at an incredible level. Many already rely on credit even before we start to look to Christmas with all the added expense that seems to bring. research this time last year found that, whilst 31% of adults were worried about paying for Christmas, only 15% made an effort to spread the cost over the course of the year. The rest would fund their share of the nation's £11bn Christmas splurge using a combination of credit cards (14%), savings (10%) and ‘money available at the time' (71%). Meanwhile 4.7m adults (10%) admitted that they were still paying off debts from Christmas 2008.  Credit action has some good information and advice.

Now could be a good time to work out a Christmas budget, agree a limit on the cost of gifts, work out ways of not spending more that you intend to (leaving the plastic at home is one way!). What really endures from any celebration that takes 3, 6 months or a year to pay off?

Faith, hope, love abide, these three: but the greatest of these is love.

Peace to you - Angela Bailey, Rector


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