Rev Dr Jonathan Hustler,
Secretary of the Conference
In many churches and concert halls at this time of year there
are performances of George Frederick Handel’s masterpiece, Messiah. A short
orchestral overture (the ‘Symphony’) gives way to the tenor voice’s thrilling
opening words, ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people’. There are those who argue
that Messiah should be performed at Easter (and there is no reason why it
shouldn’t be) but that clarion call from Isaiah chapter 40 is the message of
Advent. God calls on God’s messenger to comfort God’s people.
is a powerful word. It can, like all words, be misunderstood. Isaiah’s call to
preach a word of comfort is not simply about making people feel better, either
by ignoring or shutting out the reality of their situation. The comfort that is
offered is a combination of sympathy and strength; it is established on God’s
continued identification with God’s people; it recognises that rough places
need to be made smooth; it speaks from love to give confidence and hope.
ye my people’ is a proclamation to an oppressed and depressed people that God
is with them and that God will act for and through them.
think that there has been an Advent in my lifetime when that message of comfort
has been so desperately needed. The political uncertainty of the UK’s impending
exit from the European Union has been compounded by a General Election campaign
conducted in the darkest days of the year. For many, the political climate is
one not of hope but of despair; the old certainties are gone and it is not yet
clear what realignment will replace them. New forms of media bombard us with
information whose veracity cannot be established and accusations of
of minority groups voice their fears about the future and some no longer feel
welcome in the places they have lived for many years. We live under the shadows of knife crime and
terrorist violence which serve to perpetuate the divisiveness of our society.
The need for urgent action in the world to tackle climate change is all too
apparent while in this country the number of children living in poverty
continues to grow.
context, the Church proclaims the message of comfort that was given to Isaiah.
God loves and cares for God’s people; God enters into God’s world not with
bluster and false promises but in vulnerability; God experiences oppression and
suffers with the despairing – and God allows neither oppression nor despair to
have the final word. The curious juxtaposition of polling stations in schools
producing nativity plays will be an inconvenience for many an Head Teacher on
12 December, but it is a powerful proclamation that beyond and within the
current situation God is with us and we can experience true comfort.
The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of the Methodist
visit someone who is lonely?
People who used to come
to church but are no longer able to regularly, really miss the social side and
would love to have a visit to keep in touch. If you would be willing to visit
someone please speak to Jean B. Church is not confined to a building and
it would be lovely if we could visit those who would really appreciate it.
Boston Emergency Night
Shelter at Centenary
This has been open for
some nights this week due to the cold weather. It opens when the temperature is
forecast to ‘feels like 0 degrees or less’ for 3 nights in a row.
If you would
be willing to volunteer for future dates please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates on when it is
open are posted at: www.mybostonuk.com/boston-emergency-night-shelter/
a Little Happiness
Boston’s Rotary 2019
Shoebox Project, with the slogan “Spreading a Little Happiness”, has finished.
Christmas shoe boxes were filled for poor children, families and elderly folk
living in the Ukraine. The gifts of toys, household goods and warm clothing
will bring a little happiness to someone, someone who the givers will never
meet. Boston Stump acted as a
distribution and collection point for the town and the Methodist Churches
joined in. Boston West, Staniland,
Fishtoft and St Mary’s schools were visited by the Rotary team and all
contributed generously. What items families actually gave is relatively
unimportant, what is important is that the givers gave willingly and that the
recipients know that someone cares about them. In addition to the probable
total £4000 value of the gifts, nearly £500 cash was given to cover transport
St Botolph Rotary Club
is grateful for the response shown by the town, the churches and the schools.
So once more some happiness, Christmas cheer and warmth has gone out to those
In 2018 Zion filled 40
boxes and the challenge was to fill more; now, 45 boxes have gone from Zion and
there is a certificate on the noticeboard to prove it! So thank you Zion.
John Wright, Rotary Shoebox Co-ordinator
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Hampers
Each year, CAP like to
bless all of their local CAP Families with a lovely hamper for Christmas. This
year they have 30 hampers to make up and would very much appreciate your
There is a shopping list
which has been shared via Christians Together in Boston (CTiB). They are not
expecting anyone to buy every item on the list but if we all make a small
contribution then these families will feel the love of Jesus in a very
practical way this Christmas.
Ideally Hannah would
like to collect donations by Sunday 15 December.
For more information about the
work of CAP: www.capuk.org
Secret Santa – Action
For most of us, the
festive season is a time of joy and family celebrations. Unfortunately, there
are thousands of children in the UK right now who are facing a Christmas
without food, warmth or love. Action for Children is working to change this –
and they need your help.
They are asking you to
be a Secret Santa for a vulnerable child this Christmas to help them make a
vulnerable child’s Christmas safe, warm and bright.
You can sign up to
become a Secret Santa and donate by texting, APPEAL to 70607 or visiting the
Secret Santa website: https://secretsanta.actionforchildren.org.uk/
The Joint Public Issues
Team (JPIT – Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the
Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church) have produced briefing notes
on key election issues: http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/general-election-2019/
Prayer for Voters
Loving God, we face a
Be with us as we
consider the options, weigh the arguments, and assess the claims and the
But also prompt us to
listen: to the voices on the margins; to the cry of the earth; and to those who
reach a different conclusion to us.
God, we pray that you
would stimulate our minds, stir our hearts, and sanctify our choosing.
Help us to remember your
command to love our neighbours, both during and after this election.