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Rev Adam Pawley

The Rector Writes

Rev Gerald Griffiths, the well respected and much loved, former Rector of Hope in the 1990s, you may have heard went to be with the Lord last month. Many of you here no doubt have your own fond memories of Gerald and his ministry here in Hope. From our time in Wrexham, Rachel and I remember Gerald too – as an excellent man. I can remember him encouraging me in my call to ordination and in my first preaching. He was praying for me when I went to interview for ordination training in 2007. For me, it was one of those strange coincidences when I arrived for interview here in Hope in March 2013 and realised that Gerald had been Rector here! Please keep Marlene and the family in your prayers. Gerald’s funeral will be on Friday 3rd February 2017 at 12 noon in St Giles Church, Wrexham. Our magazine editor, Kathleen Graham, has kindly included a tribute to Gerald in this month’s magazine. Please do read this and take a moment of your day to give thanks for Gerald’s life, and all that he brought to the church here in Hope and Penyffordd, and to remember your own memories of this good man too.

Do you have a favourite hymn? My favourite is Stuart Townend and Keith Getty’s, “In Christ Alone, my hope is found”, (Thankyou Music, 2001).
Written in 2001 and so not very old as favourite hymns can go (!), I still can’t however say that I am original in my choice, because in the last 16 years this hymn has established itself as a UK favourite. In 2006, In Christ Alone, rose to the top spot of the Christian Copyright Licensing International Top 100, and even now sixteen years later in 2017, it is second only to Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons (a popular worship song). Last year it was there again as part of The BBC Songs of Praise ‘Big Sing’ for 2016.
Rachel and I must have been on the ball (!), because we chose the hymn as one of our wedding hymns when we married in 2006.
In particular I remember one Easter break, attending a Spring Harvest Christian Holiday in Butlins’ Holiday Camp, Minehead, where on Easter Day we sung it corporately with thousands of other Christians. The sense of God’s presence amongst us was tangible. What a sense there was of God’s power, God’s greatness, God’s victory, God’s glory, as thousands joined together to sing, to declare, to proclaim such biblical truths as: Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, For I am His and He is mine – Bought with the precious blood of Christ. [1]
How marvellous and glorious is the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

So why am I writing about new and favourite hymns this month?
At 7pm Friday 10th February in the church hall, we are going to get together for our own ‘Big Sing’. We will gather together to sing some old favourites, but the main purpose will be to have a go at learning some new hymns and new songs that we will then introduce into our Sunday Worship for 2017. Please put the date in your diary, it should be an enjoyable occasion for both the young and old – as we learn to sing together hymns that are both young and old. Do you have a favourite hymn or song that we haven’t sung before on a Sunday? Please let me know, it may be that we can accommodate you.

One last thought for you this month! Did you know that ‘officially’ this year St David’s Day is the 28th February? Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, this year falls on 1st March and since you shouldn’t celebrate a ‘feast day’ on a ‘fast day’ – according to the Church – St David’s Day has been moved! Though personally I can’t foresee the nation following suit!

Lent Be sure to look early in March’s magazine to find out how we will be keeping Lent this year. There will be a varied programme, and opportunity to attend services and courses across the Mission Area too. On Ash Wednesday/ St David’s Day, there will be services at 1:30pm in Emmanuel and 7pm In Hope.

In Christ, Adam
[1] http://www.gettymusic.com/in-christ-alone/ https://www.stuarttownend.co.uk/song/in-christ-alone/

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