Message Raughton Head Parish Magazine Rose Castle
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
I and my family are delighted to be celebrating Christmas with you here in Cumbria. It was lovely to celebrate Guy Fawkes night in England as our celebrations abroad were always a little muted! I am looking forward to welcoming all the community to our Christingle Services, our Carol Services and our midnight Communion and Christmas Day Services.
It is interesting to compare the many slight differences in culture between here and Canada. It seems to me that in Canada there are more church goers but there is less Christianity in the community, whereas here it is the opposite way around. One expression of this for me is that it has been lovely to be invited into the local schools and have them visit the church. Another is that many North American Christians do not like to come to church on Christmas Day, for some reason they feel it interferes with their celebrations; personally, I cannot see the point in Christmas Day without coming to church. For me, if we are not celebrating Jesus' birth and thanking God I really cannot see the point! So, I invite everyone in the benefice - Come and celebrate! Come and give thanks for all that God has done! Come and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. (And we'll have lots of goodies and treats and fun and carols as well.) 
I am writing this after 5 weeks in the benefice and I can tell you I am surprised at how busy I have been. The last church I was Rector of had a staff team of 8 so I naturally assumed that this would be a much quieter role, but nothing could be further from the truth. I have been really enjoying dashing from one appointment to another, meeting lots of folk and connecting with lots of organisations. One thing I have found so encouraging is how much is happening in the benefice. There are so many people who give of themselves to look after others; whether that is one-one or setting up events and activities. This place is full of lovely people. 
Wherever you are at in your faith journey I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope that we can all be a blessing to each other in this season.
God bless.
Ben Phillips – 079360 99123

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