From the vicar...
This edition of The Gander is a generous helping of Christmas fare, starting with a rich menu of Christmas festivities from places as varied as Finland, Malaysia, Australia, Nigeria and Jamaica. More locally, this month we are given a flavour of all that has happened and is happening in and around St John’s East Dulwich, and beyond. Thank you to all of our contributors, and The Gander team who have put together this festive edition for our delectation.
I end this year, like many people, tired but immensely thankful that I am a part of this warm and generous community. Church is all about sharing life together, indeed, the first words of any order of service in church are headed, “The Gathering”. Since gathering became the most dangerous thing to do, we have had to be incredibly imaginative to find ways to keep hold of the ties that bind us together. As we reach the end of an extraordinary, and, for some, traumatic year, it is comforting to be reminded, in this magazine, of familiar rituals that keep us connected, and give pleasure and joy; such as eating, dancing, music and Advent windows. And it is reassuring, that in the midst of difficulty, we have not stopped caring, most especially for those who are vulnerable, as in the work of the Robes Project, Dementia Friends, and Jane Hawkins' work at Pembroke House.
As we turn towards Christmas, and return again to the story of the vulnerable child born to a young and powerless teenage girl, may we be reminded that at the heart of the Christmas story is a vision of life-giving and subversive change: a story that tells us that the best change comes not through force but love, and not through compulsion, but patient endurance. This year has required much love and patience from all of us. May we, together and apart, find the love that is able to endure all things, and as you read these articles and stories, may you find a little of the comfort and joy you need this Christmas.
Revd Gill O'Neill