Frensham Village Churches

Letter from the Vicarage - December 2016


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Well, it seems incredible that we are in 2017 doesn’t it? I don’t know about you but 2016 seemed to whizz past! Christmas was light and bright with love, hope and joy shared openly and broadly in the services at Church and throughout the villages – but it passed sooooo quickly...

Some people are very happy to say goodbye to 2016 as it didn’t feel a very good year for them. Others may have thought 2016 was great but looking forward may give some anxiety. Now we’re suddenly into January, and I am very aware that for many people this could be one of the most difficult months of the year for various reasons, not least because the weather can be dark and fairly dreary but also because economically it is a long month and there may have been some over indulgent spending with an early Christmas pay packet. For some the year ahead may be daunting because they feel alone after bereavement perhaps, or it may hold challenges regarding work, or it may bring about changes in life due to health – all of which may take physical or mental preparation or require some degree of support. Also, the sociability of the Christmas season fades all too quickly and unfortunately it is a fact that loneliness and depression are common at this time of year.

My wonderful mother-in-law (who I miss particularly in Spring and who died 20 years ago after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease) used to give me the first snowdrops from her garden every Spring as she knew I often felt quite low and anxious at the beginning of the year, and these little delicate flowers would bring a smile to my face every time I looked at them.

A poem from Jan Suchet Pickard called ‘A Flame that cannot be put out…’


In the dark days

under rain-heavy clouds,

among broken branches,

on sodden earth,

the snowdrops light their candles.   

A flame that cannot be put out

by darkness or gales or doubt.


In the salt wind,

rooks buckle like broken umbrellas;

as the bare trees

heave a great sigh,

the snowdrops tremble.

But their flame cannot be put out

by darkness or gales or doubt.


Perfect, as though carved

in green – veined marble,

life pulsing through tissue

delicate as the eyelids

of a sleeping child,

curved like small fingers, holding on.

Their flame is steadfast:

it is full of hope and new beginnings.

Darkness or gales or doubt

cannot put it out.


As I remember my mother-in-law’s gentle love for me, I thank God for God’s gentle, saving love that came into the world which we celebrate at Christmastime, and I pray that as the snowdrops pop up through the soil, you may all know that God’s love for us is steadfast and true; it is full of hope and the possibility of new beginnings.


With light, love and prayers,