The Rev. Tim Treanor’s aim in his first Christmas as Rector of St John’s Church is simple – to deliver this message: “Christmas starts with Christ”. His priority is to reaffirm the importance of the Christian story in an increasingly secular society.
This is the church’s nationally promoted theme, the outcome of a survey carried out by the Children’s Society which revealed that 1 in 3 children didn’t know whose birthday Christmas celebrates, fewer knew the nativity story and many didn’t regard it as relevant.
“The number of people nationally who describe themselves as Christians is falling,” Rev. Treanor explained, “and we see this in evidence locally. 50% of the population will not be in one of our churches this Christmas. So our aim this year is to simply tell the story before yet more children miss out on hearing it. When the town’s lights were switched on I told the story from the perspective of Joseph – an ordinary working man – who was engaged to Mary. He had to assume responsibility for Jesus who was not his own son. In this way I hope to make a connection between the biblical story and people’s lives today.”
“Members of the congregation and bible study groups have been discussing ways we can tell the story so that it’s both known and meaningful. In that way hopefully it will be passed on.”
“We don’t have to look far to find examples of human beings who have brought about peace, reconciliation and hope just as Jesus did. Nelson Mandela was a man who transcended difference and inequality to bring about reconciliation and who represented hope and the promise of justice in South Africa. Nearer to home, the church here has chosen Justin Welby as the Archbishop of Canterbury because he is a man of reconciliation and has spent his adult working life in this field.”
Rev Treanor’s message – and the message of Christmas as a Christian celebration – can be heard during the following events at St John’s Church:
Saturday 14 December at 6.30pm A Christmas Concert by Wellington Silver Band
Sunday 15 December at 8.00 am & 9.45am Morning Service
Monday 16 December at 7.30pm ‘A French Christmas’ The Collegium Singers NB Pre-concert talk at 7.00pm
Friday 20 December at 10.30am St John’s School Nativity
Sunday 22 December at 6.30pm Candlelit Carol Service
Monday 23 December at 6.30pm Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with The Phoenix Singers
Tuesday 24 December at 4.30pm Christingle Service; 11.30pm Midnight Communion
Wednesday 25 December at 8.00am Holy Communion; 10.00am All age Communion with Carols
Sunday 29 December at 6.30pm Taize Service