December 2011 Minister's Community Newsletter

  I would like to take this opportunity of wishing everybody on the Moreton Hall estate a very merry Christmas and a happy and, if at all possible, prosperous New Year.  However, this time of looking forward to 2012 is tinged with fear and anxiety.  Yes, we are all looking forward to the Queen’s diamond jubilee which will be a wonderful occasion in June.  Yes, we are looking forward to the Olympics in July and the Para-Olympics in August.  Of course, especially for Christ Church, we will be welcoming the ordination of David Carpenter in July. 

On the other hand, we know that in 2012 unless many countries make dramatic cuts in their expenditure, including our own, then the whole world economy could slip into a bottomless recession the like of which we have not seen since the dark days of the 1920s.   

I pray daily for the politicians who have the unenviable task of making the decisions of where these cuts are made.  For while everybody agrees there should be cuts, nobody wants to see their particular area cut in any shape, size or form.  The result of this attitude is that those parts of society that do not have big unions to represent them, or are not adroit at getting the media to present their case in favourable terms, will be left out and suffer disproportionately high cuts. 

I think particularly of Mr. Mark Bee of Suffolk County Council with the £50 million of cuts he has to make.  I understand he is going to make £20 million of those cuts in adult services and £31/2 million in children’s services.  Those titles may seem meaningless, but in real terms what it means is that parents and caring adults nursing at home people with extreme needs will not get the respite care they need.  It is hard enough to care for somebody twenty-four hours a day – yes, I do mean twenty-four hours a day – but you can do so if you know that at least once a week you will get twenty-four hours break.  But suppose you know you have to go on doing that week in week out, month in month out, with no prospect of a break, what will that do to your standard of care and also your own personal well-being? 

The true measure of a great society is not how much wealth it creates, what scientific achievements it produces, or the wonder of its architecture or transport infrastructure.  The real test of society is how it cares for its most vulnerable and the most marginalised in its midst.  2012 is going to be a year of painful choices.  Let us not only pray, but also play our part in making sure those choices are the right ones.   

A big thank you must go to everybody who collected filled shoeboxes for the vulnerable children in Africa.  We sent out 98 this year.  A big thank you to those who attended our Christingle Service and raised money for the Children’s Society and, of course, thank you in anticipation for attending all our Christmas Services, particularly our two Crib Services which I know meant so much to you all. 

Christmas begins with Christ.  Christ came as a baby, weak and vulnerable, and entrusted Himself to us in order to show us that often the most over-looked and the most vulnerable, like children, have the potential to be the most precious thing of all.  This Christmas as we enjoy ourselves with all the spiritual and material benefits that Christmas brings, let us also remember that we never stop having a responsibility to everyone in society. 

Merry Christmas from

Revd. Canon Jonathan Ford. 

Minister Christ Church Moreton Hall