Letters: Festive Messages

Looking ahead to new year after a tough 2020

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 12:30 pm
This festive picture of a robin comes courtesy of Peter Smith

There’s no question that 2020 will have been one of the toughest years many of us will have experienced.

The problem is that 2021 does not at this stage look much more promising.

For many of us the problem is uncertainty. A colleague recently described 2020 as being in a car without shock absorbers, feeling every bump in the road more keenly than usual.

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So, is the message for 2021 all doom and gloom, with more bumps in the road?

What is it that we have in place to help us cope with the bumpy road?

None of us is meant to face these challenges alone, which is where support comes in. I see 2021 delivering examples of community care through a variety of networks, not least the service the Christian community brings to the table; and doing this in partnership with others, so it is a shared venture.

The Christian believes that God has not deserted His world, He has come to us in the person of Jesus and is on course to right every wrong and bring order out of chaos.

So, as I wish you a happy New Year, may you have in place those things that will enable you to take 2021 in your stride; and to look forward to the day when all these present uncertainties will have disappeared.

Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, Bishop of Blackburn

May the light of Christ bring us peace, joy and hope

This year in particular, I suspect that it has sometimes perhaps been all too easy to get caught up in a mood of cynicism, negativity and despair. For all sorts of reasons, we seem to be living in very dark times indeed.

I believe that Christmas, however, gives us a reason to celebrate and to hope. As we celebrate the birth of a child born in poverty in Bethlehem, we celebrate God’s gift of love and grace, freely offered to all, whatever their social, racial or religious background. As we celebrate Christ’s birth, we celebrate the birth of Emmanuel – ‘God with us’ – the God who is with us, whatever our circumstances. And as we celebrate the birth of the ‘Word made flesh who dwelt among us’, we also celebrate the coming of the one who gives light to all people. And at a time when our world seems to be in so much darkness, we remember those words from John’s Gospel: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

May the light of Christ, which nothing can overcome, enter our lives, our hearts and our homes this Christmas season, bringing us peace, joy and hope. God bless.

Janet Pybon, Superintendent Minister, Blackpool Methodist Circuit

Wishing peace and goodwill

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

(Pure Ones belong to God

Victory belong to God)

Although, as Sikhs, we do not follow Christmas in a religious fashion, we do however participate and respect festivals of all religious denominations. One of our main festivals we all look forward to is the Birth Celebrations of 10th Guru Ji, “Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji”, which will be held in the New Year (Tuesday, January 5) at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Bow Lane, Preston.

A three-day ceremony will take place from Friday, January 8, to closure of the reciting of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Holy Scriptures) on Sunday, January 10.

Due to the Government guidelines, we again are adhering to the restrictions as there have been throughout since March. Again this is the time when the Sikh congregation would attend and take part in religious activities including preparing, serving and consuming of hot vegetarian meals and desserts, but unfortunately this is suspended due to Tier 3. The Gurdwara will be open for worship and advise anyone with flu-like symptoms that they please do not attend for the safety of themselves and others.

Due to 2020 having been a difficult year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it certainly will not be forgotten so quickly and we would like everyone to have safe and enjoyable festivities over this holiday period with family, friends and loved ones. Wishing all a healthy New Year and Peace and Goodwill to all mankind throughout 2021.

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa

Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

(Pure Ones belong to God

Victory belong to God)

Member of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Singh Sabha

Bow Lane, Preston

New Year message

New Year Message from Preston and Lancashire Imams. 2020 has been a year of unprecedented disruption and challenges.

The Covid-19 pandemic has ripped, like a whirlwind, through all of our lives, upending normal patterns of interaction and communication. The killing of George Floyd in America, separate attacks in France and Austria and continued persecution of various minority groups such as the Uighurs in China have driven home the sad reality that intolerance, bigotry and hate continue to blight us.

Steep rises in mental health referrals and domestic violence incidents during lockdown show that, despite the huge technological advances made by our societies, anxiety and unhappiness still haunt us. Yet there have been real rays of light and hope shining through these dark clouds.

When places of worship closed, many British mosques quickly reorganised to provide essential material and emotional support – through foodbanks, listening services and co-ordinated outreach – to the most vulnerable in our communities of all faiths and none.

Online sermons delivered by imams reminded Muslims of core religious teachings relating to patience, compassion, forgiveness, generosity and gratitude. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Indeed God is gentle and loves gentleness.”

It is our fervent hope that 2021 brings ease to the suffering and a renewed commitment to the principles of mutual respect and gentle tolerance which make Preston such a great place to live.

Imam Vasi

Madina Mosque

William Henry Street & UCLan Muslim Chaplain

Imam Khalid

Quwwat ul Islam Mosque, Peel Hall Street, Preston

Imam Talha

Jamea Mosque, Clarendon Street, Preston

season

A seasonal message

A Christmas message from the Hindu Community of Preston.

The members of the Gujarat Hindu Society of Preston would like to wish all those celebrating Christmas and those who are members of other faiths or none, a very happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas season and all the best for the New Year – 2021.

Christmas is a festival which unites families together and Hindus also believe in unity, harmony and peace amongst all people.

We pray to Lord Krishna to bring a speedy end to this pandemic and allow everyone to be able to meet their loved ones and return to as normal a life as possible and to continue the caring shown during these difficult times for one and all in our communities.

Gujarat Hindu Society