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Worrying About What to Actually Worry About

December 2021 Ovingdean News Note

I don't know about you but I spend much time worrying about things, big things, small things - anything really. I was reading some Mary Oliver recently, in between my worrying, and she said:

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers flow in the right direction, will the earth turn as it was taught, and if not how shall I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven, can I do better? Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows can do it and I am, well, hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it, am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia? Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.

And gave it up. And took my old body and went out into the morning,

and sang.

Wise words in dealing with those things we worry about and perhaps don't need to, at least as much as we do. The trouble is of course there are real worries that we all have to deal with. In my last message I talked about climate change and we have just marked Armistice Day that reminds us of the realities of war and the many sacrifices made to preserve liberty and re-establish peace. The arrival of the Afghan refugees to the city is a grim reminder that many wars continue and that they also have terrible impacts on the lives of everyday households. We are actively seeking to find out how we can help the Afghan refugees in Brighton & Hove and I will be in touch regarding requests for help and support.

For some of us, this winter is going to be a difficult time, with reductions to benefits affecting those on low incomes and inflation affecting the price of everyday essentials, including food and fuel prices. If you are struggling please do reach out for support, for example you can use the foodbank and contact Moneyworks, a local confidential service funded by the Council to help anyone who is struggling to make ends meet. Their website is: or you can ring their helpline on 0800 988 7037 or 01273 809288.

December marks the start of Advent, where we anticipate the light of Jesus Christ entering the world on Christmas Day. Advent is a spiritual journey that helps us to remember or perhaps discover for the first time the joyful heart of the Christmas message. That we are not alone, especially in times of trial and that we are loved. St Paul called this knowledge of God and his love for us ‘an anchor for my soul’. Advent is a message of light and hope that many of us need in the darkness and uncertainty of this winter season.

To celebrate this love and this joy we are planning a range of Advent and Christmas services including the All Age Christingle Service, Carols by candlelight, the Crib Service and Midnight Mass. It would be great to see you - everyone is welcome.

Finally, when the time comes, can I wish you a very Happy Christmas and a blessed and healthy New Year.

With love, Fr Richard

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