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Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:friend],

Welcome to the (slightly late) January newsletter from St Peter's Church. In this newsletter you'll see the dates and times of our services - both in the church and online - for January and beyond, and details about what else we're up to as a church family.
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Happy New Year

No-one can disagree that 2020 was a difficult year for most of us. The separation from friends and family was hard to bear, many have seen their livelihoods seriously affected, and some are mourning lost loved ones. It was, and continues to be, a worrying time for us all.

The dawn of this new year brings us hope. Hope that the vaccines which have been developed by scientists across the world will give us a way to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

But more importantly, we have hope in God, who holds all His children in His hands. Hope in His Son, our Saviour Jesus, who came to the world to save us from our sin and bring us into a relationship with the Father. And hope in the Holy Spirit, who continues to be in us and wth us every day - guiding and comforting us.

It wouldn't be true to say that all the difficulties of 2020 have been left behind on the strike of midnight on New Years' Eve. We know that the next few months will continue to be difficult, and that life may not be back to normal for a while yet. But, we have hope.

We pray that you all know and feel the hope we have, throughout 2021 and beyond.
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Supporting our local food share

Many families continue to be reliant on the work done by local food banks. As a church we have decided to support the local Cobbles Cafe food share, which reopens this Wednesday (6th January). You can see more details on Facebook.

Each Sunday we will be taking donations for the food share in church, so if anyone can support this fantastic local organisation by providing, tins, dried food, cereals, or other foods they will be gratefully received.
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What's on in January - and beyond

And a few other dates for your diary:
Remember, we also provide an online service each Sunday on Facebook and YouTube if you don't feel able to join us in the building - or if government restrictions change so we con't meet in person.
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In case you missed it...

We weren't able to celebrate Christmas in quite the way we would have liked to, but we did our best to make it special. In particular we broadcast an online Christmas Eve Carol Service, which you can see on our YouTube channel here - featuring our very own virtual choir! It's still close enough to Christmas to sing along with some carols, right?!

By the way, on the YouTube channel you can view any of the online services we have broadcast recently, plus videos of songs and hymns that our Music Team have recorded over the last few months. If you have a Google account you can subscribe, and then you're told whenever we publish a new video.

Please do consider sharing the service on social media, and sending the link to friends and family who may enjoy it. We'd love more people to get to know our special church. If you have any technical problems please contact help@stpetersbirstall.co.uk and we'll try to get you sorted.
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Did you know?

We've updated our 900-year timeline with links to pictures (some photos, some paintings) of all vicars going back to 1801. You can see all those we have pictures for here, and we're working to update the history section of the website.

If you have any memories of past vicars, old pictures of the church, or other information that would be good to add to our history section feel free to get in touch.

Prayer for 2021

Dear Lord and Father, we thank you for getting us through this last year and pray for all who have lost loved ones through this terrible pandemic. We thank you that you have inspired the scientists to provide a vaccine and ask that you facilitate its distribution as quickly as possible.

Be with the people who are still suffering, bring them healing, and guide those in authority to do what is best for all people in this nation and across the world.

We ask that you draw people back to you, that they will seek your guidance in all they do, and that your will for 2021 will prevail.

In Jesus' name we pray,

Amen.

And finally

If you need support in any way - prayer, or practical help - please contact us on our special email address: support@stpetersbirstall.co.uk.

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you have suggestions for things we can put in it please do get in touch.
Thanks for reading. God bless you all in this new year.

St Peter's Church, Birstall