Dear Friends,

We have a family tradition that all newborn babies receive the gift of a teddy bear for their first Christmas. I still have my teddy bear and although he has stitches in his paw, he continues to be a faithful companion in his pride of place on my bedroom windowsill. The teddy bear was seemingly named in honour of President Theodore Roosevelt, after he refused to shoot a young bear cub that had been captured during a hunting trip in November 1902. This act of compassion led to the manufacture of one of the world’s favourite toys.

At Emmanuel, we have been entrusted with the care of a very special, rather huge teddy bear, which has come to live amongst our community for a short time. And what a wonderful time he is having with visits to the swimming baths, the fire station, and choir rehearsals and has even had his very own coffee morning. We are using Rev. Bear of course as a means to raise money for this year’s ‘All we can’ Harvest Appeal to support people across the world living with poverty and injustice. Look out for photos of Rev Bear’s adventures in our Christmas edition!

Last March, as part of our Mothering Sunday service, I showed an extract from the film ‘Paddington’. Paddington as we all know was a bear who arrived at Paddington Station bearing a label around his neck saying simply; ‘Please look after this bear, thank you’. And so the Brown Family and their housekeeper and various other characters that Paddington meets along the way, welcome Paddington, a stranger, into their home. They clothe him and feed him and help him to find his way in the world, and they do this with love.

In Matthew 25:35 Jesus says to us, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’. As we continue to have fun and fellowship welcoming Rev Bear into our community in Ormskirk, may we too remember the words of Jesus who preached a message of love and compassion for all people.  And thank you everyone for welcoming Rev Bear into your hearts and your homes. A little bit of madness is good for us all!

Every blessing