Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church Rome Christmas 2014 Wishing you a very happy Christmas! Tim and Angela Macquiban Minister`s letter : December 2014 Dear Friends, As you read this, we will be less than three weeks off Christmas. This is a time of the year when we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of Jesus, through the singing of carols and the hearing again the familiar stories of angels, shepherds and kings and reflecting on the wonder of our God who was, in Charles Wesley`s words, “contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man”. Advent is a time when we remember those powerful Old Testament themes of Judgement and Hope. The prophets of doom, warning the people of the punishment they brought on themselves by their wilful disobedience of God and his commandments, were also the prophets of hope, reminding the people of God that they were still loved, chosen, called and equipped to be his holy people. And Christmas is the ultimate and supreme testimony that God is with us, Immanuel; he is here through thick and thin, through the bad times as well as the good. He ‘comes among us at Christmastime’ as one of the many carols we shall sing reminds us. He gives us Jesus, his Son, who is ‘the Word made flesh’ who comes to dwell among us, to preach and teach and heal in the name of God, to give his life for the sins of all by his death on the Cross. That costly sacrifice which he calls us all in our different ways to emulate in our own discipleship. Sometimes, perhaps not as often as it should, our Christian discipleship costs us. In the time we spend with others in serving them, in our sacrificial giving to the church and to the many causes that will tug at out heart-strings this Christmas. And our hearts should melt with the compassion that Jesus showed to those around as we seek to meet some of those needs. It will mean digging into our pockets to respond to some of the needs that are here. The Refugee Centre at St. Paul`s, the Rice Bowl 2015 appeal which will assist a refugee camp for 1,000 people near Aleppo, Syria. and the projects supported by All We Can. the Methodist agency for relief and development. It`s a time for us to look for a proper Christian response to the real issues of wealth creation and wealth distribution, including our own personal lifestyle and use of money. You might like to read John Wesley’s sermon on The Use of Money: he said: Gain all you can, Save all you can, Give all you can. So Methodists cannot easily and readily become naive anti-Capitalists without thought of a proper response to the complexities of fluctuating markets and global financial transactions. There is an Iona song which starts ‘Inspired by love and anger’ in which John Bell reminds Christians of their responsibilities for peace and justice. It contains one verse which is asterisked – this verse may be omitted – perhaps because it is just too difficult to sing and to point the finger at others in their (mis)use of money while we ourselves are happy to run up credit balances and engage in the conspicuous consumption that Christmas advertising and high-pressure selling techniques. From those foe ever shackled to what their wealth can buy, The fear of lost advantage provokes a bitter cry: ‘Don’t query our position! Don’t criticize our wealth! Don’t mention those exploited by politics and stealth! So to those of us who bash the world`s bankers and leaders of industry and commerce and blame them for all our ills I say: even bankers with huge bonuses have a heart which can melt with compassion if we do but remind them of their responsibilities – let’s show by our example of generous giving and by our tireless campaigning on behalf of the poor of our society and world that our God is a God of Judgement but also of Hope. Have a very happy and joyful Christmas (even if we don’t send as many cards and presents) as you share the peace and love of the Christ-Child with family and friends. Angela joins me in sending our warmest good wishes for a very happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year. Pastor Tim PS A giant Christmas Card will be available on the back table next Sunday for people to send greetings to each other in church and give a gift to All We Can – I’d much rather you did this than send us a card! And we shall do the same. SERVICES OVER THE CHRISTMAS SEASON All services at 10-30am unless otherwise – do come and join us! 14th Dec. Pastor Tim 21st Dec. Carol Service followed by Pot Luck Lunch 24th Dec. Carol service at 6pm preceded by mince pies and nibbles in the manse from 400 to 530pm 25th Dec. All Age Communion for Christmas Day 28th Dec. Pastor Tim ENTERTAINMENT OVER THE CHRISTMAS SEASON CONCERTS before CHRISTMAS Concerts by our organist Luca Nicoletti at Basilica SS. XII Apostoli at 19:15 Saturday December 13 L`organo in ensemble Sabato December 20 L`organo solistico Ingresso libero CONCERTS AT PSA over CHRISTMAS Friday December 19, 2014 - 8.30 p.m. Haydn Cello Concerts Marco Algenti and Francesco Sorrentino, cellos Giorgio Pradella, conductor Orchestra Couleurs du Temps (small Orchestra) F.J. Haydn: Concerto for cello and Orchestra in C major F. J. Haydn: Concerto for cello and Orchetra in D major F. Handel: Concerto grosso op. 6 n. 11 A. Vivaldi: Concerto for two cellos in G minor Thursday December 25, 2014 - 8.30 p.m. The Romantic Cello Marco Algenti, cello Lisa Francese Taeschner, piano J. Brahms: Cello Sonata op. 38 L. van Beethoven: Cello Sonata op. 69 Friday December 26, 2014 - 8.30 p.m. Beethoven Strings Trio Francesco Peverini, violin Gianluca Saggini, viola Marco Algenti, cello L. van Beethoven: Strings Trio op. 3 F. Schubert: Strings Trio in b moll magior Saturday December 27, 2014 - 8.30 p.m. The Romantic Violin Soyeon Kim, violin Akanė Makita, piano J. Brahms: Violin Sonata n. 2 op. 100 P.I. Tschaikowsky: Souvenir d'un lieu Cher op. 42 R. Schumann: Violin Sonata n. 2 op. 121 Travel well in 2015 May the peace of Christ go with you!