It’s really exciting to be writing my first letter to you.
Although it is usually a cold and dark month, I quite like January because it is filled with possibilities and potential for the year ahead. That feeling is even stronger for me this year as, on 11th January, I will be licensed as the new Priest-in-charge of the Draycote and Leam Valley benefices.
I am joining you with my wife, Esther and our two daughters Millie (10) and Magdalena (8). We also bring with us two ginger cats (Charlotte and Pumpkin).
I like to think of myself as a ‘Welsh Essex boy from Kettering’ because I was born in South Wales, went to university in Colchester (where I met Esther) and grew up in Northamptonshire. We are joining you from Reading where I have been the curate at St Catherine’s, Tilehurst. Before that I was studying at Ridley Hall in Cambridge. All of this means that I am quite well practised at moving house and starting again in new places.
We moved into Thurlaston last month so we’ve spent December settling into our new surroundings and letting go of parts of our old lives. This process has been surprisingly freeing and liberating.
I do like a gadget so I have really enjoyed getting a new Internet Service Provider (I know that is a strange thing to enjoy). We’d been with our previous one for six years and the router they had given us six years ago was getting old and tired. We were struggling to get a decent Wi-Fi signal in our old house so I’ve been really excited about getting a new router to play with.
The process of moving house has also forced me to face some of my hoarding tendencies. Throughout November and December, Esther and I seemed to be constantly having conversations about what we did and didn’t need to take with us to the new house. Trying to work out what a charity shop may conceivably be able to resell and what is only really fit for the tip revealed quite how much worthless junk I’d been hanging onto for years.
I’ve also jettisoned my old e-mail address and set up a new one for my new role here. I like using my new one because it’s not clogged up with old e-mails and it’s not on lots of spammy circulation lists.
Moving to Rugby has allowed me lots of fresh starts. There were things that were getting in the way, taking up time and causing frustration which moving house has encouraged me to get rid of.
We all need a fresh start now and again. Whilst physically moving your life from one place to another isn’t an everyday occurrence for most of us, January is a good a time to think about having a fresh start.
We have just celebrated the birth of Jesus who, the Bible tell us, came to bring fresh starts to all who want them. Fresh starts are at the very heart of the Christian message. As St Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (LBT):
When someone becomes a Christian, he (or she) becomes a brand-new person inside. He (or she) is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!
January is traditionally a time for ‘New Year Resolutions’ and the annual questions: ‘How will I be different this year?’ ‘What do I want to stop doing?’ What do I want to start doing?’ ‘What is holding me back?’
We’ll all have different answers to these questions but they are worth thinking about. If you are looking for a fresh start this January perhaps this is an opportunity to see if there is an activity or event going on in our church or community that you might like to try for the first time.
Rev Phil Price