Talking to a friend last week I learnt that every year the people who compile the Oxford dictionary select a word of the year.

They do this by studying data showing how many times words have been looked up over the year and in 2018, there was a 45% increase in the number of times this particular word was researched, making it their outstanding choice.

The Oxford word of the year is ‘a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos or mood of the passing year and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance’. Any guesses what it might be?

I can tell you it isn’t Brexit, which I confess is the first word I thought of! The word they have chosen is ‘toxic’. It comes from the medieval Latin term toxicum, meaning ‘poison’, and is a rather negative word to sum up 2018, I feel.

We can think of it in terms of the use of a toxic poison used as a nerve agent against a former Russian intelligence officer and his daughter in Salisbury; there is international concern over the use of toxic chemical weapons and those who stockpile them and of course, it’s a word used in relationships between nations and individuals highlighted in the #MeToo movement.

I hope at the end of 2019 we’re thinking of a more positive word, but the world at the time of the birth of Jesus wasn’t really any less toxic than ours is now. A climate where Roman oppression and the taxation laws left people with barely enough money to feed their families, a climate where a ruling King was so threatened by talk of a man who would save the Jews from their oppression under the romans, that he would order the slaying of every infant under the age of two years old, a climate that saw anyone with a disease or disability outcast out onto the edge of society, a society where women were seen as chattels of their husbands and second class citizens in the society. This was the toxic environment into which God sent his Son. And we may not be living under an oppressive rule, but sadly there are many people across our world who are. We may be able to cope with taxation laws, but sadly the increase in the number of people using foodbanks and sleeping on our street, is witness to the many people who find themselves unable to cope in our society.

Two thousand or so years ago God saw a world that was hurting and into that world he sent his Son. As followers of Christ we have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the message that this gospel of Christ is the antidote for the toxicity which threatens the wellbeing of others. A daunting responsibility but an awesome privilege.

I know some of you followed the prayers for 100 days of peace last year, an initiative leading up to the 100 years since World War 1 ended. A reflection by Vicky Roberts, who served as an officer in the British Army really struck me when she said this, “As a parent, I often think of peace as the absence of noise, and as a soldier, the absence of fighting.

But as a Christian I have come to realise that peace isn’t the absence of anything, rather the presence.

It comes from a strong inner trust or hope that things will turn out OK; that we need not fear or be anxious. Whilst ‘Don’t worry’ is easier said than done, God has made it simple for anyone to be filled with peace: trust in him, pray and ask with a thankful heart. I cannot think of anyone better qualified to handle my problems (or yours) or anyone more worthy of our trust, than the creator of heaven and earth”. Jesus said this, ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’. Jesus gives us hope, he gives us peace.

We have a God in whom we can trust, a God who loves us so much that he sent a baby into our world so that we might truly know what it is to be at peace, to be free from the toxins that destroy societies and threaten peace and stability in our lives. And perhaps as we start another year with its uncertainties, anxieties and unknowns we can reflect on the words of King George VI when he gave his Christmas message in December 1939, just months after the outbreak of WW2, with these words “I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.’”

God bless, Hilary

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Welcome to the Triangle Community Methodist Church, we’re glad you’re here.

If you’re new to our church family, a few things to make you feel at home amongst us:

Evening Service: 6.30pm
(2nd Sunday of Each Month)

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Sunday: 10.30am

(lasting about 80 minutes)

Evening Service: 6.30pm
(2nd Sunday of Each Month)

Morning Worship, Junior Church & Crèche.

Holy Communion: 1st Sunday of each month.

All Age Worship: 3rd Sunday of each month.

Baptisms, Marriages and Funerals arranged, please contact Rev. Hilary Howarth
Tel: 01204 291698 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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First Friday: 5th July 2019

First Friday: 15th July 2019. At the First Friday Group meeting on the 15th July we were fortunate to be treated to a “Strawberry Tea “which is synonymous with Wimbledon.

Prior to this we listened to songs and solos by Bolton U3A “Singing for Pleasure “and were treated to well-known songs and solos.

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