Welcoming 2016...
The New Year Page

Poetry and prayer for the turning of the year

Part of the order of service used at the first eucharist of the  New Year, on Thursday, January 1st, 2015 at 12 noon.

The Renewal of the Covenant at the Start of the New Year

Beloved in Christ,
let us again claim for ourselves this covenant which God has made with his people,
and take upon us the yoke of Christ.
This means that we are content that he appoint us our place and work,
and that he himself be our reward.
Christ has many services to be done:
some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach;
some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests,
others are contrary to both;
in some we may please Christ and please ourselves;
in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.
Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ,
who strengthens us.
Therefore let us make this covenant of God our own.
Let us give ourselves to him, trusting in his promises and relying on his grace

Eternal God, in your faithful and enduring love
you call us to share in your gracious covenant in Jesus Christ.
In obedience we hear and accept your commands;
In love we seek to do your perfect will; with joy we offer ourselves anew to you.
We are no longer our own but yours

I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
wherever you may place me,
in all that I do and in all that I may endure;
when there is work for me, and when there is none;
when I am troubled and when I am at peace.
Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded;
when I find fulfillment and when it is lacking;
when I have all things and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all that I have and am to serve you, as and where you choose.

Glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth
be fulfilled in heaven.

Lord, for the Years

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
Urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
Sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided:
Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
Speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
Teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us:
Lord of the word, receive your people's praise.

Lord, for our land in this our generation,
Spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care:
For young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world where men disown and doubt you,
Loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain,
Hungry and helpless, lost indeed without you:
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord for ourselves; in living power remake us -
self on the cross, and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us:
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

The Ending of the Year

When trees did show no leaves
And grass no daisies had,
And fields had lost their sheaves,
And streams in ice were clad,
And day of light was shorn,
And wind had got a spear,
Jesus Christ was born
In the ending of the year.

Like green leaves when they grow,
He shall for comfort be;
Like life in streams shall flow,
For running water He;
He shall raise hope like corn
For barren fields to bear,
And therefore He was born
In the ending of the year.

Like daisies to the grass,
His innocence He‘ll bring;
In keenest winds that pass
His flowering love shall spring;
The rising of the morn
At midnight shall apeear,
Whenever Christ is born
In the ending of the year.

Eleanor Farjeon

Welsh New Year Carol

Now the joyful bells a-ringing,
All ye mountains praise the Lord!
Lift our hearts, like birds a-winging,
All ye mountains praise the Lord!
Now our festal season, bringing
Kinsmen all to bide and board.
Sets our cheery voices singing:
All ye mountains praise the Lord!

Dear our home as dear none other,
Where the mountains praise the Lord.
Gladly here our care we smother,
Where the mountains praise the Lord
Here we know that Christ our brother
Binds us all as by a cord:
He was born of Mary mother,
Where the mountains praise the Lord.
Cold the year, new whiteness wearing,
All ye mountains, praise the Lord!
Peace, goodwill to us a-bearing,
All ye mountains, praise the Lord!
Now we all God‘s goodness sharing
Break the bread and sheathe the sword:
Bright our hearths the signal flaring,
All ye mountains, praise the Lord!

At the Gate of the Year

One of the best-known yet least-known poems was published over 100 years ago. It is the poem quoted by King George VI in his Christmas Day broadcast in 1939. It came at the end of the nine-minute broadcast:

‘I feel that we may all find a message of encouragement in the lines which, in my closing words, I would like to say to you:

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 to you better than light, and safer than a  known way.”

May that Almighty Hand guide and uphold us all.’

The King’s broadcast was specifically Christian in content. He identified Christmas as “above all, the festival of peace”.
 But Britain was of course at war (and, it is worth noting the obvious fact, obscured by hindsight, that at the time no one knew if Britain would win the war).
“I believe from my heart,” George VI said, “that the cause which binds together my peoples and our gallant and faithful Allies is the cause of Christian civilisation.”

The mysterious-sounding words with which he finished the broadcast were by Minnie Haskins (1875-1957).
They came from a poem of hers called “God Knows”, in a collection, The Desert, published in 1908.
Neither the poem nor its author was well known. Indeed, Miss Haskins did not realise the King was going to quote her words.
She didn’t hear the broadcast. “I heard the quotation read in a summary of the speech,” she told The Daily Telegraph the following day.
“I thought the words sounded familiar and suddenly it dawned on me that they were out of my little book.”

The poem had been drawn to the King’s attention by Queen Elizabeth, the present Queen’s mother, and the lines were to be recited 63 years later at her own funeral.
They were wisely chosen to stand on their own, for the remainder do not possess such a compelling quality.

Immediately after the lines that George VI quoted, the verse form changes:

“So I went forth, And finding the hand of God, Trod gladly into the night. He led me towards the hills And the breaking of day in the lone east.
So heart be still! What need our human life to know If God hath comprehension? In all the dizzy strife of things, Both high and low, God hideth his intention.’

An error that has got abroad is that Minnie Haskins was an American. She was a grocer’s daughter brought up at Warmley, Bristol. 
As a Congregationalist, she taught at a Sunday school there. It is said that the image in her poem came to her at Warmley
when she was standing at an upstairs balcony window, looking down the lit driveway to the gate.

Pamela Emy, a former pupil of Minnie Haskins at the London School of Economics, wrote to The Daily Telegraph in 2002:
“My abiding memory is of her asking me in a tutorial, ‘And how is your personal philosophy getting along, Miss Emy?’
As a naive 20-year-old, I remember being somewhat floored.”

Christopher Howse
'Sacred Mysteries' column, The Daily Telegraph, August 2008

Intercessions to begin a new year

A new year is unfolding—like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within.
Lord, let this year be filled with the things that are truly good—
with the comfort of warmth in our relationships,
with the strength to help those who need our help
and the humility and openness to accept help from others.
As we make our resolutions for the year ahead,
et us go forward with great hope that all things can be possible—
with Your help and guidance.

Unlooked for, Christ comes.

To shepherds,
watching their sheep through the long, dark night,
he comes with the glory of the angels' song
and in the humility of the manger.

Loving God, we pray for our community...
In the midst of our everyday lives,
surprise us with glimpses of your glorious, humble love,
at the heart of existence.

Searched for, Christ comes.

To the wise and powerful,
star-led to Bethlehem, seeking a king,
he comes, child of Mary,
crowned with meekness,
worthy of every gift.

Loving God, we pray for the leaders of the world...
Guide them with your light
to seek wisdom, justice and peace.

Longed for, Christ comes.

To Anna and Simeon,
whose days were lived in faithful expectation,
he came, a new life to the old,
a living prophecy of hope.

To men and women, girls and boys,
crying out in darkness, pain and loneliness,
he comes, at one with us,
our Saviour, Healer and Friend.

Loving God, we pray for those
whose lives are hard and painful
or whose existence is sorrowful, bitter or empty...
In their need, may they know your healing touch,
reaching out to comfort, strengthen and restore.

Unlooked for and not searched for,
longed for and prayed for,
loving God, you come to us now
as you have come to your people in every age.

We thank you for all who have reflected
the light of Christ through the ages,
especially the ever-blessed Virgin Mary,
and St Joseph. Help us to follow their example
and bring us with them to eternal life.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

O Christ the Same

O Christ the same through all our story’s pages.
Our loves and hopes, our failures and our fears;
Eternal Lord, the King of all the ages,
Unchanging still, amid the passing years:
O living Word, the source of all creation,
Who spread the skies, and set the stars ablaze,
O Christ the same, who wrought our whole salvation,
We bring our thanks for all our yesterdays.

O Christ the same, the Son of Mary, sharing
Our inmost thoughts, the secrets none can hide,
Still as of old upon your body bearing
The marks of love, in triumph glorified:
O Son of Man, who stooped to us from heaven,
O Prince of life, in all your saving power,
O Christ the same, to whom our hearts are given,
We bring our thanks for this the present hour.

O Christ the same, secure within whose keeping
Our lives and loves, our days and years remain,
Our work and rest, our waking and our sleeping,
Our calm and storm, our pleasure and our pain:
O Lord of love, for all our joys and sorrows,
For all our hopes, when earth shall fade and flee’
O Christ the same,for all our brief tomorrows,
We bring our thanks for all that is to be.

Eternal Lord God,
we give you thanks for bringing us through the changes of time

to the beginning of another year.
Forgive us the wrong we have done in the year that is past,
and help us to spend the rest of our days to your honour and glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
whose years never fail and whose mercies are new
each returning day:
let the radiance of your Spirit renew our lives,
warming our hearts and giving light to our minds,
that we may pass the coming year in joyful obedience and firm faith;
through Him who is the beginning and the end, your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


The clergy and people of Saint Faith's wish all church members,
friends and visitors to this site a very happy and blessed New Year.

Download a cheerful little New Year animation here

The Epiphany page

The Christmas pages