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Viewpoint from Revd Canon Simon Ward 03/01/2020

SIMON WARD 12-2018Revd Canon Simon Ward
Team Rector of Great Yarmouth


as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


I had a treat last week and it wasn’t even related to Christmas. I was invited to join with the Greek Orthodox Church, St Syridon on St Peter’s Road, as they celebrated the feast of their saint. To give the occasion extra resonance, they were blessed to receive a visit from His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain. On my first visit inside the church of St Spyridon I stepped inside not quite knowing exactly what to expect. I need not have worried
dove leftThere was a wonderful warmth and a real feeling of the whole family being at worship. Small children played with toy cars at the feet of adults chanting in the choir. Bells were rung, incense swung, chants were sung, prayers were offered as the presence of Christ was celebrated. Then lunch was served as I was invited to an honoured place and fed a homely, delicious meal of several tasty fish dishes. I felt treated like royalty. Father Fotios, the local priest, and his flock made me exceedingly welcome
It is always a pleasure for a community of faith to receive an honoured visitor. Indeed, Great Yarmouth seems to be doing quite well at attracting archbishops in recent times. The visit of an honoured guest is something we plan for, look forward to, and anticipate long in advance and there will have been much planning in the weeks before this service. Some guests are much anticipated and others catch us unaware
Dove rightThe coming days brings another celebration for many Christians as we recall the Epiphany: the unexpected coming of the Magi to the infant Jesus. Their arrival must have caused a stir when they reached Bethlehem. A band of travellers from a foreign land who were men of mystery and knowledge could hardly have arrived unnoticed to a small town. You can almost imagine the rumour reaching Mary and Joseph from the market square gossips: there’s a strange band arrived in town, a group of magi nonetheless, wonder what they’re up to? Then the next thing the holy family know is they are knocking on the door with extravagant gifts galore
We should never lose the wonder and joy of welcoming visitors, both those anticipated and the unexpected. May those guests you meet on the journey through 2020 bring you joy, happiness and delight

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