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Christmas is a strange time of year – there are lots of preparations, family to contact, presents to buy and decorations to put up. The shops are full of food, gift ideas and things to buy that you might not buy at any other time. The streets are full, and the tills are ringing. Chestnuts to buy and a roaring fire to sit next to. And yet… This isn’t the rosy picture many people in our area are looking forward to. For many, Christmas is a time of loneliness in the crowds. It’s a time where money is spent that will, in the end, create a debt problem. It’s a time where families seem the most distant people in the world. For many, the message of Christmas is exclusion, poverty, hunger and hopelessness.
Even in our wonderful town, there are people who will be by themselves this Christmas. People, who will not have the full dinner with trimmings, who might not get any cards, or who might not get any presents and certainly won’t get any visitors.
As Churches Together in the Cockermouth Area, we are concerned to help those who are vulnerable and lonely and work with local charities that we helped set up or have worked closely with since their beginning. Foodbank is a wonderful way to be able to help - to give food to a charity that works with people in desperate need. You can donate at many supermarkets in the area, or direct at Lorton Street Methodist Church. Linking Lives is a new charity that meets
lonely people in their homes and takes time to listen to people who have little outside contact. You can help by volunteering or donating money.
There are lots of other ways that you can help - to name a few and apologies to those I’ve not named. There’s the Food Pantry at Highfield, Christ Church have a Christmas Day lunch for anyone who needs, or wants company on the 25th December, some Cafes in town have a Christmas dinner and the collection of warm clothing through the Rotary Club Wrap Up Cumbria. There are hundreds of ways you can help practically around the area.
The message of Christmas has always been that God in His great love for mankind, gave his very best through his gift to us, His Son, Jesus, so that we could have relationship with Him and that everyone can take part in his great Kingdom. Getting involved in some of these amazing ways, means that you too can show other people love, people who often feel unloved, uncared for and unnoticed and demonstrate the very essence of the best of humanity.
May your Christmas indeed be joyful and your New Year fruitful and may you too find the true meaning of Christmas this year.
Convenor of the Churches Together in the Cockermouth Area
TRAIL RACE CHRISTMAS PUDDING
Approx 5.5km trail •460’ ascent/descent Setmurthy Woods
Sunday 22nd December START TIME: 11.00am at GR: NY 163 329 (near Isel Bridge)
Christmas Pudding for all finishers Fancy Dress Encouraged!
SUPPORT AT CHRISTMAS
Samaritans have run a service in Whitehaven since 1967 and our purpose is to provide support for those in distress and who may be suicidal. Most of our callers though, are not suicidal but may have problems and issues in their lives they struggle to cope with.
Christmas is often a time when there is more social connection, we know this is a strong protective factor for suicidal and depressive feelings. However, Christmas is also a time, when people can feel separated from the high spirits and festivities they see around them. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can be exacerbated at this time of year, whether a person is on their own, or in a crowd. One in three calls to Samaritans on Christmas Day are from people who feel lonely and isolated. Nationally, last year, Samaritans had more than 13,000 calls for help and emotional support on Christmas Day. Exploring feelings can be an immense help to finding solutions to distress. Talking about suicide is very difficult. Talking about these feelings to someone who will not judge you, or tell you what to do, can be an enormous help.
Samaritans are available on 116 123 (free) 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. We do not have caller ID and our email and text service is encrypted to preserve anonymity and confidentiality. If you telephone our number, it will not show up on your account.
We are now in our 53rd year of providing our service in Whitehaven.
We train ordinary people and professional experience, or qualifications are not required to be a volunteer. You may think you could not do this work, but you probably can, as full training and support is given.
If you think you might be interested in volunteering, visit our national website, or our local website, Samaritans of West Cumbria. Our next training course begins in February 2020.
Samaritans of West Cumbria, Whitehaven samaritans.org/volunteering
Online Entry at www.resultsbase.ne
t £5.00: 18 years+ £2.00: 12-18 years
Enter at start from 10.00am - 10.50am £8.00: 18 years+ £3.00: 12-18 years
Prizes at finish (M/F); first three 18+yrs and first U18 Best Fancy Dress PLUS Spot Prizes
Mulled Wine and Mince Pies for all at finish! Supporting Cockermouth Mountain Rescue
Carols by Gaslight AT THE FELL CHURCH
St. Michael's Church in Mosser Mains will be holding its annual carol service this year on Sunday 15th December at 3.00pm. Children from Paddle Academy will be adding to the occasion of worship and wonder in this atmospheric little church. For those who haven’t been before, there is a short ten-minute walk up a field to get to the church. Everyone is welcome to come and join us – bring a torch!
Don Smith, Acting Church Warden, Mosser Parish ISSUE 437 | 21 NOVEMBER 2019 | 5
Photo: Sam Smith
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