- Rev. Pete Orphan muses on that Christmas feeling.
- Club Carol Service goes down well.
- When touch judges carried whiskey instead of flags.
Let me start this VFTP with a Christmas thank you to all who supported the club's annual Carol service. An enjoyable night raised £211.23 for Macmillan Cancer Support, the club's chosen charity for the season. A special thanks to those who took part. Ify Iwobi a local musician entertained us. We heard from representatives of the Gideons and Macmillian. While Stan Addicott, club President, Charlotte Peters representing the women's team and Tom Ham representing the men brought us the Christmas Bible readings, recalling the birth of Jesus, the visit of the shepherds and the wise men. We all sang together some traditional carols. Then everyone made short work of 25 pizzas, 12 bags of chips, 56 bags of crisps, 9 garlic bread rolls, 120 sandwiches, 60 sausage rolls, 6 Swiss rolls and 80 mince pies. Thankfully my boss is a dab hand at catering - although his specialty was loaves and fishes and water into wine !
This time of year maybe our focus is more on mistletoe and wine. I enjoy this time of Christmas and what it really celebrates - the coming of Jesus into the world. I love the diversity of that first Christmas that involves the rich and poor, Jew and gentiles, palaces and stables, young and old, tragic and tremendous, gifts and gasps, Angels and families, east and west. There is always, for all of us, prop or full back, player or supporter, Turk or Jack, to find a way to Jesus at Christmas. I love the different ways families celebrate at this time of year. Church and sport was always a big part of my families Christmas celebration. Church, Christmas Eve and Day and football or rugby Boxing Day. Newport (where I grew up) RFC v Watsonians was the traditional Boxing Day fixture. I have a clear childhood memory of the Scottish teams kilted linesman, using a whisky bottle rather than a flag and slowly after numerous quick nips from the bottle, as the game progressed, being unable to run in a straight line as the game wore on.
A man who I'm sure would have approved of such a tradition would have been Brian Morris, who sadly passed away last week. His presence in the bar, that bore his name, will always be missed. I for one will miss his fantastic support of the club's charity every year. When you raise a glass after the game or over Christmas I'm sure you'll remember Brian with a smile. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time and others too, like the Norkett family, who will be missing loved ones, at this Christmas time.
Let me add a warm Christmas welcome to Llanelli RFC and their long serving chaplain the Rev Eldon Phillips. Obviously there my Christmas generosity stops and I'm hoping for a Whites win on Saturday
Enjoy the game this Saturday and every blessing this Christmas to you and yours
P.S: If you'd like to join me at my church for our Christmas celebrations in Pantygwydr Baptist Church in the uplands, just up the road from St. Helens (SA20PJ) you'd be very welcome. Christmas Eve candlelight Carol service kicks off 6pm and Christmas Day it's 10 am. Please say hello if you join us. I still love to bring church and sport together at Christmas time.