I wish you all a holy, happy and healthy new year – 2017 is now here.
January, of course, brings the Feast of the Epiphany on Friday 6th, commemorating the arrival of the three kings, Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. This made me wonder what gifts I would wish for. I settled on four Fs: faith, family, friendship and fun. And where will I find them? Why, with the UCM, of course. So let us resolve to hold out a welcoming hand to new members and to hold existing members close, supporting each other in good times and bad.
• Val Ward, our national president, was recently invited to the 140th anniversary of the Anglican Mothers' Union at Winchester Cathedral. The main celebrant was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Val was struck by the similarities between their aims and objectives and ours – a strong support for family values and help for those in need. This surely demonstrates once again the rightness of the drive for ecumenism. Please God, one day we shall be one Christian Church, sending out the Gospel message to all. It is surely needed in Britain today.
• On Wednesday 11 January our bi-monthly Mass will be held at All Saints in Liverpool, who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UCM foundation in their parish. At the Mass, cheques will be presented from our charity fund to four charities: the Priests' Training Fund, Asylum Link (assisting refugees and asylum-seekers), Bradbury Fields (services to the blind and partially sighted), and the Marie Curie Patient and Family Support team in Liverpool. The Priests' Training Fund is supported every year, with the three other charities voted for by the foundations.
May God bless us in this new year and may His mercy shine out on us and our families and friends throughout 2017.