As we all get ready for Christmas, it is a little known fact that the rein- part of reindeer has nothing to do with reins. The element -deer in reindeer is indeed our word deer, but the element rein- has a different origin. Rein, “leather strap for guiding animals,” comes from Old French resne, while the rein- in reindeer is of Scandinavian origin…

OK, maybe I should get out more! In fact, I’m looking forward to a peaceful Christmas week at home with the family. Time to relax. Also time to think and pray about my leadership of Grace Church.

I take over from Steve as lead elder on Wednesday 11 January. We are going to gather the church together and John Groves from Winchester is going to join us for the evening. Please put that evening in your diary and come along if you possibly can. It is so good to mark these moments together as a church family.

People often ask how I feel about taking over Steve’s role. Well, a little bit nervous maybe – those are big shoes to fill. But also completely excited and in faith for what God is going to do through us in our next chapter of Grace Church. I can see clearly how God has called me along this path, and I have great confidence in Him.

So although I may be taking the reins of Grace Church, I know there is one who holds me, and guides me and keeps me from running into trouble. As you go into 2017, let him be your guide too.

Happy New Year!