November 2012


2012 has had more than its fair share of anniversaries and celebrations. Not all have received the major public acknowledgement they deserved, though some have far exceeded expectations. These celebrations come from all walks of life. You might have participated in some of these events or you might have missed it, so I’d like to remember just a few of these celebrations.

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth 7th February 1812. He has been called the first modern novelist and his characters, whether humorous or serious, leave an indelible impression.

Demonstrating immense courage and heroism, Captain Scott and his colleagues were beaten in the race to reach the South Pole by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. They died on the way back just short of a supply depot on 29th March 1912.

With celebrations in Belfast and numerous TV specials it’s been 100 years since the Titanic sunk. The Titanic, having been proudly and hubristically described as being unsinkable, did just that on its maiden voyage, having hit an iceberg on 15th April 1912.

350 years ago in 1662 the Book of Common Prayer was published. This was a hugely influential liturgical act that defined the Church of England and much that was English. It was therefore also the catalyst to the Act of Uniformity that divided the protestant church. Non conformity began as an estimated 2,450 clergy were ejected from their churches as they could not sign the Act because of disagreements with the Book of Common Prayer. About 1300 became nonconforming ministers, mainly in the Baptist and Congregational churches. The URC traces it linage from here.

The 5th June was the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Though it was a thoroughly wet day and dodgy long weekend, it was superb to honour 60 years of dedicated service by our Queen.

Between 27th July and the 12th August the nation and the world came to (mainly) London for the Olympics. What a feast of sporting achievement and national pride. As if that wasn’t enough the Para-Olympics from the 29th August to the 9th September redefined to many who a disable person was and what he/she could achieve.

It was 40 years ago on the 5th October 1972 that the URC came into being. We thought we would herald a new age of ecumenism, but we are now learning that we are in it for the long term and need to discover new purposes and directions.

It was 70 years ago on the 26th November 1942 that the movie Casablanca premiered. Some critics panned it, but Casablanca won 3 academy awards including best film.

On the 21st December 2012, according to some, it will be the end of the world. The Mayan calendar runs out on that date so as the Mayans knew everything that proves the world will end.

If we actually get through the 21st December it’s only a few days till one of the most important dates of the year. On the 25th December we remember the birth of Jesus - God becoming human in the form of baby. If you remember no other date from 2012, the birth of Jesus the Christ, saviour of the world, would be unsurpassed.


November 2012