Christmas 2015
How do we balance the beauty and crowning glory of the year with Sophie & Tim's wedding alongside the sadness of missing so many folk there?  Tim proposed to Sophie when his parents were cycling in the Netherlands - and while we were enjoying the blistering sunshine whilst walking everywhere around Lyon...  After uncontrollable laughter and delight, we asked, "So, Sophie, still going for a Christmas wedding?"

In the meantime, Andrew was welcomed in by the neighbours, Matthew established himself on the south coast and Sophie joined the fast stream; Allison took on further duties at the special school and Humph added a page or three to a website or two.

T'was such an privilege to help Sophie & Tim plan their 'traditional' wedding - overflowing with contemporary touches. The readings, read so beautifully by brothers - Ben Stewart and Andrew Baker - were, of course, projected - but were also printed in SG21.  Fortunately, the bookmarks for the pew Bibles, inserted on the page for Philippians 2, included the correct detail for Revelation 21 - not the first draft which noted the preceding chapter.  To reflect the many people and tongues where Sophie and Tim have been blessed with links or family, the processional carol took up a whole page - just for the refrain. Many thanks to Ian Prescott for this pic, right; click to enlarge

It was easy to include the lyrics for Grace before the meal on the place card - and we're grateful to the volunteers who lead the four parts - how do we ever say thank you to Thomas for so happily joining in?  Nothing like the cherry on the icing on the cake.  We were over the moon to hear François et Marie were able to come, cheered to hear les enfants were coming, too - and blown apart when they arrived after a 14 hour drive from Burgundy in time for the family gathering on Sunday evening before the Monday wedding.

Sophie insisted on being driven to her school prom in the old camper all those years ago, so it was a very easy decision to turn up at church, ready to go, in a minibus.  Unsure that's traditional, though.  So many friends, so many pictures all over Facebook and beyond.

Matthew - still occasionally heard on local community radio - has broadened his comms base in West Sussex, enjoying a welcome and well deserved promotion in time for Christmas.  With Hannah working in bio science in Worthing, they're enjoying living beside the sea.  Skilled in music and video production at work, he discreetly filmed Sophie's day from almost every angle.  Must remind him that we have a drumstick or two of his here at home somewhere..

Andrew is enjoying logistics, be it hands-on using electric vehicles or helping with deliveries.  Still growing in so many ways, he's becoming stronger by the day, happy to lift heavy loads which would have squashed him a year ago.  Could he be described as a stalwart when he joins the Ad Hoc choir?  It all helps; his clarity and passion when reading Revelation 21 was outstanding.

So, along with Tim's wonderful parents and family, we've joined the company of those who've packed a couple of year's planning into three months.  Sophie found time to attend her school exchange friend's wedding in October, Allison ran up a couple of dresses from sari material, creating a fusion of cultures to honour the wider families and siblings and friends made everything flow so easily.  The wedding website remains available with some of the details.

In the meantime... a quiet Christmas and the prospect of a new year to catch up with everyone else, most especially those who we missed at the wedding.  Our love to you all