Simon Harvey writes,
Looking back at the end of a year sometimes brings perspective. At 31 December in any normal year, we could assume that a backward glance would include both surprises and fulfilled expectations, hard times and joyous times.
But 2016 feels different for many of us. It has contained tumult and shock. The world feels more volatile and turbulent than we could have imagined. I'm hearing the words, "I just don't know, anymore!" much more than ever before.
It helps us to realise that most of human history has been unsettled. But the sixty years since St Mary's was re-opened after the devastation of the Second World War have been different, we have seen a period of relative predictability in the UK. The settlement which assumed that relentless progress would deliver ever-increasing living standards and the hope of lasting peace through free high-quality education, social mobility and an aspiration to universal values was uncontested, even between people of different political views, class and ethnicity.
Now unsettled times appear to have returned. The uncertainty of a new year should feel exciting, hopeful and positive. Today, in a climate of growing anxiety, there is a palpable mood of 'there may be trouble ahead'.
So let's not forget that much of the Bible was written in uncertain times. When all the assumptions of predictable life are challenged, God's people have returned time and again to the source of all life.
As St Mary's, we have a precious opportunity, at the Heart of Islington, to tell a bigger story than the shifting moods of recent months. We can testify, with a corporate memory larger and longer than most, to God's faithfulness in times of loss and hope.
I pray that the God who was, and is, and is to come, will embolden us to witness generously and confidently. Let us hold fast together to the hope we share, with gratitude for each other. And let us seek to draw Islington together for the common good, for justice and prosperity, for neighbourliness and social health in 2017 and beyond.
May the New Year bring peace for you and those you love.