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Friday, 25 December 2015

Posada 24: Announcing a birth!

Breaking news - it's a boy!
Over night Mary was safely delivered of baby boy - who is to be named Jesus.
(Photo shoot arranged for later in the day)
Mother and baby are reported to be in a stable condition.
Thank  you to everyone who hosted this family during Advent. - May you continue to find room for them in your life.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A moment for reflection

This is a painting by Gari Melcher of the time after Jesus' birth but before the fanfare of the shepherds etc. Mary lies exhausted by childbirth, Joseph looks at Jesus maybe wondering, tired too. But there, simply, is this baby who changes everything.
Catherine Berry


Posada 23: Quite at home in Stickland.

Donkey does not think he looks like a camel!
Mary and Joseph had a cuddle with Amber the house dog at this last Posada, then met their doppelgängers in our house- they say everyone in the world has a double! I had to do some recorder practice for the service at St Catherine's chapel this evening. Mary and Donkey enjoyed it - Joseph wasn't so keen on the racket and put his hands over his ears! It would soon be time for Mary's baby to arrive and he didn't want to frighten the baby ... it was time to move on!

Posada 23: Was Mary's baby to be born in this shining building?

On a wet and windy night, the traveling group headed north from Dorset, making their way to Wiltshire and the Cathedral at Salisbury. They were amazed at the size of the building and marvelled at the beautiful lights illuminating it.  ( Mary was overwhelmed by the Cathedral and didn't think they could stay there for the night.) So, it wasn't long before they made their return journey, feeling relieved to be back in the more familiar surroundings of the Winterborne Valley to spend the night in North Street, Winterborne Stickland.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Posada 22: Surprised by an angel (.....and a reindeer)!

No stables at Turnworth for Mary, Joseph and the donkey - there was a special grotto (complete with lights and reindeer) in which to spend the night - this time with an angel hovering.
Not far to go now - They are on the last stretch and getting tired and weary.  
a special place to stay on day 1
 (I'm not sure that there were reindeer anywhere near Bethlehem but  ...... any help on this long journey is gratefully received.)

Joseph thought that he recognised the angel - had they met before?

Posada 21: A night in the stable.

After a lovely carol service at St Andrew's church, our travellers made their way to Higher Houghton Stables, where Inn keeper Jan explained the house was a little full but she had managed to find an empty stable for them. A night in a stable...Donkey was looking forward to this! Then he saw the size of the other stable inhabitants and he changed his mind!
 Donkey did his best to protect Mary as Joseph seemed too petrified to cope with the situation. The large creatures were curious about the little donkey and once they had checked him out, they wanted to hear his story. Joseph began to relax, and by the time the travellers were ready to head to their own stable, Donkey and Horse were the best of friends.

Mary and Joseph settled down for the night in the corner of an empty stable. It was a wild and windy night outside but they were safe and warm. It was an uneventful night, no visits from shepherds or angels. Donkey was not too sure about the sheepdog (with the strange eyes) who came to visit them in the morning and he was glad when they were on their way again.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Full church for the carol service at St Andrew's Church, Houghton

A lovely service at Houghton last night - and look who was there too! Our travellers were on their way to Higher Houghton stables - to stay the night!

£314.50 was raised at the carol service, St Andrew's Church, Winterborne Houghton for Crisis at Christmas and already transferred to the charity to help the homeless.

The secret Posada.

So where did they go? Mary and Joseph have kept very quiet about this posada that they visited a while back. Perhaps they wanted some time for quiet reflection. How did they get in? Do you recognise where they went?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Posada 20: Fellowship for Donkey.

 Joseph is very aware that Mary is feeling very tired and needs to rest. Fortunately the kind owners of the next posada found them a warm spot in front of the wood burning stove. Mary, Joseph and Donkey had the fellowship of 2 other donkeys, who came unexpectedly. New friends for donkey and he was thrilled!
Joseph was pleased to find a piano so they could continue their carol practising - there were so many to learn.

Posada 19: Mary stays with Mary

 The travellers had travelled with some children from the school to Chescombe Court - where they sang more carols. They really enjoyed this as Mary and Joseph know some of the words now (- the donkey still makes an awful braying noise).
After two days in school, Mary was feeling very tired. A lady called Mary came to their rescue and offered them a quiet night in her home - she even found carrots for the donkey - which were some much more appetizing than the hay.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Posada News: Back to school for the travellers

 Now you might have been thinking that we had lost Mary, Joseph and the donkey but you would be wrong! They have gone back to school and spent a few days with the children in Dunbury Academy.  It was a very enjoyable experience for them - and what a musical school they are! On Monday the Whitechurch base children had been singing in the Coffee Pot in Stickland and on Wednesday they were singing at Cup'n Cake in Whitechurch. Donkey feels he is ready to tackle a solo as he is having lots of practise at singing the carols. He had such a lovely time in school. He couldn't make up his mind which class he should join.
 Tuesday15th December.
'Mary and Joseph arrived at the base just before lunch on Tuesday. They enjoyed pasta bolognese (donkey only ate the hay he had). During the afternoon they went to visit the local church St Nicholas' because the children were giving an afternoon performance of their Nativity. Mary and Joseph met some of the younger children who came to watch. After a very long wait and multiple cups of tea, they went back to the church for the second performance this time sitting with the Star Gazers at the back.

On Wednesday morning, Mary and Joseph spent an interesting time with Maple Class (Year 1 and 2) learning more about the space launch that had taken place the day before. After everyone togged up into their coats and woolly hats to go to Whitechurch for Christmas lunch.
After lunch, Mary and Joseph moved on to work with Whitechurch base. They spent some time in assembly reviewing the term, very interesting to know which stories from the bible the children enjoyed, before working with Scots Pine Class (Year 5 + 6) to make stars like the one that hovered over the stable. They spent the night snug and warm in Scots Pine classroom.

On Thursday morning, after being rudely awoken by the children arriving at school, Donkey led them down to Silver Birch class (Year 3 + 4). They got on a bus (a nice rest for Donkey) and traveled to Winterborne Kingston base to sing for the people of Winterborne Kingston and wish them a very happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Delivered with love x

 Wednesday 16th December.
Debbie was able to deliver the completed prayer shawl to Marion today. So many people wanted to be involved in this project and have prayed for Marion as they knitted their squares. For some, this was the first time they had knitted anything for a very long time! There were various cryptic messages in Pews News to update everyone on the progress towards the 80 squares required. The beautifully crocheted edging completed the shawl and it was ready to be delivered.
Marion writes,
"Dear Harriet,
Debbie has just been round and has given me the prayer blanket - I feel so moved by the thought that people still remember me enough to want to do that for me.  The thought that every square was prayed over, and that it was blessed in Church on Sunday is almost overwhelming; it means an enormous amount to know that one is prayed for so much. ... I would be so grateful if you could convey my gratitude and my love to every one involved.. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Posada 16: Have they reached the Sea of Galilee?

Today we were taken to Stickled church to meet our new host where we joined in the daily morning prayer

We were then taken on an exciting car journey where we found out that we were going to be doing a walk accompanied by a friend of our host who looked very familiar!

It was an incredibly steep climb to the top and Mary had to stop and have a rest whilst we all admired the beautiful view.
We were worried that donkey might get too excited and get too close to the cliff but luckily our host had provided a rope to keep us safe, then donkey decided he wanted to paddle, although Joseph did try and stop him!
Once we had retrieved donkey we all retreated to the warmth of a nearby inn as it had started raining and there donkey made a new friend, a resident badger wearing a red hat who was very friendly!
Later that evening we were taken to a tap dancing class, donkey got quite concerned when the teacher Kevin said they were going to "stuff the buffalo" but he was relieved to find out that it was just the name of a dance routine!

Exhausted by such a busy day we were then taken home and settled down for the night as we were going to have to be up early to be transported to Stickland church from where we were going to hitch a lift with the rector to meet our next hosts and donkey in particular was looking forward to making lots of new friends.