Simon Burton-Jones, Archdeacon of Rochester Expressing Christian faith in today's culture
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Family News – September 2014  

2014 has taken some unexpected turns.  In January Helena suddenly experienced symptoms of vertigo, struggling with severe dizziness and nausea and occasional strong headaches.  Initially diagnosed with labyrinthitis, she eventually saw a neuro-otology consultant who identified she was suffering from vestibular migraine.  She was effectively off school until her A level exams, and put on a very restrictive diet and a number of medications.  By some miracle she passed her A levels, though at lower grades than predicted, and she is now starting to feel more like herself.  She had always planned to take a gap year before university and in August she moved into Tim’s flat in Shepherd’s Bush.  She is working part-time in a high end Australian shoe shop on New Bond Street and taking the opportunities available in London to develop her interests in drama and writing.  Now 18, she is embracing adult life, and Julia and Simon are proud of the courage with which she has taken these steps to independence despite the challenges she has faced this year.

Tim is now a graduate!  He did well in his final exams at King’s College and also achieved his AKC (Associate of King’s College) qualification.  He is still in London and after several difficult months applying for jobs he was offered a position at Glow, a social media marketing company, starting in October.  His girlfriend Aislinn is in her third year at King’s College. On 25 May we celebrated Tim’s 21st birthday with a family meal shared with grandparents.  The next day we had a wonderful party at the Archdeaconry to mark Julia and Simon’s Silver Wedding.  140 relatives and friends from every phase of our lives shared the day with us and it was a truly memorable occasion, despite the miserable weather.  Julia and Simon spent an enjoyable week and a half in Alsace in July, and were joined by Tim and Helena for the final four nights.

With Helena so unwell, Julia reduced the hours she was working and is only now beginning to build back up.  She has returned to being fully self-employed and is delighted to be dementia facilitator for Rochester Diocese, delivering a project on Dementia Friendly Church, which is reminiscent of her early work in Cambridge and Nottingham on the role of churches in supporting family carers.  She is still involved with Dementia Pathfinders and also with Music for Life (a music project for people with dementia based at Wigmore Hall). 

Julia’s sister Libby has continued to show inspiring courage in battling terminal cancer.  She continued working and looking after the family in the face of ongoing physical challenges until August, but recent treatment for pain management at the local hospice resulted in a longer than anticipated stay.  She is now home again with much support.  Julia’s Mum, Yvonne, has needed to be on hand to help out at various points during the year and is now in residence full-time with the Sheehan family.  We value the faithful prayers of our friends for Libby and her family, which have been a source of continual blessing.

We are looking forward to travelling to Fleetwood In November to celebrate Simon’s Dad’s 90th birthday with the wider family.  The Jones family have the excitement of a wedding in 2015, as Simon’s niece Kat will be marrying her fiancé Paul in the Summer.

   
Julia and Simon at Greenwich Simon and his mum and dad Helena
Julia and Simon at Greenwich


Simon and his mum and dad
at Sissinghurst

Helena


   
   
FAMILY NEWS December 2013  
Our biggest news is that Tim has moved out and is now living in a flat in Shepherd’s Bush for his third and final year at King’s College.  He is working on match days at Chelsea Football Club – this is an interesting challenge for a Liverpool fan!  He is looking at options for finding work after university.  Helena is in her last year at school, studying for A levels in history, philosophy and English literature.  Her school trip to Kenya in June was an eye-opener and she would like to do something similar in a gap year before starting university in 2015.

Julia is continuing work to establish the new social enterprise Dementia Pathfinders with former colleagues.  She maintains her freelance dementia training role and has been involved this year in several pieces of work looking at the role of the Church in supporting people with dementia.  It is good to return to the roots of her work with older people and family carers which began at the Jubilee Centre in Cambridge in 1987.

We enjoyed a wonderful family holiday in France and Spain in the Summer, exploring the Basque region and staying in San Sebastian and close to Biarritz.  We are staying at home for the festive season and planning a quiet few days of rest and relaxation to help us recover from a succession of infections over the last few weeks. The Burtons were pleased to spend a weekend together in November to mark the birthday of Julia’s brother Andy.

By far the hardest part of the year has been finding out in October that the cancer with which Julia’s sister Libby battled through 2012 had returned and that there was now no treatment.  Once more friends and relatives have rallied round with support and prayer which has been a tremendous help, but it is hard.  She continues to amaze us with her courage and selflessness but we value prayers for her and her family. 
 
 
family
Julia
family
Julia
 
Read : Helena's visit to Kenya June 2013
 
FAMILY NEWS June 2013
Family life in the early part of 2013 seems to have been dominated by work and studying.  Simon and Julia spent four nights in Dorset in February, enjoying the coast and countryside, but it has otherwise been an intensive few months based in Rochester.

Tim has been studying hard in his second year at university but is glad exams are now over and he can relax over the summer months. Helena also sat exams in May for her AS level history, philosophy and English literature. It has not been an easy year for Helena, but she is looking forward to a 10 day visit to Kenya with school in June; she will be doing voluntary work in a school in Nandi Hills, as well as experiencing aspects of Kenyan life.  We are really grateful for the kindness of relatives and friends who, in sponsoring Helena, have made this trip possible.

Julia was recently made redundant by Dementia UK; the charity made a strategic decision to focus on expanding the work of Admiral Nurses.  She is now working part-time with several former colleagues in trying to establish a social enterprise called Dementia Pathfinders Community Interest Company, as well as continuing with freelance work in dementia care settings and churches.
Simon enjoyed his 50th birthday celebrations in December, especially two nights in Honfleur in Normandy between Christmas and New Year.  Julia and Simon are planning a celebration of their silver wedding anniversary in May 2014.

Earlier this year, Julia’s sister Libby was given the all-clear from cancer following two major operations and extensive chemotherapy in 2012.  This is an amazing outcome and we are so thankful to friends for their prayers and support for Libby and her family.  She is now back at work part-time and gradually returning to her usual routines.  More wonderful family news is the engagement of our niece Kat, daughter of Simon’s sister and brother-in-law, Sue and Andy.  Everyone on the Jones side is delighted to welcome her fiancé Paul into the family.

We are looking forward to a return visit to South West France in late July, staying in the same lovely property we rented last year.  Several visits to and from friends and family members are planned for summer too. It will be lovely to take time out to spend with people close to us who live at a distance, particularly Simon’s parents who have not been in the best of health recently.
 
A windy New Year in Normandy
A windy New Year in Normandy
 
 
FAMILY NEWS September 2012
2012 has been a year of landmark family events, with Julia and Simon’s mums marking significant birthdays and Simon’s parents celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary.  We have enjoyed each occasion and opportunities provided to spend time with the wider family.

Tim has successfully completed his first year at King’s College London and is enjoying his studies.  During the Summer break he has been working in the tearooms at Rochester Cathedral.  Helena achieved the GCSE grades needed to progress into sixth form, and is taking A levels in philosophy, English literature, history and photography.  She continues her drama lessons outside of school.
Work has been busy for Julia, with some interesting projects for Dementia UK in partnership with Skills for Care, writing a resource for social care workers on the needs of carers of people with dementia and field testing a new NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) quality standard for dementia. 

Simon finds his roles in Rochester diocese continue to fill his time and present plenty of challenge, so he was more than ready for our main holiday of 2012 this Summer which we spent in Northern Spain and South West France. The four of us enjoyed a blissful week in the Gascony countryside just behind Bayonne and Biarritz. It was interesting to be immersed in Basque culture throughout the break, in both Spain and France.  Unfortunately, just weeks after the holiday he tore a calf muscle in his right leg.  This has meant relying on crutches and having to adapt work to accommodate this temporary disability, not least being unable to drive.  As he approaches his 50th birthday in December, it gives him pause to reflect on the impact of the ageing process! 

It has been a year of concern and anxiety too, on behalf of Julia’s sister Libby, who has been bravely battling cancer and facing two major operations and long rounds of chemotherapy since April. The Burtons are grateful to the many friends who have been so faithful in remembering Libby and her family in their prayers.

In October half-term we will be spending a week in the Yorkshire Dales with Simon’s parents.  We are looking forward to visiting our favourite places and Julia is glad to be returning to her roots for a few days!
   
   
Simon's security detail in northern Spain
Biarritz in the heat
Simon's security detail in northern Spain
Biarritz in the heat
   
A great spot to read a novel at our summer gite
Julia and Simon (duh!)
A great spot to read a novel at our summer gite
Julia and Simon (duh!)
   
Julia's extended family celebrate her mum's 70th birthday
 
Julia's extended family celebrate her mum's 70th birthday
   
   
George Mitchell (President Obama's Special Envoy to the Middle East) and Tim Burton-Jones look sheepish as their dissing of Benjamin Netanyahu is caught by a rogue microphone
 
George Mitchell (President Obama's Special Envoy to the Middle East) and Tim Burton-Jones look sheepish as their dissing of Benjamin Netanyahu is caught by a rogue microphone
   
   
FAMILY NEWS October 2011
 

October 2011 marks the beginning of a new chapter in family life.  Tim was successful in his A levels and has taken up his place at King’s College London.  He is continuing to live at home, at least during his first year, so will have to adjust to commuting to Central London most days.  His course, Religion in the Contemporary World, promises challenge and stimulation, and it has been good to forge new friendships in the early days.  Sarah, his girlfriend of two years, recently started her training as a veterinary nurse at Hadlow College.

In late July we had a much needed fortnight in Brittany.  The weather was not brilliant but we had comfortable gites in two attractive locations and benefitted greatly from the relaxation.  Unfortunately Tim and Helena took unpleasant infections with them which somewhat undermined their enjoyment.

We are in the process of researching post sixteen options for Helena, looking at schools and colleges in Kent which can help her prepare to specialise in drama, her best subject.  Hopefully open evenings in November and December will help her decide on the best places to apply. 

Julia has been travelling around the UK on behalf of a project run by the National Association for Providers of Activity for Older People (or NAPA for short!).  She has spent days in care homes as far afield as Church Stretton, Goole, Clevedon and Liverpool.  She stayed overnight in Bristol for one of these days and spent a nostalgic evening wandering around Clifton, fondly remembering her university days there.  One of the homes was also in Ripon, giving her a great excuse to spend two nights with her sister Helen and family.

Simon’s work continues to demand a great deal of time and energy, but the cricketing successes of Lancashire and England, as well as the Rugby World Cup, have provided welcome diversion.  Simon’s parents came to Rochester for two visits over the Summer, and it was good to spend time together.  We look forward to a few days with the Jones family in Fleetwood in late October, taking in the Blackpool illuminations!

   
FAMILY NEWS June 2011
 
We have now been living in Rochester 17 months and it is beginning to feel like home.  On cold winter mornings the train journey to school in Bromley has been a hardship for Tim and Helena, but they have adjusted to their new routine.

June marked the end of Tim’s school career and the beginning of a new chapter.  He received offers from several universities and his first choice is Kings College London, where he hopes to study Religion in the Contemporary World if his A level results meet the required grades.  He is learning to drive and looking forward to the extra independence this will bring.

Helena is taking her first set of GCSE exams and continuing with private drama and singing lessons.  In the Autumn she will be looking at options for her post 16 education which she hopes will help her develop her love of drama.  She spent two weeks of work experience with Urban Outfitters at Bluewater; she enjoyed the challenge and appreciated the friendship and support of the team there.

Simon continues to be stretched by his new role as archdeacon.  There are many demands and it can be difficult to find time to relax and switch off.  He is looking forward to a fortnight in France during the school Summer break.

Julia now works on the staff of the national charity Dementia UK 16 hours each week and continues with freelance training roles the remainder of the week.  She is finding this a good balance and enjoying being part of the Dementia UK team.  A particularly rewarding aspect of her work is participating in Music for Life, a collaboration between Wigmore Hall and Dementia UK which brings improvised music sessions to people with dementia – Julia’s training role provides opportunities for staff participants to learn from the projects.

A highlight of 2011 so far was a weekend spent with the Burton side of the family (24 members in total!) in the West Midlands.  It offered a rare chance to be together and to see the children developing their own personalities.  The 12 younger members of the family, aged between 1 and 17 years at the time, got on so well together and had lots of fun over the 3 days.  Lots of photographs were taken by Tim, who continues to enjoy his camera.
   
Burton family gathering, Easter 2011
 
Burton family gathering, Easter 2011
 
 
   
FAMILY NEWS December 2010
Snow seems to be following us around in 2010.  Back in January it accompanied our move of house and in December it had us stranded in Rochester.  North Kent was one of the most badly affected parts of southern England and for several days the train service from Rochester was virtually non-existent.  Needless to say Tim and Helena’s school was closed for several days, as were many other schools in Kent.  The snow provided many additional hours work for Tim in his new job on the events team at the Cathedral.

Our first Christmas in Rochester will be a milestone.  It is a relief to have completed nearly a year of our new life.  For Simon there has been a great deal of necessary learning.  Being Archdeacon still feels like a challenge and it is hard to envisage it ever feeling an easy role.  It is good to have Bishop James in the diocese now, and Simon is looking forward to working with him.

Rochester is a delightful place to live.  It is full of character as well as being attractive.  The Christmas highlight is the Dickensian Christmas market in the grounds of Rochester Castle.  Musical events and carol services in the Cathedral are also uplifting and enjoyable at this time of year.  So we are pleased to be staying at home for the festive season, and looking forward to welcoming Julia’s mum Yvonne for New Year.

Tim is working hard towards his A levels and has submitted his university application.  He is hoping to study politics and his first choice is London School of Economics.  Helena is in year 10 and is taking drama lessons out of school so that she can sit LAMDA exams.  She misses having her school friends on the doorstep and felt especially cut off during the snow when the trains were not running.  Both Tim and Helena have friends staying over regularly to make visits worthwhile.

Both our family holidays were in France this year.  We loved discovering the area around Lake Annecy in August, then in October we returned to one of our favourite places, Honfleur, where we stayed in an apartment overlooking the beautiful harbour.

We hope 2011 will bring many friends and relatives to visit us in Rochester so that we can share with them all that the area has to offer.  We miss our friends in Bromley, and particularly the members of St Mary and St Nicholas parishes where we spent happy periods of our lives, and we look forward to maintaining these special links.
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Rochester in the snow
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Annecy in the sun
Tim and Helena in Honfleur, Normandy
Annecy in the sun
Tim and Helena in Honfleur, Normandy
     
     

FAMILY NEWS - July 2010
In July’s hot sunshine, the hardship of moving to Rochester through the snows of January seems a distant memory.  It is taking a little while, however, for the upheaval and stress of relocating to ripple away.  It has been especially challenging for Simon to take on such a different role and myriad unfamiliar responsibilities and it has taken time to feel settled in his job as Archdeacon of Rochester.  Our August holiday in the French Alps beckons appealingly.

Tim has now taken his AS exams and is looking ahead to university applications in the Autumn.  We have made visits to university open days to look at the options for studying International Relations.  He loved the London School of Economics but competition for places is exceptionally high.

Helena’s talent in acting was recognised at a school awards evening in June.  In May she performed with a GCSE student while he was assessed for his drama examination.  Julia and Helena have also started singing lessons together, which has been enjoyable and interesting.  We are lucky that our good friend, Joe, is a singing teacher with Bromley Youth Music Trust. 

Tim and Helena celebrated their 17th and 14th birthdays in ways that matched their personalities.  Tim took Sarah to the final of the Guinness Premiership at Twickenham on 29 May.  Helena and her friend Mariam invited a group of their friends for a meal out and sleepover at the Archdeaconry. 

Our new house is fantastic and we have had the pleasure of welcoming lots of house guests over recent months.  We are getting used to life in Rochester and were intrigued by the Sweeps Festival and Dickens Festival which took place in May and June respectively.  Train travel to school for Tim and Helena has not been too difficult, and the new highspeed rail link to St Pancras has made it easy for Julia to get to Dementia UK’s offices in Camden.  Julia is taking on a broader role with the charity as Dementia Pioneer for Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and will be based at the new office in Strood.

We were delighted to welcome our new nephew Piran Keith, in February. He is son to Julia’s younger sister Claire-Lise and brother-in-law Steve, and brother to Izzy.  He has the distinction of sharing his name with Julia, whose middle name is Piranie.  That makes 14 nieces and nephews!

In April we spent a few days with Simon’s parents in Fleetwood, where it was good to catch up with everyone.  There have also been parties - for Lois in Worcester, Ray in London, and Paul in Cambridge – as they celebrated milestone birthdays in style, providing us with opportunities to meet up with relatives and friends we had not seen in a while.

     
FAMILY NEWS - CHRISTMAS 2009
 Having recently posted THE INFAMOUS CHRISTMAS CIRCULAR elsewhere on this website, Simon is treading very carefully round the family news this Christmas, with a brag detector activated at his side!

There are mixed emotions and priorities for us presently.  Like every household, we are preparing for Christmas with its bold outlines, yet the excess sits uneasily with the need to reduce the size of our home before moving.  All the homely features of the season are confronted by the cold reality that the house will be stripped bare a fortnight into January.  Simon is attending meetings in Rochester and trying to brief himself on the bewildering components of an Archdeacon’s role while preparing to say goodbye to his position of Rector and the people of St. Nicholas Church.  For Julia, Tim and Helena the move carries many imponderables which only time will be able to answer and so it will be a relief to get going on the journey.  Thankfully there is a major festival to enjoy before then in the company of people we love in Chislehurst.

We experienced unusually fine weather in Normandy in late October, frequenting places we have come to love in the French landscape: Honfleur, Etretat and Deauville among them.  The high cholesterol diet was a particular delight!  Julia’s mum was at our side to indulge in her unfettered Francophilia but Tim was more reticent to use his French, having jettisoned his A Level option in favour of English Literature which is more to his gifting even if the focus on Jane Austen stirs traumatic memories of the endless Sunday night costume dramas his mum has made him endure on TV.

Thankfully Tim has made a good start to sixth form and applied himself well (the presence of The Simpsons on the RS syllabus may have helped in this).  He revelled in the Green Day concert at the O2 with his girlfriend Sarah and shared with Helena the last gig of Delirious at the Hammersmith Apollo.  Helena meanwhile is embedded in the complex, mutating network of relationships which year 9 girls specialise in and spends almost one sleepover a week in the company of a friend.  On Christmas Eve she will star as Mary in the locally acclaimed nativity tableau and is making great strides in drama.

Julia has been strikingly busy with work, which is good because this is the only way the self-employed get paid, but it has also placed considerable demands on the rest of her week.  One of the charities she works most closely with (For Dementia, for whom broadcaster John Suchet has campaigned as his wife suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease) is setting up an office in Strood which will be wonderfully handy when we move.

We shall spend Christmas at home as a family, though Julia and Tim are paying a flying visit to her family in Cheltenham the weekend before.  On January 10 Simon will leave St. Nicholas Church, the family will move home and Simon will be installed as Archdeacon of Rochester on January 24 at 3.15pm in Rochester Cathedral.  You are most welcome to join them for this, though we’ll probably all be snowed in by then anyway.
 
 
Family Photo
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Family Photo
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Family News – September 2009
Spending four months away from Parish life on sabbatical proved a wonderful tonic for Simon, but also an enriching time for the family because he was around so much more than usual and able to enjoy a relaxed, slower pace of life. Julia, Tim and Helena continued with work and school, but did not begrudge him the rest and freedom of his break (well, only occasionally!), as the years have seen many periods of stress and manic activity in the course of full-time ministry, the full impact of which closest family members alone witness.

During the summer months Simon was joined by Tim in being free of commitments, when GCSE exams finished, and then eventually by Helena also as school broke up for the long holidays. Simon took Tim and Helena to the theatre (Tim to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in Waiting for Godot, and Helena to the Globe Theatre to see Romeo and Juliet). We saw a cricket match at Lord’s together on Tim’s birthday, and at the very end of the sabbatical, as a grand finale, we saw U2 at Wembley Stadium.

Our fortnight in the Vendee and Loire regions of France was relaxing and varied. A highlight was our accommodation in the Loire which was in the grounds of a beautiful chateau. The 24 hour race track in Le Mans was a draw for Tim. Julia’s birthday was spent in the attractive town of Laval, taking in a river trip and an interesting exhibition of Naïve Art at the gallery there.

We face a time of change and adjustment with the news (received on our 20th wedding anniversary) that Simon will be the next Archdeacon of Rochester, taking up his post in early 2010. Julia will continue with her current work and Tim and Helena will commute to school in Bromley by train. Not surprisingly we experience mixed emotions – sadness over leaving Bromley borough and proximity to our many lovely friends here, but excitement at the prospect of a new life together in Rochester.

Despite his pessimism, Tim did well in his GCSEs and has been able to start his preferred A levels: History, Government and Politics, Religious Studies and French. Helena has gone into year 9 but is taking music GCSE early which will mean joining school choirs and resuming flute lessons. Julia was encouraged to find, on returning from holiday in France, that the book she wrote last year with Rosemary Hurtley (Find the Right Care Home) had been highly commended in the British Medical Association’s Book of the Year competition, under the popular medicine category. The book missed out on the first prize, but it was pleasing to receive such a positive endorsement.

The coming months will bring their fair share of work and pressure preparing for our big move. But we do at least have 6 nights in Normandy in late October to keep us going; we will be joined for this trip by Julia’s Mum, Yvonne, who will be vying with Tim (A Level in mind) to use her considerable French language skills acquired not least through living in France for several years!
 
Family
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the lake in the grounds of our gite...we were in the humbler residence on the right!
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last night of the sabbatical and a glimpse of the sheer scale of U2's stage set
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photos taken by
Tim Burton-Jones
   
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Family News – Easter 2009
2009 is a significant year for us as a family.  Simon’s first sabbatical since his ordination in 1993 will span the middle part of the year, from Easter Monday until mid August.  As well as family trips to York, Cambridge and  a summer holiday in the Vendee and Loire regions of France, this period will see Simon spend two weeks at a conference in Israel sponsored by the Council of Christians and Jews.  He plans to visit a retreat centre in the UK for periods of reflection, but is also looking forward to making the most of cultural and sporting attractions closer to home in Central London.

On 27 May we celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, two days after Tim’s 16th birthday; we look back thankfully at all we have shared together and seek God’s blessing on the years to come.  This big event coincides with another milestone, Tim taking his GCSE exams.  The prospect can be daunting, but thoughts of the long summer of relaxation to follow keep him going.

Helena has discovered the freedom her Oyster Card gives, and spends every available hour with friends across Bromley borough.  She recently joined the new Philosophy Club at school and has chosen a GCSE subject to begin in Year 9 (Music).  She has struggled with tonsillitis for several weeks and her voice remains elusive.  Julia’s work has been very busy in the first quarter of 2009, which will hopefully allow her to spend some days with Simon over the course of his sabbatical.  The launch of the National Dementia Strategy in early February has brought a welcome focus on the needs of people with dementia and their carers. 

Keeping in touch with our wider family is a priority and a joy, and can involve quite a bit of travelling around England.  We are doing well this year, having already spent an enjoyable few days in Cheltenham (staying with Julia’s mum) and Fleetwood (staying with Simon’s parents).  Mum is kindly also helping out during Simon’s sabbatical by staying with us when he is away, and mum and dad will also be in Chislehurst for visits. 

As well as seeing our parents, so far in 2009 we have spent time with the Bunns and Harrisons (Julia’s sisters Lois and Lisey and their families), Sue and Andy (Simon’s sister and brother-in-law), Kat and Mike (Simon’s niece and her boyfriend), the Leyshon-Jones family (Simon’s brother, wife and children) and several members of the Kindlen family (Simon’s aunt and uncle, cousins and their children)!  We will be seeing the Ratcliffs (Julia’s sister Helen and family) while in York. 

An enriching dimension of the sabbatical will be additional time and energy to invest in relationships with relatives and friends; and having a few months of ‘normal’ family weekends will be something to cherish and a genuine bonus.
 
 
Family
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Family News: Christmas 2008
A highlight of the Autumn was a week spent in an apartment located in a central square in beautiful Honfleur, Normandy.  Though the rain was plentiful, it did not diminish our enjoyment of a favourite corner of France.  Timothy and Helena were able to use their French in conversation and Simon was grateful to hide behind them.
The rest and change of scene were particularly valued by Timothy who is feeling the pressure of GCSE year.  He has been working hard but trying to apply the ‘sabbath’ principle too, keeping a balance between studying and relaxing.  Consultation events at school have given him opportunity to select subjects to study in the sixth form.  For Helena, taking part in the Young Voices production at the O2 arena on 27 November was an amazing experience.  Singing with 7,000 young people and being joined by the X Factor finalists made for a memorable evening.
Simon has three months of study leave (sabbatical) to plan, starting after Easter next year.  In June he will visit Israel for 10 days as part of a study tour arranged by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem’s Holocaust Memorial.    There will be periods of retreat and lots of reading.  After nearly 16 years in ministry the study leave will be a welcome time of reflection and renewal.
An event at the Royal Society of Arts on 13 October, organised by Julia’s co-author Rosemary Hurtley to mark the launch of their book Find the Right Care Home, was a great success.  Richard Briers played a key role in the event and has since also promoted the book during an appearance on ITV on 1 December; he is a tireless champion for older people in the public arena.
We thank God for the skill of the surgeons who operated on Simon’s dad and Julia’s mum in 2008.  Simon’s parents came to Chislehurst for a week in November and it was hard to believe Dad’s heart bypass operation had taken place only months before.  Julia enjoyed an overnight stay at her mum’s house in Cheltenham on 30 November a fortnight after moving in – the new home and the new hip are greatly appreciated! 

Parish commitments mean Christmas is a quiet time, with a focus on events and services at St Nicholas.  Friends and relatives are most especially in mind at this time of year, though, as cards and gifts are received.  Love, thanks and prayers go out to all corners of the world with thoughts of all these special people.
     
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The Good Life: Julia with co-author Rosemary Hurtley
The Good Life: Julia with co-author Rosemary Hurtley
and some bloke they met at the book launch
   
Helena in self-styled Diana pose
Helena in self-styled Diana pose
   
I was under a restraining order not to publish photos of the other two,
 
   
The Asturian mountains
The Asturian mountains
 
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