A poem of hope to start 2018 is the New Year message from Wakefield Cathedral's Acting Dean, the Canon Tony Macpherson.
Writing his first column in the local newspaper, the Wakefield Express, Canon Tony gives this message:
At the turn of each year this poem seems to spring into my mind and encourages me as I look forward.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East
Minnie Louise Haskins
Minnie Louise Haskins wrote this poem in 1908 and it was published in 1912. It became famous when King George VI used it in his Christmas Broadcast in 1939, speaking to the country at the outbreak of World War II.
For many people 2017 has been a year of challenge and struggle. We have witnessed in our country, terrifying terror attacks with many death and much suffering, and even on our streets in Wakefield we witnessed in the early summer and drew comfort from the sight of armed police on duty to protect us. At the same time hundreds of people gathered on our Cathedral steps and stepped inside to stand together and witness for peace in the light of terrorism attacks in our country.
Others have struggled with poverty and each week in our Cathedral and in many other places in the city, contribution for food banks have made so much difference to so many peoples lives.
Each week I also have the harrowing opportunity to hear the stories of those who have left persecution to seek a new life in the UK. These people; teachers, business owners, health care workers etc have lost everything in seeking safety, it very hard for them and above all they need friendship and compassion.
Like the poem, our Cathedral stands as a focus of our city and district to say God knows, God loves, God cares. As we enter 2018 we put our hands into the hand of God and trust him for the future.
Tony Macpherson Acting Dean
Pictured left, children from local St Mary's school write prayers for Lent on the steps of Wakefield Cathedral last year.