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Parish Magazine Article - January 2024

Dean of Hereford, The Very Revd Sarah Brown in garden with Hereford Cathedral in background

Dear Friends,

I’m wondering if like me you might be looking forward with some trepidation to what the New Year might bring. After all, it seems that many of the things we took for granted might be rather less secure than we thought. That realisation can be ground-shakingly alarming, or it can make us count our blessings and realise what we have.

My mother has advanced dementia, and my father is creaking from every painful joint and needs oxygen if he exerts himself. It occurs to me, as I watch them struggle- and many dear church members in similar wise- how little gratitude I have felt for the ability simply to jump in the car and go to the supermarket or take a quick walk into town entirely free from pain. I have never really thought to be thankful for this.

We humans are a grumbly glorious bunch who spend a lot of time and energy wanting what we don’t have and forgetting to be actively grateful for what we do have. Not one of us will keep all the possessions that we have now or all the people that we love now or the health, hair or dress-size that we have now!

Here is my New Year’s Resolution. I intend to stop as often as I can (which will not be often enough!) and ask myself what I have that I would miss dreadfully were it to be taken away. I cannot think of a better way of focusing on what I am deeply thankful for;

A body that still functions without much fuss.

A roof over my head and a job that pays the bills.

A pesky cat who walks all over my laptop activates factory reset and inserts random strings of characters into my emails but who loves me devotedly.

My husband, parents, and children.

Faith in Jesus Christ and the purpose He gives me.

The people with whom I live out that purpose.

None of these can be taken for granted. Ask a Ukrainian or a resident of Gaza or someone diagnosed with a terminal illness. So, as you look into the New Year, why not make gratitude your resolution and give thanks to God from whom all blessings flow?

Dean Sarah



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