Posted: 24 December 2012

Working with new parents

'In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered….All went to their own town to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth to Galilee in Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem…He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child….And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.’ (Luke 2:1-7)

It must have been very hard for Joseph and the near-term Mary travelling to Bethlehem. Then the agony of not finding a suitable place to stay, and give birth.

Young mums (and dads) today can feel isolated and alone with their new baby and the responsibility they now carry. There is support available but it is not always taken up, or understood. Work with new parents, especially young ones, can be a vital part of a local church’s ministry. This Christmas Eve may we all recognise the value of parental support – which for Mary and Joseph came unexpectedly in the form of visiting shepherds.


Oh God, you are like Father and Mother to us all. Help new parents; help the churches to be people and places where parents can find help, support and encouragement, through Jesus Christ the Lord, Amen.

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham

At The Children’s Society we run children’s centres throughout England that support the needs of children under five and their parents and carers. Many of these centres offer courses in parenting. Have a look at some of the services offered the Robert Le Kyng Children's Centre in Swindon, for example, and read  families think about our courses.

Thank you for travelling through Advent with us on a journey of reflection and prayer. We wish you a joyful Christmas and every blessing for 2013.

Epiphany resources
As we move beyond Christmas into the season of Epiphany, do have a look at our resources for Epiphany Sunday. We’re offering a set of sermon notes and a film to use in churches. These have been written and produced by The Revd Canon Dr Angus Ritchie and The Contextual Centre for Theology, and invite us to consider contemporary issues of asylum in the context of the Epiphany story. You can find these resources here.



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By The Right Revd Paul Butler - Guest bloggers

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