I write this from the snuggliest corner of Church, where I am wrapped up in a warm duvet against the cold. I am part of an official medical trail on the question of hibernating mice and I courageously and selflessly volunteered to go to bed for 4 months, which was very good of me. Unless I get bored or peckish and can’t sleep- in which case, I will break the World Record for the shortest ever act of hibernation. If you need me, just place some Stilton near my nose- and if you are passing, please feel free to refill my water bottle. It is cold. I am not moving. Too chilly to type any more. Pip pip.
… is Advent Sunday– see email #289 for some ideas on how to keep Advent. There are services at 8, 9.30, 10 and 11 in the parish across our three Churches and then the beautiful service of Advent Carols at 6.15pm at St Paul’s. The 9.30 is an All Together Service- if you are joining on the livestream you will need to find the Order of Service on the website nearer the weekend. The 9.30, 10 and 6.15 will all be available on the Livestream. See you there!
We will also be opening the first door of our Charity Advent Calendar on Sunday at both St Paul’s at St Nick’s- behind each window is a charity that the church or a church member supports so we can pray for them and their work and also educate ourselves about the amazing work which is being done in the world. Here is the notice for this Sunday- and do keep an eye on the Calendar, at the back of St Paul’s and in portable form at St Nick’s:
Pray for the first Charity revealed today in our Advent Calendar, for their staff, for their effectiveness and for the people they serve and encourage: USPG, the mission agency we have supported for several years, and the Anglican Communion Global Day of Prayer which they are coordinating on 30 November.
The Advent Course started well last night, with 17 people present. The two key points I made were that you need to know where any reading from Isaiah comes from, and if you need to know the themes of the three different sections of Isaiah you can just read their opening verses. Here are the notes I spoke from last night as a way of introducing Isaiah:
The link for next Tuesday’s Advent Course, when we will start to look in more detail at the prophecies of Isaiah as they relate to the coming of Jesus is here: (please use this link and no other):
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 850 7789 8397
And an excellent looking concert in Church on Sat the 4th of December…
7.30pm Saturday 4 December 2021
Eleutherios is proud to present a festive programme of choral music, charting the familiar nativity story in a series of musical images. We’ll open the covers of these triptychs to reveal the glories of music by Sheppard, Handl, Howells, Tabakova, and others, telling the Christmas story through inspiring sequences of sound.
Magi, guided only by the light of a star. Shepherds, terrified at the apparition of angels. Animals, speechless witnesses to a miraculous birth. The characters of the nativity are familiar, and each has attracted music and poetry of mystery and power. Our programme visits each of these characters, eavesdropping or commenting, offering musical ‘triptychs’ drawn from the sixteenth century to the present day.
The Christmas story in inspiring sequences of sound, from the country’s newest professional choral ensemble, Eleutherios.
Other Items of Note and Intrigue
The Lost London Churches Project is a fascinating website and series of walks around the City, and you can even collect one card per Church. if you are into walking, or history, or architecture, or London, then this website is well worth your time: www.lostlcp.com
The whole list of Christmas Services will be out soon but the big change we have decided on is that we won’t be hosting the Christingle Services at St Paul’s on Christmas Eve because it feels too much of a Covid risk to have two full Churches of people at 3 and 5, from all different schools and backgrounds. Instead we are going to be presenting the Christingle Story in local Schools (and three have already signed up) and then having an outdoor Crib Service in St Paul’s Junior School Playground, almost certainly at 3pm and 5pm. So do please come along that evening. All of the other Christmas services are predicted to go ahead at the moment, changes in rules and rising infection rates permitting.
Every year John Castle, the Rector of Sandhurst, talks to Chapter about the Gospel for the Church Year to come. It is always interesting and informative. Here is an Intro and the notes he gave out on Luke to help us get ready for the year to come:
“Luke’s Gospel in preparation for Year C. John used comparison between passages of Luke and Mark to show Luke as a historian who sought to place Jesus within the story of God’s dealings with Israel, with his parents being good, observant Jews, and also within God’s eternal plan to reach out to the whole world. The rejection of Jesus by his own people at Nazareth foreshadows the opposition of the Jewish leaders, and later, in the Acts of the Apostles, the stoning of Stephen and the rejection of Paul’s message by Jewish synagogues. Like Josephus’ work The Jewish War, Luke’s Gospel seems to have been written not long after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70, which both writers see as God’s judgement on Israel. Luke presents the Christian faith both as the fulfilment of Judaism and as being no threat to the Roman Empire. The good news of God’s love and salvation is for all, including those who are on the margins and those outside of Israel who respond in faith.”
Here is a photo sent in of the recent MU Coffee Gathering– before the weather got all wintery, by the looks of it…
Sonning Deanery Prayer Cycle is here:
A Prayer of Blessing
May you know that the God who imagined you into shape and breathed you into life sees you and knows you and loves you always. Amen.
May you know that Jesus gladly died for you out of love for you. Amen.
May you know, in the Spirit, that moment when seeing God and being seen by God become one, a moment of communion. Amen.
And the blessing…