The most ancient and probably most neglected of seasons
begins on 1 December. Advent also heralds the Christian
New Year, and the cycle of readings changes to
Liturgical Year A featuring particularly the Gospel
according to Matthew.
All Age Mass for the
all age service takes place on Sunday 1 December at
10.15am. The service is based on the gospel reading for
the day – Matthew 24:36-44 – which reminds us to wake up
and make sure we stay ready for the second coming. The
Church begins its new year with the alarm clock jerking
us out of sleep. There isn’t even a snooze button. There
is rather a sense of urgency as we listen to the
readings. In the Gospel reading we have Jesus’ own
teaching about the last days, and discover that one
thing we can be certain of is that the second coming
cannot be predicted. No last-minute revision will be
possible, then, and the regular coursework format is a
more helpful model. We have to live our lives in
constant readiness so that we are not taken by surprise.
This is partly so that we can be prepared for death or
the second coming, and partly so that we can enjoy that
quality of eternity which means God is constantly coming
to us even while we live out our earthly lives. We need
to be ready to receive him at every moment of every day.
The Advent Procession – Sunday 1 December at 5.30pm
Our observance of the all-important Advent season gets
off to an atmospheric start with the Advent Procession.
The is a candlelit service which has grown in popularity
in recent years. The Advent Procession is subtitled From
Darkness to Light in order to encapsulate in a telling
phrase what will happen in the next hour or so. But the
service also captures an idea that is central to our
keeping of Advent: the recognition that the beautiful
world in which we live is marred by our human
wilfulness, greed and violence. The light that shines as
a flickering candle at the beginning represents both
judgement and hope.
The light that shines in the darkness of the Church
represents the light of Jesus Christ shining in our dark
world. That light dispels the darkness, but not without
showing up the dark places of our world, and of our
lives. The light of Christ sees us as we are; it judges
all, but it is also the illumination and the warmth, the
guiding light, which leads us from darkness into light.
The Advent Procession is punctuated by sung phrases,
drawn from scripture, known as the Advent Antiphons.
With one exception, all refer specifically to Jesus, who
is regarded – by Christians at least – as the fulfilment
of Jewish expectation and Old Testament prophecy.
We have also included a later addition, the antiphon O
Virgo Virginum, which clearly refers to the Blessed
Virgin Mary. Mary is given prominence among the Advent
Antiphons as the human agent called by God to bring
forth God’s own word and being. The readings have been
chosen to reflect the theological imperatives contained
in the antiphons.
The liturgy seeks to engage our intellect and our
imagination, our hopes and our fears, our sense of God
and our sense of ourselves as we stand before him. Our
response to the rich liturgical tapestry – of darkness
and light, stillness and movement, spoken word and song,
royal purple vestments, unison singing and polyphony,
plainchant and hymnody – is to enter into the darkness
and the silence and the stillness when nothing much
seems to be happening and to contribute to the
multi-layered fabric of the service by our own silence
and stillness, as we await the light of Christ to
illuminate our dark corner.
This annual community event takes place on Friday 6
December. Doors open at 7.00pm and there will be plenty
of fun to be had till 9.00pm.
Download the poster here.
December 2019 - The Advent Procession -
December 2019 - A Festival of Nine Lessons
and Carols - 5.30pm
January 2020 - The Epiphany Carol Service -
the poster here.
Our choir will be presenting an informal evening of
Christmas music and seasonal readings on Saturday 14
December at 7.00pm entitled ‘Christmas Cheer!’
the poster here.
Our Christingle Service on Sunday 8 December at 4.00pm
is in aid the Children’s Society, and reminds
particularly the younger members of our community that
Jesus is the ‘Light of the Word’ made dark by human sin
and selfishness. The Children’s Society do invaluable
work helping abused and vulnerable children. Please do
come. Congregational Evensong follows at 5.30pm and
takes place in Quire.
Please note that Fr Nicholas will be available to hear
confessions on Wednesday 18 December from 10.30am, and
Saturday 21 December from 10.00am. Confessions are heard
in the Lady Chapel, and penitents are respectfully asked
to come and go quietly via the north door facing
Collingwood Road. Please wait in the middle of the nave,
well away from the Chapel, until the coast is clear. ALL
OTHERS are asked to avoid coming into the church
building during these times.
Festival of Nine
Lessons and Carols
This perennial retelling of the story leading to our
Saviour’s birth takes place on Sunday 22 December at
5.30pm. The service is held by candlelight and
refreshments are served afterwards in the Parish Centre.
Our Crib Service for all the family takes place on
Christmas Eve at 4.00pm. The service is an informal
presentation of the nativity interspersed by
child-friendly carols and prayers. Children are invited
to come dressed as angels, shepherds and wise men.
Midnight Mass and
Blessing of the Crib
We usher in the Christmas season on Christmas Eve at
There are two Masses of the Incarnation on Christmas
Day, at 9.00am and 10.15am. The latter will begin with a
procession. Evening Prayer will be said in front of the
Crib at 5.30pm.
First Sunday of
Please note that on 29 December BCP Evening Prayer is
said in Quire at 5.30pm.
The Octave of
Please note that the weekday mass and offices from 26 -
31 December will take place in Church at the usual
times. Mass will take place at the nave altar in order
that the Christmas Crib may be at the heart of our
worship during this period. The church heating will be
New Year’s Day
On Wednesday 1 January 2020 there will be a Parish Mass
for the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Mass begins at
10.15am, and worshippers are invited back to the
vicarage afterwards for refreshments.