Rev Chris update 13th December

Dear all,

This Sunday is the Third Sunday of Advent and I will say a little more on that in a moment, but for now I wanted to let you know details of our Christmas services. Full details can be found on the attached Services & Events page.

As previously mentioned, this is a challenging time to be organising, and presenting, services and it is apparent that there are limitations to what we are able to do and the numbers that can physically be present. In the circumstances we have developed a mix of online and physical services that, we hope, will help you to engage in the season as meaningfully as possible.

For those services in St Nicholas church, we will create the ‘atmosphere’ of the season with the donated Christmas Trees from around the community. If we must be socially distanced, we might as well enjoy the scenery!

We will start the final run up to Christmas on the 20th December, online at 10am, with a series we are calling CHRISTMAS BITES. These are ‘bite size’ online services that look at some of the key characters in the Christmas story in a way that connects the heavenly realm to the earthly realm through a very particular family. These will continue on Monday 21st, Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd, in the evening at 7pm, as online offerings.

Also, on Sunday 20th, in St Nicholas church, there will be a service of Carols and Readings at 5pm, which will be repeated at 7pm. Whilst congregations are not permitted to sing, this is possible for a choir or amateur/professional group. With that in mind I have enlisted the assistance of a group called ‘Cancionero’ who have offered their services for free. They will present these services as a programme of Christmas Carols, music, and readings and will use a range of early instruments as accompaniment. Personally, I think this is a wonderfully exciting opportunity to enter the festive season in a different way.

With the ongoing message through the week of CHRISTMAS BITES we come to Christmas Eve and the theme continues as we aim to have a series of short Crib services, online and in church, that bring the nativity story to the significant moment of the birth of Jesus. The Services & Events page details timings, as it does for the services at midnight and Christmas morning.

Numbers for ‘in church’ services are limited and need to be booked in advance. Please also note the restrictions in place of face coverings, social distancing, sanitising and no interaction with other members of the congregation.

I hope that gives you a sense of all that we are doing. In the meantime, let me get back to this coming Sunday, when I will light the third Advent Candle in church. This candle represents the character of John the Baptist and I will be speaking about him in my online offering and in the Oasis Communion service at St Nicholas, but to give you some homework to do let me encourage you to watch either, or both, of the videos from the following links. They are about the same story but presented very differently. You might wonder what they have to do with John the Baptist, but you will have to tune in on Sunday to find out.

Every blessing,

Rev Chris

p.s. I ought to mention that there will be no services, online or in church, on Sunday 27th December as Bishop Rose has kindly given permission for this to be a day off. Phew!!

p.p.s. Please can I put out a further call for items for the foodbank – you all continue to be generous and we are still receiving a significant amount of donations, but it would be great to take that to another level, particularly as we go through the Christmas season.