There have been lots of hopeful signs this week: huge progress in the development of vaccines against COVID-19, the possibility of families and friends being able (carefully and responsibly) to celebrate Christmas together, worship in churches beginning again after the lockdown ends. While the new tiering will mean keeping to further restrictions, nevertheless there are many good signs to hold onto. And this Sunday we begin the season of Advent in which we are encouraged, and indeed challenged, to read the signs of the times and consider how we may respond as God’s people, informed by his equal love and concern for all people and for our much-abused planet.
We have been busy this week distributing Fairtrade chocolate Advent calendars and angels to our Parent, Baby & Toddler Group, Sunday Club and Wholly Youth members; the latter have also been working on a special service for Christmas as have our church musicians and singers.
Below I include details of what we plan for the coming weeks. You will understand that those plans may need to be adapted or even cancelled, possibly at short notice, should the government and Church guidance change. Any changes will be signposted through this letter and on our website.
Join us this Sunday: Advent 1
Please note that due to the lockdown, we are unable to hold services in church for the rest of this month. However, the church remains open during the day for individual prayer.
Online service: with readings, hymns and reflection by Bishop Andrew https://youtu.be/LpBgWJm6LiA.
Collects, readings and reflection (Click Here).
Families and households: the excellent resource Roots, which is what we use for Sunday Club and Wholly Youth as well as our all-age services, is now offering a single weekly web page containing resources for a whole household based around this Sunday’s readings www.rootsontheweb.com/athome29Nov.
Diocese: Bishop’s sermon available here https://www.cofeguildford.org.uk/i-am-resources/clergy/sunday-sermons.
Advent and Christmas Services
Please note that where pre-registration is indicated, this is essential to enable us to plan effectively, to look after everyone’s safety and to ensure we do not exceed our permitted numbers
Sundays 6th, 13th & 20th December: 10am Holy Communion in church (no need to pre-register but please understand places are still limited due to the required social distancing) and online service
Parent, Baby & Toddler Group Service Tuesday 8th December 11am: a simple service in church with the Christmas Crib and Tree; pre-registration with me essential
Christmas Carol Service: we are recording a special online service which will be published just before Christmas for you both to enjoy and to forward to family and friends you may not be seeing at Christmas as a special Christmas card from all of us
ChristMessy Church Tuesday 22nd December 11am and 2pm: in the Church Hallfor families with children 4 years old and over; pre-registration with me essential
Crib Service: we cannot hold this with our usual numbers in church this year so our Sunday Club and Wholly Youth members, together with church singers and musicians, are recording a special online service which will be available as with the carol service above
Christmas Day: 10am Holy Communion in church; pre-registration with me essential
Sunday 27th December: please note there will be no services in church on this Sunday to allow both clergy and laity to take advantage of the expanded Christmas bubbles to see family and friends
Pre-Christmas Concert Saturday 12th December 11am in church
With violinist Sarah McKenna and pianist Nao Maebayashi in a programme guaranteed to delight and refresh. For all who have been starved of live music this year. Pre-booking with me essential.
Advent Calendar – last chance before it begins on 1st December!
Local Shamley Green musician Sarah McKenna has created an online advent calendar "Joy to the World". With a new lockdown upon us we are all missing live music and with so many events and concerts cancelled things are looking bleak, particularly in the run up to Christmas. Why not cheer yourself or loved ones up with a musical Advent. For a donation of £10 (half of which is donated to Christ Church Shamley Green) you will receive a link to an online Advent calendar. Behind each door is a different Christmas carol, arranged for violin. Each day a different door reveals a new traditional or popular carol. Wait to see if it will be your favourite.
To receive your calendar please donate using the justgiving link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/amusicaladvent and send your email address to email@example.com. Your calendar will be emailed to you but please be patient as you can only open each door on the correct day - no peeking allowed!
Prayer of the week
breaking through the static to speak to our hearts:
disarm our love of control
and shake the silent heavens to reveal your dawning glory,
judging all in the light of love;
through Jesus Christ, the one who is to come. Amen.
(Steven Shakespeare ‘Prayers for an Inclusive Church)
With my love and prayers as always,