The Rector's Link Magazine Article – November 2020

I suppose you are all wondering what is happening for Christmas……actually I am too!  But seriously, as I sit to write on 9th November the only thing I can guarantee is that something will happen.  Sometimes painful experience this year has taught me to plan with my fingers crossed.  On too many occasions our carefully laid plans have fallen over according to the vagaries of the national situation and the Church of England’s reactions. 

So here goes for Christmas Plan ‘A’:

On Sunday 6th December we shall return from lockdown to public worship (in theory).  On that Sunday, and for 13th and 20th December there will be 8am and a 10am services as ‘normal’.  On 27th December there will be only the 10am service.

Also on 6th December the Families@4 team will be hosting a special extended afternoon session with the aim of making nice Christmas crafts that can find their way as gifts to the elderly and housebound who can’t easily make it out to services.  There will also be a lovely Christmas film show in St Bart’s for the children and families afterwards.

For 13th December the traditional choral service of Darkness to Light will be once again run in St Bart’s from 6:00pm.  This is a lovely atmospheric Advent service of the ‘O Antiphons’, sometimes known as the ‘Great Os of Advent’.  The antiphons are of ancient monastic origins, which recite the names and attributes of Christ. 

The much loved Christmas Carol and Nativity services are rather difficult to repeat in church this year, because of the restriction on numbers and moratorium on congregation singing (both inside and outside the church).  There really is little alternative than to place them online.  We plan to pre-record a shortened carol service, which is then made available online for Sunday 20th December.  Also, for the many families, there will be a home-based Christingle service over Zoom on the afternoon of 20th December.  A costume nativity drama will be also pre-recorded for children and families, in place of the Christmas Eve afternoon crib services.

Finally, by the time we get to Christmas Day I am pleased to say that we can still gathering for the Midnight and Christmas Day services according to the timings from 2019 – 9:30am at St Bartholomew’s and 11:00am at St Christopher’s.  Number restrictions will apply, so please ensure you book on.  It’s unlikely to be possible for everyone to come to all the service they would like to.

The Church of England, being ever supportive and helpful, have provided a nice theme of ‘Comfort and Joy’ as a banner for Christmas this year.  I hope to tell you more about that in due course.  Indeed, this is an opportunity for many to get involved.  On that last note, I will be looking for volunteers to help with the pre-recorded carol and nativity services. 

Oh, and one more thing….  It is hoped (but not guaranteed) that we shall be soon able to restart 10:00am morning services at St Christopher’s.  We have been waiting for the live-streaming camera to be delivered, and the work on the organ to progress.

Although this is a rather cut-down version of Christmas, the work to prepare each element, and particularly the pre-recorded services, is considerable.  Please pray for the team!  Energy and creativity are what we need.  Do please also find a summary of the Christmas services on a separate page.

God bless you all, as we anticipate the comfort and joy of Christ at the end of a year in which we have all have had to do a lot more giving out than receiving. 

Rector Chris