Welcome to December!
Online here (and in our church magazine) you will find details of all our Christmas services and events that will be happening across Hope and Emmanuel in this special Advent and Christmas season...
Our aim over this period is to have something for everyone. In addition to the midweek social occasions, with a greater focus on the Christmas Story: we have the Stable Trail, the Christingle services, the Mega Nativity (and more) for all ages and families. We have Carols by Candlelight and Midnight Communion for those who value the traditional. Be sure to look at the Christmas Flyers printed here inside the magazine.
On Sunday 10th December at 3pm we also have The Candle Service. Arguably the most important of all our Christmas services, this quiet service is for those who find Christmas difficult. Or with silence at this time of year so often being a gift (!) this is a service too that provides space to be still. There is opportunity to light a candle in memory of a loved one or to remind us of the Light of Christ that can bring hope to us and those we know and love even in the darkest hours of our lives. It is perhaps surprising to some just how well attended this service always is.
Also on the Thursday before Christmas – we have our Pop-In Christmas Party. All through the year we have Tuesday coffee mornings in Emmanuel and Thursday coffee afternoons in Hope. At our Pop-In Christmas Party on Thursday 21st we will be singing some carols too. If you live alone or find it difficult to get out much and you would like to join us – but are unable to get yourself here – then please do get in touch with us and we will do our utmost to help. Please ask someone you know or call me directly on 01978 760439 and I will put you in touch with someone. On the Thursday after Christmas we will be having Pop-In in the church hall as normal too. (Those able to come and give a hand with the January magazine collating – thank you!)
Now we turn our thoughts to Advent. December being so busy Advent is a season that can so easily become lost, forgotten or neglected. Christmas Day being a Monday this year too – Advent this year is the shortest it can be – just 22 days long.
Advent Sunday (3 December) plays host to our annual 4pm Hope Village Christmas Lights Switch On Service. This will be the fourth year running we’ve hosted such now – and you are encouraged to arrive early for your seat! Put on your Christmas Jumper and come and join us in singing the first carols of the season with Mary, Joseph, the Angel Gabriel and the Roman Centurion as we remember that Christmas Starts With Christ.
Also on Advent Sunday at 11am in Hope we will be hosting a 1662 traditional Holy Communion Service – where we use what was the official liturgy of the Church In Wales until 1984. Each Sunday during Advent (bar Christmas Eve) we focus our thoughts on the traditional Advent readings. Do come and join us to reflect on some of the more traditional themes of Advent – such as listening, waiting and watching.
Fast-forward for a moment now if we may to January… after Advent and Christmas comes Epiphany.
I am delighted to announce that from Sunday 7th January we will be launching ‘Hope.4.All.’ This will be our new WEEKLY Sunday Service in ‘HOPE’ Church at ‘4PM’ for ‘ALL’ ages. Epiphany Sunday this year falls on 7th January. Christmas Day in the Eastern Church! Epiphany is the day in the church calendar when we remember the story of the wise men from the East arriving in Bethlehem to meet the ‘boy’ (not baby) Jesus. Do come and join us for our first Hope.4.All: Three Wise Men and a Camel: The Big Epiphany Celebration! It is going to be great fun! See the flyer inside the magazine. I will write more in January’s magazine.
But for now may God bless you with a rich and reflective Advent and joyful and peaceful Christmas.
In Christ, Adam
Rev Adam Pawley