11:00am Sunday Service – First Sunday of Advent

United Benefice of Altham and Clayton-le-Moors




The Lord be with you
All        And also with you.


Blessing of the Advent wreath


Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:
He is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us,
He is the Saviour of every nation.
Lord God, let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.





Lo! he comes with clouds descending,
Once for mortal sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluya! Alleluya! Alleluya!
Christ appears, on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
We who set at nought and sold him,
Pierced and nailed him to the tree,
Deeply grieving
Deeply grieving
Deeply grieving
Shall the true Messiah see.

Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshippers:
with what rapture,
with what rapture,
with what rapture,
gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, Amen! let all adore thee,
High on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory:
Claim the kingdom for thine own:
O come quickly!
O come quickly!
O come quickly!
Thou shalt reign, and thou alone!


Prayers of penitence

All       Most merciful God,

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

we confess that we have sinned

in thought, word and deed.

We have not loved you with our whole heart.

We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.

In your mercy

forgive what we have been,

help us to amend what we are,

and direct what we shall be;

that we may do justly,

love mercy,

and walk humbly with you, our God.



Almighty God, who forgives all who truly repent,

Have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness

and keep you in life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



First Reading
Isaiah 64:1-9

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and have given us over to our sins.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
do not remember our sins for ever.
Oh, look upon us we pray,
for we are all your people.

This is the word of the Lord

All        Thanks be to God


Second reading
Mark 13:24-end

‘But in those days, following that distress,

‘“the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

‘At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

‘Now learn this lesson from the fig-tree: as soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: he leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

‘Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back – whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the cock crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: “Watch!”’

This is the word of the Lord

All        Thanks be to God




Affirmation of faith

All   I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.


I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.




Creator of the starry height,
thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesus, Redeemer of us all,
hear thou thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving at the helpless cry
of all creation doomed to die,
didst save our fallen race
by healing gifts of heavenly grace.

When earth was near its evening hour,
thou didst, in love’s redeeming power,
like bridegroom from his chamber, come
forth from a Virgin-mother’s womb.

At thy great Name, exalted now,
all knees in lowly homage bow;
al things in heaven and earth adore,
and own thee King for evermore.

To thee, O Holy One, we pray,
our Judge in that tremendous day,
ward off, while yet we dwell below,
the weapons of our crafty foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
laud, honor, might and glory be
from age to age eternally.


Prayers of intercession

Lord as we come before you today

On this first Sunday of Advent

We ask you to prepare us for your coming.

You promised through your Son Jesus Christ

To hear us when we pray in faith

And we bring before you today

The needs of the Church and the world

O God, keep us awake to you:

All        And alive to your call

Holy God, just as we are we come to you,

And ask for your kingdom to come in us

And in this place

Increase our faith and love for you,

So that we may become the lights in the darkness

That we are called to be.

We pray for your church today

Gathering all around the world

In tiny churches and great cathedrals

Or indeed remotely as we are

To praise you and to hear your holy word.

Give us a sense of expectation as we come

And inspiration as we go

O God, keep us awake to you:

All        And alive to your call

Holy God, the signs in our world

Of hate, distrust and greed

Are shown to us clearly every day.

May we see with your eyes

The signs of hope and victory

The opportunities for loving service

For encouragement, reassurance and thanksgiving

Drive away despair from our politics,

Revive our dreams of justice and truth

Restore our passion for what is good and right

O God, keep us awake to you:

All        And alive to your call

Holy God, bless us in all our relationships

Whether we are the parent or the befriender

Increase our love for one another

Give us humility

To accept guidance and warnings, lovingly given

And the courage to uphold one another in faith

Help us never to forget the supremacy of love


May love motivate us to care for one another

May love heal social ills and

May we always remember that we are members of one another

And that we can never live to ourselves alone.

O God, keep us awake to you:

All        And alive to your call

Holy God, we bring to you in love

Those who are weary with ongoing pain and weakness

those who are frail with age and all who are vulnerable

Pour your loving strength into their lives

And protect them from all that is harmful

We pray for the homeless and the destitute

And for refugees seeking a better life

We ask you to help us all

To use our gifts and talents for the greater good of all

Challenge us to drive away complacency and apathy

When we know in our hearts

That we can do more to help and sustain those in need

O God, keep us awake to you:

All        And alive to your call

Holy God, we pray for all

Who have come to the end of their earthly life,

And for those whose lives feel empty without them.

Give comfort to the bereaved,

And everlasting peace to all who rest in your love

O God, keep us awake to you:

All        And alive to your call

Holy God, your faithful care

Has brought us safely to this moment

We thank you for your constant love, forgiveness

Strength and protection

God of Love

Your Son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.

He is a sign of your love.

Help us walk in that love during the weeks of Advent,

As we wait and prepare for his coming.

We pray in the name of Jesus, our Saviour.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

A moment of silent prayer



Almighty God,

as your kingdom dawns,

turn us from the darkness of sin to the

light of holiness,

that we may be ready to meet you

in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

All       Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven…



Come, thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king;
Born to reign in us forever
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine own sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne.


Final prayer

Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness

and to put on the armour of light,

now in the time of this mortal life,

in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;

that on the last day,

when he shall come again in his glorious majesty

to judge the living and the dead,

we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.




Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you,

scatter the darkness from before your path,

and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory;

and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son

and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.


All        Amen!




Common Worship is (c) Copyright Archbishops Council of the Church of England

Biblical texts are from the Holy Bible New International Version Anglicised (NIV-UK) is (c) Copyright Biblica, Inc

Copyright songs reproduced under CCL licence 206171 and streamed under CCL licence 71318