The Meaning of Advent

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” Advent in the 4th and 5th century was a time of preparation for the baptism of new Christians. Christians would spend 40 days in prayer and fasting to prepare for the celebration that accompanied the baptism of new believers.

Over time, advent was connected to the coming of Christ. Originally Christians used this term to reference Christ’s second coming, but by the Middle Ages, Advent was connected to Christ’s first coming that we celebrate at Christmas.

Today, we celebrate Advent over the four weeks leading up to Christmas each year. This year we begin advent on November 29th and end this season of prayerful anticipation on December 24th.

Advent season is an invitation to set your mind off of the stresses of the year. We can take our focus off of the crazy hustle that can be associated with the Christmas season that often threatens to produce more hassle than delight. Advent is a chance to focus our thoughts on the gift God has given us in his son Jesus who stepped down from Heaven and took the form of a man so that we might believe.

The tradition for the first Sunday of Advent includes lighting the candle of hope.

This candle of hope symbolizes promises delivered through the prophets from God as well as the hope we have in Christ. God crafted a great rescue plan that he lays out in Scripture. This plan foretells years in advance the arrival of Christ. The Bible also gives us a glimpse of the future, and promises that God will come down to create a new heaven and Earth.

This first Sunday of Advent we read, pray, and reflect on the hope God’s plan gives us (foretold by the prophets and fulfilled by the life and death of Christ), and we meditate on the promise of Christ’s coming glory-filled return.

A Prayer for the First week of Advent

Father, let your hope arise in our hearts! Lift our eyes up to see that you alone are where our hope comes from. Help us to shake off the anxiety, discouragements, and distractions that have filled this year.

May we pause to remember that we have hope in you.

You know the end of our stories, and we give thanks because you have promised that it will be a victorious ending. Give us the grace we need to wrap up this year joyfully.

We invite your Spirit into this beautiful Advent season. Renew our sense of holy anticipation! Let us be those who are waiting eagerly for Jesus to come again.

More than anything, we ask that you be glorified in this season of expectation. Amen.

 

Source.

 

‘A Child Shall Lead Them’ is our Diocesan Advent daily readings resource, which explores the season through the eyes of Isaiah, writing to the people of Israel who for many years had been in forced exile from their homeland. In his prophecy, at last, Isaiah brings a word of hope to this despondent and disheartened people. It’s a promise of God’s servant who will come to bring justice to the world, and into the darkness of exile, light.

Download the booklet free  here

Christmas Services 2020

As with so many aspects of life, our celebration of Jesus’ birth is going to have to be different this year. We still can’t sing together and of course there are still limits on how many people can gather together in church. But whether apart or together we can still celebrate the wonderful good news of Christmas that God has come to be with us, and to redeem us. Perhaps it’s a year to be creative and to make some new traditions.

Key services will be as follows

Sunday 13 Dec – 2pm
Advent Family Praise – book via Eventbrite – the link will be on dojo and Facebook

Friday 18 Dec – 6: 30pm
Christingle on Zoom – every child will get a Christingle pack to bring home from school and we will join together for a big Zoom service. Meeting ID 885 6153 6195 Passcode 219666

Sunday 20th Dec – 4pm
Pre-recorded Carol Service streams on www.facebook.com/allsaintsclayton Enjoy singing the traditional carols from your own home

Thursday 24 Dec – 4pm
Pre-recorded Crib Service streams on www.facebook.com/allsaintsclayton including contributions from All Saints’ School
Please note that you do NOT need to have a Facebook account to view any of our videos – and that if you miss the livestream you can catch up later.

Friday 24 Dec – 11: 30pm
Midnight Mass in Church – booking needed or watch on Facebook.

25 Dec – 10am
Family Service in Church – no booking needed or watch on Facebook.

From 6the December the normal 11am Communion service will take place weekly in church again – booking not needed – and will stream on Facebook.

 

United Benefice of Altham and Clayton-le-Moors

 

Greeting

 

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.

Amen.

 

 

Hymn

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.

Amen.

 

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.

Amen.

 

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

 

Sermon

 

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.

Amen.

 

Hymn

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

 

Collect

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…

 

Hymn

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.

Amen.

 

Blessing

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!

 

 

Copyright

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Saints’ Church Family presents an advent calendar with a difference….

You’ll not find the pictures behind little paper doors – but in the windows of homes around our community. Each day somewhere in Clayton-le-Moors (or occasionally Altham or Great Harwood) will open up another window on Christmas. We hope you might like to go and find them as they go up during Advent – or perhaps go on a hunt to find them during a walk in Christmas week. Each window will be shared on its day on Facebook

We hope that these windows will bring everyone a little bit of Christmas cheer in what will be a strange and difficult Advent and Christmas 2020.

A great big thank you to those who have taken part and decorated their window.

With prayers that this Advent and Christmas bring you unexpected blessings even amidst the challenges of living through a pandemic.

                                                                   www.allsaintsclaytonlemoors.org

1st Tuesday

Stars and angels

Mercer Park Gates All Saints’ School

2nd Wednesday

The angel and Mary

Grizedale Close Barbara and Peter

3rd Thursday

Christmas Robin

Sping Hall Rachel, Ruby & Seth

4th Friday

Christmas Bells

Rosebank

Kara, Barry, Molly, Nathan & Toby

5th Saturday

Journey to Bethlehem

Lodgeside

Lauren, Gareth, Penny, Fearne & Enid

6th Sunday

Journey to Bethlehem

New Row, Altham Wendy

7th Monday

Snowmen

Rishton Road

Great & Small Kindergarten

8th Tuesday

Christmas Fireplace

Cottam Croft (Corner of Calf Hey)

Emma, Dean, Zak & Jake

9th Wednesday

The holly and the ivy

Woodland Drive Susan & Margaret

10th Thursday

Carol Singers

Devonshire Drive (St Mary’s end)

Margaret

11th Friday

No room at the inn

Whalley Road (opp. Woodlands)

Emma, Alex, Charlie & Kye

12th Saturday

Mary with baby Jesus

Rockmount Terrace, Altham West

Cath, Nathan and Emma

13th Sunday

Sheep and their shepherds The Vicarage

Rebecca, Toby, Anna- bel, Gideon & Aidan

14th Monday

The host of angels

Redhouse Close

Adele, Chris, Jessica, Max and Demi

15th Tuesday

Shepherds visit Jesus

Pilkington Drive

Becky, Tom, Elsie & Arthur

16th Wednesday

Christmas foods

Corn Mill Court, Altham

Gemma, Mark, Olivia & Hannah

17th Thursday

The wise men follow the star Charles Street

Emma, Joe, Thomas, Samuel, Sophia & Liliana

18th Friday

The wise men present their giftsLodgeside

Penny & John

19th Saturday

Father Christmas

Wellfield (visible from Burnley Rd)

Phoebe & Sebastian

20th Sunday

Christmas presents

Lynfield Road Great Harwood

Rachel, Matthew, Harper & Jude

21st Monday

Christmas tree

Brantwood Sarah & Andrew

22nd Tuesday

Peace on earth

Mortimer Ave Great Avenue

Louise, Tony, Harry & Joshua

23rd Wednesday

We wish you a merry Christmas
John Street

Sophie, Lewis & Ivy

24th Christmas Eve

The nativity

Collingwood Maisie, Trudy & Lee

 

Month of prayer

As you will see from the archbishops letter, they have called us to make November in particular a month of concerted prayer.  6pm is identified as a moment when we can all pause for a moment of prayer together wherever we may be.  (Also see Revd Toby’s Newsletter  to find out what more we can do.)

The suggested focus for each day of the week is as follows –

Sunday – family, friends and loved ones

Monday – schools and colleges, children and young people

Tuesday – the elderly, isolated and vulnerable

Wednesday – businesses, the workplace and economic wellbeing

Thursday – the NHS and other keyworkers

Friday – national and local government

And attached here is a leaflet of  some suggested prayers for each day, as recommended by the archbishops.

 

What is it?

Why not click here to find out more?!

 

 

 

 

 

 Weekly  and other donations – how can we still contribute?

Some of you who usually make a donation in the weekly envelops have enquired how you can donate during this difficult time. One easy way to continue supporting the work of our church (especially during lockdown) is to give through this easy to use online giving page.

You can also use this method if you just wish to make a one off donation to cover the ongoing church costs during this COVID crisis.

Everyone’s support is appreciated as it still costs almost as much to maintain the ministry and the building as normal, yet our church income is reduced.

The church remains very grateful to those who are continuing to support our work, and towards meeting our ongoing costs.

 

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Dear Friends,

4 November 2020

These are deeply challenging and difficult times for us all. When we are surrounded by fear and suffering, it can be hard to feel hopeful. This coming winter feels like it will be longer and darker than usual.

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm. The disciples are understandably terrified as the wind and waves threaten to overpower them. ‘Why are you so afraid?’, Jesus asks. This year, we too have been caught in a storm which often feels overwhelming. And yet we can look to Jesus, in the boat with us, who calms the storm and comforts us in our fear.

We are writing to share our belief that whoever you are, and whatever you happen to believe, you are loved by God. Beyond measure. We also want you to know that we are praying for you, particularly asking that Christ’s love will comfort us, calm our fears, and lead our nation and our world through this terrible pandemic. Starting this week, we have asked every church to pray each day at 6pm. We invite you to join with us. You’ll be able to find simple resourceson the Church of England website and social media channels.

There are three other responses that we want to encourage everyone to consider –

First, let’s be calm. By only buying what we need and not hoarding, or by reaching out to our neighbours as we did during the first lockdown, we can be stronger together in ways that are impossible if we go it alone. When things go wrong – as they always will with such complex challenges – let us look for good and right ways forward together.

Secondly, let’s be courageous. There are many reasons to be fearful at the moment, but the story of Christ calming the waves calls us to give our fears to Jesus and have faith in Him. The British willingness just to get on with things is one of our very best characteristics – let us not be paralysed by fear. We will all need each other’s courage in the months to come.

Thirdly, let’s be compassionate. So many of us are holding so much pain – our own and the pain of those we love. We will need to be gentle, kind and patient with each other. In the first wave we showed we are a nation of compassion and kindness. Let’s dig deep and keep that love for our neighbours strong in this second time of struggle.

Even though there is much darkness around us, there are also many points of light in the weeks ahead.

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This Sunday is Remembrance Day. As we remember the courage and sacrifice of those who gave everything for this nation in war, we are also reminded of the possibility for hope after destruction, of new life after suffering. In the coming weeks, there are great religious ceremonies. For Hindus, Sikhs and Jains there is Diwali, the festival of light. Sikhs will celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak. The Jewish community will observe Hanukkah. Many Muslim communities have just celebrated Eid-e-Milad, the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad.

Soon it will be Christmas. At his birth Jesus was also called Emmanuel. It’s a word that appears in lots of carols. It means ‘God is with us’. And this is the message of Christmas: in Jesus, God is with us, sharing our darkness and our struggles, bringing comfort and joy. It is the source of our hope. As the Bible says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Let us shine in the darkness of this winter.

May God bless you and keep you, and all those you love.

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell Archbishop of Canterbury Archbishop of York

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Benefice of Altham and Clayton-le-Moors

Revd Toby Webber, The Vicarage, Church Street, Clayton-le-Moors, BB5 5HT
tobywebber@btinternet.com   (01254) 384321

 

November 2020

Dear friends

I write as we enter another ‘national lockdown’.  It is not as intense, and is designed not to be as lengthy, as that which marked our spring and early summer.  But it comes at a time when many of us are ‘fed up with the whole thing’ and just wish it away – and in a season of the year which is less hopeful and more melancholic.  We are conscious that this time around our region is the worst affected with our local hospitals already caring for many patients with severe Covid infections.  You may have seen the CNN news report from the Royal Blackburn(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jj6xddWmKpo) – it makes for very powerful viewing.  There are things to be thankful for, though, particularly the improvements in therapy for Covid patients, and initiatives like the virtual Covid ward reaching out to patients in the community, preventing deterioration and helping them recover.  We must do all that we each can to make the lockdown, with all its pains, as effective as it can be in reducing the transmission of the virus.  We want to keep our own loved ones and community safe, and to help those working so incredibly hard in our hospitals.  Hospital Chaplain Revd David Anderson writes on the ELHT website, ‘Many of us have not recovered from what we went through last time and sometimes knowing what is to come can make it worse. One senior doctor said to me, “The virus is just as strong, but right now I feel weaker.”’

Amongst the pains of the lockdown will be the closure once again of our church buildings for public worship.  As before – and indeed as has continued throughout – we will do what we can to join together through the help of modern technology.  You will be able to view our Sunday services and our Friday Praise each week – either live or on catch up.  And we are continuing to offer Night Prayer daily (except Fridays) at 9:30pm.  Many people have found this to be a helpful moment for quiet reflection, intercession and focus on God at the end of the day.  Don’t forget, you can access all this without needing a Facebook account – just head to www.facebook.com/allsaintsclayton .  And if you’re not on-line why not try ringing the Daily Hope freephone number on 0800 804 8044?

Month of prayer

As you will see from the attached letter, our archbishops have called us to make November in particular a month of concerted prayer.  6pm is identified as a moment when we can all pause for a moment of prayer together wherever we may be.  And Thursdays are identified as a day which we can dedicate as a day of focussed prayer for our NHS and carers.  One ancient and biblical discipline of the church is to fast as a way of devoting ourselves and our prayer more deeply to God.  We are encouraged to fast in some way on these Thursdays – perhaps we can give up one meal, or our snacks, or give up meat and dairy.  Or perhaps give up something different – tv and social media.  Not for its own sake, but to help us to focus on what really matters.  I hope that the people of All Saints’ and St James’ will be wholehearted in making this lockdown month a time of prayer.  For we know how much our community, our nation and our world need our prayers at this time.

There is a suggested focus for our prayers each day (for more details seewww.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches/call-prayer-nation:

Sunday – family, friends and loved ones

Monday – schools and colleges, children and young people

Tuesday – the elderly, isolated and vulnerable

Wednesday – businesses, the workplace and economic wellbeing

Thursday – the NHS and other keyworkers

Friday – national and local government

Saturday – all who are grieving, and all suffering with physical and mental ill-health

Looking to December

As we approach December we will respond to whatever ‘happens next’ in terms of regulations and guidance.  Hopefully it will be possible to have church services taking place during Advent and Christmas.  The decision has in any case been taken to have the busiest and most song based services on-line.  Christingle will be shared on zoom on Friday 18th December at 6:30pm.  The carol service will be premiered on Facebook on the afternoon of Sunday 20th December.  And the crib service, including contributions from All Saints’ School, will premiere on Facebook on Christmas Eve at 4pm.  We hope to be able to distribute CDs of the carol service to those unable to access the internet.  Look out, too, for the Advent Calendar Windows which will light up around the community during December.  One will be unveiled/lit up each day and you will be able to go and find them, or view them on Facebook.  More details on all this will follow in due course.

The food bank was very grateful for everything collected as part of our harvest celebrations through church and school.  In this time of high demand, please don’t forget that this is a very practical way of helping those in urgent need.  If you can, please continue to drop off food or other items at the Baptist Church on Sparth Road, or the collecting points including the Co-Op and Champs.

The church remains very grateful, too, to those who are continuing to support our work, and towards meeting our ongoing costs.  If you would like to give by standing order or a one-off bank transfer during these times, we can happily let you have the details. However one easy way to continue supporting the work of our church (especially during lockdown) is to give through this easy to use online giving page. Everyone’s support is appreciated as it still costs almost as much to maintain the ministry and the building as normal, yet our church income is reduced.

I write this as we prepare for Remembrance Day and just after we have celebrated All Saints’ Day.  This time of year always reminds us of both the preciousness and the fragility of human life.  It also reminds us that with God’s help people have endured much before and have shown great courage and resilience.  May we, like them, keep the faith.  May we, like them, be good comrades, looking out for each other, and especially the vulnerable.  May we, like them put our trust in ‘God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter in the stormy blast and our eternal home.’

Yours in Christ ,

Toby