Dear Church Family,
As a circuit, we are not following the set readings for the Sundays in Advent, but if we were, on Sunday we would be hearing about John the Baptist and how he prepared the way for Jesus. “Preparing” is another key theme of Advent.
I was asked only this afternoon if I was prepared for Christmas. In response, I said that I had made my Christmas puddings and my Christmas cake, my tree was up and I had bought a few presents but not all, so yes, I was feeling quite prepared. This was the kind of answer which I imagine the person expected, but I was so aware that my answer only covered a small part of the Christmas picture. I always feel that I need to get those preparations done early, so I can then concentrate on the other side of preparing for Christmas: planning services and talks and taking time to reflect again on what it means that God came to earth as a baby in the person of Jesus.
What does it mean for us in 2020, in these unusual and unprecedented times, that God should become man and walk the earth among us? What does it mean for us that Jesus experienced human life, and what is God wanting to say to us this year through the familiar story in such unfamiliar times? Maybe we can make some time amongst our other preparations for Christmas, to sit down at some point over this weekend with a cup of tea and to reflect on those questions. May our answers help us to be prepared to receive once more, the greatest ever Christmas gift.
The theme for this Sunday’s Circuit on-line service is “Peace” and Rev Karen Hilsden will be preaching.
Just to reassure you that these services are going to continue on a Sunday morning in 2021 regardless of what is happening in terms of worship in our local churches.
Church Council Meeting / Christmas Services
Last night we had our Extraordinary Church Council Meeting to discuss returning to worship in our building. It was agreed at the meeting that we are ready to return to worship now and felt confident that all the work which Matt and Paul have been doing over the past few months, will help to keep us as safe as possible. There are still a lot of rules which we need to adhere to when attending worship (e.g. wearing a mask, staying 2m apart at all times – not just during the service but before and afterwards too, no singing, no congregating or mixing with those outside of your bubble etc.) The leadership team are working on producing a video which will be available next week, to walk you through what church will look like and what will be expected of you, so you can be prepared! It is vitally important that we stick to these rules in order to keep each other as safe as possible. The last thing we want is for us all to have to self isolate over Christmas and miss out on the opportunity to meet up with our families and friends once more. In all of this, the decision of whether to come to worship in the building is down to you. Please think carefully about whether it is safe and wise for you and your bubble to come and be part of that worship. Whatever your decision is, we will respect that.
With all of this in mind, the Church Council agreed to have several different options of worship for you to chose from over the Christmas period:
1) Christmas Bubble Worship
I am offering three services in our church building during the week beginning the 14th December. All three services will be pretty much the same (although one will be All Age) and you are invited to come to whichever one of the three services you would like to. The numbers able to attend each of these services will be kept quite low – around 25-30 people. This is in order to keep us as safe as possible in the week before Christmas. The three services will be held on:
– Tuesday 15th December 2pm
– Thursday 17th December 7.30pm
– Saturday 19th December 3pm (All Age Worship)
You will need to book in advance in order to attend any one of these services so we know how many people will be there and who is coming. Seats will be allocated in advance so please let us know if anyone else attending that service is in your bubble and then when we allocate seats, we will make sure that you are sitting together.
To book in for a service please email firstname.lastname@example.org stating which service and who in your bubble is attending, or leave a message on my answerphone 01772 452572. Seats will be allocated on a first come, first served basis
2) Silent Communion
On Tuesday 22nd December, the church worship area will be open from 2pm-4pm for silent communion and prayer. How this works, is that you can pop in at any point during the stated times and come and sit in church quietly. You are welcome to sit for as long as you want. There will be a sheet on your chair with some suggestions of things to think and pray about – if you wish. When you are ready you can come to the communion rail where I will be, and receive the bread and wine. Then you are welcome to go back to your seat for as long as you wish before making your way out of church. The idea is that this is all done really quietly with no conversation or spoken words outside of receiving communion, it is all done in an atmosphere of peace and hopefully will provide a little bit of a quiet oasis in what is otherwise a really busy and hectic week.
Even though you can come and go as you wish, we still need to know how many people are coming, so please will you let us know if you intend to make use of this opportunity by emailing email@example.com or leaving a message on my answerphone: 01772 452572
3) Christmas Eve Service
On Christmas Eve we will be having a service at 6pm for as many people as we can fit safely into the church worship area at 2m distance. (Up to approx.70 people) This will not be a children’s service but it will be a light service which is hopefully suitable for most ages. Again, we need to know in advance if you would like to come and who else in your bubble is coming, so we can make sure we have enough seats in the right groupings. We are hoping to live stream this service for those with internet access. If we reach our maximum numbers then it will be a case of first come, first served. However, if necessary, we will give preference to those who do not have access to the internet. To book seats at this worship, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a ring.
If you are unsure about any of the above, or wish to know more about what we are doing to make our building as Covid safe as possible, then please just get in touch and I will be happy to talk you through it and try and put your mind at ease. More precise details about how everything will work will be given to you once you have booked your seats. I’m really excited about the prospect of being able to meet together for worship once more, but please do think carefully about whether or not this is a safe option for you at this time.
I hope you have managed to find the Circuit Advent Calendar on our Circuit Website. Each day if you click on the picture for that date, you will find a daily reflection, a song and a challenge. If you access these videos through YouTube you will only find the reflection. Please go to the circuit website for the full experience: https://www.chorleyandleylandmethodists.org/advent.htm
Churches Together in Leyland (CTL)
I’ve been asked to pass on this message from Teresa, the chair of CTL:
“Thank you to all the crafters who made Christmas tree decorations for the prisoners at Wymott. The request to help keep prisoners connected with their families really touched a cord with many of you and it spurred creativity. The decorations which included knitting, felt work, embroidery and crochet were done by all age groups, from primary school children to grannies. When the bags of decorations were collected by chaplain Calum there were over 300 decoration which had all been made with love. Thank you so much to everyone who helped with this project. Your time, talents and generosity are very much appreciated by the prisoners at Wymott and I am sure they will be loved by their families. I have been advised by chaplain Calum that there will be pictures of the project at Wymott. When I have received these, I will inform you and they will be available to view on the Churches Together in Leyland website.”
I hope you all have a lovely week and enjoy preparing for Christmas.
God Bless you all,