St Mary’s Christmas 2017 Good News Update
‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means God with Us’
(Matthew Chapter 1, verse 23)
This Christmas 2017 edition of Good News, St Mary’s Parish Magazine, is reproduced below (together with additional material from various notices), use the links to the stories & news items.
- Peace on Earth?
- Listening, Watching & Waiting Reflections for Advent,
- Dates for Your Diary (Including Services),
- Sunday Gospel Readings,
- Regular Events,
Peace on Earth?
Venting his fury at a potential rival, Herod plays a percentages game. He spreads the net of his anger widely and kills every boy under two in order to ensure he kills just one. He fails. Fury and anger usually do – though that is scant consolation to the mourning families of the innocent victims who suffer. Meanwhile, Jesus the Saviour who is saved, is visited by unlikely people: in this case, shepherds and foreign rulers.
The shepherds, virtual outcasts in their own society and looked upon with grave suspicion, hear a song of peace. It is deeply attractive, and it sends them to Bethlehem.
The wise men have followed a hunch in the form of a star. They are about to learn that their maps are wrong. They will return by a different route.
Tyrants like Herod still strut about the world today, their vanity and arrogant self-importance still causing havoc and misery. But the door of the stable at Bethlehem still stands open for those who long for peace and those prepared to have their lives redirected.
Might you be one of them?
Have an interesting Christmas!
Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell
Bishop of Chelmsford
Listening, Watching & Waiting Reflections for Advent
The weeks before Christmas can be busy and noisy. There are moments and places where silence is like a gift, like the quiet of a city street or country lane after a fall of snow.
Prayer does not begin, or end, with words. It starts in stillness and finds its fullest expression in silence. As we are silent, we learn to listen. We discover how to pay attention to what is going on within us and to what is happening around us.
|Listening to your heart and to the world begins to enable you to listen to God. You might only hear him faintly, but as you do so you can catch his whisper of love.||
Elijah the prophet was fed up and angry. He walked 400 miles complaining to God that everyone else had given up and abandoned him. God waited until Elijah had finished and was quiet and then God spoke; not in a violent wind, or an earthquake or a raging fire, but in a breath of silence.
Where this advent can you find a moment of silence?
The lights of Christmas – in shops, on streets and in our homes – are bold, beautiful, colourful and often dazzling. Occasionally one small light catches our eye – perhaps a candle’s flickering flame – and we see something new.
Prayer is refusing to rush out the door in the morning before stopping to see the good things that shape and fill your life.
|Prayer is making time to see what might go unnoticed, the signs of God’s presence in the world and in the people you encounter today, and in your own life. The signs are there and you will see them if you open your eyes.|
Jacob, running away from home, stops to sleep in the desert and dreams a colourful dream. He sees a ladder stretched from earth to heaven, with angels going up and coming down. He wakes and knows that God is in this place.
Where this Advent will you recognise the presence of God?
For a child, waiting for Christmas is part of the excitement. Many still enjoy the Advent calendar countdown, whether or not accompanied by chocolate!
|Prayer is not about giving God a shopping list. It is putting into God’s hands things that worry us or issues with which we struggle; it is waiting for God’s answer and help. When we pray we share the cries of those near us, and far from us, who wait for healing, or love or justice.||
In what ways this Advent are you being asked to wait?
These reflections are extracts from a booklet called #GodwithUs – Your Christmas Journey. For more information, visit the website: churchofengland.org/Christmas. You can also text GodWithUS to 88802 to receive the reflections on mobile, or follow #GodWithUS on Facebook or Twitter.
As we start to think it can’t be nearly Christmas already, please take a moment to remember the lovely displays we had in St Mary’s for Harvest…. We were delighted that so many different church and village organisations used their own ideas and interpreted the theme of harvest so that all the visitors who came in to the church had lots to think about.
We will be decorating the church for Christmas from 9.45am on Saturday 23rd December and hope many of you will be able to help.
If anyone reading this would like to join the flower rota team, please get in touch with me, either in church or by email.
Thank you. Fiona. [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
Our next Messy Church will take place on the FIRST Sunday, 3 December, at 9.30am, when the theme will be Advent. Come along and have some fun in a relaxed and informal family friendly service.
Christmas Choir – Calling all Singers
The first rehearsal for anyone would like to sing in the choir at the Christmas Eve Carol Service is Sunday 3 December @ 10.30am in church.
We hope you will be able to come and support our confirmation candidates at this very special service led by the Bishop of Colchester at 10:30am on Sunday 10th December.
Heathlands School Christmas Tree Festival
Taking place on 15th December in the Church between 1pm – 5pm. Each House at school decorates a Christmas tree with items for the Homeless Shelter and parents are invited into church after school to vote for their favourite and buy a cake in support of the Tom Bowdidge Foundation.
Carol Service at St Mary’s Old Church – Back in 2018!
Because the work on the Old Church won’t be completed until January, it has been decided, with sadness, that it won’t be possible to have the Candlelight Carol Service this year. But it will be back next year!
Carol Singing at the Co-op
Folk from the Methodist Church will be singing Carols outside the Co-op on Friday 22 December from 6.15pm. All singers welcome, donations will go towards Action for Children.
Revised Church Opening Times in the New Year
From 1st January the opening times of the church will be revised to the following times:
- Mon– Open 9am – 1pm
- Tues – Open 9am – 1pm
- Weds – Closed
- Thurs – Open 9am – 1pm
- Fri – Open 9am – 1pm
- Bank Holidays & Weekends – Closed, except for church services!
Coming in January 2018!
Next Ignite Service with the Wired and Langham & Boxted Youth Groups
We are hoping to have another Ignite youth service in January – please keep an eye open on the website and Facebook pages for details after Christmas.
Afternoon Tea Event
Taking place between 2:30pm – 4:30pm on saturday 17th February this is a great Christmas gift idea. Treat yourself or a friend to a very special afternoon tea! Tickets cost £10.00 and will be on sale from 4th December from the Church Office or on Sunday mornings.
This is a fund-raising event to contribute towards the cost of our new Families Worker
A Big Shoebox Thank You
Thank you to everyone who filled shoeboxes this year – we delivered 41 Boxes to the drop off point this year!
Dates for Your Diary (Including Services)
Sunday Gospel Readings
Our Bible readings for every Sunday are taken from the Lectionary, a table of psalms and readings authorised for use in public worship of the Church of England.
|Sunday 26 November||Matthew 25:31-46||The sheep & the goats|
|Sunday 3 December||Mark 13:24-37||Jesus teaches about his return|
|Sunday 10 December||Mark 1:1-8||John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus|
|Sunday 17 December||John 1:6-8, 19-28||John the Baptist declares his mission|
|Sunday 24 December
|Luke 1:26-38||An angel promises the birth of Jesus to Mary|
|Monday 25 December
|Luke 2:8-20||Shepherds visit Jesus|
|Sunday 31 December||Luke 2:15-21||Shepherds visit Jesus|
|Sunday 7 January||Mark 1:4-11||John the Baptist|
|Sunday 14 January||John 1:43-51||The first disciples follow Jesus|
|Sunday 21 January||John 2:1-11||Jesus changes water to wine|
|Sunday 28 January||Mark 1:21-28||Jesus teaches with authority|
Thursdays at 9.00 am Drop in for coffee during term time.
|1st Sunday in the month||9.30am Holy Communion + Kids’ Church|
|2nd Sunday in the month||9.30am Messy Church
No evening prayer in winter months
|3rd Sunday in the month||11.15am Holy Communion + Kids’ Church|
|4th Sunday in the month||9.30am Morning Worship + Kids’ Church
(Kids’ Church = St Mary’s Sunday school)
|5th Sunday in the month
|Combined service with Methodist Church and the parishes of Great Horkesley and Langham with Boxted. The location and times of the service rotate between the 5 churches.|
Our home groups continue up to and after Christmas on the dates below. If you are interested in joining one of the groups, please contact Michael Foster on 241022.
- Tuesday 8pm (Michael Foster 241022): 5/12, 2/1, 16/1, 30/1.
- Monday 1.45pmam (Gill Partridge’s House): 11/12, 18/12, 8/1, 22/1, 5/2 – pre-school children welcome. Please contact Liz in the office for details – 243683.
Open House & 5T’s (Together on Thursdays for Tea @ Two Thirty)
- Open House every Thursday morning at 9am in term times.
- 5T’s – 2.30pm every Thursday, including school holidays.
Wired (our Youth Group for Secondary School Students)
Fridays @ 7.45pm in the church hall.
- 15 December – Christmas party;
- 8 January.
For more details contact [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
- Priest in charge: Rev Dr Mandy Elmes,
The Rectory, 1 Church Close,
West Bergholt CO6 3JZ
Tel 01206 240906
Mob 07872 649967
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
- Parish Office & Good News Editor
Liz Dixon 01206 243683
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”].
- Lay Readers:
- Richard Chadborn – 01206 240541
- Michael Foster- 01206 241022
Ronnie Seymour – 01206 273579
- Church Wardens
- Sue Day – 01206 241040
- Peter Jeffery – 01206 548839
- Pastoral Assistant
- Dorothy Chadborn – 01206 240541
- Home Groups: (Bible Study) Contact Michael Foster – 01206 241022
- Hall Hire and Church Bookings: Contact Nicole on 01206 240443
- Website and email
[antibot mailto=”[email protected]”]
Follow us on Twitter @stmarysbergholt or Facebook
- Rainbows, Brownies and Guides
Enquiries regarding Rainbows, Brownies & Guides to 07757 636446, [antibot mailto=”[email protected]”] or www.girlguidingessexne.org.uk.
- Cubs & Beavers contact: 241666;
- Scouts contact: 240549