Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent prayer and reflection

Advent can be a very busy time. In between the Christmas shopping, parties and special events it can be very hard to stop and reflect, which is the real purpose of this season of preparation for our celebration of the birth of Christ.

However, Christmas, when it comes (not till midnight on Christmas Eve officially speaking!) means much more if you have managed to spend even a little time preparing for it spiritually as well as materially.

There are lots of ways you can do this - pray as you can, not as you can't.

You might like to make a Jesse Tree . This is a symbolic representation of the Old Testament stories which lead to the birth of Christ - his spiritual "family tree" if you like. I have provided a reading and thought for each day to go with the making of this.

You might like to use some of the other traditional Advent symbols - the Advent Candle which burns down through a section a day, Advent calendars, or an Advent wreath, or just take some time to read the Bible, to pray or simply to sit still in silence for 10 minutes a day.
There are suggestions and advice here.

If silence is new to you, there is a good website here to help you make the most of it.

You might also like to try an online Advent calendar - is a site sponsored by the Church of England, with thoughts for each day.
The Irish Jesuits also do a very good daily prayer website - sacredspace - which I recommend.

What really matters is that we make a decision to do something spiritually during Advent, even if that is a decision to do nothing, but to do it deliberately for 10 minutes or so each day!

I hope you have a holy Advent, so that Christmas, when it comes is full of blessings.

Advent and Christmas

Here are some details of Advent and Christmas services and events at Seal.

You can find all the details on the website - - there's a lot going on over the next month, so I hope there is something for everyone.
Tonight (Nov 28) we have our UNITED ADVENT SERVICE at 6.30pm , with choirs from St Lawrence and Underriver joining us for a special service to welcome Advent at 6.30 pm. The collection will be for Christian Aid's "Far from Home" appeal for their work with refugees.

Moving on through Advent there are plenty of other things happening.

Families with children might particularly enjoy “Messy Church” on Dec 5 from 4 -5.30pm– a very informal session of crafts and activities which ends with a few minutes of singing and prayer together, followed by tea and cake. The Christingle service on Dec 12, and the Crib service on Christmas Eve are also designed very much with children in mind.

If you want a bit of peace and quiet as an antidote to all the excitement of the season, I recommend our candle-lit Advent “Breathing Space” Communion services on Thursdays 2, 9 &16 Dec. Lasting about 30 minutes, these have plenty of silence, some gentle music – no hymns - and a short talk.

As well as these services, of course there are our traditional services – the Carol Service on Dec 19, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve and the All Age Communion on Christmas Day.

This year, there will also be a grand Village Christmas Event on Friday Dec 10, when the whole village will be "en fete". The event will begin in Seal School in Zambra Way at 3.15 with the school Christmas fair. At the end of that - around 5.30 we will process up to the Five Bells pub with the children in costume and a donkey (and Father Christmas). We will then sing some carols at the pub, fortified by mulled wine and mince pies - proceeds split between the church and the donkey rescue charity who are providing the donkey. Many thanks to the landlords of the Five Bells for their generosity in this.

We will then, at around 6 pm, move onto the church and church hall where there will be stalls, refreshments (bar and curry from Tandoori nights) and music from Dan Clews.

This event is being organised by the Know Your Neighbours group, which consists of a wide variety of individuals and groups from the village, and we are hoping you will make it a great success by turning up and enjoying yourselves!

If you can donate cakes, costume jewellery or items to be used in table decorations to be sold on the church stalls on the night, please let me know.

We could also do with some offers of help to man stalls and steward the event, especially to keep an eye on those crossing the road from the church to church hall. Again, please let me know if you can help.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY Sunday November 14th

9 am – Godden Green War Memorial
Short act of Remembrance

10 am – St Peter and St Paul, Seal
Traditional service for Remembrance Sunday including two minutes’ silence and Act of Remembrance at the War Memorial.