Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday worship podcast links and other news...

The links to our worship this week, and other news and resources for reflection are below. 

The news that we are now in Tier 4, with added restrictions on our daily lives came after I had written this week's newsletter. We haven't had any detailed guidance yet, but it has been made clear that public worship can continue, so our plan is that the services and events we have organised for Christmas will still take place, including our Outdoor Carol Service this afternoon. We have carefully planned for all our worship to comply with Covid regulations and be as safe as we can make it. I trust, though, that each person will make their own decision about whether it is wise and safe for them to attend, and will keep a safe distance from others and not mingle at all with others in and around the church. There will be a full range of worship available online and on the phone, so if you are at all anxious about coming to church, even if you had originally planned to,  please do worship at home instead. If there are any changes to our plans I will put them on the church website, and on the church noticeboards.  

I am very aware that the new Tier 4 regulations will come as a blow to many who had hoped to see family over Christmas - it has been a tough year for everyone. There is justified anxiety around as case numbers rise again, and the care we take to avoid catching and spreading Covid is an important way of showing our love for one another. Christmas is not cancelled, however. Neither the Roman Emperor nor King Herod could cancel the first Christmas. God found a way, and he was born among us then, even if he had to make do with a manger for a bed. He will be born in our hearts again this year, wherever we worship him. 
Best wishes
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas

Dec 20 Advent 4

Check on the church website from 6pm today  for our online Carol Service

Morning Worship podcast   Morning service sheet         Hymn words (both services)

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

In Church today 
10 am Holy Communion
3pm    Outdoor Carol Service. 30 minutes of socially distanced carol singing in the churchyard.
Please note that there will be no Story Church or Evensong today or on Dec 27 and Jan 3

On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee  Sunday at 11.15 - coffee and chat online.

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wed 5-5.30pm  Fun singing with Anne Le Bas (No children's choir on Dec 30 or Jan 6)
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact for the link.( No choir on Dec 30 or Jan 6)

Advent 4

The annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to Mary has been a favourite subject for artists for almost the whole of Christian history. Painters treat it very differently, though. Here are a few of my favourite versions. Which one appeals to you most? Why do you think that is?

Top left: Antonello da Messina's Virgin Annunciate, simply shows Mary. There is no angel in the picture. The open Bible in front of her implies that her realisation of what is happening is an inner one
Top right: Botticelli's annunciation is full of movement. The angel looks up at Mary with a questioning expression and Mary seems to be trying to fold herself away from him. What do you think they might be feeling?
Bottom left: Mary seems entirely absorbed in her book -  a prayer book or Bible - and doesn't even seem to have noticed the angel in this annunciation, by Robert Campin 1425-28
Bottom right: Fra Angelico's fresco, from the Monastery of San Marco in Florence between 1440 and 1445 shows the encounter taking place in a garden with a fence around it. This is a symbol of Mary's virginity, linking her with a phrase from the Song of Solomon "A garden enclosed is my sister, my bride”.

Antonello da Messina Annunciation
Robert Campin Annunciation
Fra Angelico annunciation
All Age ideas
There will be plenty on for families over the Christmas season, both online and in church. On Christmas Eve, in place of our usual Crib service, you can drop into church between 3 and 5pm to see the crib, add a prayer to our tree, have a special Christmas prayer of blessing and pick up a take home bag with some crafts for children. 
There will be a videoed Crib service in which we will build our crib and sing carols available to watch on Christmas Eve.
Each day from Christmas Day to Jan 6 there will be an audio podcast of  Stories for Christmas, chosen from those I have told on Christmas Day over the years. Snuggle down and listen!

There are still spaces available at both the Christmas Eve (9pm) service and the Christmas Day (10am) service. I know that some people have held back on booking because they didn’t want to take a space that someone else might need, but please do book a place if you would like one! It will help, though, if you only book for one of the two services and PLEASE BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, so that I know whether we will be full or not, and whether I will need to do a repeat of the 10 am service at 11.15 am. Booking links are below – please book on Eventbrite if you can - or you can phone me on 07510 522292 or email me on
links for all our online services will be found on the church website.
Carol Service available from 6pm tonight
Crib Service available from 10 am Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve 9pm service : video recording of the first part of the Christmas Eve service.
Christmas Day audio podcast, with this year’s Christmas Story
Stories for Christmas:  audio podcasts of the stories I have told at past Christmas services. Available from 5pm each day from Christmas Day to Jan 6
In Church
Today 3pm: Outdoor Carol Service in the church yard
Christmas Eve Drop in Crib event  3-5pm : Drop in to see the crib, add a prayer to the tree, and receive a Christmas blessing. Take home bags for children. All Welcome.
Christmas Eve 9pm: The first Communion of Christmas (Booking essential)
Christmas Day 10 am: Christmas Day Communion, with a story.(Booking essential)
 If the Christmas Day 10 am service becomes fully booked by Dec 24, I will repeat the service at 11.15 am, and I will create a new Eventbrite link for this.
10 am Holy Communion only
Please note: There will only be one service in church on Dec 27 and Jan 3 as I will be trying to take some time off then. There will be no Story Church or Evensong and no 11.15 am Zoffee on these two Sundays. There will be the usual audio podcasts of Morning Worship, Evensong, and the phone podcast, however.
There will be no Zoom Church on Wednesday 30th Dec or Wednesday Jan 6

Advent Windows
Thank you to those who made Advent Windows this week – some pictures are on the church blog. The map of all the windows is here.
The coming week’s windows can be found in:
Dec   20th Ragge Way, 21st Zambra Way, 22nd Jubilee Rise, 23 Middle Lane, 24th Seal Church (the crib - drop in any time during the day, but between 3- 5pm you can also add a prayer to the tree, receive a Christmas blessing and a take home bag with craft for children. 
Song of the Week
I haven’t included a hymn of the week this week, because there are plenty in our Advent Carol series, which you can find on our blog, but here are two recordings of the many settings of a famous prayer – more details below – based on verses from the Bible, including Gabriel’s greeting to Mary, “Ave Maria” – “Hail, Mary” . Details of how this Bible verse became a prayer are below.
This setting, sung by American soprano Renée Fleming, is by Schubert.
And this, with a melody by Charles Gounod, superimposed on a prelude by J.S Bach is sung by the incomparable Maria Callas.
Prayer of the week
Ave Maria – Hail Mary
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. 
This little prayer, especially beloved of Roman Catholics, but also 
Elizabeth greets Marycommonly prayed by Anglicans, has a long history. The first sentence comes from the Angel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary,(Luke 1.28) the second on the words of Elizabeth, when Mary came to her while Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist and Mary with Jesus.  The third sentence, was probably added in some form, in about the eighth century turning these Biblical greetings into a prayer. It is thought that the prayer in its present form was developed from a form of prayer which was used in early medieval monastic communities, called “The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin”. (“Office” in this context means a service of worship, from the Latin word “officium” which means service, duty or work. That’s why people work in “offices” – the word could also be used in secular senses.) For monks and nuns, though, prayer was their work, their “officium”!)
In the later Middle Ages, the “Little Office” was taken up by lay people, and A page from a book of hoursbecame part of the cycle of prayers in the Books of Hours, which were widely used as a way of praying through the day. The “Hail Mary” was also incorporated into the Angelus, the daily thanksgiving for the Incarnation, recited three times a day, often accompanied by the ringing of a bell. It also forms the basis of the traditional Catholic cycle of prayers known as the Rosary. It is repeated 50 times during each cycle of prayer as the Rosary Beads are counted through the worshipper’s fingers.
The “Hail Mary” has been a bone of contention in the Church of England, though, because it addresses Mary, rather than God. After the Protestant Reformation, any suggestion of prayer being made to saints, like Mary, was regarded as dangerously Roman Catholic. The “Hail Mary” was swept away, along with the statues of saints before which worshippers used to light candles. That’s why you won’t find it in the Book of Common Prayer. The suspicion was that Roman Catholic worshippers worshipped the saints, first among whom was Mary, and that this was too close to idolatry to be comfortable – only God was to be worshipped, and Christians did not need any intermediaries to speak to him. Roman Catholics, and many Anglicans now, take a more nuanced view, though. While God alone is worshipped, we pray as part of a “communion of saints”, living and departed. If we are happy to ask our friends on earth to pray with us and for us, why is there a problem in asking our friends in heaven, the saints, to pray with us and for us too?
  • What do you think about this? When you pray and worship, do you prefer to imagine it as just you and God, or do you see yourself among the “whole company of heaven”?
And Finally...

The nativity story has been told in many ways - we have done our best with our online Crib service - but I have to confess our efforts seem a bit unimaginative when we could have re-told it with guinea pigs, like St Michael's with St Mary's Church. Enjoy... 

No comments:

Post a Comment