Christmas is nearly upon us and, of course, it’s all looking very different this year.
Thankfully God meets us where we are, not where we want to be or even where we think we ought to be.
God, in Jesus, did not wait for us to become perfect or reach up to Him but rather He came to us, in the daily mess of our lives; as and where we are.
I recently heard someone say: ‘God’s nature is goodness’, and the Bible confirms that this is true. He cannot help it. That’s what He is. He is goodness, and grace, and forgiveness, and faithfulness, and all those wonderful attributes that come from the pure essence of love.
It’s what we strive for – to be more like Him every day. Then our welcome to others will also be full of grace, His grace, and not guided by our own likes or prejudices. Instead, we can reach out to others spontaneously, from a heart of love.
This Advent and Christmas it will probably be harder to welcome people into our times of worship. Virtual is not the same as actual, and actual will include face-masks. But that does not mean that we should give up on reaching out to those who visit our church. This year, more than ever, they may need us. Many will be lonely this Christmas, far from their families.
So, although our normal church services may be disrupted, we have to remember that services are not the church; WE are the church. In what has been an extraordinary year, perhaps we can each of us find an informal way of sharing our Christmas joy with anyone whom God sends our way.
Yours with much love in Christ,
Rev Jonathan Widdess
firstname.lastname@example.org / 01865 863702
Here is this weeks news….
Crib Service – Sunday at 10:30am in St Michael’s or watch the live-stream
Join us at 10:30am on Sunday 20th as we stream our Crib Service live from St Michael’s. We will journey to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and the Wise Men as we hear again the Christmas Story and listen to a mix of contemporary and traditional carols.
For children of all ages from 0-99.
To join in with the service online, visit https://cumnor.org/crib-service-online-20th-december-2020/ or by phone on 01865 920993, and then choose option 1 from the menu.
The service will then remain available via our website (there may be a short delay while the livestream is made available as a recording).
Due to live-streaming the phone line will not be updated until lunchtime on Sunday and it will remain available by telephone until the following Sunday.
This year’s Carol Service is now available online at https://cumnor.org/carol-service/. It’s led by Jonathan, with readings and poems read by members of St Michael’s and traditional carol sung by St Michael’s Christmas Choir.
Community Carol Singing
Although we still can’t sing in church together, it is possible to sing outside. Therefore we are gathering around the Christmas tree in the churchyard on Sunday 20th December at 5pm for carol singing. Please observe social distancing and we look forward to seeing you there!
St Andrew’s Carol Listening Service
St Andrew’s are holding a Carol Listening Service on Sunday 20th December at 10am.
The Darkest Night
A Christmas Service for the recently bereaved and those who find this time of year difficult. It will be available online on Monday 21st December at 6pm at https://cumnor.org/darkest-night/
On Christmas Eve at 4pm in St Michael’s we are holding our traditional Christingle service. Capacity is limited, and tickets must be booked in advance by visiting https://cumnor.org/christingle or phoning 01865 861541
We will be streaming the service live through our website https://cumnor.org/christingle/and are providing free “Build Your Own Christingle” kits (oranges not included). These will be available from 11am-12pm on Monday 21st-Wednesday 23rd December from the Parish Centre (first on the left up the Vicarage drive which is opposite the church steps).
Christmas Day Services
On Christmas Day at 10am there is a Communion service in St Andrew’s, Dean Court.
At 10:30am there is also a Communion Service in St Michael’s. Capacity is limited, and tickets must be booked in advance by visiting https://cumnor.org/christingle or phoning 01865 861541. We will be streaming this service live through our website.
Unwrapping the Gift of Christmas
Our Advent series of online videos in which we reflect on the stories of the Bible that lead up to Jesus’s birth and hang a special ornament on a Jesse Tree in St Michael’s continues each day till Christmas. It’s the perfect way to care for your soul by pausing to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
Each video will be available at https://cumnor.org/unwrapping-christmas/
A short introduction from Jonathan is available at the same page.
This series is also available by phone on 01865 920993 and then choosing option 2
Zoom Weekly Prayer Meeting
Our weekly prayer meeting meets this Monday 21st at 10:30am and then is taking a Christmas break, resuming on January 11th. Join us as we gather together online to pray for one another, our families, friends and neighbours, our parish, our nation and the world.
For more details on how to connect, see this web page.
Please Continue To Pray For…
- Those who have lost loved ones recently, and especially the family and friends of John Peel.
- Our CMS mission partner Bia.
- The St Andrew’s Rebuilding Project.
- Sarah as she returns to work.
- All those who are anxious for their jobs or their future.
- All who’ve been bereaved this year
- Our Christmas services and outreach events
- The “Darkest Night” online carol service
- All those who are continuing to struggle with the effects of lockdown.
- Those who are homeless or struggling with food poverty.