“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord. Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.’”(Psalm 122:1,2). These words from Psalm 122 inspired Hubert Parry’s great Coronation Anthem “I was Glad.” As one of the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134), it was used by pilgrims going to the great festivals in Jerusalem. For the Jews this represented a home-coming to worship at the Temple, the place of God’s presence.
Our Worship of God:
As God’s people today, we are also called to worship in praise and thanksgiving: “That is where the tribes go up – to praise the name of the Lord” (v4). Of course, currently our meeting together to sing our praise to God is greatly restricted. We are a scattered rather than a gathered community. However, as individuals, we can still offer God the worship of our lives using psalms like this one.
Our prayer to God:
The psalm encourages the pilgrims to pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure.” (v6). True peace is more than merely the absence of conflict. This peace speaks to us of wholeness of life in every aspect. This peace is our prayer as we continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic and as we seek the prosperity of the wider community: “I will seek your prosperity” (v9).
This weekend sees the beginning of Advent, the season when we celebrate and anticipate the hope of Jesus’ return.
As we pray for peace, we know that it is only truly fulfilled with the coming of God’s kingdom in Jesus. Despite living with so much uncertainty, we have the assurance of God’s future purposes for our lives, churches and the world.
Yours with much love in Christ,
Rev Jonathan Widdess
firstname.lastname@example.org / 01865 863702
Here is this weeks news….
Advent Sunday Online 29th November
Join us from 10:30am on Sunday morning as we celebrate Advent Sunday. This week, Eve Lockett is leading and Helen Azer preaching. We will light the first candle in the advent crown and there are wonderful advent hymns sung by the choir including “Come thou long expected Jesus” and “People look East”.
You can watch the service at https://cumnor.org/sunday-service-online-29th-november-2020/ or listen in by phoning 01865 920993.
It will remain available by telephone until the following Friday.
Unwrapping the Gift of Christmas – starts Tuesday!
From Tuesday December 1st, each day in Advent we will release an online video 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. It’s the perfect way to care for your soul by pausing to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
Each day’s video will be available at https://cumnor.org/unwrapping-christmas/
A short introduction from Jonathan is available at the same page.
Churchyard Christmas Decorations
Given that our Christmas Services in church this year will have very limited capacity we have decided to put the Christmas Tree up in the churchyard as a sign of Christian light and hope in these dark days. We will also be putting up a new illuminated nativity scene. Look out for these over the next week or so.
With Jenny Joynson also putting up lights for charity in the usual churchyard tree, things should look especially festive this year!
Family Messy Advent Bags
Packed with resources and crafts to help you explore the meaning of advent and get ready for Christmas. There will be sweets, recipes and craft ideas for families to do together. These will be free and we expect demand to be high. To avoid disappointment please preorder by email to email@example.com or text / WhatsApp 07595 996534
The packs will be available to collect from the Parish Centre (opposite the church steps) on Saturday 28th November between 10am-11am and Wednesday 2nd December between 9am and 10am and 3pm-4pm.
Advent Foodbank Donations
Foodbanks have been in greater demand than ever this year so we’re asking everyone to help meet the need and taking inspiration from the idea of a reverse Advent Calendar where instead of getting chocolate, gin or cheese we give to help others.
From 3rd-10th December there will be a collection box outside the Vicarage and also 66, Pinnocks Way. Please give what you can to support the Oxford Emergency Foodbank. They especially need:
- Jams/other spreads
- Tins Vegetables (not tomatoes or pulses)
- Tins, Pkt Puddings
- Tins Meat
- Tins Fruit
- Bottled Sauces
- Coffee/Hot Chocolate
- Practical Toiletries
Advent Angels of Comfort and Joy
This year we looked to the rainbow to find hope. Now let’s fill our windows with Angels proclaiming the Christmas tidings of Comfort and Joy!
To take part, put the attached angel up in a window where passers-by will be able to see it.
Why not also decorate your window with cut-out snowflakes or nativity pictures to make it feel even more Christmassy?
The choir are planning to meet again and record the music for our Christmas services on Friday December 11th at 6:30pm. The emphasis this year will be on well-known carols as we look to share the good news of Comfort and Joy this Christmas. To help us decide which carols to pick, I was wondering what your favourite carols are? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to join us for the socially distanced recording session then please let Andrew Dyer (email@example.com) know.
Thank you to all those who returned their boxes last month. Together we raised £536.54. We are no longer supporting the Children’s Society through the Collection Box Scheme, however, individuals can donate via the website childrenssociety.org.uk or by supporting the Christingle Service at St Michael’s Church.
Many thanks for all your support in the past.
Joy Topping (07977 521530)
Zoom Weekly Prayer Meeting
Our weekly prayer meeting continues every Monday at 10:30am. 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.
Faith and Art
The fifth in David Lockett’s excellent series on Faith and Art is available at https://cumnor.org/david-lockett-on-the-white-crucifixion-by-mark-chagall/. This time he’s exploring “The White Crucifixion” by Marc Chagall.
The others in the series are well worth checking out if you haven’t seen them yet. Find them at: https://cumnor.org/faith-and-art/
If you’re doing your Christmas shopping online this year then using easyfundraising can really help the parish out at no cost to you.
Over 4,300 shops and sites will donate to us for FREE when you use easyfundraising to shop with them. This means you can raise donations for us when you buy anything from decorations and festive food shopping to gifts like toys, jewellery, tech, experiences and more!
These donations really help us and all you have to do is use easyfundraising when you’re ordering the things you’ll be buying anyway.
If you are planning on shopping through Amazon.co.uk then please help the church finances…
Malcolm, our Church Warden, wants to remind you all about Amazon Smile before you start ordering online for Christmas. The link below takes you straight to the Amazon smile site and one click from there registers us as your chosen charity.
Shop AmazonSmile at https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1129917-0, and Amazon donates to The Parochial Church Council Of The Ecclesiastical Parish Of St Michael’s, Cumnor, at no cost to you. To date we have received nearly £100 from Amazon.
Please Continue To Pray For…
- Those who have lost loved ones recently, and especially the family and friends of John Peel.
- Peter & Patricia Baldwin and family as they continue to mourn the heartbreaking loss of granddaughter Isobel.
- Our CMS mission partner Bia.
- The St Andrew’s Rebuilding Project.
- All those who are anxious for their jobs or their future.
- All those who are continuing to struggling with the effects of lockdown.
- All those who are ill or growing frailer.
- The government, and our local councils as they wrestle with keeping us all safe during the pandemic.
- Those who are homeless or struggling with food poverty.