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Follow the Star

Dear Friends,

You may have noticed that 'Follow the Star: Join the Song' has been the Church of England's Christmas theme for 2023. Our choirs at All Saints and St. Mary’s have enjoyed singing ‘The First Nowell’ to a lively new tune by Bob Chilcott.

Our carol services often draw the biggest attendances of the year. Carol-singing, whether in church or around the Yew tree (at All Saints), helps many people draw closer to God and each other through the journey from Advent to Epiphany.

One highpoint this year was when Years 3 and 4 from Fishponds Church of England Academy held their carol service at St. Mary's. Children as young as 8 sang solo verses in Silent Night and Away in a Manger in front of a large audience. Their poise and confidence were no doubt mixed with trepidation - but the point is, they clearly enjoyed communicating the Christmas story through singing it. 

Each year particular lines in carols stand out, according to whatever is going on in our personal lives, or in the world at large. Even words from a children's carol 'Don't give up now, little donkey, Bethlehem's in sight,' may resonate with anyone studying hard to obtain a qualification in order to follow their chosen career path.

Some folks will reach Christmas Day noticing the absence of a loved one at the table, others will be rejoicing in the arrival of a new baby. In each case the words 'And He feeleth for our sadness and He shareth in our gladness' (from Once in Royal) may ring true.

Finally - and so significant for our times -  there are lines containing an urgent call to peace. 'O hush the noise ye men of strife and hear the angels sing!' (It Came upon the Midnight Clear).

I wonder which carol lines have stood out or helped you this year? Why not share them (better still, sing them!) around the Christmas dinner table between courses - after the cracker jokes have been told.

Across the Benefice our worship continues through 23rd, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the rest of December with the following services. Everyone is very welcome and we hope you will find something suitable, as we welcome the Christ-Child - God with us.


24th Dec (Christmas Eve)


Said Holy Communion Advent 4

24th Dec (Christmas Eve)


Advent 4 Morning Worship

24th Dec (Christmas Eve)


Carols by Candlelight

25th Dec (Christmas Day)


All Age Communion

(bring a present to show everyone)


23rd Dec


Family Carols and Christingle

24th Dec (Christmas Eve)


Advent 4 Holy Communion

24th Dec (Christmas Eve)


Midnight Mass for Christmas

25th Dec (Christmas Day)


All Age Communion


28th December to Sunday 31st December

Thurs 28th


St Mary's

Holy Communion

Sat 30th

9:00 - 11:00am

St Mary's

Family Breakfast

12:00 - 2:00pm

St Mary's

Saturday Lunches

Sun 31st


All Saints

BCP Holy Communion


St Mary's

Joint Benefice Service

NOTE: At All Saints there will be no Celtic Prayers at 9am on Wed 27th December

NOTE: At All Saints there will be no 10.30am service on Sunday 31st December because we are all worshipping together at St. Mary’s at 10am instead..

Whichever services you attend, we hope that you will enjoy hearing and singing the Christmas story afresh, and find time to pause and to wonder. 

May the Christ-Child fill your heart and home with the melody of his love.

Wishing you Christmas Love, Joy and especially Peace!

Revd Diane  - with Revd Lizzie, Revd Kester and Mark LLM

24th December 2023 Email Notice Sheet
Download PDF • 1.25MB
St. Marys - 24th December 2023
Download PDF • 113KB
Download PDF • 312KB
Download PDF • 650KB

Posadas have been hosting Mary and Joseph

Mary and Joseph have been on their way (by donkey) to Bethlehem starting at Advent and lasting to Epiphany. Thank you to all who created and passed on the figures. They have found room at the inns of: Fishponds CE Academy, Quarry Court, New Pooles Lodge, Purdy Court and several homes of parishioners. Last Sunday during Creative Church Baby Jesus figures were made and added to the kits. PLEASE COULD MARY AND JOSEPH RETURN HOME WITH THEIR POSADA KIT TO ST.MARY’S ON OR BEFORE SUNDAY 7TH JANUARY 2024. 

THANK YOU! We look forward to reading your journal reflections for Mary and Joseph’s stays.

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