Dear All Saints and St Mary’s
Greetings everyone and I hope that you have been sustained and carried by the light of Christ this week.
We are now 4 weeks into the season of Epiphany and this weekend we celebrate in the Church a festival which has many names. It can be called The Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or The Purification of Mary, yet the name that tends to stick is Candlemas. (Catchy like Christmas!). The bible story that is linked to this festival is always taken from Luke Chapter 2, and sees Mary and Joseph take their infant son Jesus to the Temple for the first time after his birth. There he is recognised and blessed by two elderly members of the Temple - Simeon and Anna. Its a wonderful piece of scripture, rich and full of different people and things from which we can reflect on today. I look forward to hearing Revd Janey’s sermon around it tomorrow.
It is also a festival where some traditions have blessed and lit candles during worship and then carried out to the world. A reminder that the light is still shining. A reminder particularly in this part of the world when it is winter and dark that we are still light bearers. Our focus shifts, we start to turn towards the spring, we look for the emergence of new life in God’s creation. (I like this festival!) In terms of our worship this week we wanted to be able to bring a bit of that Candlemas worship to our offerings. So this week the coffee and chat moves to 4pm on Sunday and we will have a short blessing of the candles service at the beginning of this time. It would be lovely to see you all – and its especially short so it might work for families and children (I’m going to try and juggle kids and fire (and coffee! ) all in one go!)
The PCC’s met again this week (All Saints online, and St Marys via email) to revisit the decision about our present set up with being closed for communal worship but open for private prayer. It was discerned that for the next three weeks it would be wise to continue with this pattern, in the hope and expectation that in three weeks time a large number of the most vulnerable groups will be vaccinated and that infection rates, hospital admissions and those who are dying each day will have seen significant falls. This gives us hope that on the 17th February for Ash Wednesday we would be able to have our first communal service together since the New Year. I am very much looking forward to that date.
In the meantime this week the following worship is offered this week – We are having this Sunday both a live broadcast at 10am and then a Blessing of the Candles zoom at 4pm – bring your candles, old, new, borrowed or blue to this and we can see what you have brought.
Sunday 31st January 10am:
Service of the word Live streamed from All Saints.
Revd Lizzie will be leading and Revd Janey will be preaching.
This will be available via this link - https://youtu.be/8oh6iwlBoRQ
The order of service is attached. Readings: Psalm 24 and Luke 2: 22-40
4pm: Blessing our Candles and Coffee and Chat
The short service is attached for this and here is the link to the zoom
Meeting ID: 922 2627 5253 and Passcode: 200369.
Monday 1st February 8:15am:
Morning prayer via Zoom Contact Carla for the meeting details.
Wednesday 3rd February 9am:
Celtic Prayers via Zoom
Contact Mark for the meeting details
Wednesday 3rd February 10–11am
All Saints open for private prayer
Thursday 4th February 10–11am
St Mary’s open for private prayer
As well as the orders of service for this Sunday both 10am and 4pm - here is a bespoke sheet –
Tell, Make, Pray that I designed (borrowed from our Roots subscription) around Candlemas for any one who fancies something creative and simple.
Also attached is a document which explains about the Lent Book and also the book we will use for Cafe Church this year, but which I highly recommend as our general reading for this year too.
Magazines are now available in church to collect with prayers, articles and information. As well as that the 2020 sermon booklet alongside the material from last years Benedictine Advent retreat. Please feel free if you are able to pop into either All Saints of St Marys when open for private prayer to collect, or let us know and we will send you a copy of each. Many thanks to Anita for the mass printing effort this week!
A prayer of hope for Candlemas to sustain you this day.
Lord God, the springing source of everlasting light,
pour into the hearts of your faithful people
the brilliance of your eternal splendour,
that we, who by these kindling flames
light up this temple to your glory,
may have the darkness of our souls dispelled,
and so be counted worthy to stand before you
in that eternal city where you live and reign,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever Amen
Blessings to you all
Revd Lizzie Kesteven