top of page

December/January E-Magazine 2021/2

In this edA Rough Guide to the Bible in Advent

  • What is the advent wreath all about?

  • Blue Christmas

  • A Celebration of Baptism

  • Spiritual Reflection

  • St Mary's Christmas Tree Festival and Trail

  • Candlemas - 2nd February

  • Sunburst at St Mary's

  • Services throughout the Parish

  • Tree of Light







 



A Rough Guide to the Bible in Advent:

the light shines in the darkness

Why does Jesus make a difference? Why does someone who lived a very long time ago make it any better now? Why should I hope? Why should I care? What is the point of Jesus anyway?

The answer to these questions is found in the Bible, but the problem with the Bible is that it is very long and complex. It is difficult to know where to start. Many people start reading it like any other book at page 1 and move on to the end, usually giving up by page 45. Why? Because we know the end of the story, or we think that we do and the Bible is so strange in parts.

The Bible was written in a different age in a different language and culture so can seem very alien to us. It is a bit like when we watch a Japanese film like ‘My Neighbor Totoro’, the plot can be difficult to follow as it is taken from a different culture and is a translation. Japanese culture is different to ours but far more similar than the culture of the biblical peoples. Despite this people still seem to think that they should be able to understand the Bible very easily. So when we do try and read the Bible for the first time it can be quite distressing as it can make very little sense.

The Bible is a saga, like ‘Lord of the Rings’, a very long collection of individual stories that tie together into a massive grand narrative. So what I have done is created a summary of the Bible. I have picked out 40 stories from the Bible, beginning at the beginning and working through to the end. Each reading has some ‘Top Tips’ to put it into context and help us understand what it means. So by the end you should have an overview of the whole story of Christianity and an answer to why Jesus is so important.

The guide begins on Day 1 and Jesus is born on Day 25, so this is a great way to do Advent this year. The readings also tie in with the Advent wreath which will be lit each Sunday in Advent. You can download the Light Shines in the Darkness from our website where it will be found on the front page.

Rev Hywel Snook

 

What is the advent wreath all about?

The Advent Wreath is that special set of different-coloured candles at the front of church. Those who are old enough will remember the Blue Peter Advent crown, which was sadly removed from the programme when it caused someone’s house to burn down. Other than reminding forty-somethings of Blue Peter does the Advent Wreath serve any purpose? The purpose of the wreath is the same as the Blue Peter one: it counts down to Christmas and cheers us up. Winter in Britain is dark and depressing so it’s good to remember that even though it is already dark and getting darker, the light is coming.

Each candle points to a different person or group in the Bible. These people lived before Jesus and are lights that shine in the darkness. Each of these people is calling that great light to come.

Patriarchs

Prophets

John the Baptist

Mary the mother of Jesus.

Christ the light of the world

The candles fit into the theme of each Sunday’s reading in Advent. Each week we will focus on a different promise of God and the miraculous child who was born to fulfil it.

Week 1: God promises Abraham and Sarah a son even though they are really old. He gives them Isaac.

Week 2: God promises Hannah a son and Samuel is born.

Week 3: God promises Elizabeth and Zachariah a son when they are already old. He gives them John the Baptist.

Week 4: God asks Mary if she will bear God’s son and she says yes. You know who he is.

We can see that all through the Bible God makes promises and fulfils them. May he fulfil his promise and be born within us this Christmas.

 

Blue Christmas:

Remembering our Loved ones at Christmas

Every year at Christmas we are told by the TV that we must be happy, and to be happy we have to buy more stuff. This never works, because Christmas just amplifies how we feel already; if we feel good it makes us feel better, if we don’t it makes us feel worse. One of the hardest things about Christmas is the fact that some of the people we love will be missing, like the old Elvis song: ‘It will be a blue Christmas without you’. On 12th December at the 10:30 services in St Mary’s and St Nix there will be an opportunity to pray for those who are not looking forward to Christmas and to remember those we have lost this year, last year or any year. This is important as Christmas is really hard for many people. God understands that Christmas is not a perfect day with a perfect family, because Jesus’ first Christmas was not a time of fun but a time of pain. There is the hope that Jesus is born into our world and experiences all its joys and its pains too.

 

A Celebration of Baptism

16 January is when we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. This year we are asking all those who have been baptised to come to church and renew the promises they made at baptism. We are also asking everyone to bring the candle they were given at baptism so that it can be lit again to celebrate that we are God’s family together. Hywel’s baptism candle is broken but he’ll still bring it out and light it. If you were not given a candle or can’t find it don’t worry: we will give everyone a candle so we can celebrate together.

We will celebrate our baptisms on 16 January at 10:30 in St Mary’s, St Nix and St James.

 

Spiritual Reflection

In just a few weeks we will be moving from 2021 into a new year. I remember this time last year longing for 2021 to be different from 2020 in the sense of being able to put the COVID pandemic behind us once and for all. Well, that hasn’t happened, has it! 2021 has been different and maybe even an improvement on 2020, but COVID still impacts our lives, we continue to see dramatic weather events induced by climate change and yet again there is a whiff of corruption in our national politics.

Each year we invest a lot of emotional expectation in the New Year as if we can put all that is bad behind us and look forward to a brighter future. In January gym membership soars as we try to become a new, trimmer person and the self-help mantras of New Year Resolutions promise to reform us as people into who we want to be. By February most resolutions have been broken and the gym membership has lapsed. In our hearts we know that the clock moving from a minute to midnight to a minute past midnight can’t make any dramatic change to who we are or the way our world is. After all it is only the date that is changing, but we still like to deceive ourselves as a society that maybe this year it will be different.

And yet it can be different. As Christians we have good reason to celebrate each New Year because it comes hard on the heels of Christmas. New Year only makes any logical sense in light of the birth of our saviour who deals with our fallibility and flawed nature on our behalf and redeems us so that we can be restored to the person God always intended us to be. On our own we are trapped by our mistakes and bad choices – there is nothing that we can do about them or about ourselves, but the birth of Jesus reminds us of the hope that by the power of his Holy Spirit we can be transformed and made new. As Paul says to the Corinthian Church: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” [2 Cor. 5: 17]. So may I wish you all, in the same breath, a very happy

Christmas and New Year!

Rev Ian Wallace

 

St Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival and Trail

By the time you read this the porch and church will be decorated, and we hope the trees will all be in place. The festival opens on Friday evening 3 December at 7pm (doors open at 6.30pm) with an evening of musical entertainment and light refreshments. To get your FREE tickets please email yatepcc@live.co.uk

On Saturday 4 and Saturday 11 December the church will be open to the public from 10.30am to 4pm. Come along to enjoy seasonal light refreshments and craft workshops - something for children and adults too. Tickets are available for the craft workshops from the Parish Office – we are keen to ensure compliance with COVID guidelines including social distancing, so will restrict numbers at these sessions. Children’s tickets for making tree decorations or Christmas arrangement in a teacup £2 each, adult’s tickets for corn dolly workshop – cost TBA.


If it’s an evening out you’re looking for join us on Wednesday 8 December for Yate Academy Christmas Concert with a retiring collection; or on Friday 10 December for our Comedy and Carols evening featuring Folk-On, Paul Kerensa & Tom Elliott – tickets available via the Parish Office email yatepcc@live.co.uk

Our fundraising proceeds are again being shared 50/50 between St Mary’s Roof Project and St Peter’s Hospice work in the community, and to boost our funds we are running a standalone raffle with a first prize of £100 – tickets available

via the Parish Office.

 

Candlemas2 February

This falls between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, half-way between Christmas and Good Friday, between Jesus’ birth and death. We turn our attention from cradle to cross, from birth to death; we remember that following Jesus is not just about Christmas light and celebration, or Good Friday sacrifice and suffering. We look from cradle through cross to empty tomb, already faintly visible, the everlasting light shining through the darkness still to come. Following Jesus is about the hope that his resurrection brings.

In Luke 2:22-40 we find Mary and Joseph bringing their infant son to elderly priest Simeon, to be presented in the Temple as per Jewish law. Simeon, who had long awaited the Lord’s Messiah, was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before seeing him. “Lord, now let your servant go in peace”, marks the end of his waiting, perhaps even his life. He has seen the Messiah, the light of the world.

Older people often say they are too old to do much anymore. But being a member of the body of Christ is not just about being physically active. Praying for Messy Church is just as important as running it. Picking up the phone to chat with a friend from church is as much pastoral care as when the clergy visit. There is no retirement age. Throughout the pandemic there have been countless examples of members of the body of Christ – the Church – caring for each other. When church doors were locked the Church did not close down. I have been astounded and delighted by reports of phone calls made, errands run, shopping done, and innumerable other acts of kindness shown in a myriad ways.


This is pastoral care: the focus on the healing, guiding, supporting, reconciling, nourishing, energizing, and empowering people in whatever situation they find themselves. Such care is our response to God’s unconditional love: we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Part of that response has been extending our care for those in our communities who are not (yet) part of our churches. Such caring is a sign of God’s love and a witness to others that we have something special to offer a broken world in need of healing and reconciliation.

Lockdowns and restrictions have led to those who are struggling with their mental health or with bereavement feeling incredibly isolated and desperate for someone to talk to. Our Listening Ear service helps those in need of professional counselling, but for whom there is an increasingly long waiting list. Financial worries, home-schooling, lockdowns have amplified existing problems for many families. In response, St Mary’s Church has partnered with Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) to train coaches for one-to-one sessions with children in St Mary’s school to reduce anxiety, increase confidence and aspirations and to give hope for a brighter future.

Let Candlemas be for us a celebration of the care given and received. But there is still work to do. Ask yourself, What is my calling from God for today, and for tomorrow? How am I serving him and his people right now? Is there anything else I could offer?

Where there is light there can be no darkness. How can we be a light to those living in darkness, a light by which to make Jesus Christ visible in our communities today?

There will be a Reflective service to mark Candlemas at St Mary’s Church at 4pm on Sunday 30th January 2022.

Rev Joanne Hodge

 

Sunburst at St Mary’s

Since Sunburst re-launched in September during the 10.30am service at St Mary’s, 14 children have attended at different times with their parents. Our Advent sessions in December will be a short talk about taking time to prepare for Christmas, with time to chat over Advent and Christmas crafts.

We are also collecting a ‘reverse’ Advent calendar to be delivered to Foodbank in January. Anyone wishing to contribute please see Bev or Ian Hodgson.

Sunburst are presenting a Nativity during the service on 19 December. We still need a few adults who have the ability to wear a party hat (!) to take part, please. See Bev.

After the Nativity service, please come to the Youth Centre to look at what the children have been doing. There may be a few surprises as well!

The Sunburst crew wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

Ian Hodgson, Sunburst Co-ordinator

 

Friday 3 December 6—7.00pm

Carols in Kingsgate Park


Saturday 11 December 3.30pm

Messy Christingle @ St Nix

Monday 20 December 6.30pm

Carols on the Green @ St James

 

Yate Choral Society

Christmas Concert

Tuesday 14 December

Chipping Sodbury Town Hall 7.30pm

With guests — Barn Bells

Tickets £8.00 - including refreshments

(Covid regulations permitting)

Tickets available from

Chipping Sodbury Tourist Information Centre

Choir members or call 01454 313907


 

Have you a spare seat in your car?

Can you offer a lift to St Mary’s

10.30am Sunday services?

Contact Terry Carter

on 01454 882280

for more information.

 

Services throughout the Parish

Sunday 5 December

Advent 2—Purple

Malachi 3:1-4 Luke 1:68-79 Philippians 1:3-11 Luke 3:1-6

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Morning Worship

6.30pm 630Praise

St Nix

10.30am Communion - live stream

St James

10.30am Communion

St Peter

4.00pm Evening Worship (Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday 12 December

Advent 3—Purple

Zephaniah 3:14-20 Isaiah 12:2-6 Philippians 4:4-7 Luke 3:7-18

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Blue Christmas

6.30pm 630Praise—Christmas Praise

St Nix

10.30am Blue Christmas live stream

St James

10.30am Christingle & Baptism

St Peter

4.00pm Communion

(Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday 19 December

Advent 4—Purple

Micah 5:2-5a Luke 1:46b-55 Hebrews 10:5-10 Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Morning Worship

6.30pm Carol Service


St Nix

10.30am Communion - live stream

6.30pm Carol Service


St James

10.30am Communion

4.00pm Carol Service


St Peter

4.00pm Carol Service

Friday 24 December

St Mary’s

4.30pm Crib Service for younger children & families

6.00pm Crib Service for older children & families

11.00pm Midnight Communion

St Nix

4.30pm The Nativity Retold Service

St James

11.00pm Midnight Communion

St Peter’s

11.30pm Midnight Communion

Saturday 25 December

St Mary’s

10.00am Christmas Day Service

St Nix

10.00am Christmas Day Service

Sunday 26 December

Christmas 1 —White

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 Colossians 3:12-17 Luke 2:41-52

St Nix

10.30am Parish Communion


Sunday 2 January

Christmas 1—White

Jeremiah 31:7-14 Ephesians 1:3-14 John 1:(1-9), 10-18

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Morning Worship - live stream

6.30pm 630Praise

St Nix

10.30am Communion

St James

10.30am Communion

St Peter

4.00pm Evening Worship (Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday 9 January

Epiphany— White

Isaiah 43:1-7 Acts 8:14-17 Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Communion - live stream

6.30pm 630Praise

St Nix

10.30am Morning Worship

St James

10.30am Morning Worship

St Peter

4.00pm Communion (Book of Common Prayer)


Sunday 16 January

Baptism of Christ—White

Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 John 2:1-11

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Morning Worship - live stream

6.30pm 630Praise

St Nix

10.30am Communion

St James

10.30am Communion

St Peter

4.00pm Evening Worship

(Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday 23 January

Vision Sunday—White

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a Luke 4:14-21

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Communion - live stream

6.30pm 630Praise


St Nix

10.30am Morning Worship


St James

10.30am Morning Worship


St Peter

4.00pm Communion

(Book of Common Prayer)

Sunday 30 JanuaryVision Sunday

Epiphany 4—White

Jeremiah 1:4-10 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Luke 4:21-30

St Mary

8.15am Communion

10.30am Parish Communion - live stream

4.00pm Candlemas—A Reflective Service

6.30pm 630Praise


 

Yate Choral Society Christmas Concert

Tuesday 14 December

Chipping Sodbury Town Hall 7.30pm

With guests — Barn Bells

Tickets £8.00 - including refreshments

(Covid regulations permitting)

Tickets available from

Chipping Sodbury Tourist Information Centre

Choir members or call 01454 313907


 

Tree of Light

Once again during the Christmas season Yate Rotary Club will be lighting up the very large tree at the eastern entrance to Yate Shopping Centre with hundreds of lights.

Celebrate a life! Celebrate an achievement! Celebrate a special family event! … do it by sponsoring a light on the Tree of Light.

To find out more go to www.yaterotaryclub.co.uk and select TREE OF LIGHT. Sponsorship £6 per person/event celebrated.


Proceeds will be shared between St Peter’s Hospice and Brain Tumour Research.

Switch-on is on Friday 3 December at 4pm.


TREE OF LIGHT CELEBRATION SPONSORSHIP FORM

Your name: ……………………………

Your phone no:…………………………

Your e-mail: …………………………...

Your address: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Name/s of person/s or event/s to be celebrated: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Please make cheques payable to ‘Yate and District Rotary Club’ and mail to:

Yate Rotary Club, 2 Wickham Close, Chipping Sodbury,

Bristol, BS37 6NH

All personal information will be kept securely and used only for

communications about the Tree of Light

 

Morning prayer in Yate Parish


Do you find prayer a little difficult? Would you like some inspiration? Go to the Yate Parish Facebook page to join in Morning Prayer led by our ministry team. You can watch live at 7.30am Monday to Saturday, or watch at any time later in the day. Many people have found it a great start to their day.

 

Weekly at St Mary’s

Thursday Communion at 10.00am

 

Compline @8pm


Before the lockdown happened, we had recorded the saying of Compline. We ask that each evening at 8pm we light a candle in our window and pray together for our nation using the words of the Compline service - it takes just over 5 minutes.


Visit the parish website and click on the recordings to listen; you will find the words of the service there too.

 

DailyHope phone line


DailyHope, a free national telephone line, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of the phone. A Church of England initiative in partnership with CONNECTIONS at Holy Trinity Claygate, and Faith in Later Life. The line – which is available 24 hours a day on 0800 804 8044 – has been set up particularly with those unable to join online church services during the period of restrictions in mind; to provide comfort and spiritual nourishment to the most isolated in our society.

Comments


<