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News from the Vicarage - November 2015

Dear Friends,

November starts with All Saints' Day when we celebrate  the saints of the church, especially those who do not have a special saints' day. And in the evening we commemorate All Soul's, those the faithful departed and we read out names of those who have died recently.

November 8th is Remembrance Sunday and we have the Remembrance Service starting at 10.45am at the War Memorial. At the end of November we end the church's year with the celebration of Christ the King 22nd November. There is a joint Ellesmere Deanery Evensong at 6pm at Baschurch. Singers and choirs are asked to attend a rehearsal at 4pm.

Advent begins on 29th November and we have a joint Churches Together Advent Service at 6.30pm at the Methodist Church.

We use the word 'celebration' to describe what we do in church: we 'celebrate the Holy Communion' or we 'celebrate Christmas'. In those phrases, to celebrate means to 'mark a festival or an event by solemn ceremonies'. On its own, the intransitive verb 'to celebrate' means to do something joyful because of a feeling of pleasure at some event, etc'. At Christmas we celebrate joyfully, because Jesus has been born. The season of Advent, four Sundays leading up to Christmas, is a solemn time, as we think of the challenge which the coming of Jesus presents to our selfish way of life. Jesus comes to us at Bethlehem; in the challenges and opportunities of everyday life; at our death; and, if we are alive then, at the end of the world as we know it. So we confess our sins, confident in Christ's offer of forgiveness, and use the solemn colour of purple for the altar frontals and vestments in church (except that on the Third Sunday of Advent we use the rose-pink colour 'Gaudete'. The services are more solemn: we don't have flowers in church, the 'Glory to God in the highest' is omitted and we leave the Christmas music until Christmas week. Candles are lit on the Advent wreath/candle stand, one on the first Sunday, two on the second, and so on, leading up to the five lit at Midnight Mass. We usually refrain from eating or drinking too much until Christmas. So we build up a sense of excited anticipation, looking forward to meeting Christ joyfully in whichever way he comes to us.

My prayers and best wishes,

Fr. Philip Edge - Vicar