Services have resumed from Sunday 6th December at 10 am, and at noon on Tuesdays. Private Prayer continues at the usual times.
Photo by Margaret Khinmaung
ADVENT AT ST MARY’S
We are delighted that following the end of the Government’s lockdown, we will be able to gather in person for Sunday worship at 10am on Sunday 6th December, The Second Sunday of Advent.
Our Christmas Services 2020 and how to access them can be found here. There will be no services on Sunday 27th December. Our Epiphany Carol Service will be at 5pm on Sunday 10th January.
Our livestreamed services, including our Christmas services, will be available here:
The great Advent themes of wanting, waiting, mortality and hope will be more visceral than ever this year. To help us reflect in this solemn season of preparation, we have a variety of preachers:
Advent Sunday: Belinda Copson
Advent 2 The Rev Martha Inch
Advent 3 Dr Kate Middleton
Advent 4 The Vicar
God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.
This year has been extremely difficult for so many of us. Celebrations that had long been planned have been postponed or curtailed. We have seen very little of family and friends. Church life and worship have been severely disrupted. We have worried about loved ones in terms of their physical health, mental health, jobs and wellbeing. Many of us have done some new things, we have learned how to use Zoom, we have discovered concepts like “furlough” and we have clapped for the NHS. In spite of the many difficulties, we have attempted to overcome them with sincerity and perseverance. We have spent more time with ourselves and our closest family. We have been confronted with ourselves with much less to distract us from who we truly are. Our pace has slowed; our resilience and appreciation have increased. We have painted, planted, read and baked more than ever before.
In many ways we have had to “dig deeper”. We have had no other option. Deeper into ourselves and deeper into God, the source of all being and life. When we look back on this year, 2020, we may be grateful for some of that spiritual and emotional growth, however hard won it has been. We have been challenged to seek God outside of our regular patterns and structures. Perhaps some of that has been good for us, however difficult at times. We have learned the value of perseverance amidst uncertainty. In many ways, we remain in that place as we enter the seasons of Advent and Christmas.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John1:5). The truth of Christmas is that the darkness of this age will never overcome the light of God. For that light, the purest light of joy and hope and peace is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Moreover, that light which banishes the darkness of our world, which will and is overcoming the old order of sin and death and pain and injustice, is with us, Immanuel, God-with-us. God is with us now in the person of Jesus and through the Spirit of Jesus which will lead us in truth to the end of the age. In a year in which many have felt especially alone, may we be encouraged by the God who is with us and as St Paul says, nothing in all creation can separate us from that love.
We, who believe the promise of Christmas that God is with us and for us forever, know that God has overcome, that God will continue to overcome. The struggle in the meantime is to keep our spirits up, that we may overcome the daily battles and difficulties that assail us. The journey of faith is not a panacea against suffering and difficulty. But knowing that ultimately God has overcome, we can begin to persevere in small steps with sincerity and hope in confidence and faith. Therefore, as we begin to look towards a different kind of Christmas this year, we do not lose heart. Sincerity and perseverance and the God-with-us will see us through. Be kind to yourselves and to one another.
With every blessing and all good wishes for the season ahead,
St Mary’s is able to offer individual prayer in the Church on Saturdays from 10.30am- 12.30 & on Tuesdays from 2 pm til 4 pm. Small numbers will be welcomed into the Church at each time so entry will controlled by our Stewards, who will be able to direct you.
Those who are at extra risk and “clinically extremely vulnerable” are advised of the risk of attending public worship, a decision to do so is theirs alone.
The Rev’d Chris Bunce, our Vicar can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like some resources to pray at home you can access the booklet Praying in a Pandemic.
If you would like to keep in touch with St Mary’s and receive the weekly Bulletin , please email Robin: email@example.com and we add you to the circulation list.
You can also keep in touch with us through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StMarysChurchHitchin/
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The Rev’d Christopher Bunce
Vicar of St Mary’s, Hitchin & Team Rector of Hitchin with St Paul’s Walden and Preston
If you would like to help to support St Mary’s and it’s work You can give online here:
Our weekly Bulletin is now available again