Monday, 5 December 2011

Seasonal News from St. Cuthbert's...

... can be found in the December-January double issue of our Parish Magazine. It's now available in print - or you can find it online by clicking here. I'm copying the "View from the Vicarage" page into this post, but do have a look at the rest of it.

Our main services for the end of Advent and Christmas-tide are listed on the right-hand side of this blog - full details also in the Magazine, on our website and on the Parish Christmas Card, available both online (so you can print your own) and on heavy paper! For good measure here's the Christmas advertising poster too (in duplicate!).

Meanwhile, from the Magazine -


… started early for me this year. I try to resist singing Christmas Carols as long as possible - not because I’m a natural curmudgeon, but to save myself up for Christmas when it comes. I really do enjoy making a real start with our Christmas Eve Carol Service when we bless the crib, going on to celebrate the First Eucharist of Christmas at the Midnight Mass.

But this year the lighting of the Shotley Bridge Village Christmas Tree was accompanied by Carols. I turned up to bring the carol sheets and to shout out which we’d sing next. I needed to shout. The crowd was well into three figures - and enthusiastic. “We’ll treat this as a rehearsal,” I yelled. “Come back and sing some more nearer the time!” So I hope the outdoor singers will be back at the tree on Tuesday 20th December - and giving them old copies of a Christmas Eve Carol Service, I hope they’ll note the time and day to turn up in church in droves for the Christingle!

It was great fun. And continued throughout the “Victorian Christmas Spectacular” the next day - with many turning up to make our Christmas Fair so successful.

Now for Advent! That’s the real time of expectation - the not-just-yet of Christ’s coming… And what do we expect of him? So much about the Church seems bad news, at least when the media lays hands on it. So I’m pleased to carry the item on page 19, examining some statistics which bear on the Church’s life: finances and ordinations are holding up, which doesn’t mean we can be complacent, but which is evidence of faith in hard times.

Christ’s is a birth in hard times. And through it there comes hope for a troubled world. The candles we use in the darkness of Christmas services are a sort of symbol that glimmers of light may shine brightest.

A very joyous and holy Christmas to you all, and a blessed and peaceful New Year!