December 12th News and Worship
To this week's newsletter. As we prepare to go to print the Church of England has sent out new guidelines and instructions following the Prime Minister's announcement on Wednesday - see below for more details.
Vicar's Thoughts (pre-Wednesday's announcement)
Which coloured candle should we light next on the Advent array? We have three candles left to light: one is purple, one pink and one white. Our more catholic sisters and brothers would light the pink one for Gaudete Sunday, from the instruction to rejoice while our more traditional sisters and brothers, following the old Advent pattern, remember on week 1 the prophets, week 2 John the Baptist, week 3 the blessed virgin, week 4 God's people and week 5 Nativity. As it's Advent week 3, they would also light the pink candle.
Although it looks pink, the candle isn't supposed to be pink its meant to be rose. A liturgical colour which is suitable both for Mary and for Gaudete (rejoicing).
Being 'good middle of the road Anglicans' - we, at St Peter's, adjust our candle colours to fit the Biblical theme of John the Baptist and so light a purple one this week and light the rose coloured candle next week when our theme is Mary.
But does that mean we can't rejoice? By no means! There is much to rejoice and give thanks for:
This weekend it's our Young Church Nativity service in the morning at 10.30am. St Peter's will be alive with angels, shepherds, narrators, donkeys and inn keepers retelling the events of that first Christmas.
The Christmas Street party (that we started all those years ago and has become the blessing to the village we prayed it would be) kicks off at 3.00pm. St Peter's is open for hot chocolate, the wild church fire will be burning, chestnuts will be roasting out the front, hand bell ringers performing and all is rounded off at 7.00pm with street party carols.
There is yet more cause for rejoicing: last Sunday we were blessed with uplifting worship in the morning lead by the Freedom to Worship Gospel choir and in the afternoon we had a wonderful Christingle service with our worship band and Voice choir - all reminding us how good it is to gather and worship together. Even in fairly full services, there was plenty of space for those who wanted to keep a bit more distance.
This Sunday we move one week nearer to celebrating the birth of Jesus - we light one more candle on the advent array and as the hymn encourages us "Lift up your heart, lift up your voice, rejoice again, I say rejoice"!
Vicar's Thoughts (post-Wednesday's Announcement)
One of those most tiring and tiresome aspects of these last twenty months has been the wait between the government announcement and the Church of England response. There is also then the expectation that at Parish level we can instantly put into effect whatever has been decided. This is definitely the case today as I write this on Thursday evening, having just received the Church of England's new requirements that come in to effect at midnight.
What do we have to do?
Wear a mask as you come into church and during the service except when we are singing when masks can be taken off.
For those who are concerned and want to reduce their contacts Wednesday at 10.30am and Sunday at 8.30am are both services where there is plenty of space and you will be most welcome to find a socially distanced space.
We will continue to share refreshments after services and we will continue with our Tuesday Advent Reflections, Mother's Union and all other activities.
We will restart the traffic light coding system for services.
We should also be aware that the government's decision will mean jobs lost for families just before Christmas and increased demand on the Food Pantry. Therefore, caring for the most vulnerable as the Bishop is encouraging us to do, includes volunteering to help at the Food Pantry and giving additional support. With Church open for prayer through the day at the moment, we will from Monday re-start collecting food at the back of Church for the Pantry.
Would an hour of prayerful reflection be what you need to recharge your spiritual batteries? If this is so, why not come to this week's Advent Reflection on Tuesday 14th December at 1.30pm when we will be reflecting on 'Emmanuel' recognising God's coming, and when we gaze on the person of Christ afresh.
Our last Reflection will be on Tuesday 21st December at 1.30pm
Each Reflection we will be in St Peter's Rooms and will last an hour, with refreshments afterwards. All are very welcome to come and join us and we will be finished in time for school pick-up.
When Christmas Hurts
This Advent, once again, we will have in church a prayer corner where we recognise that for some of us it will not be a particularly joyous Christmas. We have always thought it important to recognise the underlying sadness that affects many of us during this season of rejoicing. Being able to admit even just to ourselves that we don’t always feel great at this time of year can sometimes help, even though we are often desperately putting a brave face on it.
The church building will be open for anyone who would like to visit the 'When Christmas Hurts' prayer corner. You can take one of the nuts from the jar and hold it tight, remembering how tightly God holds you in his hand. You can pray, light a candle, write a prayer, consider God’s promises to us all, or just sit quietly for a while.
All are welcome.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them out of my hand
The Big (Carol) Sing - last call!
Following last year's fabulous 'Big Sing' event there is another opportunity to get involved this year on Monday 20th December from 6.30pm. We will be sending groups of singers (of all abilities) to different areas of the village to spread Christmas Cheer alongside our Methodist friends. This is usually very well received and lots of fun. All ages welcome. If you're interested please contact either the Parish Office or Bev at Beverley.firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Communion, at home, this Christmas
If you normally receive Holy Communion at Christmas time but have not yet made it back to church for reasons of illness, mobility or caution, a member of our ministry or pastoral teams will be happy to bring Holy Communion to your home.
The short service of ‘Communion at Home or in Hospital’ is full of all the familiar words that we keep in our hearts, and brings communion in all senses of the word as it brings the spirit of the church family into your home… “we bring these holy gifts that you may share in the communion of his body and blood”.
Let Anne know if you would like someone to visit with Holy Communion around Christmas time. All visitors to you from St Peter’s will have been fully vaccinated and had a negative lateral flow test result before visiting and will wear a mask if you request it.
Anne Stirling 07999 862 035
Or leave details with the Parish Office 01625 827625
Service streaming on YouTube.
It is our absolute pleasure to be able to live-stream some of our worship on the St Peter's YouTube channel, so that those at home can worship alongside those in church and most special services over the festive season will be streamed in this way. This has been such a learning journey and we are aware of your patience as we learn new things each week.
There have been many questions raised about streaming worship and hopefully this will make some things clearer.
Each week a link for live-streaming is sent with the Saturday Worship email. This is a link which takes you to the St Peter's YouTube channel itself and NOT to one particular service. It is not the same as a zoom link. Services can be found under the 'videos' heading at the top.
The easiest way to see new Services quickly is to click the red 'subscribe' option. This is free, and no one will contact you in any way. It just means that when a new Service appears on the channel, a red dot will appear on the subscription icon, which is easy to see and can be clicked to take you onwards.
When the Service streamed is Choral, you can click on the title under the video screen (i.e. 'Advent Sunday 27th November 2021, 4.30pm Choral Evensong' and a description box will appear at the side, giving you details of readings, Responses, Anthem and hymns so you can join in.
We are aware that sometimes the sound levels on the stream can be lower than we would like, or the view of church may sometimes obscure part of the song words (at the 10.30am Service) we are working on improving this.
Understanding and working through the new technology can be daunting so if you need help (or a little encouragement!) please get in touch. We can't guarantee to fix everything but maybe, just maybe, we can work it out together.
Christmas Wednesday Soup Lunch
December 15th following Holy Communion
Next Wednesday our 10.30am service of Holy Communion will be followed by a Christmas Special Soup Lunch. We would love you to join us! A simple soup lunch with friendship and chat. All are very welcome.
Monday 13th December 2.00pm St Peter’s Rooms
Steve Murphy, Curate at St Peter’s, will be joining us so we can find out more about him, and he can find out more about us! Carols, Christmas treats, tea and chat as usual.
If you are able, please bring a children’s Christmas sweet treat for the Christmas Hampers being made up at the Pantry in Upton Priory (for example a sweet or chocolate selection pack).
Remember all are welcome at our Mothers’ Union meetings. You don’t need to be a member (or a woman!) If you would like to know more about our Mothers’ Union meetings ask Anne 07999 862 035.
Core Food Pantry
From Monday there will be a collection point at the back of church for donations for our Food Pantry on Upton Priory. Donations left at the Co-op no longer go to the Core Pantry but elsewhere hence the re-establishment of the drop-off point at Church. With challenging times ahead for those on the Upton Estate we minister to, it is more important than ever that we do all we can for the Core Food pantry. If you want to know more, or would like to volunteer to help, call Andrea on 07586 358610.
Looking ahead to Christmas
At present there are no plans to ticket or require pre-booking for any of our Christmas services. However, there will be no seating in the choir stalls, or Legh Chapel (other than for choristers, singers and musicians) and no standing at the back. When we are full, we are full!
All the main Christmas services will be streamed so if you are clinically vulnerable or un-vaccinated you can still join in with our worship.
Masks do need to be worn at all services except when we sing.
St Peter's, Prestbury
Dec 12th 10.30am Young Church Nativity Service
7.00pm Street Party Carols
Dec 19th 4.30pm Nine Lessons and Carols
Dec 24th 3.00pm & 5.00pm Carols around the Crib
11.30pm Midnight Communion
Dec 25th 10.30am Christmas Family Communion
Church of the Resurrection, Upton Priory
Dec 12th 10.00am Holy Communion
Dec 19th 4.00pm Christmas Praise
Dec 24th 4.00pm Christingle
St John's, Adlington
Dec 12th 11.00am Christingle
Dec 19th 4.00pm Twilight Carols (outdoors)
Dec 24th 6.00pm Nine Lessons and Carols
The Church Diary
The Church Office is open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 12noon
9.00am Morning Prayer St Peter's Rooms, all welcome
9.00am Morning Prayer Zoom Code 503 346 024, Password 793684
10.30am Holy Communion, St Peter's followed by refreshments
9.00am Morning Prayer, Zoom Code 859 930 994
11.30am Holy Dusters, St Peter's (If interested please call the Parish Office as in the run up to Christmas, times may vary)
3.15pm Voice Children's Choir St Peter's Rooms
7.45pm Choir practice
Worship Services for The Third Sunday of Advent
12th December Third Sunday of Advent
Readings and Collects
O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
God for whom we watch and wait,
you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:
give us courage to speak the truth,
to hunger for justice,
and to suffer for the cause of right,
with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer focus this week
Our prayer focus this week follows on from our Advent theme of John the Baptist who boldly shared God's message and was killed as a consequence. So we pray for the persecuted Church. For children, women and men who are imprisoned, tortured and killed because they are Christians. We pray for the rulers and leaders of the regimes where this happens to be brought to justice. We pray for our politicians to be bold in speaking out in support of Christians even when it's not in our economic interest to do so.
Those who have asked for prayer
Those who have died
Marjorie Jackson (Funeral St Peter's, 2.00pm 6th Dec)
Eric Bolam (Funeral St Peter's, 1.00pm 9th Dec)
Mick Barton (Funeral St Peter's, 1.00pm 10th Dec)