Sunday 28th November
Advent Sunday prayer:
O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Advent is a season of expectation and preparation; a season of hope and of joy. Part of the expectation and the preparation is, of course, for Christmas; preparing ourselves for the joy of remembering not just Jesus born a baby, but God come down to live on earth. Another part of the preparation is shown in the prayer: Jesus is coming again. We have been promised that; are we ready?
For both of these wonderful events – Christmas and Jesus coming again – there is great hope and joy. Right now though, with all the news about Covid variants, it can be hard to feel hope and joy! But maybe if we can say and mean the Aramaic word, “Maranatha” – “Our Lord, come”….come into my life - then, despite the anxieties we will know the hope and joy of Jesus Christ in our daily lives; and we can then say “Amen” to this prayer.
Easing of Covid restrictions in public worship(Effective from Sunday 25th July 2021)You will be aware, I'm sure, of the lifting of Covid restrictions by the Government from the 19th July. In a nutshell, the Government have lifted all the restrictions on public worship........ and put the onus upon individual churches to decide what they want to do and how we keep everyone in our churches safe!The churchwardens and I have been looking through the 12-page document from the CoE Recovery Group, and working out what we think is the way forward for our three churches in the benefice. Where possible we have tried to be consistent across the three churches, but the physical layout and other factors are different between the churches so there are some parts of our guidelines that are specific to each church.We have tried, through all of this, to tread the path between wanting to ease restrictions, considering the anxieties of those who will feel vulnerable if there are no restrictions whatsoever, and being aware of the rising Covid numbers nationally/locally and our responsibilities to everyone. Inevitably there will be differences of opinion on what we have decided, but this will be continually reviewed with experience, feedback, and any changes to the guidelines from the Government or CoE Recovery Group.The detail is in a leaflet available at church and is on the Coronavirus page of the website. Here are the salient points:
Face coverings: optional
Social distancing: optional
(In both cases, please respect other people’s wishes)
Please use the sanitiser on entry and exit
NHS Test & Trace:
Please use the QR code, or the Register.
Congregational Singing - will take place
“Safe zone” – use the far right hand side
Peace: non-contact exchange
Communion: bread and wine by “simultaneous administration”
Refreshments: served after the service
Direction Finder : TN17 4DL
“Services” and Prayer:
Please make use of the beautiful quiet space in St. George's Church any day for individual private prayer; prayer resources are available. If there is something particular you would like prayer for, please send me an email or give me a call.
Services in November:28th: 8am Communion; 10am Morning Worship; 5pm Advent Carol service, "A service of light"Services in December:
Saturday 4th: 10:30am Benenden Girls’ School carol service
Sunday 5th: 8am Holy Communion; 10am All-Age Communion; 2pm Baptism service
Friday 10th: 5pm St. Ronan’s School carol service
Sunday 12th: 8am 1662 BCP Communion; 10am Morning Worship
Friday 17th: 2:15pm Benenden Primary School Christmas service
Sunday 19th: 8am Communion; 10am Sung Eucharist
Tuesday 21st: 7:30pm Parish candle-lit carol service
Christmas Eve, Friday 24th: 3pm Crib service; 11:30pm First Communion of Christmas
Christmas Day, Saturday 25th: 8am Communion; 10am Morning Worship - followed by Communion for those who wish to stay
Sunday 26th: 9am Communion
Mid-week Communion: 10am, Tuesday, Mission Church. (N.B. Not 28th Dec.)
Sunday 2nd January 2022: 8am Holy Communion; 10am All-Age Communion; 5pm Choral EvensongMorning Prayer takes place, in church, at 8am on Mon, Tues, Wed and Friday.Monday and Friday are at St. George's. Tuesday and Wednesday are at the Mission Church Sandhurst. (N.B. Not between 27th & 31st Dec.)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength . . . Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Now is still a time to care for your neighbour. Please, pick up the phone, speak to them. We are a strong community, a caring community. Together we are getting through this.
Finally, I encourage you to use these prayers when you get up and when you go to bed:
A prayer in the morning:
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’. Be with me today, as I offer myself to you. Hear my prayers for others and for myself, and keep me in your care. Amen.
A prayer in the evening:
God our Father, by whose mercy the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light,:we place in your hands our unfinished tasks, our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes, knowing that only what you bless will prosper. To your love and protection we commit each other and all those we love, knowing that you alone are our sure defender, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Keep safe. Keep well. Keep praying. God bless you. With love, David