Weekly Email – Advent 1
As we enter the season of Advent this Sunday, our minds turn once again to the mystery of the Incarnation. At the heart of God’s becoming man is quite simply his urge and yearning to move closer to us. The whole of salvation history is a constantly repeating narrative in which fallen men and women separate themselves from God. That God, however, is a God of love, who then reaches out to us to call us back and embrace us again.
Traditionally, Advent is a time when we think about Christ’s coming to us in three ways: first in his incarnation in Bethlehem; second in the sacramental life of faith, as Christ makes himself known in our hearts; and third, at the end of time when we shall see him face to face as our judge.
In each of these comings, God draws close to us, yet he calls us to reciprocate that by drawing closer to him ourselves. His reaching out to us should prompt us to want to know him more deeply and love him more trustingly.
Advent is not a penitential season in the sense that Lent is, but it is a season of expectation, longing and preparation. As the Lord comes close to us in this season, there are many ways in which we can, in turn, reach back out to him so that our hearts may be made ready to welcome his presence.
One way of preparing our hearts is through the liturgy which Advent gives us. A range of different Advent liturgies and Carol services will take place over the next few weeks which I urge you to make time to attend.
Of particular note is the Advent Carol service which will take place this Sunday at 6.00 pm. It is a beautiful opportunity to sing some of the finest and most moving hymns in the whole liturgical year. We will also hear our choir sing beautiful pieces of Advent music including: Kindle a Light, by Fleming; A Tender Shoot, by Goldschmidt; Rorate Caeli by Byrd; O Radiant Dawn by Macmillan; Hymn to the Virgin by Britten; and E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, by Manz. The service concludes, of course, with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament as we place ourselves in the Lord’s sacramental presence and pray he will come into our lives and fill us with his grace.
The parish Christmas carol service will be on Monday 20th December at 6.00 pm, and our lunchtime Christmas carol service is scheduled for Friday 17th December at 1.00 pm. Midnight Mass will be at 11.00 pm on Christmas Eve. This year, Boxing Day is a Sunday. We will have a High Mass at 11.00 am, but there will be no evening liturgies on that day.
In addition to the various liturgies of the Advent and Christmas season, you might want to consider making attendance at a Mass during the week at All Saints’ part of your rule of life this December.
Since last week, we have had two Masses a day Mon-Fri, one at 12 noon and one at 6.15 pm. Both of these Masses have been well attended so far. We hope the 6.15 pm Mass will be particularly suitable for people who happen to be in town during the evening, or who are working in offices during the day. Why not top or tail your Christmas shopping in the West End one day with a Mass? Making time and space for a quiet celebration of the Eucharist during the week is a wonderful way of preparing for Christmas amongst the hustle and bustle of December.
Christmas is also a good time to take stock of our lives and ask God for the forgiveness that lies at the heart of the Gospel. Many find the practice of making a confession to a priest a very useful and encouraging experience in their spiritual life. It can be helpful to discuss problems in a confidential context, and receive advice concerning the troubles and complexities of this life.
COVID had meant that our practice of advertising times when confessions can be heard was temporarily halted. From the first Sunday of Advent onwards, however, there will be a priest sitting in the confessional available to hear confessions in church each week on a Saturday from 11.00 am until shortly before the Mass at 12 noon. I urge you to make use of this fount of love and mercy as we prepare for Christmas and make our hearts ready to greet the Lord. If you have never made a confession before, please feel free to discuss it with any of our clergy.
Let us make this Advent a time of preparation for Christ’s birth by consciously drawing close to him in the liturgy of the church and through our corporate life of faith together. This past liturgical year has been one of many trials and complexities because of COVID. I pray that as we begin a new liturgical year together, we can do so with a renewed confidence that the Lord will bless our parish, and help us to grow in number, faithfulness and love as we live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ together.
High Mass of Requiem for Fr David Paton
Many parishioners will have fond memories of Fr David Paton, who died two years ago. It was, unfortunately, not possible to organise a formal memorial Mass for him at All Saints’ at the time of his death because of COVID restrictions. Now that legal strictures permit it, Fr David’s family has asked that a High Mass of Requiem for the repose of his soul be celebrated on the second anniversary of his death, which is Tuesday 14th December, at 6.00 pm.
All parishioners of All Saints’ are welcome and encouraged to attend. There will be a reception after the Mass in church.
Our parish owes Fr David so much for his support and loving ministry here over many years, and it will be good to offer the Mass for him in a fitting way now we are able.
Volunteers needed for Carol Services refreshments
Volunteers are needed to help serve mulled wine and mince pies and clear up afterwards at each of the four Carol Services being held at All Saints’ in December. Please write your name on the sheet at the back of the church if you can help at one or more or speak to Janet Drake or Chris Self. We need at least one volunteer able to come 45 mins before the start of each service, 5 people to help serve and clear up at the end of each evening service, and 2 for the lunch time one.
Changes to the sick list
Our list of the sick to be prayed for each day has been growing longer and longer over the past few months. Whilst it is unquestionably a joy and privilege to hold so many people in prayer before the Lord, the list is becoming a little ungainly to use when read liturgically every day because of its increasing length.
A new system will be introduced from this week onwards. When a name is added to the list, it will be automatically removed after two weeks if we have not heard that the name needs to remain on the list. In other words, if you want a name to remain on the list for more than a fortnight, you will need expressly to “renew” your request to have that name kept on the list once every two weeks.
This should mean the list is more accurate and up to date, but also means those who are chronically ill and in definite need of prayer can remain on the list if needs be.
All enquiries or comments about names to be added to the list should be addressed to the parish office.
The link for the Propers for the first Sunday of Advent is at the end of this email.
And click here for the YouTube live stream.
Advent Carol Service and Benediction is at 6pm. It features music by Bach, Britten, Byrd, Fleming, Goldschmidt, James Macmillan, and Manz.
We are looking for volunteers to help with the flowers in church. If you have a particular talent for flower arranging and would like to help from time to time or on a regular basis, please contact Shawn on 07988 287 663 or email@example.com.
If you would like to make a donation for flowers, please contact Shawn or speak to Chris Self.
Prisoners and captives
Nazanin Zhagari-Ratcliffe, Ismaeil Maghrebinejad, Nasrin Sotoudeh
Rohingya Christians in Pakistan, Karen Christians in Burma, Tigrayan Christians in Ethiopia
David Fettke, Vallery Tchukov, Sara Vice, Katherine Lee, Lorna Smith, Beth Klausing, Hilary Porter, Bruce Ross-Smith, Benjamin Woolf, James Shrimpton, Tony Rodger, Fr Michael Gudgeon, Chris and Carole Radley, Fr Harry Hodgetts, Rosemary Orr, Martin Berka, Joan Anna SLG, Sheila Wood, Jennifer Spreckley, Sue Yesnick, Elizabeth Lyon, Rosina Sargon Eskrya, Malcolm Brown, Geoff Vardy, Fr John O’Brien, Max Fernandes, Ross Dixon, Bernard Holmes, Elaine Bishop, Kathleen McMorran, Sabria Systermans, Peter Hoyle, Bishop Andrew St John, Emily Borland, Hazel Duckett, Fr Bob Nind, Jack de Gruiter, Frank Field, Fr Andrew, Belinda Marsh, Hilary Rodger
Those known to us recently departed
Anniversaries of death
28th – Annie Marshall, Doris Harmsworth, Lovinia Miller
29th – John Clough
30th – Walter Ward, Archibald Ward Pr, Emily West, Katherine O’Neil, Chris Gudgeon
December 1st – Sarah Eynstone Pr
2nd – David Prior
3rd – Margaret Rodger, Douglas Lawson, Kenneth Armstrong
4th – Pamela Freer, Robert Fletcher
Supporting All Saints
Parish Giving Scheme
You can set up a regular donation to All Saints here.
We use the Parish Giving Scheme, which allows contributions to be anonymous and deals with GiftAid, saving our office a lot of time. You can read about how the scheme works here.
Donations for general church purposes
To give by BACS please use the following details, advising the Administrator to collect Gift Aid:
PCC All Saints (Charity no. 1132895)
Sort Code 60-09-15
Parish Legacy Policy
We are always delighted to hear from anyone who wants to support us with a donation. Our PCC Legacy Policy encourages people to leave bequests specifically to one of our two related charities to be used for purposes of lasting value (rather than day to day costs):
All Saints Choir & Music Trust (Charity # 802994)
or The All Saints Foundation (Charity # 273390).