White Church Alternative Notices Weeks 39 & 40 – Christmas Issue 19.12.20
Dear Church Friends,
Christmas Greetings to you all.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
The Elders would like to wish you all a very Happy, Blessed and Peaceful Christmas with a safe, healthy, better year in 2021.
As I shall not be issuing any notices next weekend, I have titled this notice as weeks 39 and 40.
Last Sunday we were delighted that 35 people came to the service comprising 28 bubbles – nearly up to our capacity, so it is important to book early. It was good to be able to welcome everyone.
Thinking about week 40 reminds me that it is the scheduled time for a pregnancy to last. It seems very appropriate that our 40th issue of alternative notices coincides with the time when we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Last March no one would have envisaged that it would last this long, but we are nearly at the shortest day and then days start to get longer and daylight length increases and we can look forward to the signs of Spring appearing in nature once more and take heart from the everlasting cycle of life with all its ups and downs. We hope for many more ups in 2021 as we’ve had enough of the downs in 2020! A time to look forward and hope for life to get better as the vaccines for coronavirus are delivered.
Christmas is full of symbolism. They say the mincemeat, with its fruits and spices of the Far East, is intended to remind us of the gifts of the Wise Men. The candles on the Christmas tree are little lights (so it is said) kindled at the Star which stood over the place where the Light of the World was born. The holly is to remind us that One who went about doing good wore a crown of thorns. The mistletoe is for kissing (although not this year!) – a symbol of love. The presents are tokens of homage; the singing, an echo of the song the angels sang: Glory to God in the Highest.
As Christmas approached one year, a parish council decided they wanted to illuminate their village. They appealed for help from the residents and asked each house to make a small donation towards one light so that the high street could be lit up. People were happy to give a small amount and the result ensured that coloured light transformed the whole village, casting a glow on the cottages, church and shops. One or two lights would have had very little effect but with cooperation and a small contribution from everyone in the village, the result was magnificent to see. Individually one person can do little to light up the world, but when united together we can fully illuminate even the darkest of places. As the saying goes ‘ mighty oaks out of little acorns grow.’
On behalf of everyone connected with the White Church I should like to give a sincere ‘Thank You’ to Rev Jim Williams and Rev Janet Calderley for sending us Home Services, Newsletters, Art Theologies and for being a support at the end of the phone to share Communion with those who wished to do so. During the second lockdown Jim provided Zoom worship for the Partnership each Sunday. It was good to see friends from other URC churches and know that we were all united in worship.
Thank you so very much for your response to the Outreach Appeal for toys for disadvantaged children. As usual you rose magnificently to the appeal.
Appeal for Christmas Toys
Thank you very much for the wonderful response last Sunday to the Appeal for Christmas Toys. Four tables were filled with gifts and Rev Jim is overwhelmed by your generosity.
Please bring any further gifts, unwrapped, to Church on Sunday 20th December and place on a Table, as we did at Harvest, then we will ensure that they will go to where the need is greatest.
The gifts from last week (see photo) have now been taken to Knott End as Jim had an urgent request from them for Toys and Gifts as there was nothing for the Children and a great need with many Families in extreme financial difficulties. Any cash donated was used to purchase selection boxes (20) toiletry gift sets (17), hats, gloves and books.
Jim and Knott End were overwhelmed by the number of wonderful donations and have sent their grateful thanks to us on behalf of all who will now have a little more Xmas cheer. It is truly an example of the URC partnership working together and rising to the cause where there is a need. The gifts from this week will go again to where there is the greatest need (yet to be decided).
Items always welcome still are toys, books, selection boxes, hats, gloves and make up.
Jan would like to thank everyone who has donated in any way.
The Memory Tree is in place where you can have a card, written for you with the words of your choice to commemorate a person or event that you wish to be remembered. This card will then be tied to the tree. Val will write the cards out on your behalf because of COVID procedures. She will then hang your card upon the tree.
Donations can be left in the basket by the tree in envelopes. All monies will go to the Hospice.
Notification of Intention to attend a Sunday Service.
As there is a limit on numbers attending and in order to avoid any confusion, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org every week or phone if you intend to come to the next Sunday service.
If anyone who visits our Church is unfortunate to receive a positive test result at any time, please would you let me know.
Our Worship on 20th December will be led by Rev Terry Hudson
If you are intending to come, please will you let me know by 6pm on Saturday 19th December
Our Christmas Worship will be held on Christmas Day Friday 25th December at 10.30am
when Val Atkinson will lead us.
Please book early to ensure your place. Please arrive at the church between 10.15 and 10.25am.
If you are intending to come, please contact me by 4pm on Christmas Eve Thursday 24th December.
There will be no service on Sunday 27th December
Our Worship on 3rd January 2021 at 10.45am will be led by Val Atkinson and will include Communion. If possible, please bring your own individual portion of bread and wine (squash or water) for communion services. There will be some individual prepacked cups with wafers available for anyone who forgets, so no one will miss out.
If you are intending to come, please will you let me know by 6pm on Saturday 2nd January.
Sunday Communion Services
Rev Jim and Rev Janet conduct a regular Communion service on Sundays at 7pm. This can be accessed on Zoom and by phone. People should ring Jim – 01253 896371 or Janet – 01253 896056 for details and access.
Used Stamps for The Leprosy Mission
Please cut the stamps off your Christmas envelopes leaving a small margin around the edge, put them in a spare envelope and save them until you are able to return to church. For those of you who attend church please put the envelope of used stamps in the designated basket. Thank you.
Let us pray
Be with us as we get ready to celebrate your birth. You are our light and our refuge. Help us to stay safe and watch over us. We ask you to protect, encourage and comfort us during this festive time. We pray for those unable to celebrate and ask for your blessings on them. In Your name. Amen
Please join me in saying the Grace together.
May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen
God Bless you all Ruth