Dear Church Friends,
Christmas Greetings to you all.
The Elders would like to wish you all a very Happy, Blessed and Peaceful Christmas with a safe, healthy, better year in 2022.
As I shall not be issuing any notices next weekend, this is the Christmas issue covering weeks 91 and 92.
I am sorry to have to start with some sad news of two people who have been part of our church family. Dave Ellis has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sylvia and her family as they come to terms with their loss and prepare for David’s funeral which is to be held in the White Church next Thursday 23rd December at 1.30pm. Denise Boyle who used to attend church along with her mother Madeline has passed away. We pray for any of her family who are grieving at this time.
Unfortunately, the news of the rapid increase in cases of Coronavirus is a worrying development. Following the Government’s announcements on increased restrictions and a letter from our Synod Moderators advocating caution over the coming weeks, your Elders have met to plan the way forward over the next two weeks. The infection rate of the new omicron variant is rising at an alarming rate and further restrictions may well be put in place before too long. As those on email will already know, someone who attended worship last Sunday 12th December has tested positive this week and Test and Trace has suggested that all those present at that service take daily Lateral Flow Tests.
The Elders hope that the planned Christmas celebrations will take place and we will do everything possible to keep you all safe and well. With this in mind they have drawn up the following guidelines.
· At all services, please would you sit socially distanced in your bubbles as before, using alternate pews. Please do not attend any service if you have any Covid symptoms. If anyone who visits our Church is unfortunate enough to receive a positive test result shortly after their visit, please would you let me know.
Subject to change at short notice, we hope to serve coffee after morning worship on Sunday 19th December and also refreshments following the Carol Service that afternoon.
The elders have agreed that at these two events, in order to reduce the risks, close contact between people should be limited with enhanced social distancing and ventilation.
Those who go into the Hall for coffee after morning worship and/or for refreshments after the Carol Service are asked to maintain Social Distancing on the way and go straight to sit at a table with no more than 4 to 6 at a table and not move around from table to table.
Hand sanitisers should be used whenever possible.
People should only remove their face covering while eating and drinking and wear one at all other times when entering /leaving the hall and going to the toilets.
The Elders are keeping a close watch on the changing Government and scientific advice. If guidelines and instructions change over the next few days, we may need to review our programme again. We will, of course, keep you informed of any further changes.
At present we hope the services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will go ahead as planned.
Our Worship on Sunday 19th December at 10.45am is our Nativity Service and will be led by Stuart Gay.
Bible Readings: Isaiah C9 vv2-7 and Matthew C12 vv18-25
On Sunday 19th December our Service of Readings, Prayers and Carols will be held at 4pm. Kevin Morgan will be playing the organ. I will attach the Order of Service for the Carol Service for those on email. There will only be a limited number of Order of Service Carol sheets available for those not on email so if you intend to come to the Carol Service please print out your own.
Rev Jim has cancelled the ‘ Mince Pies at the Manse’ on Monday 20th December
Christmas 2021 Services
Friday 24th December Christmas Communion 11pm Rev Janet Calderley
Saturday 25th December Christmas Day 10.30am Val Atkinson
There will be no church service on Sunday 26th December.
Our Worship on Sunday 2nd January at 10.45am will be led by Rev Janet Calderley and will include communion. To make it easier for the stewards to serve you, would you please sit in alternate pews.
Appeal for Christmas Toys
Thank you for your amazing response to the appeal for toys for disadvantaged children. The gifts brought last Sunday, along with £100 in donations, have been taken to the Salvation Army Headquarters in Raikes Parade, Blackpool and the gifts will be distributed to those children known to them who face a bleak Christmas. Sincere thanks have been received from the Salvation Army who know of 1,900 children in the area who are disadvantaged. Any further gifts brought this week will be given to Stuart Gay to take to the same place.
Families in Afghanistan face a hunger crisis this winter. Christian Aid has launched an Afghanistan Crisis Appeal. If you are able to make a donation, please give it to Janet S and she will send it to Christian Aid on behalf of our church Thank you.
Thursday Coffee Mornings
There will be no coffee mornings on Thursday 23rd Dec and 30th December. Covid regulations permitting, the next Thursday coffee morning will be on 6th January 2022.
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 weekly Home Services and monthly Newsletters this year.
Now for some good news. Various birds have started singing again. Mostly the robins and the blackbirds I think, but whichever birdsong you hear it is uplifting and makes us think of Spring. During this week the days will start getting longer with sunset getting later. Be optimistic.
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. Watch over us. We ask you to protect, encourage and comfort us during this festive time. We pray for those unable to celebrate because they are sick or in isolation and ask for your blessings on them. Be our strength and shield through these difficult times.
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. 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