Thoughts from the Vicarage 70

Dear Friends of the Valley

It is hard to know what exactly our Christmas celebrations are going to look like this year. We’re hoping to be able to gather for our Christmas services – we may not. As a dispersed community we travel together: old and young; rich and poor; busy, very busy and not so busy. And now, we are entering the season of Advent, it’s one of expectation and preparation, of waiting and of hope as the Church prepares to celebrate the coming (adventus) of Christ at Christmas.

This is a time to be slow, to look after yourself as well as others. Please reach out if you can and keep an eye on emails, letters and social media communications to find out closer to Christmas how exactly when, where and how we are going to celebrate this year.

As preparation for Advent why not make an advent wreath at home? You can buy one of course or you can use the one pictured here below. Cut it out, colour it, & place it on a plate. Now you are ready for your journey though Advent. Remember that you are not travelling alone – there are people all around you – and God is with you.

One candle is lit on each Sunday of Advent, starting this year on the 29th November. Each Sunday, one more candle is lit, until finally the white candle in the centre is lit on Christmas Day.

Each candle has a different meaning…

  • Advent 1 -The Patriarch
  • Advent 2 – The Prophets
  • Advent 3 – John the Baptist
  • Advent 4 – The Virgin Mary
  • Christmas Day – Jesus

The prayer as you light the first candle on Advent Sunday is Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors: to you be praise and glory for ever. You called the patriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfilment. May we be obedient to your call and be ready and watchful to receive your Christ, a lamp to our feet and a light to our path; for you are our light and our salvation. Amen

Good news from our angels who are knitting

Good news from our angels who are knitting .. or crocheting or felt making angels. Angels are being completed but some people are having trouble with the wings, please feel free to use your own pattern or make it up!

We give thanks for all the angels in our lives – for all they bring to us; love, joy, hope and peace to all! PS Angels come in all colours.

Be An Angel

I know some people like gentle Advent action as they prepare for Christmas – here is a list of ways in which we may all be angels to others!

Sunday Worship

Services this week are still not possible in person but the usual Oxford Diocese Church at Home and St Paul’s Wokingham will be taking place.

Advent reading

If you would like to share in the Advent journey with me you are welcome to join in a weekly get together on Wednesday evenings at 7.15pm via Zoom. We will be using this small very readable booklet.

If you or someone you know would like to join in but doesn’t have computer access please ask Keith and he will help you dial into our Zoom. It really is possible!!!

Copies (£3) are available for those who would like to join in. Please let me know if you’re interested. Also, if you think you’d like a daily read with reflection but can’t join in please simply ask for a copy.

Good news for St Michael & All Angels is … Bells & Boilers!

We have heating thanks to all those who gave so very generously on the Gift Day. And the bells will be returning home to us on Saturday December 5th. They will be placed on pallets inside the church ready for their baptism and blessing on Sunday morning at the 10.30 service to which you are very welcome. (Should restrictions mean worship is curtailed we will let you know)

The church will then be open as usual through to dusk. The four bells will be ‘on display’ in rather the same manner as they are in this photograph, taken when the bells were lowered. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for villagers to see the bells in this manner. Please do spread the word so that as many as safely may visit. We will put notices up and on social media. We will be socially distanced and observing the Covid safe practice we have been using throughout the pandemic.

Many, many thanks to Bruce and Amanda for their service as Church wardens. We are blessed to have Church wardens who so lovingly and faithfully attend to the needs of the building.

What joy this is to be able to share such wonderfully encouraging news with you! Thanks be to God and such wonderful timing as well …

May this Advent be a blessing to you and your families.

With love and plenty of warm wishes …

Julie