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From The Vicarage: Advent & Christmas 2017

Tel 01908 337936

 Dear Friends,

And so it is Advent. Happy New Year! A new start. In our Sunday Bible readings (The Lectionary) We say goodbye to Year A, the Year of St Matthew and hello to Year B, the Year of St Mark. We are in a waiting and preparing mood. We light advent candles and, in both churches, the (knitted, you understand!) Holy Family start their journey through the village travelling from home to home. In each church they will be blessed on Advent Sunday before being sent out to bring something of the Christmas story to homes in our two parishes.

Advent is one of my favourite times of year. Whilst the secular world is in full seasonal swing we have the privilege of, in part at least, letting them get on with it whilst we wait for the real celebration yet to come. In the meantime we have some lovely seasonal hymns to sing, ‘Lo, he comes’, ‘Hills of the North Rejoice’, ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ ‘Long ago, prophets knew’. I love to sing hymns albeit often you are doing the singing whilst I am busy doing other things!

Christmas and Easter both have their seasons of Preparation and Celebration. For Christmas this takes us from Advent Sunday (This year December 3rd, being the latest it possibly can be– it is always the fourth Sunday before Christmas, the Sunday nearest St Andrew’s day) to the slightly lesser known feast of Candlemass (February 2nd) forty days and forty nights after Christmas, taking in the arrival of the three wise men at the Epiphany (January 6th, or its eve for us this year). We shall be marking both of these occasions with a Sung Mass and Procession and no doubt some celebratory drinks and nibbles on the way– just one more mince pie, oh you will, you will, you will…

It is in Advent, as the world is on full throttle, that I am most aware of my need for that most precious of commodities, silence. Several points in our Sunday worship encourage us to share corporate silence – prior to the Confession, the Collect, after the Sermon, before and after we have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion. To this list I am keen that during these Sundays prior to Christmas we might all keep a few minutes prior to the service commencing so that we might pray both for our own needs as well as for our fellow worshippers. Each of us simply taking a brief moment to say to God that we are expectant as we prepare for worship, and alert to the wonderful and life transforming fact, that we are about to encounter the risen Christ in Word and in Sacrament. An old adage I once heard went along the lines of ‘Talk to God before worship, let Him talk to you during the worship and then talk to each other after the worship’, and I continue to commend this. After the success of this during Lent once again you are invited to spend 30 minutes with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in silence on Fridays at 6.00pm. Come and read, pray, contemplate or simply sit and be still in the midst of the busyness of December. We shall be meeting to do this at Hanslope Church: Fridays 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd December. There’s half an hour of shared contemplative silence on Mondays at 5pm too.

Once again this Advent we are hoping to raise funds for Bishop Matthias and his people in Ho in Ghana, so do please take a “Ho Ho Ho” collection box to enable us to bring seasonal cheer to those far less well off than ourselves. The New Year is always a very busy time for the MK Foodbank and your donations will be very much appreciated for this cause also. Please add something for someone who is in real need and bring it to church. Elsewhere, in this issue you will find all the details of our Christmas worship. We’ll be following the now well established pattern, so do encourage your friends, family and neighbours to join us. As you know, the more who come the better it is! There are also weekday services at 10.00am on each of weekdays between Christmas and December 30th and at 12 noon on January 1st.

In a world which seems beset by so many examples of brokenness, brought to us instantly by rolling TV news, the simple messages of Christmas seem ever more important.May the joy of the Christ Child be yours this Christmas.

With my prayers and every blessing,     Fr Gary

Worship Diary Advent & Christmas 2017/18


During Advent there will be a Eucharist: on Tuesdays at Castlethorpe and Wednesdays at Hanslope at 7.00pm & Thursday 9.15am with coffee at St James

 Advent Sunday – December 3rd

9.30am Sung Mass at Castlethorpe          11.00am Sung Mass at Hanslope

6.00pm Advent Reflection in Words and Music at Hanslope

2nd Sunday of Advent – December 10th

8.00am Said Eucharist at Hanslope

9.30am Sung Mass at Castlethorpe          11.00am Sung Mass at Hanslope

6.00pm Evening Prayer at Castlethorpe

3rd Sunday of Advent – December 17th

9.30am Sung Mass at Castlethorpe          11.00am Sung Mass at Hanslope

6.00pm Christmas Carol Service at Castlethorpe

Eve of the 4th Sunday of Advent – Saturday 23rd December

6.00pm Joint Parishes Sung Mass at Castlethorpe

 Christmas Eve – Sunday 24th December

3.00pm Crib Service with Nativity Play at Hanslope

5.00pm Children’s Crib Service at Castlethorpe

11.30pm               Midnight Mass at Hanslope

Christmas Day

9.30am Sung Mass at Castlethorpe          11.00am Sung Mass at Hanslope

Tuesday 26th The Feast of St Stephen     Said Mass at Hanslope at 10.00am

Wednesday 27th St John the Evangelist Said Mass at Hanslope at 10.00am

Thursday 28th  Holy Innocents’ Day Said Mass at Hanslope at 10.00am

Friday 29th St Thomas Becket Said Mass at Hanslope at 10.00am & coffee

Saturday 30th Said Mass at Hanslope at 10.00am

Holy Family – Sunday 31st December

9.30am Sung Mass at Castlethorpe          11.00am               Sung Mass at Hanslope

Monday 1st January Mary Mother of God Said Mass at Hanslope at 12 Noon

Followed by refreshments

The Epiphany – Friday 5th January 2018

 7.00pm Joint Parish Solemn Sung Mass and Procession at Hanslope

Candlemas – Friday 2nd February 2018

7.00pm Joint Parish Solemn Sung Mass and Procession at Hanslope




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