In amongst the ongoing stress, fear and challenges of Covid, and especially the deep sense of loss, sadness and struggle which the second lockdown has brought, we have needed to turn our thoughts to Advent and Christmas and how we might celebrate them this year.
As public worship is allowed to continue in church, we will be able to hold some of our services for Advent and Christmas in church. Others will be online. The information below sets out our revised offering of services.
On Saturday 5 December, a large tree will be put up outside St Mary’s which will be covered with lights. We’ll decorate the top half of the tree as that will be quite high to reach but we’d love people in Redbourn to come and place a bauble or decoration on the tree during December. It might be one of your own decorations, it might be one you’ve made specially or you might like to hang something festive on the tree with the name of a person or a message of hope. Come and make it a special Redbourn tree of hope.
Please do join us for any of the following services:
29th NOVEMBER 5.00 pm The Advent Carol Service (online)
Broadcast online on YouTube. Our choir presents lovely hymns and music, interspersed with readings and prayers A downloadable order of service will also be available from the website.
6th DECEMBER 5.00 pm The Christingle Service (online)
Tune in and join us as we celebrate Christingle at our kitchen tables. In advance, you will need to get a few things together:
- an orange
- a little bit of foil
- a candle
- a bit or red tape or ribbon
- four cocktail sticks and
- some sweets and raisins
Join us for this short and lovely service for all ages as the Vicar does his best ‘Blue Peter’ impression – sticky backed plastic is optional – a sticky plaster for him may well be essential!
13th DECEMBER 5.00 pm The Lights of Love (churchyard)
Christmas can be a time when we’re all too aware of our bereavements and those we miss. We offer this short reflective service as a chance to remember in prayer those whom we love but see no longer, those we’ll miss at Christmas.
At the end of the service we will light up our Lights of Love. These lights are sponsored in memory of loved ones whom we wish to remember at this time of year.
20th DECEMBER 5.00 pm Nine Lessons & Carols (online)
In the lovely Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols we hear a sequence of bible readings read by different members of our community, interspersed with choir items and congregational carols for us all to sing – making this one of the quintessential services of the Christmas period and certainly one not to be missed.
This will be online only this year so that we can all have a good sing – sadly something we can’t do in church currently. So, join us online by clicking here to watch the service. You can even pour yourself a glass of something as we share in the service together!
24th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS EVE
CANCELLED: DRIVE-THROUGH NATIVITY
It is with great regret that the decision has been made to cancel our planned Drive-Through Nativity, for the safety of those taking part. Even though it would be technically within the rules, the safety of the performers in the nativity experience has to be our first priority, and after yesterday’s announcement and our move into Tier 4 we feel that this is the safest thing to do.
We have had such an overwhelming and positive response to this idea that we don’t want to provide something half-hearted or comprimised, so instead we really hope to offer the full drive-through experience next year instead, alongside our usual Christmas offerings, when we can have carol singers, shepherds (? anything else?), camels and all the works!
Will is going to record a special story for children which will be broadcast on our YouTube channel on Christmas Eve – check back here or our website for the link nearer the time.
Many thanks for your understanding and we are so sorry to disappoint those looking forward to this special experience.
24th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS EVE (in church)
11.30 pm The First Eucharist of Christmas This service, often known as Midnight Mass, is an absolute gem and is really the first of the main Christmas services. We gather at 11.30 pm to celebrate the Christmas story of God coming among us in the birth of Jesus. This is a communion service with the blessing of our special crib. Social distancing will be in place and face coverings will need to be worn for all attending (unless exempt) – please follow the guidance of the stewards who will there to assist those attending. Whether you come to St Mary’s regularly or not – you can be assured of a very warm welcome – for you and your family and friends.
25th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS DAY (in church)
8.00 am Holy Communion We offer three services on Christmas morning, the first being the traditional Communion services using The Book of Common Prayer.
10.00 am All Age Eucharist Our main service on Christmas morning is a Eucharist, where God’s people, young and old, gather together to celebrate the joy of Christmas with communion and a short sermon to suit all ages. Face coverings must be worn for those attending either of these services.
Our revised capacity is limited to ensure social distancing. If large numbers come, with regret, we may have to turn some away. We can minimize this possibility by encouraging you to attend the Midnight Mass or the 8 am service which are likely to be less busy.
25th DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS DAY (online)
10.00 am All Age Service As well as the services in church we will also be broadcasting a special Christmas service online via www.stmarysredbourn.org and St Mary’s YouTube channel.
So, whether your are shielding, away for Christmas, you live further away or you just want to ‘go to church’ in your PJs, you can still join us for this special service as we celebrate the joy of Christmas together in worship, carols and prayers.
I have heard a few people say that Christmas is cancelled this year. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It might look a bit different this year, some things might not be possible, but many things can happen.
This year, perhaps more than any other, we are so aware of the darkness of our world and the suffering that many have experienced. At the heart of Christmas is the good news that God comes among us as Jesus – the Light of the World – and overcomes that darkness with light, and hope and love.
I hope that despite the challenges, you all have a very Happy and Blessed Christmas.