Advent & Christmas at St Mary’s 2021

I know that many in our community are really looking forward to Christmas, and that after the last-minute rule changes last year, especially so this year.  We’d love for St Mary’s to be a part of your Christmas celebrations and we can assure you of a very warm welcome.

Despite the challenges and sadness of the past year, I wish you a very Happy and Blessed Christmas.


Sunday 28th November, 6.30 pm                      

The Advent Carol Service

Our Advent Carol Service by candlelight offers a lovely way to mark the start of our journey towards Christmas. We are delighted that this can be in church again this year but we do encourage all who are attending to wear a face covering, unless exempt, to give reassurance all who are there.

Through a sequence of bible readings and beautiful music sung by our choir, we will hear again the story of God’s people eagerly awaiting the coming of Jesus, waiting in darkness for the promised Christ-light to shine.  As well as all that, there will also be some of the great Advent hymns for us all to sing together.

Sunday 5th December, 5.00 pm                      

Outdoor Christingle Service

We’ve been wrestling with how we could hold our Christingle this year?  Last year we were online but we are really pleased to go ahead in person again this year with a special celebration that will be outside on the church lawn.  Please wrap up warm.

In the unlikely event that the weather is really bad and we can’t go ahead we will put a message out via our church website and on social media.  But the chances are we’ll be fine, we can gather and all who want to come along are welcome. We’ll have lots of space for people to stand and lots of Christingles to share with you.  The whole service will be a bit shorter, lasting around 30 minutes or so, but if there are any coming who would find standing for that time difficult then you’re welcome to bring along a folding garden chair.  The proceeds from the Christingle service all go to support The Children’s Society helping disadvantaged children – so do bring some money with you to support this great cause.  Thank you.

Sunday 12th December, 6.30 pm                      

The Lights of Love Service

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. 

The whole service – lasting just 20-25 minutes – will be held outside in the Garden of Rest.  Please go directly there and gather around the large fir tree.  You may want to bring a torch with you.  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 and envelopes, if you want to sponsor a light, can be found inside St Mary’s now.

Sunday 19th December, 6.30 pm                      

Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols

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 the prefect way to start our Christmas celebrations as a community.

The carol service will be held in church and by candlelight and will last about an hour.  Although not mandatory, we do urge all those attending to wear a face covering unless exempt.  We look forward to welcoming you.

Christmas Eve, Friday 24th December

The Road to Bethlehem, 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm    

Our crib services are so busy that sadly we can’t do things in quite the same way we normally do.  Instead, we invite you to a fully immersive walk-through nativity experience. Come down to St Mary’s on foot, or park up if you have come by car. Then head for Church End, to the churchyard gates, where you will be greeted by a special host. 

And then every ten minutes groups will be invited to enter the church drive, stopping at various points along the way to hear again the Christmas story, to meet some of the characters and to sing one or two carols. Pause to wonder at the amazing stable scene finale before making your way out of the gates on Hemel Hempstead Road.  Please do observe this one-way system for this event – for safety reasons the churchyard will be closed to all vehicles.  We look forward to welcoming you and your household for this lovely time together.

Christmas Eve, Friday 24th December

The First Eucharist of Christmas, Midnight Mass 11.30pm

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 and face coverings will need to be worn for all attending (unless exempt).  Whether you come to St Mary’s regularly or not – you can be assured of a warm welcome – for you and your family and friends.

Christmas Day, Saturday 25th December

Holy Communion, 8.00 am          

We offer two services on Christmas morning, the first being the traditional Communion services using The Book of Common Prayer.

All Age Eucharist, 10.00 am        

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.

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