Category Archives: Christmas

Advent and Christmas 2020 at St Mary’s

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 resume in church from Wednesday 2nd December, 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.

Click to watch back the service on YouTube

6th DECEMBER       5.00 pm              The Christingle Service (online)

We’ve been wrestling with how we could hold our Christingle this year – could it go ahead?  Could we offer it several times so we could socially distance and everybody could still fit in?  Could we do it in the churchyard?  In the end we decided that it was too tricky to do in person, so we’re going to offer an online service at 5.00 pm on Sunday 6th December.  

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. 

The whole service – lasting just 20 minutes or so – will be held outside in the Garden of Rest.  Please go directly there and ensure that social distancing is observed at all time.  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.  

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 via or on the St Mary’s YouTube channel. You can even pour yourself a glass of something as we share in the service together!  


2.00 pm to 5.00 pm     DRIVE-THROUGH NATIVITY (churchyard)  Our crib services are so busy and the church is always so full that sadly we can’t do things in the same way this year, but out of adversity sometimes comes innovation. 

We invite you to a drive-through nativity experience. Come to St Mary’s in your car, down Church End and in through the churchyard gates.  

There you will experience the story of Christmas from the safety of your own car, stopping at various points as characters in costume tell the story of Jesus’s birth and who was there, all lasting just a few minutes.

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 – the churchyard will be closed to all other vehicles.  We look forward to welcoming you and your household.  

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.  


10.00 am   All Age Service As well as the services in church we will also be broadcasting a special Christmas service online via 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.


Christmas Preparation Photos: Can you help?

Preparations are underway for our online Advent Carol Service and Christmas services. But we need your help!

To accompany the beautiful carols and anthems sung by our virtual choir, we would love to feature lots of photographs and videos of people from around the village making their preparations for Christmas.

Do you have any photos or videos which you could share with us, for example:

  • Stirring your Christmas pudding
  • Putting up and decorating your Christmas tree
  • Your nativity set / crib
  • Wrapping presents
  • Switching on Christmas lights
  • Or any other Christmas preparations you could share with us?

Your photos or videos don’t necessarily have to be from this year, if you haven’t started getting ready just yet!

Please note that by submitting a photo or video you are giving permission for it to be used in a St Mary’s online service broadcast on YouTube, and excerpts may be shown on our website and social media too.

Please let us have your photos as soon as possible, (by 23rd November for use in the Advent Carol Service, and no later than 14th December for use in our Christmas services).

You can submit photos and videos by clicking here:

Thank you so much! These will make our online Christmas services so special and personal.

Redbourn Christmas Hamper Scheme

Providing for those facing hardship in Redbourn this Christmas

Our village community has united brilliantly to assist one another through these challenging Covid times. Christmas 2020 gives further opportunity to help individuals and families in Redbourn who are facing financial difficulties.

The Redbourn Christmas Hamper Scheme provides those facing hardship this year with a package of seasonal foods and treats for a special Christmas Day.

It aims to ‘lighten the load’ for those feeling the financial strain of providing a special Christmas dinner. 

How can I help?

We have received a grant from Redbourn Parish Council to kick-start this scheme, but we are relying on the generosity of those in the village who are able to help us to provide these hampers.

There are a number of ways to support this scheme:

  1. Make a donation

We are so grateful for any financial donations towards the scheme.

  • £10 will buy festive treats such as a Christmas pudding, chocolate log etc.
  • £25 will buy a turkey for a family in need
  • £80 will buy a full Christmas hamper for a household in the village facing a difficult Christmas

Make an online donation here

We prefer to receive online donations, but if you would like to donate by cash or cheque (made payable to St Mary’s Redbourn PCC) these can be delivered to the Redbourn Care Group office in the Village Hall between 10-2pm weekdays.

2. Buy a special Christmas card of Redbourn Common in the snow

Redbourn Hamper Scheme Christmas Card by Rosie Hodson

To raise funds for the hamper scheme, local artist Rosie Hodson has designed a card of children playing in the snow on Redbourn Common.

These limited-edition cards cost £5.00 each, though any donation is welcome.

Cards are available to collect from Redbourn Care Group office in the Village Hall between 10-2pm weekdays.

How can I request a hamper?

If you live in Redbourn, are facing hardship this Christmas and a hamper would make a difference to you, please do get in touch. We would love to help you out.

There are a number of ways to request a hamper. Please return request forms by Tuesday 1st December:

  1. Online Click here to complete our online form. This is completely confidential, and your details will only be seen by the hamper scheme committee.
  2. Print a form Click here to download a form to complete. You can then drop it off to the Redbourn Care Group office at the Village Hall, or to St Mary’s Church Office, clearly marked ‘Christmas Hamper’.
  3. Collect a printed form Forms can be collected from either:
    • Redbourn Care Group office at the Village Hall between 10am-2pm weekdays, or
    • The porch of St Mary’s Church

Questions and answers about the scheme

Is there really this level of need in Redbourn?

Yes. 2020 has been a hugely challenging year for many, and the effects of Coronavirus on jobs and finances as well as health and wellbeing have been far-reaching. Redbourn is no exception.

This scheme is aiming to help anyone who will find the extra expense of a Christmas meal and treats a struggle, and for whom the festive period looms as a difficult and stressful time.

A Christmas hamper is a gesture of goodwill. It will not solve anyone’s problems, but aims to lighten the load for anyone facing hardship this year.

Can I volunteer to help with the scheme?

Yes – please get in touch via the contact details below for more information.

Can I donate food instead of making a financial contribution?

We do not have the capacity to accept donations of food, sorry. If you wish to donate food, consider supporting the DENS Food Bank instead, leaving food in the labelled box inside the church, or at the Co-op.

Who is running the scheme?

The scheme is being hosted by St Mary’s Church, and co-ordinated by Deni Ennals, who has recently moved to the village from Sheffield where she ran a similar scheme in recent years.

The Christmas Hamper scheme is supported by:

  • Redbourn Parish Council
  • Churches Together in Redbourn
  • the Redbourn Charities
  • and the generosity of volunteers

If I apply for a hamper, who will find out?

Only the Hamper Scheme Committee of 4 people will see applications, and they will be treated in the very strictest confidence.

Hampers will be delivered discreetly. Let us know if there are special arrangements that will make this easier for you. Your address will be shared with the driver if you are having a hamper delivered, but no other personal details.

All personal details will be handled and stored in compliance with GDPR and deleted in early January.

What will be in the hampers?

The ‘hamper’ will be provided in bags or boxes. It will be a collection of foods for Christmas Day for the household, along with other festive treats.

If you have any other practical needs over the Christmas season, please do let us know and we will do our best to help or put you in touch with someone who can. We want to do our best to ensure that no child in Redbourn is missed by Santa.

Do I need to provide financial details to prove I am eligible for a hamper?

No, it would not be appropriate for us to attempt to check people’s personal circumstances.

What will happen if lockdown continues over Christmas Day?

The Covid situation is ever-changing, and the scheme will be run in line with Government guidance at the time.

On behalf of the Redbourn Christmas Hamper Committee, thank you so much for your support of this important project.

If you have any further questions about the scheme please do not hesitate to get in touch by e-mail to or by telephone on 07398 755 954.

Deni Ennals, Redbourn Hamper Scheme Co-Ordinator