Advent Message from Fr Simon
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings as we celebrate the season of Advent!
First of all, thank you for the tremendous response to the appeal to help the refugees in temporary accommodation around Heathrow Airport. It’s been inspiring to see the sheer volume of clothing and food that has been brought to church. Our thanks to Catherine Tugnait, Elaine Colbon and Mark Stimpson for their practical involvement in making this happen. Thank-you as well, to those who took part in the recent parish quiz raising funds for our Food Boxes for Families in Need project, which we are organising in collaboration with BWI School to support local families who are struggling.
Now we have begun the season of Advent: the start of a new Christian year.
On 4th November we pressed the pause button, as the government ordered the suspension of public worship. Now, on Wednesday 2nd December, we can press the play button and come together again in the offering of worship Sunday by Sunday and day by day.
We’d built up a tremendous sense of momentum in our church’s worshipping life since the summer. I encourage us all to play our part in keeping that going, now that we are able to do so again. I remind you that to attend Sunday Masses, we need to book online via the website. To attend the daily weekday Masses, it’s ok just to turn up.
Remember to be careful about sanitizing hands entering and leaving the church building and maintaining physical distancing once inside. Churches everywhere have been commended on the way they have ensured the safety of worshippers. St Martin’s is no exception.
On the four Wednesday evenings of Advent beginning with 2nd December, the 7.15pm Masses will be specially designed for those who’ve recently been confirmed, but everyone is welcome to come and explore some of the great Advent themes on which we’ll be reflecting.
There are some excellent new Resources for Advent on the website in the Church at Home section: click on Church Union Resources. Also, at the back of church there are Advent calendars, Advent candles and copies of the Walk With Me booklet, that provides a short reflection for each day as we approach Christmas.
On Saturday 12th December there is a Quiet Half Day of Guided Prayer entitled Transitions from 10am until 2pm. Bring a packed lunch and enjoy some quality time with God! It would be helpful for the organisers if you could sign up here or on the list at the back of the church.
Arrangements for Christmas
Our Discipleship in Action group (a sub-committee of the PCC) is organizing the distribution this year of a Christmas Card to every household in our parish containing not only a message from St Martin’s Church but also, details of this year’s Christmas services. We won’t be able to accommodate all the hundreds of people who normally come on Christmas Eve, so we are redesigning the pattern of worship in the hope of accommodating as many people as possible. Here’s the plan:-
An Online Christingle Service available on the website from Monday 21st December until the New Year
Christmas Eve: Family Masses at 3pm, 4.30pm and 6pm
Midnight Mass at 11.30pm
Christmas Day: Masses at 8am and 10am
Saturday 26th December, St Stephen’s Day: Mass at 9am
Sunday 27th December, The Holy Family:
Vigil Mass on Saturday at 6pm
Mass on Sunday at 8am and 10am
Plans are in the pipeline for a Carol Service.
Confirmation in 2021
Adults and children have been contacting me in recent weeks, expressing interest in being Confirmed next year. There’s still time to let me know. We’ll be starting the Confirmation course in January and aiming to celebrate the Confirmation Mass on Ascension Day, Thursday 13th May.
The sessions take place on Wednesday evenings around a Catechumenal (teaching) Mass. The course is open to children in Year 5 and over if they are ready to take this step, as well as to teenagers and adults of all ages. We also welcome adults who are already Confirmed to participate in the Confirmation Course as a way of renewing their Baptismal faith. If you want to ask me anything about this please email me at email@example.com or phone me on 01895 633040.
May God bless you as together we journey through this exciting season of Advent. I look forward very much indeed to seeing all those who are able to come to church as we worship and celebrate Mass together. Please pray for me as I pray for you.