This Sunday is the great feast of Christ the King bringing our liturgical calendar to a glorious completion. Yet we have been so starved from celebrating those great moments of the Christian calendar for so much of this year. We try to maintain through "live-streaming" some sense of worship. I am very grateful to Quintin, Seb and our singers as well as the servers and those on the camera for enabling our worship to continue. It is no substitute for being together as a community of faith. I do not think the Government really understand how much regular worship and the gathering of the community of faith is essential to our spiritual life and personal well-being. We are capable of maintaining social distancing and minimising the risks to our health in our big and airy churches. We have no intention of breaking the rules instead we must ensure that we support each other, keep the faith, keep praying, care for the most vulnerable and keep in touch with each other.
In the midst of another lockdown it is difficult for us all to plan and look forward to Christmas both at home and in Church. You will see from the notices in the Mass booklet that we have made some tentative plans for Christmas celebrations in Church, all of these subject to the government guidelines at the time. We will have the services in Church "live-streamed" to ensure the widest availability. I hope that we will be allowed to gather for worship over Christmas. We have planned to allow for appropriate social distancing by having some extra services on Christmas eve and Christmas day. We have adjusted the time of Midnight Mass to 10pm (Midnight in Bethlehem). In addition we will ask everyone to book a ticket through Eventbrite for the services they wish to attend. You can attend as many services as you wish. This will help us to have some idea of the numbers we would expect and assist us with track and tracing.We will soon be staring Advent, that great period of preparation for Christmas. In the readings of this season it calls us to prepare for Christ both at his birth and at his second coming. In this message of preparation there is a call to repentance and a change of life so that we are in heart and mind ready welcome Christ. Recently we have all had some many changes to our daily life and routines. Maybe the period of "lockdown", the terrible threat of death and so many traumatic endings have already made us take account of our life, our priorities and what we thought to be essential. Advent calls us to do this so that we are ready and alert at all times for Christ coming in glory and power. Please use Advent well and prayerfully. There are some glorious music for Advent including some of the best hymns and carols of any season, they make wonderful prayers. There are some resources for everyday in Advent prepared by Fr Philip Barnes and available on our website.
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