Pastoral Letter - w/e 5th December 2020

Advent 2 is nearly here!

Dear Friend from Bridport United Church, Uploders Methodist Church or Hope & Radipole United Reformed Churches,

So we are in the season of Advent when we would expect to have your miserable Minister refusing to start adding Christmas Carols and insisting a) “It’s Advent and not Christmas” and b) “There are plenty of lovely Advent Carols.”  

He’s such a Grinch, I don’t know why you put up with him!!

Ah well, at least I’ve cheered up a bit about the slight reduction in restrictions as we’ve moved from 2nd Lockdown to Tier 2?  In fact with live services re-commencing this Sunday 6th December at least some of us will be able to share some fellowship in person (for me at Bridport United Church and hopefully for Chris Hatton at Uploders - both at 10:30am). Written Services being distributed and, somehow, we’re still able to create Video Services too.  What a creative lot we are!

Actually I’ve had a bit of fun this week trying to polish off a series of small videos based upon a lovely resource produced by the Diocese of St. Albans.  It has some amazing and innovate nativity images and (I think) a fresh way of telling the story of the first Christmas.  If it weren’t for the pandemic I don't suppose I would have noticed the offering and even if I had I would probably not have found the time to use it creatively?  One example is at the bottom of this week’s service by the way.  

It just shows, as so often I have discovered during this period, that there are opportunities and new ways of doing things that we have been doing pretty much the same for years?  

One such example will be the Christmas Tree Festival which as you probably know by now, simply could not be held in its usual way.  But in smaller, different, ways it will happen.  A small team have been working hard to decorate the church in its usual dazzlingly-lighted way and setting up a number of decorated Christmas Trees both on the dais and in the foyer.  On a couple of Saturdays, weather permitting, we are even going to wheel out a couple of the trees, open the church doors and offer folks the opportunity to gaze into the building and admire the mini festival we are producing.  Somehow we will show the light of the world to passers by?

Secondly, I heard from Bryan Chant via the Activities Coordinator at Harbour House that they, likewise have risen to the challenge and the residents and staff are all producing mini Christmas Trees on A4 Green Card and decorating the premises with it.  Since Kath Chant was involved with the Stepping Stones Preschool, they, too, are producing little Trees to add to the Harbour House mini festival.  So you can see that the spirit of Kath and Bryan’s idea lives on?

So, no need to be a Grinch as there is a lot of positivity happening in the midst of these challenging times!

With love and prayers for you,

Your Minister,

Peter

OK - here are the options this week:

1) Your Circuit Video Service is led by Rev’d John Yarrien and the YouTube link is here (live from 5.00 pm 5th December https://youtu.be/gRDb_qP9TRA 

Ss2) The Audio Service  from the URC for Sunday 6th December is again coordinated by Revd. Andy Braunston and Lesley Thomson and is looking at the theme of Judgement. Modern Christians tend not to refer to God as a judge much, but there is so much talk of it in the Bible so cannot be shyed away from.
This week's hymns include
   Graham Kendrick's O Lord, the clouds are gathering,
   Noel Richards' Great is the darkness, a rousing rendition of O God of earth and altar, and
   Colours of Day, amongst others.

Once again, this service contains several meditations by Nick Fawcett, has been coordinated by Andy Brauston and Lesley Thomson. Here’s the link:
https://soundcloud.com/andy-braunston/urc-daily-devotion-worship-for-sunday-6th-decembr-2020

3) The bonus this week is this week’s Soul Space Video Service on YouTube, which is a series of small reflections on some lines in Isaiah 9.  Here’s the Link: https://youtu.be/M0LstkAKIuM