Traditionally the season of Advent is a very busy time in the church calendar and as ever our parish is no exception. As the year ends with the Feast of Christ the King on 24th November and Advent begins stretching over the following 4 weeks on to Christmas Day then on to Epiphany on 6th January, we have plenty of activity going on in both of our churches to keep our whole community busy throughout. This year we are kicking off our Advent programme with a concert with the Ravenswood Singers and as we move forward we will be offering something to suit everyone, young and old, whether you prefer a livelier social event or some quieter time to think and reflect. For full details of what's on please check the current newsletter and keep an eye on our Upcoming Events page here.
Across the Parish our Advent theme this year is ' Let Your Gift Shine'. In Matthew's Gospel he gives us the example that rather than lighting a lamp just under a bowl we would put it on a table so as to give light to everyone in the house, in Chapter 5:16 he goes on to say 'You are the light of the world.....let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.' Just like the purpose of the lamp is to give off light, we have each been given the unique gifts and special talents to use and to shine our light in the world. Rather than rushing through life and being caught up in the busyness of the season we can all use those gifts in many ways to help others in whatever way we can.
Christmas Mass Times:
Christmas Eve: St Aidan's
- Carols - 5.30pm
- Mass - 6.00pm
Christmas Day: St Bernadette's
There are many approaches we can take to Let Your Gifts Shine and you will be given the opportunity to do this within the context of our parish family. You can use your gifts in the service of others by becoming more active within our parish community, helping further develop the way we live out our Mission in our local area. As well as through
prayer or financial support there are many practical
things you can do to help others, including our Parish appeal in support of Betel UK and our Foodbank Advent Appeal, in addition each family
will receive a copy of the Advent Extra magazine which is full of useful
readings, reflections, articles and activities for all the family. Our chosen charity across the Parish this year is Betel UK, all funds raised over the Advent period will be donated directly to support them. Betel are an independent Christian charity for those affected by addiction, homelessness and long-term unemployment. Through work, well-being and worship they help restore broken lives. You can find out more about the outstanding that work they do here.
Advent is the time in which we prepare ourselves and our homes as we move towards Christmas, when we remember and we celebrate the birth of Christ, this is a beautiful reminder to our hearts and minds that this is a time when we should not only pray for but also take action to help those who may be living in challenging situations within our local community and across our global family, working together to support the initiatives put before us, using our gifts and talents to follow our Christian mission by living out the teachings of the Gospels to create a peaceful, loving and just society for all. In remembering the truth of the
nativity and watching for
God’s work across our world, we can all help to bring hope
to all people. As we move forward, in hope of peace for everyone, for all nations, races and religions with an end to conflict and injustice in our society. This is not a time for political conflict, for racial hatred or religious hostility - we need to work together in fellowship with a new hope for the future, working towards tackling the underlying causes of poverty, conflict, inequality and the uneven distribution of resources across the world.
Throughout the Season of Advent we will be reflecting on our giftedness and considering how we can be true disciples by using our gifts to help others. At the start of Advent we light the first of the four candles in the Advent wreath: the candle of Hope; as we gather to celebrate light coming into the world. The
hope of Christ is through his gift of everlasting life, and in the
life and light we see him bringing every day. Sometimes
we need to be reminded of the light in the world and the gifts that we
can all bring as we remember that there are many signs of hope when we continue his work of compassion and love, of justice and peace as we keep standing up against the darkness.