The Parish of
From the vicar
The uncertainties which currently surround the celebration of our Lordís nativity allow a timely opportunity to think about the place of Advent in our liturgical and devotional lives. Some of the content has changed over the years in some lectionaries, but the purpose and focus remain the same.
Historically the theme of the season has been the ultimate things: death, judgement, heaven and hell. This very worthy collection continues to be of great value and will be the theme of the Holy Hour during Advent. They are subjects which need to be re-visited on a regular basis, not least during a pandemic.
More recently people have had prominence in the liturgies: Abraham as our forefather in the faith, the prophets, John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through a re-telling of their stories the faithful are reminded of Godís providence and of his mercy towards mankind. This too is a subject worthy of attention and if re-visited along with the Ďultimate thingsí can serve to strengthen faith through a deeper understanding of the origins and trajectory of Godís revelation and enable us to have a hope for the future which is rooted in the reality of grace.
At the heart of all the readings and liturgical observance is Jesus. In the season of Advent the Church prepares both to celebrate his nativity and his second coming. Perhaps a concentration on people and prophecy helps an understanding of the former, whilst a concentration on the ultimate things helps the latter, but both are essential aspects of Christianity. There is little point celebrating Christmas in great style if we think that it is all that matters, that eating and drinking to excess or going further into debt satisfies our deepest human needs. Many people do this Ė although it is doubtful that they are actually celebrating Jesusí birth, still less any meaning attached to the incarnation. Similarly there is no point drifting off into a dreamland to escape the present or in just living in fear of an unknown future. Christians are called to live in the present, taking each day as it comes, but we do so in the knowledge of where we have come from (by Godís grace) and where we are going to (by Godís grace). That all of this is about Jesus, the Word made flesh, who will come again in glory to judge the quick and the dead, is the greatest comfort in life. Such an understanding and hope defines the Christian. It is all about Jesus.
I hope this year Advent counts. Gatherings may be smaller than usual, but reflecting last month on the importance of guilds and societies in the life of the Church over the years, it is clear that small groups gathering together for a common purpose can have a significant and lasting effect on our corporate life. Even if we feel like a small group when we are together, we are doing great things. Turning this on myself as a priest, I am reminded of words written by St. Bede about the regular celebration of the mass, Ďa priest who omitteth, without legitimate hindrance, to do so, robbeth the Trinity of glory, the angels of joy, sinners of pardon, the righteous and the souls in purgatory of assistance, the Church itself of benefit, himself of a saving remedy.í
Whatever Christmas is like this year, just continue in the life of faith. Think only of Jesus!
An update from Ranjan David (Social Committee):
Thanks to all the very generous donations, we now have sufficient items for two fabulous Luxury Christmas Hampers to be raffled in lieu of this yearís Christmas Feast which has regrettably, but understandably been cancelled. Thank you very much to all those who donated. The value of items in each hamper will not be less than £100 of food and drink.
We now need the support of everyone to please buy raffle tickets which are at a bargain price of £5 for a strip of 5 tickets and would kindly request help to purchase as many tickets as possible. Tickets will be available from either Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923) or Ranjan David (020 8950 1822). We will be happy to deliver the tickets and collect payment. The draw will take place in Church on Sunday 20th December 2020. All proceeds raised will be for the Church heating fund.
We still have Christmas cards of the St Peter's Nativity and the St Peter's Christmas Tree for sale at £3.00 per pack of five cards. Again, please let Anne Swerling or Ranjan David know if you would like to purchase some packs which can also be delivered.
That we may not lose heart as we prepare to celebrate Christmas on a smaller scale, but persevere in the faith.
There is inevitably something provisional about the following diary entries, but they do represent a reasonable expectation of what might be possible. The assumption is that singing will still not be permitted so it will not be possible to organise a carol service. Public worship will resume on 2nd December.
From the diaryÖ
Sunday 29th November Advent 1 (no public worship)
Wednesday 2nd December, 10.00am Mass
Friday 4th December, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 6th December Advent 2
Tuesday 8th December, 10.00am Mass (Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Wednesday 9th December, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 10th December, 10.00am Mass
1.30pm Wedding (Holly Heath and James Hunt)
Friday 11th December, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 13th December Advent 3 (no Family Service at 11.15am)
Tuesday 15th December, 10.00am Mass
Tuesday 15th December, 8.00pm
Holy Hour for Advent with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Wednesday 16th December, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 17th December, 10.00am Mass
Friday 18th December, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 20th December Advent 4
Wednesday 23rd December, 10.00am Mass
8.00am Low Mass (Book of Common Prayer)
9.30am Family Mass (Modern rite)
Saturday 26th December, 10.00am Mass (St. Stephen, Protomartyr)
Sunday 27th December Christmas 1
Tuesday 29th December, 10.00am Mass (Holy Innocents, tr.)
Wednesday 30th December, 10.00am Mass (In the Octave of Christmas)
Friday 1st January, 10.00am Mass (Mary, Mother of God)
Sunday 3rd January Christmas 2
From the registers
19th November Melanie Price (aged 60 years)
24th November Julie Stone (aged 83 years)
Church Heating update
Thank you to those who have sent in some very generous donations. Our appeal has now passed the £25,000 mark!
If you have not already made a donation there is still time to do so.
Measurements were taken earlier in November for the installation of the new heaters and to change the lighting from halogen bulbs to LED which will save us a lot of money in the future whilst ensuring that we don't overload the system when the heaters are on - the old bulbs use considerable amounts of power! We hope to be able to change the lighting at the same time as installing the new heating. The cost will be nearly £4,000, but it will pay for itself very quickly.
The final specification for the work has now been approved by the PCC and the paperwork has been forwarded to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for its consideration. If the committee approves the plan we will then apply for a faculty to permit us to install the system.
Thank you again for your generosity and patience as the project develops.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).
www.stpeterbusheyheath.org.uk / www.achurchnearyou.com