Here are two video prayers for Advent. The first is written and read by Carolyn Lawrence, Vice President of the Methodist Conference. The second is written and read by the Revd Dr Andrew Lunn, Chair of the Manchester & Stockport District.
We had a good conversation last Monday for our Advent preparation. We are thinking about the Magi who travelled to the manger. The second conversation is at 7pm this Monday and we shall be thinking about Gifts. Please join us. If you did not manage to join in last week then that is OK -- each conversation stands alone so you have not missed the boat. Join us on zoom at 7pm. We are aiming to spend just an hour in conversation. Join us on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8061526008 Meeting ID: 806 152 6008.
All We Can is the Methodist relief and development charity. They have been producing occasional services of worship and celebration. A very good one was produced recently for Christmas. Take a look at The Big Sing for Christmas.
Do you remember how on Easter Day we greeted one another with recording ourselves announcing the words of the resurrection ? Shall we do it again for Christmas? Please record yourself saying either "Christ is Born -- Peace be with you" or simply " Merry Christmas" and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I shall then put them together and use them in our Christmas morning worship.
We look forward to being able to worship together on Christmas Day. The recent consultation has resulted in enough positive responses for us to be able to meet together in Trinity Church, Royton, at 10am on Christmas Morning. There will be an equivalent online service -- provided the technology is set up in time then it will be a live streaming of the same service. If you have already inducted that you are coming then you need to do nothing else. If you intend to come but have not yet told me then you really do need to tell me as space is limited and seats must be booked in advance. It is imperative that you contact me to reserve your seat. If you know someone who does not receive emails then please pass this message on to them. The deadline for booking your place is Friday 18 December 2020. Seating will be allocated in order to enable social distancing and you will receive notice of your seat. You must wear a mask to worship and observe all the regulations of the tier that we are in at the time. Assuming that we shall remain in Tier 3 then this means that we cannot interact with each other even though we are in the same room. I know this will be hard, but it is important. Wave across the room to your friend, but please do not cross the room to speak with them.
If worship on Christmas Day goes to plan and the situation allows, we shall begin to get back to worship in our church buildings in the New Year. These will be very cautious and tentative services and will not be in every place at once. We shall work together to make things possible but please remain patient. These acts of worship will be a mixture of physical services and recorded and shared worship depending on the availability of preachers.
God with Us is the Methodist Church campaign for Christmas 2020 which aims to speak into our difficult situation this year. Go to the website at https://findingourhope.co.uk/ where content will develop over the coming weeks. You can even add your own story of finding hope in the isolation of the past months. Have a look and keep going back over coming weeks.
I hope that you continue in God's grace and peace. Remember that you are all held in love and prayer and if you are any particular need then please let me know.
The Revd Dr Adrian Burdon
Shaw & Royton Circuit of the Methodist Church