Not so many extra curricular activities this month after the excitement of the Christmas Tree festival and Advent, but we’ve had some very special services.
Clearly 1 January doesn’t fall on a Sunday that often, but whatever celebrations had taken place the night before there was a good number of people in the congregation for a thoughtful New Year’s Day service to start 2017. With a feeling that there will be some turmoil to come this year in world events it was good to focus on renewing our covenant with God, echoing the approach of our brothers and sisters in the Methodist tradition.
Junior church members were on hand to help the Magi in the last stage of their journey to the crib on the feast of Epiphany. Following the church re-ordering during 2016 we have had a new arrangement for the crib this year and the Holy Family have sheltered ‘centre stage’ under the altar table, making a very effective focal point through Advent and Epiphany.
The January All Age service continued the theme of manifestation, taking in not only the wise men in the nativity scene, but also Christ’s baptism by John in the Jordan and His first miracle at the Wedding in Cana.
We don’t hold our Christingle service in Advent as many places do, because those weeks leading up to Christmas are already so full of church and school activities. So we save it until the third week of January where it cheers up what can frankly be a rather grey post-Christmas period.
As the service progresses we encircle the church with our individual Christingle oranges, each candle only throwing out a little light but collectively creating a bright beacon of hope as the electric lights are dimmed.
Our collection boxes for The Children’s Society are gathered up and presented at the altar. As this goes to press, counting continues but it’s amazing every year to see how much that odd loose change adds up to.
Presentation of Christ in the Temple
The season of Epiphany comes to a close with the celebration often known as Candlemas because the church candles were traditionally blessed for the year at this time. The focus is on Christ as the light of world, revealed particularly to those elderly and patient worshippers, Simeon and Anna, as Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the temple in accordance with Jewish practice. This service both looks back as a final reminder of the nativity, but also forward to the momentous events of Lent and Easter to come.
Certainly the biggest news this month for the parish of Wrecclesham was the announcement that our vicar, the Revd Canon Anne Gell has been appointed as the next Archdeacon of Wells. Anne will take up her post in May.