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Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:friend],

Welcome to the December newsletter from St Peter's Church. In this newsletter you'll see the dates and times of our services in December, especially over Christmas, and beyond, and details about what else we're up to as a church family.
Candles at Christmas

Christmas already?

Hi Everyone,

It’s the beginning of the festive season and we’ve already had more than a sprinkling of snow to make it feel extra Christmassy. It normally takes me a little while to get properly into the festive spirit and I must confess, I’m not quite there yet.

Sometimes all the planning, and all the doing, crowds out the festive feelings. So in amongst all the chaos, and a to do list as long as my arm, I am trying to seek out those moments of quiet reflection. Just a few moments when I can light a candle, snuggle up in my favourite chair and read a book. This year I am reading Stephen Cottrell’s book “Walking Backwards to Christmas”. He’s a great storyteller and he is brilliant at making those well-known Bible stories come alive.

I warmly encourage you to do the same. Find a space in the busyness of it all where you can draw close to God and to the true meaning of Christmas. It might not be a book for you, perhaps you like to be creative or to get out in nature to help you to reflect.

How about trying our Wednesday morning Advent reflections? Whatever it is for you, may you be blessed as you enter once again into the eternal story of Emmanuel, God with us.

With love

Jess
covid-rules

COVID-19 update

We’re keeping a close eye on the updates from the government about latest Covid-19 advice. At the time of writing, we are still waiting for news of whether there will be any mandatory restrictions for churches. There is a chance that by the time this goes to press the restrictions may have changed. We will update information on our website and social media pages as we know more so please do check before you come to church in case of any additional safety measures or, in extreme circumstances, the cancellation of services or events.

For the time being our advice for attending church services at St Peter’s is to continue to:
  • Keep your distance from people who are not part of your household
  • Wear a face covering whenever social distancing is not possible
  • Sanitise or wash your hands regularly
  • Take regular lateral flow tests
  • Do not attend church if you are unwell and get a full Covid test (PCR)
  • Wrap up warm when coming to services as we will be keeping the doors open to provide extra ventilation.
christmas-helper

Christmas services and events

The festive season has begun and there are plenty of service and events to get yourself along to.

Advent Reflections

Every Wednesday at 10am through Advent we're holding some Advent Reflections based on Denis McBride's book, “Journeying towards Jesus” during our Holy Communion service. Everybody is welcome. It's a great way to take some time out of the busyness of the week to relax and refresh.

Carols

There are three opportunities to gather together, sing some carols and soak up the festive atmosphere.
  • Thursday 16th December, 10:30am - Carol Singing with Churches Together in Birstall on the Market Place
  • Saturday 18th December, 11am - Carol Singing with Churches Together in Birstall at Junction 27 Retail Park
  • Sunday 19th December, 4pm - Carols by Candlelight at Church

Christmas Eve

  • 4pm - Crib Service for all the family. A family friendly service where we lay the crib ready for the big day.
  • 11:30pm - Midnight Communion. A traditional service with all the Christmas trimmings.

Christmas Day

  • 10am - Christmas Communion. A family friendly communion service with carols to celebrate the big day. Bring one of your presents with you to show us!

Boxing Day

  • 10am - Quiet Communion Service. A quiet space away from the noise of Christmas. We'll have a short communion service with a couple of quieter carols as we take some time out to recharge the batteries.
We've also put all these Christmas events and services on one page on our website.
christmas-helpers

Get involved

An important part of being church is getting involved. There are lots of ways to serve in church. Have a chat with Jess if there is something you would like to get involved in.
These are particular areas where we need help at the moment:
  • Children’s team – we need more leaders and helpers for our growing children’s work. We currently have our group straight after the main service for about 30mins. If you think that this might be something you could get involved with, please get in touch with Jess. (Please note that you will need to complete a DBS check and safer recruitment checks).
  • Refreshments – one of the lovely things about St Peter’s is our welcome and hospitality. If you think that you could help after services or during events serving refreshments, please chat to Ray or Denise.
  • Cleaning and Maintenance – we have a beautiful building and grounds but it’s quite big. As they say, many hands make light work. If you think you could help out with a few jobs around the church, or the grounds please chat to Miles or Denise.
20211010_092423

Coming next month

Living in Love and Faith – The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are asking all churches to spend a bit of time looking engaging in discussions about gender, sexuality, and the church. They have created a resource call Living in Love and Faith and are asking all churches to take part in guided discussions. At the end of these discussions, we will have an opportunity to feedback our thoughts to help inform the national church in their next steps.
It would be great if as many people as possible could take part in the discussions and so we will be running two discussion groups, one in the daytime in church and another in the evening on Zoom.

Look out for signup sheets in church (coming soon) and make sure you get your name down to join in one of the groups.
easyfundraising

Fundraise for St Peter’s while shopping online

We've previously mentioned a free and easy way for you to help raise fund for St Peter's, using the Easy Fundraising system. Basically, when you shop online with any of over 6,000 retailers, church gets a donation. It doesn't cost you a penny!

This is a really easy way to help raise some much-needed funds for church, but we know that technology doesn't always behave itself. If you would like help to do this please email help@stpetersbirstall.co.uk and we'll try to help you. We've added all the help you need to the church website 'Donate' page.
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For your diary

We hope that you can join us each Sunday in church for our 10AM service, with the Revd Jess.

Some of our less mobile members find it difficult to get to church on their own. If anyone can help with offers of lifts, or if you would like a lift, please let Leif or Wendy know and they will do their best to coordinate.
Prayer Ministry Team members will be available every Sunday to pray with anyone should the need arise. If you aren't in church for the Sunday service but would like prayer, please contact us - the Holy Spirit can cope with a telephone call. Please don't worry or suffer alone.

Prayers for December

These prayers are from the Church of England website.

Holy Jesus,
by being born one of us,
and lying humbly in a manger,
you show how much God loves the world.
Let the light of your love always shine in our hearts,
until we reach our home in heaven,
and see you on your throne of glory.
Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ,
your birth at Bethlehem
draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:
accept our heartfelt praise
as we worship you,
our Saviour and our eternal God.
Amen.

Christ born for us,
Son of God, given for us,
help us to know you,
to worship and to serve you.
Amen.

And finally

If you need support in any way - prayer, or practical help - please contact us on our special email address: support@stpetersbirstall.co.uk.

We hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If you have suggestions for things we can put in it please do get in touch.
Thanks for reading. God bless you all.

St Peter's Church, Birstall