This week’s Worship

Sunday 13th December – 3rd Sunday of Advent (2nd of the month)
          9:15am    Family Worship – Croston
11 am      Morning Worship – Mawdesley
11 am      Family Communion – Bretherton

Wednesday   10:00 am Holy Communion, Croston
Friday           9:00 am Morning Prayer, Mawdesley

Our 3 churches are now open for Public Worship and they will remain open on Sundays and Wednesday’s for private prayer

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Well we are romping through Advent and fast approaching our Christmas celebrations, I hope all those real Christmas trees that were bought so early last at least until the big day.  It will be interesting this year to see how quickly the decorations come down.  Of course traditionally our celebrations of the incarnation continued until the 2nd February (Candlemass) and that is still continued in many places across the world today, but they put their decorations up much later than us.  Today we have a change from lighting our Purple Advent candles as the third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete Sunday.”
In the readings, we hear about miracles associated with the Messianic age, its coming, and what we need to do to prepare.  In the letter to the Thessalonians we are reminded to ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances’, so Joy is the theme for the week ahead, hence the colour of our candle this week is pink.
Our readings this week all continue the theme of preparation, Isaiah prophesised that the Spirit would anoint someone to bring the good news of salvation to God’s oppressed people.  St Paul reminds us to be constant in prayer, to accept the Spirit’s guidance with joy and gratitude as we seek to do good as we await the Lord’s coming.
The Gospel gives us John the Baptist as a witness to the light, John identifies himself as one who prepares the way for the promised Messiah, who is already present but not yet recognised.
If we study and reflect on our Holy Scripture we will still find clues in Jesus’ teaching and healing ministry that guide us to see who he is, but his death and resurrection finally reveal his identity to all those who are prepared to believe.  Like John the Baptist, we too can prepare the way of the Lord – in the wilderness of our own hearts, and those of others.  Let us all look for signs of God’s presence in our lives, and share that knowledge.  Only then can the true identity of Jesus be revealed: as the Word made flesh, and the light of the world.

With love & prayers.  Michael (Rector)
Tel: 01772 600548 mobile:07960309005, email: revmwoods@gmail.com

Resources – 3rd Sunday of Advent
1)       The 3 bible readings set for this week.
2)       Prayer and worship at home for 3rd Sunday of Advent

Church opening times on Wednesdays & Sundays

Bretherton                9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Croston                    10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Service at 10 am on Wednesdays
Mawdesley                 10:15 am – 4:15 pm

Services during the week ahead & Christmas

Wednesday   10 am Croston – Holy Communion
Friday            9 am Mawdesley – Morning Prayer

Sunday 20th December – 4th Sunday of Advent
          9:15 am   Holy Communion – Croston
11 am       Carol Service – Mawdesley
11 am       Carol Service – Bretherton
4 pm       Croston Christingle service

Christmas Eve
4 pm Bretherton Holy Nativity service
6:30 pm Croston Eucharist of the Holy Nativity
6:30 pm Mawdesley Eucharist of the Holy Nativity

*Due to the Current COVID restrictions Booking is required for *
 *all our Carol and Christmas Eve services as places are limited *
Bookings will be taken in church or from Monday by contacting the Rector revmwoods@gmail.com
or on 600548 (leaving a message on the answering machine)

Coronavirus Village support groups
       Croston      COVID-19 Croston Village Support Group
Mawdesley   Mawdesley – Coronavirus help each other out.
Bretherton   Via Bretherton WI (01772 601495)
email bethertoonwi@btinternett.com

Facebook & YouTube Online Worship
This week’s Diocesan worship is led by The Revd Jane Atkinson from
St John’s Little Thornton. It can be found here from 9am on Sunday:
https://www.youtube.com/user/blackburndiocese/videos

Blackburn Cathedral, also has worship at 9am on their YouTube site.
The Church of England posts on Facebook and YouTube a national service of worship every Sunday at 9 am.
This week’s service will mark the Third Sunday of Advent.
https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland or
https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online

 

 

This resource may be helpful for those who are unable to return to church services at the moment, or for anyone who is feeling isolated or lonely and who doesn’t have access to the internet.
There are also the daily prayer resources on the Church of England Website where you can download apps at:

 

 

 

 

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer/subscribe-our-prayer-podcasts

Please do continue to support the Food Banks
All the food brought into the3Chuches is taken to the ecumenical food bank in Skemersdale, supported by the Trussell Trust.
Please continue to bring donations – all the usual store cupboard items are needed – also instant foods for those who are struggling to pay for fuel. As Christmas approaches we’d also like to collect chocolate, biscuits, cake, etc., as extras.  These items must reach us by December 13th at the latest, but the sooner the better!
In Croston – You can leave donations in St. Michael’s Parish Church on Wednesdays & Sundays from 10 to 4pm, bring them to 32, Westhead Road or to 19, Highfield Road.
In Bretherton – You can leave donations in St. John the Baptist Church on Wednesdays & Sundays from 9:30 to 3:30 pm or in the box at the gate at
154 South Road.
Thank you to everyone for your support to date!
In Mawdesley – You can leave donations in St. Peters Church on Wednesdays & Sundays from 10:30 to 4:30 pm or monetary gifts in sealed envelopes please to Robin Hood Cottage, Blue Stone Lane (Opposite Nook Lane).

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting our local food banks and all the other good causes at this time.

Advent Resources:

  • Every day in Advent – A child shall lead them

daily readings and reflections will be posted on our facebook pages (apologies for missing days).  We also have a number of booklets available which will be in all our churches or if you would like one delivered please contact the Rector on 01772 600548 or email revmwoods@gmail.com

  • Christmas Free for All.Online Carols with comedy, kids and evangelistic message and hosted by our Bishops.
  • Nine Lessons and Carols Service.The traditional Carol service from our Cathedral will be broadcast at 4pm on December 20 on YouTube with a recording available after the live broadcast. Links from the Cathedral webpage.
  • Blue Christmas.This will be a short service for those bereaved and missing loved ones at Christmas.
    Further details of other resources =and confirmation of dates will follow in future updates.

 

Could you make a donation to support Church?
All our churches rely upon the generous donations of our parishioners to provide the financial support that both maintain our buildings and provide care and support to all those in the local community.  Although some use standing orders or other methods of online giving, many donors use cash, either on the plate or in weekly planned giving envelopes.

As our Churches once again close this will affect us greatly at what is traditionally a busy couple of months in the build up to Christmas.

Any donations you could make will be greatly received and one off donations or regular giving can be made by using ‘Online banking’ facilities, the bank details you will require to do this for each church are:

Bretherton – St. John the Baptist
St. Johns Bretherton PCC Account,
No: 10031333, Sort code: 16 17 41

Croston – St. Michael & All Angels
St. Michaels PCC Account,
No. 11215462, Sort Code 16-17-41

Also if you have no facility to pay electronically, envelopes can be dropped off with our Treasurer Derek Alty, 12 Lostock Road, Croston.

Mawdesley w Bispham St. Peter
Mawdesley PCC Account,
No 87032805, Sort code 60 24 02.

If you decide to make a donation electronically you may be given the opportunity to set up a standing order, which greatly help support our regular income.

 


The Collect
God for whom we watch and wait, you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son: give us courage to speak the truth, to hunger for justice, and to suffer for the cause of right, with Jesus Christ our Lord.    Amen

First Reading
God promises a joyful restoration and a time of prosperity and peace.
Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-11
The servant of the Lord said: The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken -hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion – to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.  They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.  For I the LORD love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

 

Second Reading
St Paul urges believers to be ready for the coming of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5.16-24
My brothers and sisters, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

The Gospel
John the Baptist speaks of the one who is to come, whose way he prepares.
John 1.6-8, 19-28
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’  He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’  And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’
He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord”’,
as the prophet Isaiah said.  Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.  They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’  John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Prayer after Communion
We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts; kindle in us the fire of your Spirit that when your Christ comes again we may shine as lights before his face; who is alive and reigns now and for ever. Amen 

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