This week’s Worship

Sunday 20th December – 4th Sunday of Advent (3rd of the month)
          9:15 am     Holy Communion – Croston
11 am       Carol Service – Mawdesley
11 am       Carol Service – Bretherton
4 pm       Online – Croston Christingle service

Wednesday 10:00 am Holy Communion, Croston
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

Christmas Day
          9:15 am     Holy Communion Croston

       11:00 am    Holy Communion Bretherton

Friday 9am Morning Prayer at Mawdesley resumes on 8th January

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
For a few weeks now we have been looking forward to the relaxation of restrictions for the 5 day Christmas period.
Many plans will have been made after careful reflection on what was possible and what in light of our own circumstances was right for us.  But today many of us will be upset following the announcement from government that the plans for the 5 day relaxation of the covid restrictions over Christmas has been abandoned in light of the latest data about the spread of the virus and its impact on our NHS.

Even tighter restrictions have also been introduced for those in the most challenging areas.
Many people and even whole families will now be even more confused and some will be really afraid.

The words “Do not be afraid” are common throughout the Bible and, according to Matthew and Luke, particularly so in the Christmas story.
So often the words “Do not be afraid” are followed by a challenge to embrace something new or uncomfortable, so those words are so applicable to us all at the moment.
Christmas reminds all people that God came into the world in a way that made him accessible to everyone, not as a mighty and powerful warrior king, not at the centre of earthly power, but weak, fragile and vulnerable as the new born child of a poor couple.

We are so bombarded with the story at this time of year that we may forget to notice the immense courage and faith of Mary, which is a miracle in itself.
Mary was afraid but the light was coming to cast out the darkness.
Over these last 12 months our modern life has often seemed very dark and frightening.
Even at this festive time, people will now have all kinds of concerns, especially from the risk of the virus and the latest restrictions we are being asked to adhere to.

So now, more than ever, the message of the angel is enormously relevant to us all, ‘Do not be afraid’.
Believe, even in the face of supposedly insurmountable odds; have faith that we are not alone, for God himself will be born among us, not above us, mighty and powerful, but down on earth beside us.
So at this very challenging time may we all trust in God as Mary did; believing that the light is coming and, for as long as we need it, it will never go out.

May I wish you all a blessed Christmas.

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

Resources – 4th Sunday of Advent
1)       The 3 bible readings set for this week.
2)       Prayer and worship at home for 4th Sunday of Advent

Church opening times on Wednesdays & Sundays

Bretherton                9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Christmas Eve from 10 am
Croston                    10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Service at 10 am on Wednesdays
Mawdesley                 10:15 am – 4:15 pm

Sunday 27th December – 1st Sunday of Christmas
          9:15 am        Holy Communion – Croston
9:30 am        Family Worship – Mawdesley
11 am           Holy Communion – Bretherton

*Due to the Current COVID restrictions Booking is required for *
 *our Christmas Eve services as places are limited *
Bookings will be taken in church or 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 Nine Lessons and Carols which will be from the Cathedral on Sunday 20th December at 4pm.
The service can be found via the Cathedral website or on their Facebook and 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 is in partnership with Marie Curie and recognises the difficulties of 2020, featuring some of those suffering from illness, bereavement and mental health setbacks.

Follow along with the order of service at cofe.io/Advent4Service or
https://www.facebook.com/thechurchofengland

 

 

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.

Christmas Resources:

  • Croston Online Christingle service from 4 pm 20th December
    via our YouTube channel https://youtu.be/u3mv_JBVYQs
  • 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.A short service for those bereaved and missing loved ones at Christmas.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kby0C78gU84&t=6s
  • ‘The world now, more than ever, needs us to share the light and hope of Jesus.’ So please sign up for the Church of England Christmas campaign at cofe.io/ComfortAndJoy to get some essential inspiration this Christmas.

 

 

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.

 

We wish you all
a very peaceful, joyous and safe Christmas time

 


The Collect
Eternal God, as Mary waited for the birth of your Son, so we wait for his coming in glory; bring us through the birth pangs of this present age to see, with her, our great salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.             Amen

First Reading
The Lord visits the prophet Nathan with messages for King David, promising to provide a place for the people of Israel, so that they may live in peace.
2 Samuel 7.1-11,16
Now when David, the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’
Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.’  But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?  I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’
Now therefore you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you, David, that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.

Second Reading
Paul ends his letter to the Christians of Rome by asserting that the mystery that was kept secret has now been disclosed and made known to all the Gentiles.

Romans 16.25-27
To God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

The Gospel
The angel Gabriel, fresh from informing the priest Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to John the Baptist, tells an ordinary Galilean teenager called Mary that she will be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah.
Luke 1.26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’  But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’
Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’
The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.
For nothing will be impossible with God.’
Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Prayer after Communion
Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised saviour: fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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