News for Advent I

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th November 2020: The First Sunday of Advent

We may not be able to attend public worship this weekend, but that will not stop us celebrating the First Sunday of Advent from our own homes and joining in with the Mass at 6.00pm on Saturday evening or at 10.30am on Sunday morning on YouTube or Facebook. On Saturday evening/Sunday morning, Christians around the world will be lighting the first candle on their Advent wreaths. This candle symbolises HOPE and that is so appropriate at this time. It is also referred to as the 'Prophecy Candle' in remembrance of the prophets, particularly Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It representas the expectation and anticipation as we await the coming of the Messiah. The first reading on Sunday is from the Book of Isaiah; but if we are to be ready for Christmas, then we must heed the words of Jesus in Sunday's Gospel from Saint Mark: “Be on your guard, stay awake, because you do not know when the time will come”.

As you will have heard on the news or read in the papers, the current lockdown ends at midnight on Tuesday 2nd December. The church will be “fully fogged” (sanitised and cleaned) on 1st December ready for the re-opening for public worship on Wednesday 3rd December with Morning Prayer at 9.00am and Mass at 9.30am. Our Parish will be in Tier 2 (High Risk) and therefore the same Covid-safety requirements will be in place as previously: check in using the NHS Track & Trace App if you have one on your mobile phone and leave your name on the sheet by the entrance. Sanitise your hands upon entry and please wear a face mask. Sit apart from others who are not members of your household. All the same rules apply. The anticipation is rising: it's as if Christmas has come early!

Last week we circulated the ACAT Greetings Card list and asked if you would consider sending appropriate greetings to those who had been unjustly detained. We were delighted to hear that Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, the Australian woman who had been detained in Iran on spying charges, had been released, so please omit her from the previously circulated list. It's wonderful to have some good news for a change.

We are also pleased to be able to share a Pastoral letter from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet which he has circulated to his clergy and people – and is happy for it to be shared with you. It contains some helpful suggestions for readings and reflection throughout the week, and a daily prayer – something that many of us could probably do better! And what better time to start than in Advent, as we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Messiah.

“And what I say to you all: Stay awake!”

David Griffiths