23rd December 2018

The Advent season for St Faith’s is principally all about hospitality. As part of the preparations for Christmas & as we look forward to the birth of the baby Jesus, we welcome different people & groups into church. We start with West End Lights & Christmas Tree festival, the crafts, mulled wine & mince pies ( the latter carries right through to Christmas Eve. This year saw two bands come together to provide us with festive music & many of the band members themselves, both from the UK & Neustadt have commented on the warmth of the welcome.

This week to 10 days is probably the busiest we see all year. I reckon by Christmas day we will have welcomed the best part of 1000 children, young people & adults through the doors of St Faith’s thanks to the work of an army of volunteers from St Faith’s and not forgetting the support of the Mother’s Union. Last Sunday, it was our Christingle service, turning oranges into Christingles & learning about the love of God sending His son Jesus Christ to be with us.

We then welcomed the Air Training Cadets on Tuesday evening for their carol service. I did a talk with the leftover oranges from the Christingle service, although I was fortunate to have the chocolate orange J as we talked about sharing with others. Thanks to Diane who spent the night looking for oranges! I am just beginning in my role of assistant chaplain and so it was fantastic to begin this by enrolling 14 cadets. I am looking forward to the new year and taking this role up on a regular basis.

Wednesday & Thursday saw the schools’ Christmas services of St Faith’s CE Infant & Nursery & St Faith & St Martin CE Junior schools. Both services were brilliant: the poems written by the Collective Worship council from the infant’s school were amazing & the junior service showcased lots of talent within the school, we had musicians, choir, actors & readers; an exceptionally fun bit was the 12 days of Christmas – each day done by a class or staff– the parents too, had their day, day 12!

One person that works really hard across this season is Pete – our organist! Often in the corner on the organ, hidden away – a shout of thanks to him for his contribution to Christmas & throughout the year. Thanks to Alex who now plays on our 3rd Sunday of the month.

Tonight (23rd), a slight change as we head to the streets & the Queen in the West for carolling – 7pm meet at the Queen for the streets, or 8pm for the pub version!

Christmas Eve is our crib service at 4pm Please come as a nativity characters. If you can we welcome small unwrapped gifts to be donated to the West Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Service to help ensure everyone gets a gift at Christmas & for birthdays- old & young.

Midnight mass begins at 11.30pm & our Family Christmas Communion at 10am on Christmas day-don’t forget to bring a present to show Reverend Julie.

Lastly, a thank you to Ros & Emily for their work on the children’s area & to all who responded to the Facebook appeal to enable us to renew this area in church.

I would like to wish you all God’s blessings of hope, joy, peace and love as celebrate the birth of Jesus. May He live in your hearts for sharing them with others.

God bless, Revd Julie