Tomorrow St Mary's will be aglow with candlelight as we celebrate Candlemas: the great Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, and the final act in the drama of Christmas. We'd love to see you for our celebrations tomorrow. At the Parish Eucharist at 10am candles are distributed to the congregation and lit. There'll be children's activities and wine afterwards as we launch Fr Val Hollands' book Saints Ancient & Modern. In the evening there's the beautiful service of Festal Evensong at 6.30pm, including music by Lassus, Smith, Gibbons and Eccard. Evensong begins with a Procession from the Crib. There is no sermon.
At Candlemas we recall Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to the Lord. They met the old man Simeon, who acclaimed Jesus as 'a light to lighten the Gentiles', and who warned his Mother that 'a sword will pierce your own soul too.' With these words, foreshadowing her place at the foot of the Cross, we turn from our celebration of Christ's birth to prepare for his Passion, Death and Resurrection in the holy season of Lent.
Ash Wednesday falls on Wednesday 14 February this year and is the first day of Lent. The Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes will be celebrated at 10am and 7.30pm. Our programme for Lent has now been published, and you can download by clicking here. We have a full and rich programme, including our Lent study series 'Faith at work' on Tuesday evenings, as well as Bible Study on Monday evenings, the Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings, a series of Lent fellowship lunches and lots more. Read the programme to find out all about it.
A varied selection of books for Lent reading will be on sale from tomorrow morning.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow as we celebrate the Light which shines in the darkness, which the darkness did not overcome.