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Parish News - Extra - 28th November 2020

We have decided to delay the larger December issue for another week to hopefully give us a little more time to receive the latest official Church of England guidance so we can determine how we may be able to offer various Christmas-related services. We are hopeful to be able to give you this information in our December edition next week!
         
For the latest video message please click the link below:                                 
                                                         
                                                              https://vimeo.com/483649060

 
We are delighted to inform our community that as of Wednesday 2 December, due to ‘communal worship’ being allowed to resume in places of worship, we will be offering Covid-secure public worship services in all three of our churches in Alrewas, Fradley and Wychnor (according to their own regular pattern), beginning with the Wednesday 10am Communion at Alrewas Church.
Please can we remind everyone that a face mask still must be worn when attending any public worship service (unless you are entitled to an exemption) and that the new Tier Three requirements for Staffordshire mean that ‘people should not mix with anyone from outside their household or support bubble’.
Everyone will be warmly welcome with your safety and well-being uppermost in our re-opening!
We are currently awaiting the latest official Church of England guidance to help us determine how we may be able to offer various Christmas-related services, and further information for all of our benefice churches will be made available as soon as this is possible.

HARVEST DONATIONS – A BIG THANK YOU FROM LICHFIELD FOODBANK

 

Thank you to everyone who made cash donations at Harvest in lieu of Harvest Supper tickets. Together with Gift Aid this generated £550 which this afternoon I (Nick your Treasurer)) was able to convert into food items from the Foodbank Christmas list. With the further benefits of Clubcard + and some very good current Clubcard offers the total value of what I was able to purchase amounted to over £800 at full price. There is then the added bonus that Tesco donate an additional 20% of the value of donations to the Foodbank in cash. Your donations will make a real difference to families this Christmas and I have been asked by the Foodbank to pass on their sincere thanks.

In order to support the Alzheimer's Elf Day, around Alrewas we are planning a socially distanced and isolated Elf Dunk in the river on Wednesday Dec 2nd
and an Elf Trail for families to follow from Thursday December 3rd.

Copies of the trail will be available from the Bank, the Butchers, the Chip Shop and the Chemist for you to buy for £1 or you can donate via the Justgiving link included below which will also give you more information or sponsorship for the Dunk to myself (Elaine Dolman), Jen Matthewman or Jayne Grundy.
The Alrewas Elves would like you to help them out so they can help the Alzheimer’s Society with their work on Elf Day: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dosthillducks 

Please support us if you can either financially or from a socially distanced viewpoint on the day!
‘Come, thou long expected Jesus’ A short Reflection on Advent
Advent prepares us for the coming of Christ—
prepares us to receive the gift of Jesus.
Advent also launches the Church’s year, beginning the story of Jesus’ life,
death and resurrection. During the season of Advent, we wait………...but with anticipation and expectation. We wait with hope, as we ponder the joy and wonder of God’s love incarnate in the Christ-child.

 
Advent is often treated as an advance celebration of Christmas. Here we are beginning this countdown of 4 Sundays in Advent until we reach the climax of Christmas Day, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus. God incarnate – God with us.
 
And as the season of Advent begins, the church’s New Year starts.  We begin the whole cycle of seasons and readings by concentrating not upon the first, but upon the second coming of Christ.
Only with the 4th Advent Sunday – immediately before Christmas – do we begin to think about the incarnation. The Sundays of Advent give us – as well as our Gospel readings – a series of readings from the prophets. They are passages full of hope, shafts of light in the darkness – words about restoration, rebuilding, forgiveness, hope and patience….and longing.
 
Advent is a time of preparation; it’s traditionally a time when we think about the 4 last things – death and judgment, heaven and hell. And most of these readings suggest that this is, at best, a sobering and most serious prospect, and at worst, a simply terrifying one. And it also suggests – be prepared for the unexpected. It seems to me, though, to be a much more spiritual way forward to adopt the attitude which the Gospel of Matthew gives us in Jesus’ words- ‘Keep alert!’
Here Matthew provides very practical advice; his words are carefully chosen; he wants us to embrace the bigger picture, the larger time scale. He urges us not to be introspective and unobservant. Watch for signs, he says….signs that God is present, God is at work…………God is here.
Being ‘watchful’ – waiting in anticipation – in the sense of Advent is somehow, I feel, a little different.
 
Advent is all about watching and waiting for a God who has already come, and is already with us, and will come again.
Advent is waiting for a child, whose birth means the beginning of the journey to the Cross.
Advent means looking for that same God, present and with us now – watching to catch glimpses of God’s Spirit all around us.
Advent is the past remembered, the present contained and the future of hope.
 
It allows us, in the waiting and in the anticipation to focus, just in case we may miss the ordinary…………..it is to notice the signs in everything around us.
It is to find…….in the ordinary ….that extraordinary gift of Love.
This waiting is rather a strange thing, for it demands patience…but not without expectation; for if we hurry it on too fast, we might miss it.
 
So, an Advent Blessing-
 
Follow, where the Spirit of Hope leads you.
Listen, as the child of Peace cries for you.
Rejoice, as the Love of God embraces you.
And journey on, with hope and peace and love in your hearts.  Amen.
 
EAW Advent 2020
Harvest at Home

Since WW2 when it started out as a home guard supper,  St. Stephen's Church Harvest Supper has been a time when friends and villagers have been able to enjoy an evening of good food and entertainmentogether as well as being an excellent fundraiser. Unfortunately due to the corona pandemic it could not take place this year. Instead, during the month of October various members of the congregation or friends hosted events in their homes such as supper parties, afternoon teas and coffee mornings with up to six attendees.   Guests were treated to delicious homemade food and an entertainment video provided by Tim Chamberlin and Sarah Croft with help from members of the congregation.  Guests gave a donation instead of buying a ticket.  In total an amazing £1025 was raised so grateful thanks must go to both hosts and guests for their involvement and generosity!

A Sermon for Advent Sunday

Bishop Michael has made his sermon available to all who would like to read it. 
We have attached it below for you to read, but if you would like to watch him deliver it, you can click on the you tube link below:
 https://youtu.be/V7C3wYCMzP4
Stay awake in hope
 

Bishop Michael’s sermon for parishes, Advent Sunday: 29th November 2020


A Happy New Year to you all – yes, today, Advent Sunday, is the first day of the Church’s new year, which begins on a note of expectancy, as we look for the coming of Jesus our Lord. And what does the Lord say to us at the start of this year? Mark’s Gospel is very clear: he says repeatedly to his disciples: ‘Keep alert … keep awake … what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake’.

‘Keep awake’. Well, you might think, did he really need to say that to us just now. This is a time when many of us have no problem in keeping awake; it is getting to sleep that is difficult. What is keeping you awake at night? Maybe it is worry over your children, your grandchildren, your dear friend. Maybe it is concern over your own health or that of your spouse or partner. Maybe it is anxiety about your finances, or your job, or more generally the state of our society and our world. Maybe the isolation is getting to you, or you are so tired that you cannot even sleep; maybe it is some fear that seems so big in the small hours of the morning that you feel like the poet Fleur Adcock in her poem ‘Things’:

There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected;
There are worse things than
not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m. All the worse things come stalking in,
and stand icily about the bed,
looking worse and worse and worse.


Mental health issues have grown severely during this pandemic and the restrictions it has brought; we know that for a fact, and some of you may know it as an experience. It is not hard to stay awake at such a time.

But the wakefulness which Jesus calls for is not like this. He tells us to stay awake in expectancy, because we are looking forward in hope. This is not a hope which ignores the harshness of reality – the gospel passage is describes a time of suffering, calamity and anxiety. The hope which is given to us is one which acknowledges loss, pain and sadness. But it is a real hope nonetheless.

This is the last Sunday of lockdown, and our expectation is that from next week onwards it will be possible for services to take place in our churches again. The skill and inventiveness of our clergy and laypeople in taking worship online has been amazing, and I am sure that digital church will be part of our future from now on; but what a joy it will be when we can gather together again in person, when we can see one another face to face (through our masks), when we can pray alongside one another (socially distanced), when we can receive the sacrament (maybe in one kind only). . And as we gather again, we will be hearing and telling stories of hope that should fill our hearts with joy.

In a few weeks, we will be telling again the great story of the gift of Emmanuel. His name means ‘God-is-with-us’, and that is the meaning of his life: he comes in Jesus to be born among us, to share our sorrows as well as our joys, and never ever to leave us. It will be an unusual Christmas this year, but it will certainly be Christmas. Maybe, as some of the dear familiar things we are so used to cannot happen this year, and the dear familiar people we love cannot join us, we will be able to focus a bit more clearly on what it is all about. This year we celebrated Easter when the death rate from the virus was at its highest, and we were locked down in our homes: what a time to proclaim Jesus’ new life bursting from the tomb. And at the darkest time of this dark year we will celebrate Christmas, feast of the shining light that never can be overcome. Here is hope for us and here is hope for our world.

And as we come back together again over the coming weeks and months in our churches and communities, we will have our own stories of hope to tell too. Stories of a people who looked out for one another and took care of the vulnerable and the isolated. Stories of workers in the health service, in supermarkets, in deliveries, in many essential jobs who carried on courageously doing their duty for us all. Stories of people who learned new skills, who adapted to new ways of living, who gave with extraordinary generosity.

Stories of people who learned to see the world in a new way, who realised that there is more to life than shopping, who started exploring what it means to pray, who found new meaning and purpose in church online. . Stories of people who came to terms with their grief and their loss and started rebuilding their lives. Stories of people who were seized with anger at the injustices of our broken world, and set about trying to change it.

We all know that there is a great deal of sadness, pain and anxiety in our world just now; but Advent reminds us that we are to look out for what is also there – the signs of hope in our churches and our communities.

Jesus calls us his people to make a conscious choice to be a people of hope. And there are two reasons why he does that. The first is, because we need hope to keep on going. The great Austrian Jewish psychotherapist Viktor Frankl, who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, grasped this when he wrote that nobody can live without hope. But if we have a hope that gives us a reason for living, it gives us a capacity to cope: ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how’, Frankl said. He experienced a time immeasurably darker than what we have known, and yet he insisted that the most basic of human freedoms could never be taken away: ‘the freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances’, And in every circumstance, the attitude we should choose is hope.

But this is only half of the story. We need hope – but what if there actually is no hope available to us? Then, as St Paul said, we would be of all people the most miserable. But Jesus points his disciples to a sign, the sign of the fig tree: ‘as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near’. He points us to something beyond ourselves, to something we have not imagined, to something real. That reality is not the climatic season of summer; we are as many months from that as we can be. Rather, it is the reality of Christ our sun dawning on our world, on our lives. Our hope is built on this firmest ground: that in Jesus, God has come to us, he has shared our life and our death, and he has overcome the power of death through bursting from the grave. This is the truth; it is not something we have made up for ourselves; our hope is not in vain.

This is the message we are to share with one another, with our communities, with our world. It is a message which transforms our lives and turns us from sadness to expectant joy on this Advent Sunday. Today and every day, let us make Charles Wesley’s prayer our own:

Christ, whose glory fills the skies; Christ, the true, the only Light;
Sun of Righteousness, arise, Triumph o’er the shades of night:
dayspring from on high, be near; Daystar, in my heart appear.
Visit, then, this soul of mine; pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
fill me, Radiancy divine; scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display, shining to the perfect day.
Church Contacts

Vicar:                        Revd Preb John W Allan.  Email: revdjohnallan@revdjohnallan.plus.com
                                 The Vicarage, Church Road, Alrewas, Burton on Trent DE13 7BT        01283 790486
 

Associate Minister:   Revd Elizabeth Wall          Email: ayton265@gmail.com
                                 Gaia Cottage. 15 Gaia Lane, Lichfield. WS13 7LW                                01543 254891

Curate:                     Rev'd Ashley Hines      Email: revdashleyhines@gmail.com                  07733 595893

          
Reader                      Mrs Carole Ellis
                                  49 Heritage Court, Lichfield                                                                    01543 254448

Reader                      Dorothy Giles       Email: dot_giles@hotmail.co.uk                                01283 487831

All Saints, Alrewas
http://alrewasallsaints.church/

Wardens:                  Mr Ian Kirkland, 29 Micklehome Drive    ianrjk@icloud.com                  01283 790622 
                         Mr John Feathers,                                                                                  01283 791842
Assistant Warden:    Mr Edward Gould                                                                                    07896 929113
PCC Secretary:       Ms Laura Jacks,                                                                                      07904 774589
PCC Treasurer:       Mr Nick Kilford,  Email: treasurer@alrewasallsaints.church    
               07912 359237
Organists:                 Mr David Hall and Mr Chris Greenhalgh
Captain of Ringers:  Mr David Hall                                                                                          01283 792464
Church Flowers:       Mrs M Johnson                                                                                       
Pastoral Care:          Mrs Julie Willis,                                                                                       01283 791719
Children's society:    Mr and Mrs Peter & Lynn Lerigo,                                                            01283 791544
St Stephen's, Fradley
 
Warden:                 Vacancy 
PCC Secretary:      Mrs Jenny Summers 12 Bailye Close, Streethay, Lichfield WS13 8LD   01543 263359
PCC Treasurer:      Mr Nick Kilford                                                                                          07912 359237
Altar Flowers:         Mrs Elaine Lloyd, 34 Long Lane                                                               01283 790655

 
St Leonard's, Wychnor
 
Warden:                  Mrs Frances Mayes, Blackenhall Lodge,
                               The Green, Barton under needwood                                                        01283 713058
PCC Secretary:      Mrs Jackie Coates, Keeper's House, Wychnor                                        01543 473173
PCC Treasurer:     Mrs Karen Mercer, Hill Farm, Wychnor                                                     01283 791515

 
Parish News

Editors:                   Mrs Nikki Burns                                               email: nikkiburns152@hotmail.com

 
Alrewas Methodist Church
Minister: Revd Joanna Thornton 01543 253744
61 Burton Road, Streethay, Lichfield WS13 8LR  email:
revjo@hotmail.co.uk  
Steward: Mrs Pam Handscomb 01543 257594
Bookings: Mr John Henley 01283 752016
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info@alrewasallsaints.church 

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All Saints Church · Church Road · Alrewas · Burton on Trent, Staffordshire DE13 7BT · United Kingdom

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