Some of you may already listen to the Sunday service on Radio 4 at 8.10 am. This Sunday 17th January, the prerecorded service is from All Saints' Leighton Buzzard. It features the BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2020 Alexander Olleston who is from Leighton Buzzard. He began singing in the church choir at All Saints' at the age of 7 before going on to be a cathedral chorister. The Vicar, Revd Cate Irvine will be preaching and the choir of All Saints' will be singing (having been recorded remotely.)
Given the current lockdown situation St Mary's will continue to be closed for services. The Sunday service will be available on the church website, https://www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk on Facebook and the church YouTube channel. There is a copy attached to this email. We are still working on streaming the service from church and hope to be able to do that live within the next couple of weeks. Don't forget that the church is open for private prayer on Sundays from 11am until 3pm and on Wednesdays from 11am until 3pm.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Monday. There are resources available on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland website https://ctbi.org.uk/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity-2021/. They provide material which can be used daily at home as well as services. This year's theme is 'Abiding in Christ' based on the image of the vine in John's gospel. You might like to use this prayer during the week.
Lord, you invite us to abide in you who are the vinedresser who cares for us with love.
You call on us to see the beauty of each branch united to the vine,
the beauty of each person.
And yet, too often the differences in others make us afraid.
We withdraw into ourselves. Our trust in you and one another is lost.
Come and direct our hearts toward you once again.
That as one family we may praise your name.
With every blessing,
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Please visit www.ctbi.org.uk for information on this year's event with the theme.
'Abiding in Christ'
The website offers resources including daily reflections and prayers. These have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland.
I hope you are managing to stay safe and well in these difficult times. St Mary's church will be open for private prayer each Sunday and Wednesday between 11am and 3pm but there will be no services in church for the next few weeks. We will continue with online worship which can be found on St Mary's website www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk on the church YouTube channel and on St Mary's Facebook page. You can find a copy of the service attached to this email.
Over the next few weeks we are hoping to move to livestreaming the service from church each Sunday at 10am. This will replace the service video and enable a more immersive experience, although at the moment there will be no congregation there. I am extremely grateful to Stephen Burge for producing such high quality service videos over the past 10 months. When he first offered it was thought it would only be for a few months and he has now produced nearly 50 videos! We are fortunate to have a very talented team of people and grateful thanks also go to Stephen and Elizabeth Axford for the excellent music, to Gordon for his valued contribution in leading and preaching, and to all the readers and intercessors. I am also thankful to Theo Gray for his technical expertise and to Marion Higley for her work with compiling and distributing the service sheets. And thank you to those who deliver paper copies to people who have no internet access.
I continue to pray for you. If you have any particular prayer requests please do get in touch or contact Angela Dunford about the prayer chain.
Happy New Year to you all. I hope and pray for better times to come in 2021. At the moment, however, the new variant of Covid 19 has led to a rapid rise in cases. Bishop Alan has been in touch regarding public worship in church in the light of this. He has given his permission to close churches for services if the parish feels that is the best thing to do. I have discussed this with the Church Wardens, Health and Safety Officer and Curate and we feel it is prudent not to hold services in church for the next three weeks. So there will be no service in church tomorrow or on Wednesday. I am very sorry that we feel this is necessary and also apologise for the short notice, but I am sure you will understand that things move quickly in the current circumstances.
The online service will be available on the website https://www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk , St Mary's Youtube channel and on the church Facebook page. There is also a copy attached to this email.
St Mary's will be open for private prayer on Sunday and Wednesday between 11am and 3pm. If any of you have any particular prayer needs at this time, please contact me or Angela Dunford about the prayer chain. Do get in touch for a chat. It is always good to hear from you.
With every blessing for 2021,
Although this Christmas will be very different for all of us, there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate the birth of the Saviour.
On Sunday 20th December, there will be Holy Communion services at 10am St Mary's Eaton Bray and 10.30am at All Saints' Dagnall.
The online carol service is also this Sunday, so please join us for that, via the website https://www.stmaryseatonbray.org.uk St Mary's Facebook page or our YouTube channel. It will be available from 5pm. There will be readings and carols with recordings by the choir, so it promises to be a special occasion. If you want to join the 'Mince pie and chat' zoom session at 6pm hosted by Sue Tucker contact her to book your place.
On Wednesday 23rd December the midweek Holy Communion service will be at 10am and the church will then be open for prayer until 4pm.
Christmas Eve services are all ticket only. Both the 4pm and 6pm Candle services are fully booked. Midnight Mass at 11.15pm still has a few spaces. Contact Catherine Hayden if you wish to book a ticket.
Christmas Day services are also ticket only; 10am at St Mary's Eaton Bray and 10.30am at All Saints' Dagnall. There are some spaces at St Mary's, so please contact Catherine to book a place.
The online service for Advent 4 will be available on Sunday morning on all the usual platforms.
In St Mary's churchyard you can also see the Nativity scene and some lovely photos of things made by Messy Church children.
I would like to wish you all God's blessings this Christmas.
It is going to be a busy time in the run up to Christmas, so please don't forget to book a place at the Christmas services if you would like to come along. In addition to the Christmas Eve services at 4pm and 6pm, there will also be Midnight Mass at 11.15pm and on Christmas day a service at 10am at St Mary's. On Christmas morning there is also a service at 10.30am at All Saints' Dagnall. You can book by emailing [email protected]
The Carol service will be online this year and can be found on all the usual platforms - the website stmaryseatonbray.org.uk, St Mary's Facebook page and our YouTube channel. It will be available at 5pm on Sunday 20th December. There will be readings and carols with recordings by the choir, so it promises to be a special occasion. And being in your own home, you can sing to your hearts content! The service will be followed by a 'Mince pie and chat' zoom session hosted by Sue Tucker. You can contact her on to book your place on the zoom chat.
There will be midweek services in church on Wednesday 15th December and Wednesday 22nd December. But please note there will not be a midweek service on Wednesday 29th December.
Catherine Hayden is selling her book "Interesting Tales from St Mary's Eaton Bray". It contains a number of historical anecdotes with much new information about people and things connected with St Mary's over the centuries. It costs £5, all of which will come to St Mary's. Copies can be purchased form Catherine in church or by our contact form. And don't forget Gordon's quiz which is available at www.christmaspuzzle.uk
I think that's all for now. If you have any other items to share, please get in touch.
Please see the St Mary's Eaton Bray News Archive for links to archived news about St Mary's.