Vicar's Letter


The Vicar's Letter

My dear friends,

I was writing this Vicar's Letter in November and had just begun to refer to the darkness around us during Advent when, quite literally, the house was plunged into darkness ! All the electrical power was cut off as a 'power cut' developed. (What might God be saying, here ?) We depend entirely on  electricity for our cooking at the Vicarage but at least the sausages could be finished by using the camping stove which uses a gaz canister. Candles were lit but how little use they were as the sausages got blacker and blacker. It was all a good reminder that we take modern facilities for granted – suddenly there was no computer, no central heating, no way to boil the electric kettle and no TV. And yet as soon as we started tucking into our blackened sausages in the candlelight the power was restored !  The whole experience has made me think rather more of the sheer privilege of living in the rich West and that I should thank God for 'basics' like electrical power and heating.

I feel that Christ really comes into our midst during Advent, Christmas and Epiph-any and that somehow, in the darkness of the winter days, we are all more ready to welcome him who is ‘the light of the world’ so that darkness is dispelled and we can try to follow in his footsteps. There really is ‘something going on’ in this season that even the most materialist dogma of modern Britain cannot gainsay nor the most cynical atheist philosophy dampen. The Church may be going through a Narnia-esque “winter” in general but I am not so sure that the religious sensibility of the English nation is quite as dead as some would have us think.

At this time of year we await expectantly, when the stars above us seem to bend towards earth and there in the winter night we find ourselves carried forward towards a birth at Bethlehem which leaves us in joyful awe. At St. Andrew's Revd. Joan Whyman will lead some Advent Reflections on Tuesday evenings following the 7. 30 p.m. Eucharist. The overall thrust will be to Awaken us, especially to a sense of wonder, and time (so precious a commodity in our over busy lives) will be given to listen to God. The task of the church is to provide opportunities for people to get caught up in this tremendous story of the birth of Jesus, to reflect on what it all means, and to come to some conclusion about what it means for their lives.

A selected list of special services and events is shown below :


2            7.30 p.m.                Tarantara Concert St. Andrew's Church                                 3            10.00 a.m.               Family Eucharist with Gospel Choir;  

               6.30 p.m.               Advent Sunday Carol Service

7            10 – 12 noon           Gather at Morrisons for Carols

9            4.00 p.m.               Carol Service at The Squirrel Pub, Bishopton

10          3.00 p.m.               Time to Remember Service and Tea in the Hall to follow

12          2 – 4 p.m.             Mothers' Union Christmas Party in the Parish Centre

16 10 – 11.30 a.m.               Carol Singing in Henley Street

17        6.30 p.m.               Nine Lessons and Carols

20       6 – 7 p.m.              St. Andrew's Primary School Carol Service

21       2 – 4 p.m.               Company & Cake, Bishopton Community Hall

Sunday 24               10.00 a.m.  Parish Eucharist

(Christmas Eve)      4.00  p.m.  Children's Nativity (45 minutes)

                             7.00  p.m.   Carols at The Bell Inn, Shottery

                             11.00 p.m.  'Come Ye Unto Bethlehem' in St.  Andrew's Parish  Centre –                           Holy Communion with special music and an opportunity to light a candle   

                             for a loved one.

                           Free mulled wine served beforehand.

 Monday 25th

(Christmas Day)    8.00 a.m.  Said Holy Communion(1662 Rite)

                           10.00a.m.  Family Service with Eucharist

 Thursday 28th    10.00 a.m.  Said Holy Communion (Holy Innocents)


Sunday 31st  8.00 a.m.  Said Holy Communion

                   10.00 a.m.  Parish Eucharist

                   (No Evening Service)

January (the “recovery” month !)

7  10.00 a.m. Family Service with 'Open The Book' Team and Bob Macvie to lead

14  10.00 a.m. Parish Eucharist &  Jan Walker's Celebration of 25 years as a Reader


Finally, Jill and I have decided that it is best to donate £100 to church funds rather than to send all the Christmas cards we have sent in the past and so if you don't receive a card from us this year it is not a sign that you have been crossed off the list ! We want to thank everyone of you for all your love and support during this last twelve months, which means so much to us, and to wish you a truly blessed  Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

Yours in the light

 James & Jill.











Vicar James Warren
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