In the Methodist Church we’re not always consistent in observing the “church year”. Our Roman Catholic and Anglican sisters and brothers are perhaps better at remembering through liturgy and symbol the story of our faith and the tradition (church history). They will commemorate feast days and tell the stories of Christian heroes from the past. We share with them in that great story as together we write and participate in its latest chapter. I suppose if I’m honest I have to admit that we “pick and choose”. We’re quite hot on Christmas and Easter and its antecedent seasons of Advent and Lent, we mark Pentecost but that’s about it.
One thing we are good at is lamenting the fact that wider society seems to celebrate a Christmas without Jesus. In the average school nativity, Jesus is in any case relegated to a bit part as a child’s plastic doll is placed in the manger in the final moments of the drama, eclipsed by the unpredictable antics of small children in cow outfits.
Wider society also ignores Advent. With its fertile imagery, Advent provides the context into which the light of Christmas dawns. Instead, by the time the “church year” wishes to begin our celebrations at midnight on Christmas Day, everyone else has finished!
This year may feel different. As I write in mid-November, it is difficult to predict where we shall be. It’s possible that those of us who can will be able to celebrate with others. Others will be on their own. We shall still be in the grip of pandemic. None of us I suspect will have difficulty acknowledging the darkness. In a real sense then, Christmas is coming home.
The razzmatazz of a Christ-less Christmas has no answer. Only that flicker of light and the cry of that promised new born baby born in obscurity points the way to the hope that we all need.
May you all know the promise the Christmas brings this year.
Rev'd. Andrew M. Emison
We are very pleased to confirm that we will be reopening the church for worship, starting from Sunday 6th December.
As before, we will be holding services at 10am on a Sunday and 4pm on a Wednesday. As numbers will continue to be restricted in order to attend you will need to book a place by filling in the form on the website or by ringing Ros or Marg.
The Sunday morning services will continue to be streamed and available to watch live or later on the YouTube channel.
Dear Friends, Some of us have been delighted that we have been able to meet together for worship in these last weeks both on Sunday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. The longed for moment came when we were able to “go up to the house of the Lord” to that setting where many of us have experienced some of the most profound moments of our lives.
On the other hand, we remembered those who were not able to come and just how difficult that must have felt for you. All this makes the news of last weekend all the more disheartening. As a result, we are sadly not able to meeting for collective worship at church until at least the 2nd December. This is not a local decision, but is the law of the land.
In the last week I have spoken to a couple of people whose businesses and livelihoods are threatened. The increase in testing since the spring means that we hear of cases much nearer to us. Our own loss of fellowship is both important and symbolic of what is happening elsewhere. In the meantime, we will continue with our weekly services online.
They can be found each week at 10am on YouTube.
For many of us, November feels harder than April. . All over our society the news is causing upset and anger. I would ask that we all continue to be aware of how we’re feeling and reacting as well as those around us. Keep in touch; give me a call. Let’s encourage each other with those stories of God’s promise as we watch out for each other. In our service last week I asked us to reflect that God in Jesus has already won the victory over all things that would harm us, even death itself. As we travel through these dark days, let us hold each other in that same love and grace in which we ourselves are held.
Rev'd. Andrew M. Emison
Methodist Minister, Frodsham & Norley, North Cheshire Circuit.
Written by the Minister & Members