Friday, 28 December 2012

The Queen's Christmas Message 2012

At Christmas, the Queen broadcast her Christmas message, as she has done each year, continuing the tradition set by her grand father, and televised since 1957. She spoke of the enthusiasm, fellowship and friendship of those celebrating the Diamond Jubilee; of the achievement courage and dedication, training and teamwork of the athletes and of those helping to organise the Olympic and Paralympic games; of the devotion, commitment and sacrifice of those helping in public service, particularly in the armed services.

She also related this to the inspiration that comes from those who were part of the Christmas story, such as Mary and Joseph and indeed, to the Christ child himself; and said that her prayer this Christmas Day was that his example and teaching would continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.

But toward the end of her speech, she said this: "The carol, 'In The Bleak Midwinter,' ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: 'What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part'."

And she concluded: "The carol gives the answer 'Yet what I can I give him - give my heart'. "I wish you all a very happy Christmas."
That question, of how we should respond to Christ, is of essential importance. It's what we will be exploring at the Alpha Course on Tuesday evenings (for details see post of 5 December).

See the Video of the Queen's message.
Full text of the message
Contact us if you might be interested in the Alpha Course

Sunday, 23 December 2012

God is With Us – Come and Celebrate Christmas 2012

After all the preparations, Christmas 2012 is in full swing at St Paul's.

Join us at 7.0 p.m. on Sunday 23 December for our much loved "Carols by Candlelight" when we will read again the Christmas story, sing carols old and new and hear other Christmas readings – all by the light of hand held candles.

Join us again for the Crib and Christingle service at 4.0 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Monday 24 December, when we will recount again the Christmas story in a way that children (and many adults) will enjoy.

Our Christmas midnight Communion takes place at 11.30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, when, in the stillness of night, we combine the thoughts and carols of the Christ child in the manger, with the memory of his death on the cross which was the reason why he came to earth.

On Christmas morning at 10.0 a.m. comes the climax of Christmas, when we join altogether for the Family Communion and remember Christ "Born This Happy Morning."

Do join us if you can. May you have a Very Happy Christmas.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Those Who Prepared the Way – Three

As we light our Advent Ring for each of the Sundays of Advent, we reached the third candle on Sunday 16 December. Each of the candles represent people or a person whose lives led up to Christ's coming at Christmas. The first candle had been the patriarchs (the leading fathers of Israel) Abraham Isaac and Jacob. The second had been the prophets whose message had told that the Messiah (Jesus) would come.

But who is candle three? The children were given a variety of clues including his desert diet – locusts and wild honey. The honey was pretty popular but there was general agreement that the locusts/insects were not going to be anybody's choice for dinner!

The third candle was for John the Baptist, Jesus second cousin, whose mission was both to call on the people of his time to repent of their sins and to announce the coming of Jesus. The call to change from what we are doing wrong is still equally relevant today.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Brookside School Visit

On Thursday children from the Foundation Stage of Brookside School came along to St Paul's to hear the Christmas story.
During their time with us they also lit the advent candles, built up a nativity scene, sang 'Away In a Manger' as well as looked around the church.
The children brought with them some decorations they had made. They are pictured hung on our tree. Each child had made their own one and on it they wrote their 'wish' or 'prayer' for others this Christmas season.
It was great to welcome the children and to see them join in so well.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Thought Provoking

For the last few years a group called Church Ads has produced a different poster each Christmas under the slogan "Christmas starts with Christ". They try to come up with an eye catching image and then provide it free for churches to use, as well as encouraging them to sponsor a prominent advertising location. The idea is that a co-ordinated effort and common image will stick better in peoples' minds. This year's image is called 'Godbaby' and features an image of one of those life like child's baby dolls. The slogan underneath reads "Godbaby. He cries, He wees. He saves the world". What is your reaction to that? For those who find it too in your face then there is an alternative slogan, "Godbaby. The gift that loves you back".

Personally, I find the image a bit off putting. I think it would have been better if it had been a real baby. Surely what the first slogan is trying to remind us is that Jesus came as a real human being and lived on earth. Jesus experienced all that we do and humbled himself to become a tiny baby. Often it is this side that we forget and so the slogan that 'he cries and wees' is meant to remind us of that very human nature of Christ. A picture of a human baby would have reminded us of this much more.

I pray that this Christmas you may encounter afresh the God baby who loves you beyond all measure.

Have a blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Good to Give…

As we approach Christmas it is natural to think about giving. Jesus was the greatest gift that God could give the world he loved. And so, at Christmas, we too give gifts. But most of those are given to family and friends who we already know well.

But last Sunday was special as most of the congregation had bought and wrapped gifts for people they did not know. During the "All age" and Parade Service, they were brought forward and, afterwards, they were sent to the children in Mother and Baby Homes, Women's Refuges, and Sheltered Housing. Other people brought gifts for asylum seekers cared for by the Welcome Project.

Our reading and sermon was about the woman whom Jesus commended for giving a couple of coins, which were all that she had.  It reminded us that God values us for what we are, however little we are able to give. We pray that our modest gifts may be an encouragement and sign of God's love to those who receive them.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Alpha 2013 Course Dates

St Paul's is planning to run an Alpha course in the New Year. Below are the dates set for the course. For more information or to register an interest in the course please contact Steve on 0116 271 0519 or email
To find out more about Alpha please vist the Alpha website

Tue 5 Feb Alpha Launch Event - Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant?
Tue 12 Feb Half Term
Tue 19 Feb Week 1 Who is Jesus?
Tue 26 Feb Week 2 Why did Jesus Die?
Tue 5 Mar Week 3 How can we have Faith?
Tue 12 Mar Week 4 Why and how do I Pray?
Tue 19 Mar Week 5 Why and how should I read the Bible
Tue 26 Mar Week 6 How does God Guide us?
Sat Holy Spirit Day – either 23 Mar OR 13 Apr
Tue 2 Apr No meeting, Easter week
Tue 9 Apr Week 7 How can I Resist Evil?
Tue 16 Apr Week 8 Why and how should I tell Others?
Tue 23 Apr Week 9 Does God Heal Today?
Tue 30 Apr Week 10 What about the Church?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Welcome Bishop Tim

On Sunday 2 December 2012, the Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens, visited the Parish of Oadby. He came to lead services for the first Sunday in Advent. First, he celebrated at the 8.0a.m. service, after which we all joined for breakfast in the Parish Hall (many thanks to those who have worked hard to make that possible).

The congregations of both churches (St Pauls and St Peter's) joined together for the main Communion Service at 10a.m in St Peter's. The large congregation was in good heart as it was led in worship both by the organ and choir and also by the youth band.

Advent is the time when we look forward to celebrating Christ's coming at Christmas and also his final return at the end of time. We also look forward to his reign of justice and peace being established on the Earth.

After the service people crossed the road for refreshments in the Parish Centre and after these, Bishop Tim answered people's questions. Although these were varied, questions about women bishops were much to the fore!

It was good to have our Bishop with us and for both churches to join together in worship.