Tuesday, 30 December 2014

All the Excitement of Christmas

An excited congregation assembled in Saint Paul’s at 10.0 a.m. on Christmas morning for our Family Communion Service. Presents were displayed as we considered the greatest gift at Christmas – Jesus Christ himself. In a competition to see who had awoken the earliest, it turned out that our children had actually been very self-restrained this Christmas and few parents had suffered greatly.

One might have expected the church to empty quickly as people rushed off to their Christmas meal. Perhaps it was the sherry that was served, or people’s friendly nature, but in any case, the church actually took a very long time to empty – even though there were only three days until the congregation  would meet again on Sunday, when the Christmas season continues.

Christmas Is Here

As the midnight hour approached on Christmas Eve, we met for the first Communion of Christmas. During the first half of the service, we considered what was important that we were waiting for at Christmas and what would be left after Christmas was over – it would be the work of Christ, who came to save us, and continues to want to live in our lives. In the second half of the service, we shared in Communion, and as we shared in the bread and the wine, tokens of you that death, we remembered that that salvation was obtained by Christ’s cross some 30 years after that first Christmas.

It was a service of quiet, peace and joy – reflected in our hearts as we returned to our beds.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Come to Bethlehem

The excitement is rising! The church was full of small children and families for the Christingle service this afternoon. On their way into church, children were offered outfits for an impromptu crib scene – Angels, shepherds, Kings, a donkey, and of course, Mary and Joseph. With an accompaniment of carols, the Christmas story was re-enacted. (Photo)

After a talk by Lou, our youth worker, on Christmas gifts that matter – especially that of Christ himself, the true meaning of Christmas was explained, using a Christingle – the light of Christ (a candle) being given to the world (an orange), Jesus death on the cross (a red ribbon for his blood).

The candles of the Christingles were then snuffed out with the encouragement that they should be relit on Christmas Day

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Bethlehem – The Musical

Last Sunday morning the service basically followed our usual “Service of the Word” that we alternate with our Communion Services. But there was a treat coming at the end. “Supertroopers” our Sunday School for those of primary school age, rejoined us, and introduced us to a lively and musical version of the Nativity. Following a narrator, they portrayed the journey to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the shepherds and the Magi. Each child played their part and together they sang beautifully.
Christmas really is coming!

Carols by Candlelight

On Sunday we held our Carols by Candlelight service and welcomed 130 people to St Paul's.
Handheld candles flickered in darkness. Together, we sang many of the old favourites, while the choir sang some of those less well-known. There was even one in French, but the translation was projected so that we all knew what was going on.

Interspersed between the carols were scripture readings but told again the story of how Jesus, foretold long ago in history, been born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. There were also some readings from Scripture to draw our attention to the purpose of Christ’s coming – coming as a light to draw humans from the darkness of sin to his marvellous light. In his remarks, Steve highlighted the possibility of studying this further with the Alpha course, which is starting on 7 January.

So, we draw close to the climax of Christmas with the Christmas Eve Communion Service at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday and the Christmas Day Family Communion Service at 10 a.m.

Thank you to all who worked so hard. We hope the service brought alive the Christmas story for all who came along.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Bishop's Christmas message

Click here to watch the Bishop's Christmas message.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Nativity Story

On Sunday evening, 14 December, we showed “The Nativity Story.” The film underlined the poverty and war torn state of Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth. It also showed how difficult and potentially disgraceful it was for the young girl, Mary, to be chosen to be the virgin mother. In addition, ito showed how difficult it was for Joseph.

By contrast, one had the visit of the outcast shepherds and the mysterious Magi from the East. It gave a mass of thought-provoking background as we run up to the main Christmas activities

It cost Jesus much to come to earth for us, but we should not forget the cost for Mary either.

It Is Better to Give Than to Receive

Yesterday was our gift service, in the context of our All Age Service, when our uniformed organisations were present. A skit by our “Tribe” youth group showed the futility and stupidity of always seeking the latest electronic gizmo (see photo insert).

After Steve (our vicar) had talked about the value of real gifts, especially of Christ’s gift of himself to us, we then gave gifts to be given by those much less fortunate than ourselves. As people came forward, the piles of gifts grew to extraordinary numbers. Some went to a women’s refuge, some to “Gifts on the Table” for needy children, and some to refugees being cared for by the “Welcome Project.”

Our prayer is that these gifts may respond to particular needs, of which we are unaware; may they demonstrate the love of Christ, who as a baby was so poor.

Ding Dong Merrily!

Christmas is a wonderfully musical time, when the birth of Jesus is celebrated with carols. At 7 p.m. next Sunday evening we shall be having our main service of “Carols by Candlelight.” Meanwhile, many individual groups, some within the church, some who use our buildings and local schools come for their own Cal services.

One of the first, shown here, was of the Thursday morning Coffee Pot. The congregation sat around tables and after a service with carols, commemorating the great events of Christmas, everyone enjoyed coffee and mince pies.

This event is now past, but do come and join with us at the beautiful “Carols by Candlelight” on Sunday 21 December.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Advert

All the shops have now released their Christmas adverts promoting some of the values of Christmas but missing out the key ingredient, Christ.
The Christmas Starts with Christ campaign have released this brief advert that cleverly reminds us of the main focus of this Christmastime. You can watch it here.

Coffeepot Christmas Lunch

Members of Coffeepot gathered at the Fox in Halation to celebrate Christmas over lunch. Jenny, Gill and Anne were very enthusiastic about this new venue and their enthusiasm was reinforced by the meal we got! Situated in one of Leicestershire's very attractive villages the restaurant is nooky and intimate. We enjoyed good conversation and Massimo's excellent food. If you missed out this time, make sure to book in for next year.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas meal with a difference.....

There is a local Asian retired lunch time group that meet in our buildings weekly. Each month they share a meal together and today they were having a Christmas lunch. I was invited to join them and to give them a Christmas message which was translated into Guajarati.
I shared with them my favourite Christmas word - Emmanuel - which means God with us and spoke of the reality of Jesus as God in human form, coming to earth to live among His people.
The food was great too, no roast turkey but a good selection of traditional spicy Indian dishes!

Christmas Assemblies

Well done to the church in Norwich who have made this parody of the John Lewis advert that reminds us that Christ is at the heart of Christmas.
We have been using this clip at the end of our Christmas assemblies in Manor High School this week along with this clip that reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas which can so easily get lost in the midst of all the trimmings of this season.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


We launched IGNITE Sunday 30th November – IGNITE is a worship space for young people to connect with God in relaxed and relevant way, using modern worship songs, speaking on relevant topics and eating lots of pudding!
We had a brilliant time praising God, learning more about him and being encouraged in the value He places on our lives.

Watch this Space for the next one in the new year…we’d love to see you there.

All young people are welcome across Leicestershire and beyond and it’s free :)

So come and join us!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Carol Singing at Sainsburys

We were invited to sing carols at Sainsburys again this year. Steve asked for singers to fill the place with joyous Christmas music. A group of thirty singers, plus some extra volunteers from the shoppers, sang it's way through the carol sheet twice! Many of us ran out of voice, particularly me! (to the relief of many!) We tried to give everyone who passed a chocolate from a Christmas selection box, but the shoppers kept dropping coins into the chocolate boxes! We had experienced this phenomenon last year and were not surprised. Steve will arrange for the proceeds to go to a local charity.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas Is Coming – But What Does It Mean?

Christmas will soon be upon us – and we all love to celebrate Christmas. But what is its real significance? Who was Jesus? Early in the New Year we will be starting a new Alpha Course which gives the opportunity to discuss these and other aspects of the Christian faith. If you are interested – or even just curious, why not come for a taster to the Alpha Launch Event on Wednesday 7 January at 7.0 pm, entitled “Christianity: Boring, Untrue and Irrelevant?”

If you find the taster session interesting, the course will continue as follows:
Wed 14 Jan    Week 1 Who is Jesus?
Wed 21 Jan    Week 2 Why did Jesus Die?
Wed 28 Jan    Week 3 How can we have Faith?
Wed 4 Feb      Week 4 Why and how do I Pray?
Wed 11 Feb     Week 5 Why and how should I read the Bible
Wed 18 Feb  No meeting, Half term week and Ash Wednesday
Wed 25 Feb    Week 6 How does God Guide us?
Sat 28 Feb      Holy Spirit Day 10am – 3pm
Wed 4 Mar     Week 7 How can I Resist Evil?
Wed 11 Mar    Week 8 Why and how should I tell Others?
Wed 18 Mar   Week 9 Does God Heal Today?
Wed 25 Mar   Week 10 What about the Church?

All sessions of the course start at 7.0 p.m. and include a meal.

The Alpha course has been organised nationally, but we have found it of great value locally, here at St Paul’s, and over the years a number of people have found a personal experience of Jesus, through it.

Is it what you are looking for?

View the National Alpha website

A Film for Christmas

As the Christmas season gets into full swing at St Paul’s, on Sunday 14 December, at 7:00 p.m. we will be showing the film “The Nativity Story.” As the film has a PG certificate, this is the opportunity for all the family to remember the wonderful events of Christmas.

The film is 1hr 41 min long. It is directed by Catherine Hardwicke and stars Keisha Castle-Hughes. It should be a wonderful way to start Christmas. Tickets are £2 at the door and children go free. Everyone is very welcome.