St George’s Church, Great Bromley
From the Churchwardens
Happy Christmas from St George’s to all our readers. We look forward to seeing many of you at our events: the Festive Coffee Morning 4th December, (see details below), and our Christmas services. Thank you for your support in 2021; we hope you enjoy the newsletters. Don’t miss the MFPA Christmas art and our special selection of Advent and Christmas music.
With best wishes
Gregory and Jenny
St George’s Services in December
Dec 5th Advent 2 ~ Parish Eucharist (BCP) 10.30am
Dec 12th Advent 3 ~ Parish Eucharist (CW) 10.30am
Dec 19th Advent 4 ~ Evensong (BCP) 6.30pm
Dec 24th Christmas ~ Churchyard Crib Service 4.00pm
Dec 25th Christmas ~ Parish Eucharist (CW) 10.30am
Dec 26th Christmas 1 ~ (see Little Bentley)
Festive Coffee Morning ~ Saturday 4th December, 10am-noon
Pop in to St George’s on the 4th. There will be coffee, cakes, bric-a-brac, puzzles, bargains, raffle, and most importantly, time for a chat and a catch up.
Christmas Carols at St George’s ~ 19th Dec
Carols by Candlelight 19th December at 6.30pm: we look forward lovely traditional carols, readings and to seeing you. Let’s make up for what we missed out on in 2020!
Christmas Carols at St Mary’s churchyard, Little Bromley ~ 18th Dec
Come and sing carols outdoors at 3pm on Saturday 18th December.
St George’s churchyard Crib Service ~ 24th Dec
On Christmas Eve at 4pm in the churchyard, there will be a short crib service with the lychgate starring as the stable at Bethlehem.
*** LOVE *** LIGHT *** LIFE *** PEACE ***
As I write, there is some uncertainty about Christmas, whether turkeys and toys will be freely available, how bad covid rates will be and whether we will be able to celebrate Christmas normally. All the doubts that we have become accustomed to since the pandemic are back again. We look back to pre-pandemic times with nostalgia. And the whole climate change debate has racheted up our levels of anxiety.
How are we to view the Christmas message in the light of all the gloom and doom? When Jesus was born, two thousand years ago, times were hard. The country was occupied by foreign overlords. Droughts and famines and plagues were common. A tyrannical king ordered the slaughter of all Jewish baby boys, so Jesus’s parents fled to Egypt to protect him. Poverty and illness were common. But the light came into the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it.
The God we celebrate at Christmas is a God of Love, a God who loves each and every one of the people he has created. The God we celebrate is a God of Light, who shines in the dark places. The God we celebrate is a God of Life, who offers fullness of Life to those who trust him. The God we celebrate brings peace, he is the King of Peace.
*** LOVE *** LIGHT *** LIFE *** PEACE ***
What better things could we celebrate this Christmas? We may not be able to eat turkey, we may not have been able to buy all the things we had planned, but we can still celebrate the birth of a helpless baby whose coming transformed the world.
We wish you a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a healthy and joyful new year. You will be VERY welcome at any of our services over the Christmas period. Or if you prefer peace and quiet, just pop into the church at Gt Bromley or Lt Bromley and enjoy the love and light and life and peace of the Christ Child.
And may you have a happy and healthy and peaceful New Year, whatever it may bring.
The Revd Laura Garnham
Prayers for Advent and Christmas
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
God our Father, whose Word has come among us in the Holy Child of Bethlehem: may the light of faith illumine our hearts and shine in our words and deeds; through him who is Christ the Lord.
Saints’ Days in December
St Nicholas ~ 5th December
St Nicholas is patron saint of sailors, and the church at Harwich is dedicated to him. But he is more famously the patron of children, following a gruesome tale which you can read on the internet. He lived in Myra (now in Turkey) in the 4th century and was imprisoned for his faith under the Roman emperor Diocletian. Dutch people give gifts on 5th December for Sinterklaas and we have adapted that to Santa Claus on Christmas Day.
St Stephen ~ 26th December
St Stephen was one of the seven deacons appointed by the Apostles (Acts, Chapter 7). Stephen was strongly critical of the cult of the Temple and his punishment was death by stoning in 36AD; he was the first Christian martyr.
Darkness to Light Service on Advent Sunday
On 28th November, congregation and choir gathered in the unlit church as twilight fell. Fr Stephen at the font, prayed and lit a taper from the Paschal Candle with which he lit the first candle on the advent crown and the light was passed on to each person as well as the many candles throughout the church. Advent hymns, readings of scripture and poetry, and two anthems by Bullard and Stainer, helped focus our minds on waiting for the Coming of the Christ Child.
St George’s welcomed many people from Gt Bromley and Lt Bentley for the service after the commemoration at the Gt Bromley war memorial. Thanks to trumpeter Oliver for his skilled rendition of the Last Post and Reveille. Children from St George’s School, led by Mrs Keitch, laid a wreath and spoke in church about the Royal British Legion.
At Lt Bromley war memorial there was a short act of remembrance and two minutes silence at 11am. Wreaths were laid by the Chairman of the Parish Council and a representative of the Parish Church.
St George’s friend Angela brought pupils from Market Field School, Elmstead Market, to visit us on Armistice Day. They brought a beautifully hand-coloured wreath to lay at the war memorial.
The church was hushed as the names of those being remembered were read out, and organ music was played as people lit a candle in memory of a loved one. The Pie Jesu from Fauré’s Requiem was then sung by St George’s Choir.
A big ‘thank you’ to the group of friends of St George’s who helped in the churchyard in November. You will have noticed how the paths have been cleared of creeping vegetation and the edges are looking crisp. And there was a lovely lemon drizzle cake from one of the team as reward afterwards.
“Well done, team!” says Scruff (cf the photograph)
Thanks to all who have contributed to charities at St George’s recently: Baptism ~ £37.50 to Cancer UK; Thanks & Hope ~ £85 to Cheshire Home and NHS; Harvest~ £120 Manningtree Foodbank; Light a Candle ~ £203 St Helena Hospice
We are delivering toiletries to the collection point to support the Chelmsford Diocese response to the refugee crisis.
We are collecting cash donations up to the 30th November.
MFPA Christmas paintings
There are some lovely Christmas paintings by MFPA. Click on ‘Christmas Church’ by Roger Guy Pedrick, to see more examples.
Advent at St Paul’s
I look from afar’ (Palestrina) and ‘This is the Record of John’ (Gibbons) are two of the seasonal tracks on this lovely CD.
Vienna Boys’ Choir ~ Christmas Album
The Choir of Liverpool Cathedral ~ Long ago, Prophets knew…
King’s College, Cambridge ~ In the bleak midwinter
Magdalen College, Oxford ~ This is the record of John
We are so fortunate now to have three choirs supporting our worship: St George’s Choir, Choir 2, and the Deanery Choir. In this way, with distancing, we hope to have a small choir at all our services. We thank our singers and organists for their skills and commitment, and for all they add to beautify our worship at St George’s.
If you would like to read more about the work of Malcolm Guite and hear him read one of these poems, go to his blog.
Giving to St George’s
Thank you all for your support which is invaluable to the continuing work of St George’s. If you would like to help, please see the Donation details on the website.