The Twelve Days of Christmas extend into January. We celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. Epiphany marks the culmination of the Christmas period for Christians in the Eastern churches and it is fitting that Lavenham Benefice is participating in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity soon after, from the 18th to the 25th of January. Christians across the world from Egypt, Syria and Palestine to Nigeria and China suffer discrimination and harassment, even violence. Please bear these brothers and sisters in your hearts and prayers.
As ever, Lavenham and Preston St Mary are gearing-up for a very busy Advent and Christmastide. Advent Sunday falls on the 2nd of December this year and we’ll be straight into the caroling at 6pm for the Benefice Advent Carol Service.
Please note that we will be adding to the seasonal festivities a very special celebration of Rev. Stephen Earl’s institution and Induction, at which Bishop Nigel and Archdeacon David will be in attendance.
Lavenham Church hopes you can join us (in full voice) at worship at this most happy time in our calendar.
With much of secular society now putting away the decorations, it’s worth bearing in mind that we are still only half-way through the twelve days of Christmas in terms of the church calendar. We celebrate the coming of the Lord through to the festival of the Epiphany, on the 6th of January (and beyond, of course!).
This Sunday we mark the naming and circumcision of Jesus. There will be an 8am Holy Communion in Lavenham and a 9am at Preston St Mary. The choir will be resting this Sunday after their heavy duties last week, so the 10.15 Eucharist in Lavenham will be said rather than sung…
…but we will have carols so you can start the New Year on the right note by coming to church and joining with us in our celebration of new beginnings.
Details of these services, the litany and dates for your diary in the week ahead are on the Pew Sheet for 1 Jan 2012
This Sunday we will be having a special service of nine readings and carols in Lavenham Church at 4pm. As we draw near to the end of advent, the service should be a great way to get us into the Christmas spirit, in anticipation of thw weekend following.
Parish Eucharist will be celebrated at the usual time, 10.15, in Lavenham Church. Please click the link following to see the 18.12.11 service sheet
If you are in the mood for practising the sung elements of the service, details are provided below. New English Hymnal, I think, for the hymns…
Processional – 11 Veni Emmanuel
Kyrie – Mass in Three Parts (Byrd)
Gradual – Psalm 89 v 1-4, 19-27
Alleluia – Soon and very soon (Crouch)
Offertory – 186 Woodlands
Sanctus – Missa Penitentia (Hogger)
Agnus Dei – Mass in the Phyrgian Mode (Wood)
Communion – The Angel Gabriel (Trad. Arr. Pettman)
Post Communion – 9 Helmsley
Many church windows include illustrations of the nativity and Lavenham is no exception, but our window is not easy to find until you know where to look. Go to the east end of the church and look in the sanctuary, that part of the church containing the altar. There on the right hand side is a group of windows illustrating the infancy of Jesus. One of these shows the Virgin Mary, the infant Jesus on her lap, Joseph standing behind and three shepherds. One of the shepherds carries a lamb, the others kneel in adoration.
The familiarity of the story sometimes detracts from its significance. First of all, Mary is placed at its centre. This was unusual in the patriarchal societies described in Hebrew scriptures and in the Greece and Rome of Jesus’ time. Luke’s gospel contains many stories about women. The evangelist Luke also introduced shepherds into the birth scene. Shepherds were despised by the religious elite of the time because their pastoral duties made it impossible for them to follow the rigorous rules of cleanliness and worship. These may have been special shepherds. Lambs to be sacrificed on the Temple altars had to be perfect, so the Temple authorities had their own sheep flocks near Bethlehem.