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Sunday, 2 December 2018
We had a very busy Sunday today!  Being the first Sunday in December, it is the first Sunday in Advent and so the first Advent Candle was lit in the Advent ring.

The children from Sidlesham Primary School sang Away In A Manger and Silent Night accompanied on a guitar.
The children from Sidlesham School

We also had the distribution of the Christingles and collection of The Children's Society boxes.

Lighting the Christingles

We sing the Christingle hymn after the Christingles have been lit.

The children of the Sunday School gave the address

As Father Stephen has said, today is Advent Sunday and we have lit the  first  Advent candle. The advent wreath is a symbol of the whole meaning and purpose behind Christmas. Christmas isn’t just about Jesus as a baby. There’s much more to it than just that. The dictionary’s meaning of “advent” is “the coming or the arrival of something important.”
  Jesus didn’t come to this world just to be adored as a cute little Baby and give us a chance to celebrate His birthday every year.  It was so we could celebrate our OWN spiritual birthdays.
We have the Advent wreath, to remind us WHY Jesus came and that He is coming again.
The green symbolizes the new and everlasting life that we can have through Jesus.
And the circle reminds us of God, Who is eternal, Who has no beginning or end, and who has an endless amount of mercy and love for everyone.
The light from all the candles symbolizes the light of God coming into the world. Jesus is the Light that takes away the darkness of our lives and brings us new life and hope.
The candlelight also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we tell other’s about Jesus.

The three purple candles represent royalty.  Jesus is God, AND came from royalty on earth.  Jesus came from the family of King David and is the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. But Jesus was rejected as king, and was crucified.  So Jesus will be coming again some day to fulfill this promise.
We don’t know WHEN, but we do know that He WILL.
The first candle that we have lit today stands for hope and we remember the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the ancestors of our faith. We hear the message of hope told to Abraham from the book of Genesis.

The LORD had said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’’

Abraham was obedient to God and left his home to go to a distant land. God told Abraham that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed. This blessing would come because he trusted and put his hope in God. The Gospel writer Matthew traces the ancestry of Jesus back through the Old Testament to Abraham.
So it was that the promise was fulfilled, that all the nations of the world were blessed through the obedience of Abraham.

The Second Candle stands for peace.  
It reminds us of the prophets who spoke of the coming of Christ. They told of how a Saviour would be born, a king in the line of King David. The prophet Isaiah called Christ "the Prince of Peace" and told us how he would rule the world wisely and bless all the nations.

The third candle to light is the pink candle of love and we remember John the Baptist. 
In their old age God gave to Zechariah and Elisabeth a son called John. John spoke to the people bravely in the desert denying his own comforts and was prepared to die for what he believed. John taught that we should share what we have with others, treat each other kindly and show God’s love. He did this because he cared for people and wanted them to repent and find God's forgiveness.  

St Matthew’s Gospel.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of
Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This
is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one
calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight
paths for him.'

The final purple candle is to reflect JOY – as in the celebration of Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection and His Second Coming. When this candle is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent we will remember Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Mary had been told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear Jesus, a holy child, the Son of God. We are told that Mary rejoiced and sang a song which glorified God. Just as the birth of Jesus gave great joy to his mother, so his presence in the world gave joy to those who had none before. He healed them and gave them hope and peace when they believed in him. 
St Luke’s Gospel.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

The white candle in the centre is called the Christ Candle, which will be lit on Christmas Eve.
Jesus is the centre of what we are celebrating and should be the centre of our lives.

We speak of hope - because God keeps his promises to us.
We work for peace - because Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ and he calls his children to work for peace in his name.
We show love - because Jesus gave everything for us and led us to know the forgiveness of God.
We share joy - because the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and minds with the presence of God
When we light our last candle we remember the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which we celebrate on Christmas Day.  So hope, love, peace and joy all come from Jesus which brings light to us and to all the world.

The children also read the intercessions. 

Before the Peace, Aleks was admitted to the choir and as is tradition now, the junior choir a few of the adults sang "Lead Me Lord".

Aleks makes his promises.

Aleks is now wearing his cassock

Mrs Chivers and Miss Rodd will now help Aleks on his choral journey .

After the service, we all followed Father Stephen into the Parish Rooms for the blessing of the new wall hanging.

The new wall hanging is blessing and sprinkled with Holy water.

The finished hanging, simple and beautiful.

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. St Mary's Facebook page
  2. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  3. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  4. Prayer for today.
  5. The C of E youtube channel.
  6. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  7. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

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