There was an Advent Service on 22 December 2018

The Service was held in St. Peter’s as usual at 11am and began with a Call to Worship as we sang Hymn No. 1 – O come All Ye Faithful

The Opening Prayer was given by Robin Howard

Announcements were given by George Henderson and included:
*Sue Ann is at home with a cold and requests prayers
*Joe Casey sends an announcement of the Galway Harvest Festival 11-15 September 2019
*Dorothy Beardsmore collects toiletries for the Women’s Refuge in Watford and they have sent us thanks for our recent donations
*The US Weekly Update is on the noticeboard

This was a Special Service—the whole service was a message interspersed with hymns, readings, etc.  David led the Service, introducing each section with a lesson and thought.  The birth of Jesus was a significant event for the whole of humanity, past, present and future.  ‘Christ became what we are in order that we might become what he is’ and this brings great joy.

Reading—Linda Halford read about the Incarnation of the Word of Life  in 1 John 1:1-4. Verse 4 says “We write this to make our joy complete.”

Hymn 2.  Joy To The World

The birth of Jesus was a GIFT from God to humanity—the greatest gift ever given. Nancy Silcox read The Greatest Gift using John 3:16:
*God                                        -The Greatest Lover
*so loved                         -The greatest degree
*the world                               -The greatest company
*that he gave                  -The greatest act
*his one & only Son                -The greatest gift
*that whoever                 -The greatest opportunity
*believes                         -The greatest simplicity
*in him                             -The greatest attraction
*shall not perish             -The greatest promise
*but                                 -The greatest difference
*have                               -The greatest certainty
*eternal life                     -The greatest possession

Special Music:  Andrew Wilson played two songs on his Recorder:
Away In A Manger      and      O Little Town Of Bethlehem

Hymn 3 was O Little Town Of Bethlehem, with words reminding of the wondrous gift, Emmanuel, God with us, which brings us blessings and caused the angels to sings praises and brings our response of thanks and praise.

Speaking of Life this week was by Jeff Broadnax, GCI Elder and Director of GCI Generations Ministries. His message entitled Getting Your House In Order, looked at Advent, when God set us apart as his sons made Holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and wrapped us as a gift in sanctification. 

Reading—Irene Wilson read in Luke 2:6-16 the story of the birth of Jesus, where the shepherds were led to visit Him by angels singing “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Hymn 4 was Once In Royal David’s City where we sang the story about Jesus coming down to live with men as our pattern and share in all our sadness as well as gladness.

Intercessory Prayer was offered by Peter Beardsmore and included:
*Some are not here this week because of illness and we ask you to be with Sue Ann as well as Pat and Reg
*Be with Tracey, daughter of Ted Johnson
*We think of the homeless at this time of year in the cold of winter and ask you to bless the charities who help them, and in your mercy help those who are homeless for whatever reason
Be with those who have lost loved ones and are elderly or lonely.  Be with the organisation that try to help them and bless their efforts
*The Birmingham Youth Event is today and we ask your protection and blessing on their travel and activities
*Brexit is a very contentious issue and we pray that your will will be done.  No one knows what will happen but the future is in your hands.  We ask that whatever the outcome that we can continue to worship in freedom and peace.

A time of Contemplation and Meditation followed while David Brace played Silent Night on the piano.

David read Matthew 1:23 speaks of Immanuel, God With Us.  This is a highly significant phrase as it shows God’s desire is to be with man.  God and man come together in Jesus Christ. He will be with us always even to the end of the age. And this gives us courage, frees us from fear, giving us true peace and joy.  Hymn 6 then sang Joy Has Dawned Upon The World. The gifts given by the wise men to Jesus were significant—Gold signifying he was born to be King; Incense signifying his presence and Myrrh for the bitterness of his death, the promise from creation when God’s salvation for all was implemented through his Gift of Love—Jesus Christ, the Prince of Life.

We viewed a youtube video showing the King’s College Choir singing Hark, The Herald Angels Sing—a very inspiring rendition that filled the cathedral and us as well with the awesome glory and triumph the angels sang of—God and sinners reconciled as veiled in flesh the Godhead was pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel. 

We stood then and sang Hark, The Herald Angels Sing before theClosing Prayer was given by Mike Barlow. Fellowship continued over refreshments in the church hall. 

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