Rector's Christmas 2020 Pew Letter 

Dear Church Member
Christmas fast approaches under circumstances we’d never have imagined this time last year – who would have guessed that “You’re on mute!” would be the most frequently used phrase of 2021? 
The story we remember and celebrate is the same enduring one of God’s love and self-sacrifice but how we tell it will be different this year.  Our various Christmas services - that we hope and pray will attract many visitors both physically and online - will have a different feel with no singing and fewer people present among the most noticeable differences.  All we can do is our very best to provide a warm welcome and a clear presentation of the gospel message and leave the rest to God.
Just to remind you, these are the services and events which will still proceed even with the move to Tier 4.    Do please share these details with friends and neighbours.
Sunday 20th December: (none of these are ticketed)
9am – Parish Communion as normal
11am – All-age family service as normal
4.30pm – Outdoors ‘Carols by Torchlight’
6pm – Contemporary Carols inside church 
Christmas Eve (all services are ticketed)
10pm ‘Midnight’ Communion (nearly ‘sold out’)
11pm ‘Midnight’ Communion If both the above are sold-out we will do an extra service at 9pm
Christmas Day (all services are ticketed)
8am – Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion
9am – Family Service
10am – Family Service (nearly ‘sold out’)
10.45am – stand-alone Holy Communion (need to book this separately to the 10am) 
Sunday 27th December
10am - Parish Communion
11am – Zoom Family service.  This is online – do not come in for it! 

If you are planning on attending a service do please book on as soon as possible so we know whether we will need to do extra services of not.  If you have booked tickets to a Christmas service that you will now no longer attend, please open up your confirmation email and click ‘cancel’ so someone else can use your ticket.
Outreach.   I am humbled at what an incredible job so many of you are doing to show the love of Jesus around our community.  The Food Bank is going at full-tilt and our Member of Parliament is so impressed that he’s asked to come and see it in action!  We are also part of the team that has been delivering all the toys you have so kindly donated and will also be delivering meals and gifts on Christmas Day. 
Alpha.  We will start a new Alpha course in mid-January.  The Alpha Course is now all online and via Zoom so incredibly easy to access.  If you’d like to do it or know some who might just let Olly know here []
“KickStart” & CAP Life Skills.   In the period after Christmas, sadly we’re expecting more people in the area to fall into financial hardship, experience mental health pressures and become unemployed. KickStart will restart in the New Year offering online support sessions covering: money management, finding work, maintaining good relationships, dealing with ‘bad habits’, and improving mental health and wellbeing. Brian and Ann Hubbard are leading this, having already helped a number of local people in 2020.
Once restrictions are eased, we will be looking to relaunch CAP Life Skills community groups in The Centre to provide additional support for those in Financial, Emotional and Spiritual poverty locally. Let’s pray for these initiatives as we seek to meet needs in the town.
Serving.   Thank you to those who have offered to help with the various services; amazingly we have everything covered now.
Fabric.   Much is happening with regards the fabric of our church:
Work on replacing weather-damaged stonework and underpinning the kitchen corner of the church will we hope go ahead in early 2021.
The clock is now back full restored with a fully automated winding system and is now chiming and ringing each hour (daytime and early evening).
The side chapel project moves forward and should be complete (less the window replacement) by Christmas.  The stunning stained glass window currently in the kitchen will be returned to its rightful place at the head of the South aisle in the New Year. 
Service Pattern for 2021.   The new trial timings will continue for the foreseeable future with a review after the Easter term.  We really need a good run of near-normal services in order to make a good judgment and slipping in and out of lockdown has been very unhelpful.  With no BCP service in Buckingham I am pleased to say that there will be one at Radclive (1st Sunday) and another at Thornborough (3rd Sunday) both at 9am.  We have no plans for a BCP service at BPC until the results of the current service trial are evaluated.
Finally:   Jesus came to bring light in the darkness and hope in troubled situations.  Whilst we now have new hope as the vaccine is rolled out let us not forget that at the heart of Christmas is Christ:  Jesus, God's only Son, coming into the world to take our sins upon himself so that our relationship with God could be restored.  He came to show how much God loves and cares for each one of us.  He came to bring peace and hope; may you know that peace and hope this Christmastide.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful New Year,

May the joy of the angels,
the eagerness of the shepherds,
the perseverance of the wise men,
the obedience of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit
be amongst you and remain with you always, Amen