Rector's Advent 2021 Newsletter
Dear Church Member
How easily does waiting come to you? In an age of instant gratification and cheap credit it feels as though we are no longer used to waiting. It’s easy to be impatient to set our own timelines for when things should happen.
Advent is a season when we are encouraged to wait, expectantly and prayerfully, for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to prepare ourselves for his second coming. It’s an opportunity to proactively reframe our priorities, to listen and ponder rather than simply react to the many demands on time and energy that are so acute in this season. Focusing on waiting for Christ is a helpful reminder to me to be open to unexpected crises and pressing requests, but not to be driven by them.
We have an event on Monday 6th December at 7.30pm called ‘Waiting for Jesus’ which I hope will be a help to you as we journey through Advent and to Christmas. Do please come along to pray, sit in silence and listen to music.
I am conscious of the many in our congregation who are enduring struggles of many kinds, particularly with ill health. We are reminded that however good we are at planning, it is the Lord that makes the way through the wilderness. And that we are called to be obedient to him, to wait on him, trusting that he will guide us through with his timing. Do let us know if we can help.
Homelessness. Our ‘SOS Room’ has already been in use and is fully prepared to offer short-term shelter to the homeless. If you can help on this team do let Olly know.
Refugees. We are currently supporting an Afghan family that is being housed in Buckingham. It is good to help like this. We are also continuing to support various other asylum-seekers from different parts of the world.
Christmas Lunch. Although we will not be doing a Christmas lunch at the Community Centre we will once again be delivering meals on Christmas Day. We are still looking for help with the catering so if you can help or know of someone who’d appreciate a meal delivered on Christmas Day please let Jo Wigley know.
Christmas Services. We are planning (Covid-permitting) to have our usual Christmas service offering. We pour a huge amount of effort into these not just for your enjoyment but especially so you can invite friends along knowing that what is on offer (music/talks/worship etc …) is of the highest quality. So please, please do invite people. Our Christmas services are summarised at the end of this letter.
Parish Weekend Away. Looking further ahead, as you know we have booked the High Leigh Conference Centre for 9th -11th September 2022 for what will be the first parish w/e away in 5 years. We have taken a leap of faith and booked the venue for our exclusive use and so need 160 people to come in order that we do not lose money. It will be a fantastic weekend with Canon John Bavington as our speaker. You can set-up a monthly contribution scheme to spread the costs of the tickets. Full details are here.
New Staff. We have welcomed Beth Jeremy - a long-standing member of our congregation - onto the staff team as our P/T Families Worker and Ark Leader. Please pray for Beth as she settles in to her new role.
Service Pattern. The trial timings will come to an end shortly and the PCC is discussing whether or not to adopt the current timings. My view is that these timings have worked well as evidenced by the growing numbers at both morning services. I know they don’t work for everyone but no pattern was ever going to please everyone. If you do have some views on the matter (for or against or suggestions) do please email me.
Works. Work to underpin the NW corner of church will start in the spring and is likely to be disruptive (the kitchen will be out of action for a period) and expensive. Please pray that we can raise the money necessary and also obtain grant funding.
Finances. Our finances are bearing up but now is a great time to start giving and full details can be found here. You can also give via our new ‘tap and pay’ machine at the back of church.
Dates for your Diary:
Monday 6th December – Waiting for Jesus at 7.30pm in BPC.
Thursday 9th December – Film Night at The Film Place – “God’s not Dead”
Our Christmas Services:
12th December – Christmas Messy Church 3-5pm
12th December – 6pm Carol Service
19th December – Crib Service at 11am
19th December – Nine Lessons & Carols at 6pm (not child-friendly)
Christmas Eve – Christingles at 3pm and 5pm.
Christmas Eve – Midnight Communion at 11pm
Christmas Day – 9.30 Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion at St John the Evangelist, Radclive
Christmas Day – Family service at 10am followed by Holy
Communion for those who wish to stay.
Boxing Day – 10am Traditional Service
Thanksgiving. We should be giving thanks that the numbers attending at all our services have pretty much reached pre-pandemic levels. This is cause for much gratitude. Two friends of mine who run churches are very dispirited with numbers at 30% and 50% of pre-pandemic levels. Well done BPC and thank you Lord.
Finally: Please pray for all our services and for there to be no further restrictions on gathering. Let’s make this Christmas one of Kingdom-building and pray for many to come closer to faith.
I wish you a very peaceful Advent, waiting for the arrival of the Lord Jesus!
with much love