Christmas Fayre

Well, the Christmas Fayre took a lot out of me: it’s Wednesday and I am still exhausted after it. During the event, I can keep going for ages (although I did I am sorry to say, let it get the better of me when it came to the raffle draw), but recovery takes much much longer. I think I am getting old.

We held it in Church, for two reasons, firstly because the condition of the hall continues to embarass me: it is a cold, fairly unwelcoming space, away from the focus of parish life: the Church and secondly, because we thought the Church was somewhere special to share in this fellowship and activity.

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The Church was busy, buzzing and lively, and yet people could still come up the sanctuary for a prayer and a candle. It was about embedding the Church in the Community and vice-versa. The result was over £900 raised.

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Set-up took from Friday Mass onwards, with little sleep that night, from 8am on Saturday and didn’t finish until long past 5pm. Some people stayed right to the bitter end for the clear-up and their hard work made all the difference, as the Church was turned back into a proper worship space for the following day. Father Christmas was great (and we thank him for taking time from his busy work schedule to come to be with us), the cakes were fab and the fellowship was wonderful.

It was, however, a long and stressful day for me, laden down with cold. I have to be honest and admit that with a failing voice and two (don’t ask) raffles to draw, I wanted to draw the tickets as quickly as possible to keep the momentum going. Slow down! about twenty people seemed to have a go at once and I regrettably snapped back at them. I was tired. My voice was failing. Sorry. We are all human.

The following day we celebrated the feast of Christ the King and admitted into our community a group of young people who had been preparing for it through special course called Welcome to the Lord’s Table by Margaret Withers.

As part of that that preparation, we shared a Jewish Seder meal:

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and saw how much like the Eucharistic Prayer it was. It was so good that I think I will offer it during Holy Week for the whole congregation, both Adults and Children in this form. We had planned this a couple of years ago, but the person who had learning and insight into this left the Church, so it didn’t happen.

Rather than patronising the kids, I wanted them to be a key part of the ministry to us, so they led the Ministry of the Word and the Intercessions and the littlest were acolytes. It all worked lovely.

We used the following changes to the liturgy:

Confession

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

Dear God,
you made me,
you love me,
I’m sorry when I’m angry
or I hurt other people.
Thank you for taking care of me.
Amen.

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Baptismal Creed

Brothers and sisters, I ask you to profess our common faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
I believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Admission to Holy Communion

The Priest says:

In baptism we are made members of Christ’s family. As members of that family, we gather together to share in this meal which he gave us as a continuing sign of his living presence among us. We do this in obedience to Jesus’ command which he gave at this last supper with his friends on the night before he died.

To the candidates the priest says

Today is an important stage in your Christian journey, which began at your baptism. We welcome you as you come to receive Holy Communion for this first time.

The priest addresses the children by name:

Do you wish to be admitted to Holy Communion and to share regularly in this meal?

The children reply together:
Yes.

The priest addresses the parents, godparents and sponsors:

Will you help these children to grow in faith and come to confirmation?

The parents reply together:
We will.

The priest addresses the congregation

Will you welcome these children as communicant members of Christ’s family and support them with your friendship and your prayers?

The congregation replies:
We will.

The priest prays for the children (taking them by the hand and standing in a circle with them):

Lord Jesus Christ, we pray for these children
who today receive bread and wine for the first time in your name.
Give them such a sense of the mystery
of your body and blood,
that day by day
they may grow to be more like you.
Amen.

and says:

In the name of Kenneth, Bishop of Portsmouth, I welcome you to the sacrament of Holy Communion. May God +bless you as you continue with us on your journey of faith.

It was lovely!

I like the Creed especially. There is a place for that Creed in the main liturgy, perhaps in the penitential seasons… like Advent. Hmmmm.