3 December 2021

Dear friends,

Thought for the week

Have you had your jab?  It took two thousand years from the discovery of smallpox to Jenner’s discovery of a vaccine.  It took five hundred years to find a vaccine for yellow fever; ninety years to invent one for chicken pox; and twelve years to create one for hepatitis B.  So it’s astounding that by the end of 2020 we were beginning to vaccinate people against the Covid-19 virus, which had been identified barely a year before.  This is a tremendous international achievement, of scientists and researchers showing what is possible when people work together to share their skills.  And as a Christian I think this is a great gift from God, among whose many gifts to humanity are the knowledge and skill of scientists and researchers.  We also need to do better at sharing the vaccine around the world: as we have seen with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant; quite apart from the moral imperative to help those who have the least, our economy and our society will suffer more if we don’t, since we cannot be safe here while vast numbers of people in other countries are not vaccinated.  So this week, perhaps we can all be encouraged to give thanks for the vaccine; to book our jabs when the chance comes; and to pray for a swift and equal sharing of this great thing – made possible by stunning scientific success which is the generous gift of a gracious God.

This week

School assemblies have moved online for the remainder of term.  This week’s assemblies were ‘The Big Story of the Bible, available on FacebookYouTube and Twitter, and ‘Waiting and Trusting’ available on FacebookYouTube and Twitter.

Sunday 5th December
8am: Holy Communion
Readings: Malachi 3.1-4, Luke 3.1-6

10am: Bread & Wine

12 noon: Baptism of James and George Matthews

6.30pm: Evening Worship

Monday 6th December
9am: Morning Prayer on Zoom. To join, contact [email protected]

10.45am: Advent Group ‘The Art at the Heart of Christmas’ I

Tuesday 7th December
9am: Morning Prayer in Church

7.30pm: Advent Group ‘The Art at the Heart of Christmas’ I

Wednesday 8th December
9am: Morning Prayer on Zoom. To join, contact [email protected]

10.15am: Tots & Teddies

2pm: 3 ‘Cs’ – Coffee, Cake, and Conversation in the Church Hall. With a 4th ‘C’ – Carols!  All welcome.

Thursday 9th December
9am: Morning Prayer in Church

Friday 10th December
9am: Morning Prayer on Zoom. To join, contact [email protected]

Sunday 12th December
10am: Parish Communion with Children’s Church
Readings: Zephaniah 3.14-20, Luke 3.7-18

3pm: Christingle-making, crafts, and refreshments in the Church Hall

4pm: Christingle Service in Church

Thank you to our Choir and Song School, led by Richard and David, who sang so beautifully at our services last Sunday.  It was the first time the whole Song School had sung together since the pandemic started and it was wonderful to welcome them and their families.  Then in the evening we heard some of the beautiful music of the Advent season from our choir, with poetry and Bible readings – we even had (briefly!) a ‘white Advent’!  Thank you to all involved and all who came to these very special services.

As our journey through Advent continues, next week we begin our Advent Groups: The Art at the Heart of Christmas.  Once again Richard Miller will lead us through some images of the Christmas story in art, with a time to pray and reflect at the end.  Downstairs in the Church Hall on Mondays 6th and 13th December, 10.45am-12.15pm, or Tuesdays 7th and 14th December, 7.30-9pm.  Refreshments provided.  All very welcome.

3Cs – for one month only……the December meeting will be 4Cs! Coffee/tea Cake, Conversation … and Carols!!  Wednesday 8th December at 2pm in the Hall, all welcome.

Christingle: Come and join us as we celebrate the light of Jesus shining in the darkness on Sunday 12th December.  If you’ve not come across Christingle before, you can find out more about it here: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/how-you-can-help/fundraise-and-events/christingle/what-is-christingle and if you’d like to make an online donation to the Children’s Society who we support through our Christingle service you can do that here: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/christingle/parish-church-earley-st-peter. We start in the church hall, making Christingles along with some Christmas crafts and there’ll be light refreshments – drop in any time from 3pm.  The service is 4pm in church.  Anyone of any age is very welcome. We ask everybody aged 11 and over to wear a face covering throughout unless they are unable to do so.

Supporting Anna: Thank you to all those who donated to Anna’s work with Church Mission Society in Peru at the coffee morning.  The jug for donations is at the back of church this Sunday, or if you would like to donate directly to Anna you can here.  You can access her latest newsletter from Lima which includes some specific prayer requests here.

Covid-19: We continue to keep all our Covid restrictions under review and thank you to everyone who has offered feedback to us.  The church council considered our Covid restrictions this week.

  • Some people have asked whether we can dispense with face coverings. Having considered the latest advice from the UK Government and the Church of England, which has been updated because of the new variant of the virus, we are continuing to ask all those over 11 who are not exempt to wear face coverings while in church or in the shared parts of the Hall building (hallways, toilets, and kitchens).
  • A small part of the church building on the left-hand / north side has been set aside as physically distanced. There does not seem to have been much demand for this and, so that we can accommodate the increasing number of those who want to come to services, we will no longer be blocking off pews.  However, we are all encouraged to continue to use our own judgment and in particular to be sensitive to those who may prefer to keep a greater distance.

All our Covid restrictions will be reviewed in the new year.  Thank you for your continued support and please do contact the clergy or churchwardens with any feedback.


Services and Events for December

Monday 13th December
10.45am: Advent Group ‘The Art at the Heart of Christmas’ II

Tuesday 14th December
7.30pm   Advent Group ‘The Art at the Heart of Christmas’ II

Wednesday 15th December
10.15am Tots & Teddies – last of term

Thursday 16th December
10am      [email protected]

Sunday 19th December
10am: Parish Communion with Children’s Church
Readings: Micah 5.2-5a, Luke 1.39-45

4pm: [email protected]

6.30pm: Service of Lessons and Carols

Our digital Christmas Carol Service, with music from our Choir and Song School, will be released online at 6.30pm.

Saturday 24th December
2.30pm & 4.30pm: Crib Services – these will be two identical services celebrating the Christmas story – come dressed as one of the characters!  Please book for these services by contacting the Parish Office on 0118 966 8575 or emailing here.

Our digital Christmas Service will be released online at 4pm.

11pm: Carols from the Choir

11.30pm: Midnight Communion
Readings: Isaiah 9.2-7, Luke 2.1-20

Saturday 25th December – Christmas Day
8am: Holy Communion
Readings: Hebrews 1.1-4, John 1.1-4

10am: Festival Communion with Carols
Readings: Hebrews 1.1-4, John 1.1-4

Sunday 26th December – St Stephen’s Day
9.30am: Parish Communion with Carols (note earlier time!)
Readings: Acts 7.51-end, Matthew 10.17-22


Prayer Points

In your prayers please remember the work of our mission partner Anna Sims in Peru, especially:

  • for refreshment during her leave;
  • her work in prison and the new iCafe church group;
  • the victims of Covid in Peru and the vaccination programme.

Please also pray for

  • all those who are feeling vulnerable because of the new Covid variant, and all those who create and distribute the vaccines;
  • all those who have died and those who mourn.

Prayer for the week

Lord, we thank you for the intelligence, the enquiry and learning of our scientists,

and all who are working to find and share treatments and vaccines.

Strengthen the bonds of closer cooperation and mutual learning;

and lead them to the healing of the nations, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

adapted from a prayer by the Bishop of Warrington


With greetings and prayers as always,

Hannah and Philip