Special services were held both morning and evening at All Saints Church on Sunday 1st December, Advent Sunday, to mark the beginning of the season of Advent; the time of preparation to celebrate the coming of Christ into the world.
At 9.30am the usual Parish Communion service followed its more informal style as an All Together Communion, when junior and youth church sessions are suspended and all ages groups come together. The Revd Hannah Higginson presided at the service. The first of the Advent candles was lit by a young member of the church choir. The Rector Canon David Hodgson gave the talk and his message was to use Advent to make time for and space for God despite all the busy preparations for the celebration of Christmas. He told the story of Jesus clearing out the stalls from the Temple, which were crowding out access to the Temple by all people, as an example of making space for God. The Rector presented ideas of ways in which we can make time for God in Advent such as the use of Advent calendars which tell the story of Jesus’ birth; candles which can be lit daily through Avent and count the days as they burn down; and booklets such as “Love life Live Advent” which give a thought, a prayer, and an action for each day in Advent. After the service, candles, calendars and booklets were on sale in The Cornerstone, supplied by the Quench bookshop. Popular items were the candles and the Meaningful Chocolate Advent Calendars.
The church was lit entirely by candles at 6.30pm for the Advent Candlelight Service, led by The Reverend Colin James and Director of Music, Richard Smith.
All Saints Church Choir sang eight pieces including works by Palestrina , Handel and Sir Henry Walford Davies. Interspersed were bible readings foretelling the coming of Christ, read by members of the congregation, and popular Advent hymns.