Contact Details:

St Andrews Church 

Greenway Avenue 

Taunton 

Somerset 

TA2 6HU 

Tel: 01823 332531
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December 2018

The Word was made Flesh....

 

If you are around the church on a day when Morning Prayer is being said you will hear a bell rung in an unusual way. Instead of a continuous toll three groups of three beats are rung, each group separated by a pause, followed by nine beats, a total of eighteen rings in all. That is a sign that the Angelus is being said within as prayers begin.

 

The Angelus is a prayer that originated in the Roman Catholic Church and runs like this…

 

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
   
 Hail Mary, full of grace,
    The Lord is with Thee;
    Blessed art thou among women,
    And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    Pray for us sinners,
    Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
   
 Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
   
 Hail Mary, etc.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

The prayer is one that possibly goes back 700 years. It was certainly well established in monastic practice by medieval times, originally used before the Office of Prime at midday, recalling the Passion of Christ who was by tradition crucified at that hour. It was later also used at the hours of nine and six, again, before the Office was recited.

 

Sadly the prayer is slightly controversial in Anglicanism because of its Roman origin, though personally I am less interested in the niceties of church politics than in the value of the prayer, the bulk of which is in any case based on Scripture. That said, I prefer the term “theotokos” (or “God-bearer” ) to Mother of God where that appears.

 

St Paul taught that the Church is sent to proclaim Christ crucified and risen again to all generations, sent by the God of Love to reconcile the world to himself. The Angelus is a celebration of the Incarnation, that is, God made man in Jesus Christ. God shares our humanity and becomes a suffering servant that we may be saved. This is the central rationale for all we do in church: our worship, our study of the faith, and our outreach to the world that arises from both of these things.

 

The Angelus also reminds us of the joy of the Christmas message. The child in the manger, the fruit of Mary’s obedience, her faith, and her womb, is a reminder that God’s Kingdom does not come through physical strength, status and power, but through gentleness, vulnerability and loving service. It is a message of hope to all who are hurting, all who are marginalised, the powerless and voiceless of this world. In that child is a message from God that says, “Yes. You are heard. You are loved. You do matter,” and in whose outstretched arms all who wish to can find a welcome.

 

In the end, Mary is remembered, not as some form of “deputy God,” but as one who saw the possibilities of God and work and found it in her heart to say, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to thy word.”

 

Happy Christmas and a truly blessed New Year.



Robin

News Desk

Advent Carols

As usual, we begin a new Christian Year and the period of spiritual preparation before Christmas with our Advent Carol Service prepared by Alan and the Choir on Sunday 2 December at 6.00pm.

 

Christmas Fair

The next event planned by our Fund Raising Team is our Christmas Fair on Saturday 8 December from 2.00pm until 4.00pm. Please respond generously to the appeals for raffle and other prizes and items to sell. These may be left in church.

 

Christingle

In a departure from recent tradition we shall hold our Christingle service before Christmas this year on Sunday 15 December at 10.00am. Please note that this service will not  include Holy Communion, which remains available at the 8.00am service or at neighbouring churches later in the morning.

 

Community Carol Service

This popular service will be held on the same day at 6.00pm.

 

For other Christmas services please see the Diary pages.

 

Nativity on the Green

Another great community event is Nativity on the Green brought to us by MINT (Mission in North Taunton – a collaboration between St Andrew’s, Rowbarton Methodist, Wellsprings Chapel and the Oakwood Church). The children who come along supplement actors playing the Holy Family as we build up a Christmas tableau singing a wide range of carols along the way. Friday 14 December at 6.00pm.

 

Northway House

We are planning to join with members of Rowbarton Methodist Church to sing carols to the residents of Northway House Nursing Home in Kingston Road on Tuesday 18 December at 2.30pm. If you’d like to take part simply turn up ready to sing shortly before the starting time. A great opportunity to bring happiness to folk who are unable to get to church at Christmas.

 

Help Needed

Our Fund Raising Team has done some great work in recent years raising several thousand pounds for church funds. Lately, they have felt that they would like some new blood to reinvigorate their imaginations. A hard working and supportive team awaits any who would join them. Please speak to Ali Perry if you’d like to give it a go. Alternatively, if you have a “one –off” fund raising idea that you’d like the team to help you deliver please also have a word with Ali.

 

In Memoriam

This Autumn has seen some sad losses among the older members of our congregation. Last month we gave thanks for the lives of Tony Phillips and Kath Tucker. On November 5 we heard of the passing of Joy Sparrow, perhaps the longest serving member of St Andrew’s having been baptised in our church as long ago as 1934! Joy held many roles within the life of the church and community, in particular as a Brown Owl to our local Brownie pack and as a governor at St Andrew’s School. Her grandfather had been the “Master Mason” at the building of the church, and her mother was the first person to be laid to rest in our Garden of Remembrance. Our prayers are with John, Lis, Rachel and all the family as they mourn the loss of a much loved wife and mother, as well as with Tony and Kath’s families as they all face their first Christmas without their loved ones. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.