The Word was made Flesh....
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.
Angelus is a prayer that originated in the Roman Catholic Church and runs like
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
Christmas and a truly blessed New Year.
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.
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.
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.
popular service will be held on the same day at 6.00pm.
For other Christmas
services please see the Diary pages.
Nativity on the
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.
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.
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.
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