As I am sure everyone is already aware, the Covid-19 Tier system has now ended, and we are back into a full lock-down across England. What we can and can’t do in this current lock-down can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home. Places of worship are allowed to stay open; however, along with many other churches in the Dudley area, St. Edmund’s has made the decision to close. There are a number of resources available in order for us to keep up-to-date with the Bible readings and prayers every day.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet’s calendar has the gospel readings for every day of the year. The document can be downloaded here:
The other churches in the Benefice will be closed this Sunday due to snow. At the time of writing St. Edmund’s will still be open on Sunday for the 11 AM service, but please keep checking this website for further updates. Services for this week are as follows:
11 AM Sunday – Morning Service
12:15 PM Wednesday – Mass (Epiphany). Epiphany is a Principal Feast, and it is important that we attend Mass on Wednesday if we can.
Many of The Society Bishops have made Christmas messages. It is still the season of Christmas, so it is not too late to watch them. There are too many to post on this website, to watch them all you would need to visit The Society’s Facebook page. Bishop Philip North’s message is on YouTube, and can be watched at this link:
Please keep safe this week, especially with the snow and being in a Tier 4 area.
I hope that everyone is having a Merry Christmas. Christmas Day is barely over, and we are already looking forward to the First Sunday of Christmas! We are now back in a Tier 3 lock-down, and are back to the same rules as before Christmas Day.
Services for this week are as follows:
11 AM: Sunday 27th December 2020: Mass
Wednesday 30th December 2020: No Service
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet’s homily for the First Sunday of Christmas can be read here:
Bishop Jonathan’s pastoral letter, which we should try to pray with him at 12 PM every day in Advent, can be read here:
This year, working with others, The Society are delighted to make available two resources for Christmas: O come let us adore Him and The Wondrous Gift. Please also see the letter from the Council of Bishops.
The simple words “O come let us adore Him” from the well known Christmas carol “O come all ye faithful” speak so powerfully to us at this time, particularly as we think of the crib sitting, as it does, at the centre of the Christmas narrative. The Church Union and The Society, which is supported by Forward in Faith, are delighted to release on Sunday at 4pm two resources designed to enrich our crib devotions. One is a video of a crib service aimed at worshippers of all ages which was filmed at St Thomas of Canterbury, Brentwood and features local children singing carols as well as prayers and readings from the Bishop of Richborough, the parish priest Fr Mark North and the curate Fr Matt Austen. The second resource is a prayer booklet of the same name which can equally well be used for our crib devotions at home as it can be in church. It too has prayers to be used by children and we are indebted to Clare Williams for her assistance with this aspect of the booklet. As we meditate on the words ‘O come let us adore Him’ we think not only of the infant Jesus in the crib but also of the Incarnation, the light of the world. When we next receive Jesus present in the Eucharist, we pray that we can say “O come let us adore him” with renewed zeal and love for Him. Amen.
The parish of St Thomas of Canterbury, Brentwood has also allowed us to share its Christingle video:
The Wondrous Gift
At 7pm on Christmas Eve, the Church Union and The Society, which is supported by Forward in Faith, will release its Christmas video ‘The Wondrous Gift.’ As part of a brief Christmas reflection, Bishop Will Hazlewood lights the fifth and final candle on the Advent wreath, while Fr Philip Barnes explores the profound theological themes of the season in his accessible talk. The video concludes with yet more wonderful music from the choir of St Stephen’s Gloucester, Road. We are grateful to all those who contributed to the set of Advent and Christmas videos and we pray that this Christmas season brings you joy and peace.
To mark the first of the Great O Antiphon days in the final week of Advent leading up to the celebration of Christmas, the Church Union and The Society, which is supported by Forward in Faith, are delighted to issue this wonderful recording of the Advent hymn ‘O Come, O Come. Emmanuel’ by the choir of Saint Stephen’s, Gloucester Road. The hymn picks up on the messages of the O Antiphons, which address Our Lord by one of His messianic titles from the Old Testament. This linking of the Old and New Testaments is a striking and profound dimension of Advent from which we can learn much as we prepare for Christmas.
Please stay safe this Christmas, and take time to reflect on the mystery of the incarnation.
I wanted to start this post by speaking about our Christmas services. Due to Covid-19, churches can now only accommodate a certain number of worshipers. This means that everyone will have to pre-book for the Christmas Services. The 1st Mass of Christmas will be at 7PM on Thursday 24th December 2020, and the 2nd Mass of Christmas will be at 10 AM on Friday 25th December 2020. If you wish to come to either of these services, can you please either sign the list at the back of church, or send us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Society Video for the Third Sunday of Advent can be watched at 5:30 PM on Saturday. You can watch the video here:
Our services this week remain at the same times:
11 AM Sunday – Mass
12:15 PM Wednesday – Mass
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet’s message for the Third Sunday of Advent can either be watched here:
The Society Video for the Second Sunday of Advent is available to watch at 5:30 PM Saturday evening. You can watch the video here:
St. Edmund’s is back open for public worship (we had our first Mass last Wednesday). Private Prayer at 11AM on Wednesdays has now finished. Due to Covid-19 we are not able to open on Thursday mornings. Our services look like this:
The Easter Pilgrim app, which has been on my mobile for a long time, updated at the start of the week into the Comfort and Joy app. Reflections on this app will run until 2nd January 2021. If you want the reflections e-mailed to you, you can visit this site: cofe.io/ComfortAndJoy to receive them.
If you do have to stay at home this Sunday, remember that you can still watch the official Church of England service online:
Have a blessed Sunday and week, and stay safe.
This just in. You can download the Bishop of Ebbsfleet’s Reflection and Prayer for the second Sunday in Advent here (there is no video this week):
I will start this post by wishing everyone a Happy New Year! Advent Sunday is the start of the Church’s year; for those of us using Common Worship, we move into Year B today.
And we also have some good news. This will be our last Sunday worshiping from home. Places of Worship are able to open again next week; there will be the usual 12:15 PM Mass at St. Edmund’s next Wednesday (2nd December 2020), and Mass at 11 AM next Sunday (6th December 2020). Dudley will be placed in Tier 3 once the lock-down has ended, this is the most up-to-date information I have as to how attendance at church should be conducted:
The Following on-line services are available today:
0900 – Live Mass
1100: Benefice Zoom Service (Holy Communion)
Starting today, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet will be submitting weekly reflections to run alongside our weekly sermons at church. You can either watch this week’s talk here:
As we approach the holy season of Advent, and as we look forward to the return of public worship in time for the Second Sunday of Advent, the Church Union and The Society, which is supported by Forward in Faith, are delighted to inform you of our written and video resources for Advent, ‘O Radiant Dawn’. In the written booklet – available here – you will find a reflection for use each day during Advent and under a different weekly theme: Patriarchs, Prophets, St John the Baptist & Our Lady.
In the videos – which will be available on this page (https://www.sswsh.com/) on four successive Saturdays at 5.30pm, starting on 28 November – Bishop Will Hazlewood will lead us in a reflection, a priest of The Society will speak on that week’s theme and the choir of St Stephen’s, Gloucester Road will provide seasonal music. We commend not only these resources to you but also the excellent Advent resources produced by our friends at the Anglican Shrine in Walsingham as we pray for our nation in these difficult times and as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.
We would like to thank Fr Philip Barnes for all his hard work in bringing this inspiring and high quality resource together.
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet is also asking us to pray with him every day at 12 PM through Advent. The prayers for week 1 can be found here:
The Bishop of Ebbsfleet has published his pastoral letter for Advent. The letters are written in the light of our churches being able to open again next Wednesday (2nd December). The structure of the letter is in fact four separate weekly letters – the front and back of an A4 sheet. Bishop Jonathan has broken them into separate weeks so it is more manageable and approachable for daily use. They each include the same message and ‘series meditation’ for the front, and for the back a set of daily Bible verses (or the Gospel for the Mass of the day) to be read every day with a prayer from a contemporary author. And Bishop Jonathan is inviting everyone to say them with him as bishop – though he recognises that not everyone will be able to do it at 12.00 noon, when he shall.
You can download the full copy of the letter here. I can attach them as a weekly prayer sheet when I’m posting the Society Advent videos if people prefer. But please take time to read through the whole letter below: