Welcome to St Mary’s

Our vision is to be an engaging church:

Engaging with God

Engaging with Each Other

Engaging with the Community

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Vicar’s Letter December 2021

Here we are at the beginning of December and if you are like me you may be wondering where the time has gone this year—maybe that’s just a sign that I’m getting older and the time passes more quickly. Everyone seemingly has too much to do this month as we prepare for Christmas by buying presents, preparing food and deciding who is eating with whom.

So how do we stop and appreciate the season of Advent which this year begins on Sunday 28th November?

Advent is the season that begins four Sundays before 25th December. Advent lasts for four weeks and prepares us for Christmas.

We all know Christmas right? Shopping for presents, decorating the tree, singing carols, making gingerbread houses, sending cards, enjoying holiday parties, making a list.. And checking it twice.

However, there is a lot more to it.

Christmas is Christ entering our world and Advent is expectant waiting, hopeful anticipation, and joyful preparation for God coming into our lives and hearts in all moments, in all places, and in all times—past, present and future – commemorating the birth of Jesus, welcoming God into our lives every day, and preparing for Christ’s second coming.

Advent prepares us for these events and reminds us there’s joy in waiting. Advent even begins a new year for the Church.

Advent is NOT waiting in line to see Santa, rushing around shopping or a race to 25th December

Advent is different from Lent because it’s a season of hope, not repentance. Lent is a spring cleaning of our lives. Advent is a cosier time like getting your home ready to welcome a special guest … Jesus …the one we’ve been waiting for.

The Advent colours are not red and green but purple and rose like the candles on the Advent Wreath. A new candle is lit each week. The third week is rose for Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means Rejoice, don’t lose hope. The expected guest has almost arrived.

The progression of the season is also marked with an Advent Calendar with daily surprises (to help with joyful waiting).

Remember Advent isn’t about shopping, stressing, planning or buying, it’s about expecting, waiting, hoping, and praying.

If we are sick of Christmas by 25th December . . . We haven’t done Advent correctly. So, this Advent add some meaning to our waiting. Volunteer at a hospital, or soup kitchen, spend some extra time in prayer, be patient with our family, count down the days with an Advent calendar, speak kindly to strangers, go to church and …share hope with those who need it most while you wait for this very special guest.

We all have things to do and things that need to be done and when you have young children or perhaps grandchildren taking them to see Santa Claus may well be important but it is equally important to take them to a Nativity or a Christingle Service. We may have to rush around at some point to do the Christmas Food Shop but as we plan that we should also plan a time to be still and go to a carol service or pray. It’s about balance but it is also about recognising the best present at Christmas is the gift of God’s son, Jesus, given to us—Emmanuel means God is with us and for that we should be on our knees in gratitude and thanks that God loves us so much he sent his son to earth, to redeem us by his death on the cross. The Stable and the Cross go hand in hand and we ought to prepare for both.

Wishing you a very blessed Advent and Christmas.

Love and peace—Sharon

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Safeguarding – Promoting a Safer Church

The care and protection of children, young people and adults involved in Church activities is the responsibility of everyone who participates in the life of the Church. St Mary’s Church, Woodkirk has adopted the Church of England Safeguarding Policy from the House of Bishops.

A copy of the Promoting a Safer Church booklet is displayed on the notice board in the church porch as well as in the Parish Centre, and can be seen by clicking here.

If you have immediate safeguarding concerns please click here for the relevant contact information.

Please click here to see our policy and other safeguarding information.