This Sunday we celebrate one of the great feasts of the Church – one which is known by a number of different names, even within the Church of England. Traditionally, the Feast was called the Purification of Mary, as it marks the time (40 days after childbirth), when Mary and Joseph came to the Temple in Jerusalem. Mary was ritually purified after her confinement (as women continued to be through the service of “Churching” until relatively recently), and together they offered prayer and sacrifice in thanksgiving for their first born son. Jesus was recognised by Simeon and Anna as the longed-for Messiah, “a light to lighten the nations”, and in our modern liturgy, the service is called “The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple”. Yet the name often used for this service is Candlemas, as Simeon’s reference to the light and the date of the feast as the days finally start to lengthen, made this into a popular festival at which all the candles to be used in church are traditionally blessed for the year ahead.
We shall be celebrating the day with a beautiful Choral Eucharist at 9.30 am including many of the day’s traditional rituals in the morning, and then a Festal Evensong by candlelight at 5.30 pm at which the candles will be blessed. For those who have been missing the Choral Te Deum, the choir will be singing a celebratory Te Deum by Thomas Weelkes at our service of Choral Matins. Please join us for these very special services, as we reach the end of the forty days of Christmas, and turn towards the mystery of the Resurrection.
We would also like to introduce you this week to Vera, who will be with us for the next few months as an ordinand on placement. She is dividing her time between us and St Barnabas next door, to experience the full breadth of the Church of England, and we look forward very much to sharing in her journey. Vera has written a brief message in the newsletter, which you can read HERE.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe. You make our darkness to be light. For with you is the well of life, and in your light shall we see light. Blessed be God for ever. [From the Service for Candlemas, Common Worship, Times and Seasons]
With my love and prayers
26th January 2023
Virtual Donation Plate
If you would like to make a donation during our services, or at any time, we have set up an online virtual collection plate below.
Click here for this week's Newsletter