Advent and Christmas 2021
Great joy for all the people
But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid; for see –
I am bringing you good news
of great joy for all the people…”
Luke 2:10 (NRSV)
During the past two years’ lockdowns, communities have become further disconnected and dispersed. People are tired and many are living in more difficult circumstances due to the ongoing pandemic. Internationally, many people live in danger; from threats of war to wildfires. But the message of Jesus’ birth at Christmas continues to be one of hope in our troubled times. God’s love is stronger than our fears. And as we aim to be an increasingly inclusive, evangelistic and justice-seeking Church, this is, importantly, a joyful message “for all the people”.
Recognising everyone’s fatigue and the Covid-19-related uncertainty that surrounds the approach of Christmas, this year the Methodist Church is encouraging congregations to simply reach out to their communities with the angel’s message – to near neighbours and to people living on the margins. To reconnect, and assure everyone that the Methodist Church is praying for them and cares about their community and concerns.
Resources for Christmas 2021
To help you to pray and connect with your community this Christmas, we have a number of resources available, all featuring Nativity, a painting by Dr He Qi – a Chinese artist living in California, USA.
Throughout Advent, we will post a series of contemporary reflections online, linking Luke 2:10 with characters in this painting, and current affairs and concerns in Britain and around the world.
These reflections can be viewed and downloaded here.
God's Table: An Invitation to All - Christmas CD
As the CD is now out of stock this year's Christmas Service has been made available to stream or download below.
The service follows the presidential theme of God's Table, An Invitation For All. We meet those who extend that invitation into our communities, hearing from chaplains working with farmers, shoppers and revellers, a minister who volunteers as a Guide leader and the Methodist Forces' chaplain on the Falkland Islands who tells us how Christmas is celebrated in the South Atlantic. All this, along with carols, readings and reflections.
00:00 Hymn: Beneath the paper wrapping (Look inside) StF 192
03:08 Hymn: O little town of Bethlehem Stf 213
06:39 Prayers of Waiting and Longing, Barbara Easton (Vice-President)
09:00 Into the darkness, Poem StF 173, verse 1 read by Revd Michaela Youngson
09:50 Feature: Revd Elaine Hutchinson Birmingham City Centre Retail Chaplain
11:53 Reading: Luke chapter 2 verses 1-5 read by Revd Gary Hopkins, Ministry Development Officer
13:05 Hymn: How hard was that Journey (StF+)
17:13 Feature: Revd Jenny Pathmarajah, Faith inclusion specialist with Girl guiding
20:22 Reading: Luke 2 v 6-15, read by Doug Swanney, Connexional Secretary
22:00 Feature: Paul Trenberth Rural chaplaincy
25:40 Into the darkness, Poem StF 173, verse 2 read by Deacon Ruth Richey, Deputy Warden of the Diaconal Order.
26:30 Feature: Carol Henderson, a street pastor in Nottingham
29:26 Reflection from the Revd Sonia Hicks – President of the Conference
38:27 Hymn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Stf 202
41:29 Feature: Revd (Flt Lt) Jo Critchley Force Chaplain, the Falklands
44:47 Prayers for the World, Revd Jonathan Hustler, The Secretary of the Methodist Conference
46:58 Into the darkness, Poem StF 173, verse 3 read by Mandy Briggs
47:45 Hymn: StF 210 Love came down at Christmas
50:05 Prayer and Blessing Revd Sonia Hicks, President of the Conference
55:50 Reading: John 1 v 1-4 Daud Irfan Youth President
PLEASE NOTE: The content of this CD is under copyright and may not be reproduced for commercial use or resale. All of the songs (music and lyrics) are in the public domain, all of the featured performers have given their permission for use on this CD and for any sharing, broadcast and online use, including streaming. © Trustees for Methodist Church purposes 2021. This CD may not be resold. All rights reserved.
Beneath the paper wrappings (StF 192) Words and music © Hole Music, sung by Rachel Williamson, accompanied by Shyrleen Pottinger (Scalloway Methodist Church, Shetland).
O little town of Bethlehem (StF 213) Words © Phillips Brooks; music – traditional English melody. Sung by the choir of Morpeth Methodist Church and St George's URC, directed by Gillian Irvine.
Into the darkness (StF 173) Words © Thankyou Music, administered by firstname.lastname@example.org
How hard was that journey (StF+) Words and music © Paul Thompson. Performed by Matt Beckingham (www.youtube.com/c/MattBeckingham).
Hark! The herald-angels sing (StF 202) Words © Charles Wesley; music by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Sung by ‘Sedecim’, a chamber choir made up of pupils from Kent College, the independent Methodist school in Canterbury.
Love came down at Christmas (StF 210) Words © Christina Georgina Rossetti; music by Reginald Owen Morris. Performed by Caleb Dinger (www.calebdingermusic.com/home).
Posters and Postcards
You will soon be able to order FREE A2 posters, and packs of 20 postcards (£2.00 per pack + P&P), for your home or church. Both feature Dr He Qi’s striking painting and the Luke 2:10 Bible verse.
Please feel free to personalise the postcards and distribute them locally to help you reconnect. You could put stickers on them to advertise Christmas worship or social events, or you could ask your members to decorate the reverse with a Christmas greeting, ready to push through people’s doors.
Available to order soon from www.methodistpublishing.org.uk/features/christmas-2021
Do let us know how you decide to reconnect using yours!
You could share pictures of your Christmas connections on Facebook or Instagram @methodistchurch or on Twitter @MethodistGB.