When I was a little girl I loved the anticipation and excitement of Advent, most of all the daily early morning ritual of opening a new window in my Advent calendar. Every day before breakfast a new picture would present itself, perhaps a cheery robin or a shopping basket full of goodies, a snowflake or a toy trumpet, a tree bauble or a Christmas pudding, each image building up a picture of the celebrations to come on Christmas Day. The final window was the most exciting of all, usually large double doors in the centre of the calendar which opened to reveal a glorious nativity scene, Mary and Joseph with the new baby Jesus tucked up in the manger, surrounded by angels and farm animals and surprised shepherds. And not a chocolate in sight! As I grew older and started secondary school I decided to leave the Advent calendar behind and light an Advent candle instead. Each evening before bed I would sit quietly watching the flickering flame burn down towards a new day, an early and accidental introduction to meditation and ‘being present in the moment’. There is something very stilling about candle light especially in the gloom of a December evening, it’s warm, soothing glow falling like a soft blanket over the day just gone. I still light a candle to mark my journey though Advent, its light illuminating my hopes, soothing my fears and bringing Christ’s promises to the fore as I look forward with renewed anticipation and excitement to life beyond Covid 19.
So many people are already ahead with their Christmas decorations, with trees up and lights on, meeting an understandable need to bring some cheer in to what has been a dark and difficult year. But hope is in sight, and with the promise of a vaccine on the horizon, Advent this year has the potential to resonate more deeply than usual. The current lockdown is almost at an end, and the temptation to get ahead, to busily catch up with all we’ve missed, will be great; no doubt there will be shopping to do and preparations to be made for those longed for family reunions. But if we can just stop for a moment each day, light a candle and pause to reflect and ponder and be soothed by the light, we may notice the signs of Christ’s coming with greater clarity. As we anticipate the promise of vaccination in the new year we can hear afresh those comforting Advent words of the prophet Isaiah: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.” Christ our Redeemer is on his way, risen with healing in his wings, and we have so much to be thankful for. There is finally a light at the end of the very long tunnel which has been 2020, and we look forward now with great anticipation and with hope-filled longing to a new dawn and the coming joy and peace of Christ’s new birth. With every blessing for a happy, holy and light-filled Advent.
We continue our prayers for all of you.
Rev Anne Crawford
Click here to read previous meditations and reflections.
Services for Advent Sunday are below. Keep checking back for details of Christmas services around the Deanery.
Advent Sunday, 29th November
4pm Advent Carols from St Michael and All Angels – Advent Evening Prayer via Zoom including pre-recorded music from St Michael’s choir. Email email@example.com to join.
6:30pm Advent Carol Service from All Saints, East Sheen – streamed live on Facebook.
6:30pm Advent Carol Service from St Anne’s, Kew – streamed live on Facebook. The service will explore through music, anthems, antiphons and readings the great Advent theme of longing for light. Music by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Josquin des Préz, Orlando Gibbons and James MacMillan will intersperse the readings and prayers.
6:30pm Service of Music and Readings for Advent from Richmond Team Ministry – streamed live via the St Mary Magdalene Facebook page. Music by McDowell, Joubert, Bach and Knight Click here for the Order of Service.
6pm Southwark Cathedral Advent Procession – All are welcome to join this special service online to mark the beginning of the season of Advent. The Cathedral Lay Clerks will lead everyone from darkness to light, in the candlelit Cathedral as we celebrate the biblical figures heralding the birth of the Messiah. Click here.
Sunday 6th December
5pm Advent Music and Readings by Candlelight at St Luke’s, Kew – join this traditional Advent service in person or via Facebook.
Click here for Christmas Services from Holy Trinity, Richmond.
Click here for Christmas Services from St Anne’s Kew.
We held an Open Meeting via Zoom with Lucy Abraham from Glass Door on Thursday, 26th November. Lucy spoke about the current situation for rough sleepers locally, Glass Door’s intended response in line with the Covid related restrictions and the support that churches and individuals can give to Glass Door.
If you missed the meeting you can listen here:
The slides from the meeting are available here:
During the talk, Lucy mentioned many ways that you can support the work of Glass Door or help a homeless person.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in London, you can use the Streetlink website to send an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide will be reviewed by the StreetLink team who will look at the information you provide and make a judgement as to whether the alert is suitable to be sent to the local street outreach for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.
It is important to note that if you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police.
Please click here to find out how you can help the work of Glass Door this winter.
Liturgy of the Ordinary from St Michael and All Angels, Barnes
This year, St Michael and All Angels has an Advent theme of prayer and spirituality at home, inspired by the amount of time we have all had to spend at home this year.
Rev Stephen Stavrou writes:
“Our sermons, books and discussion groups seek to help us connect our faith with the daily practice of living. To see the sacred in the secular and secular in the sacred.”
They recommend two books for Advent reading (see below) and will be holding Advent book groups via Zoom. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if your are interested in joining.
Advent Journey from Christ Church, East Sheen
Each day during Advent receive by email a daily reflection based on an image poem or text, following the themes of change, uncertainty, light and hope. Each day there will be a simple activity or craft. Please email email@example.com if you wish to take part.
Advent Talks from All Saints, East Sheen
This year All Saints, East Sheen are looking at the Nativity and Person of Jesus – what the Gospels say about his birth, what Jesus says about himself, and why these things matter to our faith. There will be a bit of preparatory thinking for each session.
The talks will be at 8.00 p.m. on Tuesdays 24th November and 1st, 8th, and 15th December. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link to the Zoom meeting.
Advent Meditations from Richmond Team Ministry
Each Wednesday during Advent clergy from Richmond Team Ministry will each lead a short reflection on the theme of Advent, which is
concluded by saying Compline together. Click here for the order of service for Compline.
The reflections will be at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesdays 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd December. Click here to contact Richmond Team Ministry for the meeting link..
Advent Book List from Richmond Team Ministry
The Richmond Team Ministry clergy have put together a short recommended Advent booklist.
Prayer, Where to Start and How to Keep Going by Stephen Cottrell
No one ever becomes an expert in prayer, but this little book sets out to help become more open to God’s presence, which is the heart of prayer.
Let it Slow, an Advent Calendar with a Difference by Stephen Cottrell
Christmas can be one of the most joyful but stressful times of year. This guide offers another way to approach December.
Heaven in Ordinary, a Poet’s Corner Collection by Malcolm Guite Everyday events and encounters, landscapes and poetry, stories, memory and a sense of the sacred: the musings of a poet’s mind
Frequencies of God, Walking through Advent with R.S. Thomas by Carys Walsh
28 reflections on Thomas’s poetry as a guide for this season, exploring themes of waiting, accepting, journeying and birthing.
Look our for Christmas windows and displays in homes around Richmond, Mortlake and Ham as Churches encourage us to display the joy of Christmas. Holy Trinity, Richmond are even having a competition (click here)!
Mission Advent Calendar from Holy Trinity, Richmond
During Advent Holy Trinity, Richmond are highlighting the various aspects of mission they support. Every day they will highlight a person or organisation they are connected with, and a new one will be revealed each day. Click here daily to find encouragements for your faith and ways to pray for mission during Advent.
Online Advent Calendar
Online Advent Calendar produced by a group of clergy gives a daily
reflection, a reading, pieces of art and music for each day during Advent, starting Sunday 29th November. Good for the soul and easier on the waistline!
Daily Bell at St Mary Magdalene, Mortlake
A single bell has been rung at St Mary Magdalene, at 6 o’clock each evening since the beginning of the current lockdown.
On All Saints Day, the Archbishops wrote to all the clergy in the Church of England. In this letter, they stated their conviction that the first and primary response of the Church at this time was prayer.
“Bearing in mind our primary vocation as the Church of Jesus Chris is to pray and to serve, we call upon the Church of England to make this
month of lockdown a month of prayer. More than anything else, whatever the nation thinks, we know that we are in the faithful hands of the risen Christ who knows our weaknesses, tiredness and struggles and whose steadfast love endures for ever.
The Archbishops, in consultation with the House of Bishops, decided that this call would take the form of an invitation to every Christian
and person of goodwill to pray at 6 pm every day, beginning on Thursday 5 November for the period of this present lock-down.
In order to stimulate this time of prayer, where it is possible, churches are encouraged to ring a single bell at 6 pm.
Daily Lockdown Pictures from St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake
On Wednesday 4 November, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and Bishop of London called the Church of England to prayer for the nation throughout the month of November.20201104-Joint-letter-ABC-ABY-to-the-nation
Use the daily and weekly prayer themes below to join the nation in prayer at 6pm each day.PftN-Booklet-spreads
Churches across the deanery are again saying morning prayers and celebrating the Eucharist behind closed doors but churches are still open for private prayer and reflection. See below for service and opening times.
Rev Anne Crawford from Richmond Team Ministry writes:
“We feel bereft that we cannot come together and take bread in to our hands and remember in ways which strengthen us, inspire us and comfort us, especially when life is difficult and we are fearful. But we have been this way before, and we learned a lot about what it means to be the Body of Christ when we cannot gather physically together, and we can be re-assured that God will be with us and will make his presence felt as we navigate our way forward and do our best to care for each other and for those who look to the Church for help, support and
Holy Trinity Barnes
St Michael and All Angels, Barnes
Sunday – Sung Mass 10.00am Facebook and You Tube
Monday – Morning Prayer 9.00am Zoom
Tuesday – Morning Prayer 9.00am Zoom
Morning Prayer 9.00am Zoom
Mass 12.00pm Facebook and YouTube
Thursday – Morning Prayer 9.00am Zoom
Morning Prayer 9.00am Zoom
Mass 9.30am Facebook and YouTube
Email email@example.com to join Morning Prayer via Zoom
St Mary, Barnes
Holy Trinity, Richmond
St Anne, Kew
St Richard, Ham
Christ Church East Sheen
All Saints East Sheen
St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake
Richmond Team Ministry
St Luke’s and the Barn Church, Kew
St Peter’s, Petersham
The Church of England
Sunday Services from the Bishop of Southwark’s Chapel and Southwark Cathedral
From Sunday 8 November Bishop Christopher will be streaming a Eucharist from his Chapel at Bishop’s House at 9.30am. It can be found on the Diocesan Facebook and YouTube feeds and on Bishop Christopher’s Twitter feed.
Southwark Cathedral will continue to stream Morning Prayer from the Cathedral each day at 9am. Night Prayer will continue to be streamed at 8pm Monday to Saturday and at 6pm on Sunday. The Sunday Eucharist will be streamed at 11am. These can all be found on the Cathedral website and the Cathedral Facebook and YouTube channels.
Live Streamed Services Bible Studies and Prayer Meetings from around the Country
Although public worship was not allowed on Remembrance Sunday, churches across the deanery remembered the fallen and gave thanks for their sacrifice with Acts of Remembrance outdoors and private prayers inside church.