Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Advent Service at St Bartholomew’s

advent candlesThis week Fr Martin Magill found his way to an advent service at St Bartholomew’s Church in Stranmillis. His post today is a wonderful reminder of not only of the power of the season, but the power of communication — both face-to-face and in cyberspace.

Fr Martin Magill’s Ecumenical Tithing: Festival of Lessons and Carols for Advent, St Bartholomew’s

Thanks to noticing a post on social media about this event, I decided to worship in St Bartholomew’s Parish Church, Stranmillis.

I was greeted by name on the way into the church, reminding me once again of the importance of welcome.

The service itself was a balance of scripture readings, Advent congregational hymns and hymns sung by the choir only. There was one hymn by the sopranos only.

The service began by a brief word of welcome from the rector, Rev Kevin Graham, followed by an opening prayer and the “Our Father”.

There were also short prayers at the end of the service and we finished with an Advent congregational hymn.

Afterwards we were invited for refreshments in the parish hall.

Some reflections:

  • Social media can be a great help to parishes and churches but requires a number of people to take this on so as to keep posting events (I noticed the event on social media).
  • I have already touched on the value of welcome. As someone who worships in a wide variety of churches, I am convinced about the importance of being made welcome and even better, being called by name on the way into the service.
  • I was particularly impressed by the range of people who read the scripture passages including a number of young people from the choir as well as members of the congregation.  To my mind, hearing a variety of voices is a very useful way of communicating God’s word.
  • One final observation: it was good to be at an Advent service. In Belfast city, there is virtually no awareness of Advent – we anticipate Christmas and finish the Christmas celebrations too early

(Photo of Advent candles by Rev Arlene Moore, Church of the Good Shepherd, Monkstown)

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