THE VICAR’S LETTER
My dear friends,
It is natural that most of this number of the magazine is concerned with Christmas. I hope to be able to greet most of you in church on Christmas Day, and to give you my best wishes then, but I hou1d like also to take this opportunity to wish—
To all Bream people, a happy Christmas and every blessing in 1949.
You will find all particulars of the Christmas services, etc. on other pages. I especially hope you will support the new ventures—tableaux and carols on the Sunday before, and the midnight service of December 24-25.
It will be rather a long holiday this year, with boxing day postponed
to the Monday, and despite so many shortages, I do hope you will be able
to have the little extra in your homes which makes Christmas such a joyful
occasion, and, since it is a festival specially associated with children,
I hope those of you who are fortunate enough to be parents, will be able
to give your children a very happy time.
But let us all remember that it is a holy day as well as a holiday, and our chief thought must be of the wonderful coming of Our Blessed Lord—not just to be born in a manger in Bethlehem hundreds of years ago, but to be born anew in the hearts of all who will receive Him, all who try to follow His teachings of love and peace in this difficult world today.
So, come to church to at least one of the Christmas services, and please let me know if illness prevents you from receiving your Christmas Communion, so that I may have the privilege of bringing that Blessed Sacrament to you. If only men and women would take the message of Christmas to their hearts, not only on that one day, but all through the year, what a much happier world it would be—“ Peace upon earth to men of good will.”
Perhaps this verse from a carol will help us to remember:—
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.
God bless, you all,
Yours sincerely in our Lord,
CHARLES VERNON, vicar.
Though the actual church services will remain much as usual, there are some additional arrangements to the usual programme this year and so we shall be grateful if our readers will study these notes, which are intended to help them to join in all that will take place.
Nativity Tableaux. In former years there has been a special carol service on the Sunday after Christmas. Though, no doubt, we shall still sing carols all through the Christmas periods we have decided this year to attempt something rather more ambitious.
So we have booked Bream cinema for the Sunday before Christmas (December 19), and the children of our choir and Sunday school will present the scenes which the Bible tells about in connection with the wonderful birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The actors will not do much speaking—just enough to remind the audience of the meaning of each scene. Carols will be sung between the scenes, and the audience will be asked, in many cases, to join the singing. We want the audience to join, partly because everyone enjoys singing the familiar Christmas hymns, and partly because this kind of production is not so much a play before an audience as an act of worship by everybody. We hope it will provide an enjoyable evening, and at the same time help to remind us of the deeper meaning of Christmas
For this reason, there will be no programme. None of those who take part will be mentioned by name, and there will be no applause, speeches, votes of thanks, etc!
To avoid the disappointment of those who go to church first and find the best seats of the hall are taken before they get there, all seats will be numbered and reserved. But the audience is asked to be seated by 7.45 if possible (Evensong will end at 7.15 on this Sunday) and carols will be sung by the audience until 8, when the tableaux begin.
Carol Singing. If the weather permits, it is intended that the church choir will sing carols at different parts of the village during the week before Christmas Day.
Christmas Crib. Many will remember the “Easter Garden “—the empty tomb, and figures of the angels, St,. John, St. Peter, Mary Magdalene and the Risen Christ which was in the churchyard during the forty days after Easter, This Christmas you will notice something similar, we hope to put a Christmas Crib in the children’s corner of the church. This should take the form of a model of the stable, with Joseph, Mary, the Babe in the manger, etc. It is there as a beautiful reminder to “children” of all ages.
Christmas Tree. There will also be a Christmas tree in the church, and we hope that the congregation at 10 and 3 on the Sunday after Christmas (December 26) will bring toys and other presents. These will be offered at the altar and then placed on the tree. After Christmas ‘they will be sent to a children’s hospital, or some other place where there are poor children.
We hope parents will encourage children, who have received toys and other Christmas presents, to bring one old toy, to be given to some less fortunate boy or girl.
Christmas Services. Years ago, I notice Bream Church used to have a midnight service on New Year’s Eve. It seems more appropriate to have this service on Christmas Eve, so that our first thoughts on Christmas Day will be in church, as we sing the hymns and join in the Eucharist. I do hope that those who live near enough will come to this service, which can be more inspiring than any other in the church’s year. All the usual services are provided in addition.
Invalids. The vicar will be grateful if any who are prevented by ill-health from going to the Christmas services would let him know, so that he can bring the Holy Communion to them in their homes, All confirmed members of the church should receive Communion on Christmas day.
FROM THE PARISH REGISTER
Nov. 21.—Maureen Lambert, The Eaves Bream.
Oct. 30,—John Trevor Gunter (Bream Cross) and Beryl Eileen Morgan (Mill Hill, Bream).
Nov. 6, — Horace Morgan (Whitecroft) and Betty Phyllis Maud Hughes (3, Highbury Road)
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