Advent Sunday, the first in the Christian Season of Advent was celebrated at our church last Sunday. In welcoming our minister, the Rev’d Mark Lawrence and our congregation, our steward Keith Harrison, also helped us to celebrate this special day as he lit the first of four red candles. Hope was the theme as Keith proclaimed that “today we light a candle of hope, and at Advent we think about the gift of Jesus who brings hope to the world” . At the beginning of the service Mark spoke about his excitement at the introduction of an Alpha Course to be held for ten weeks at Loggerheads Fire Station from Tuesday, 10th January after which Mark showed an Alpha Course introductory video.

With Rod Smith accompanying us on our new organ, we sang the great 18th century Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Immanuel “following which Mark led our prayers of Praise, Adoration and Confession. There were two bible readings, the first from Romans, chapter, 13 read by Richard Lucas. Here St Paul teaches about life in God’s service. The second was from Matthew, chapter 24, read by Ron Lucas. This speaks about the second coming of Jesus but no one knows the day and hour of his coming, so we should be prepared. We prayed for others in our intercessory prayer.

“There are twenty bible facts which speak of the return of Jesus” said Mark, as he introduced his topic of hope for the world in Christ’s second coming. These were all scriptural texts of hope. Coupled with these facts were seven statements or edicts endorsing the scriptural texts. Mark gave a brief outline of each with the help of audio visual images. His scriptural message was “He will come in justice and mercy; He will come with power and great glory”. We were invited to stand firm and hold on to sound teaching as we watch and as we pray. Mark asserted “He will return and he will put all things right”. Mark then led us in a short prayer of confidence and hope.

We celebrated the sacrament of Holy Communion, our minister being assisted by Jill Harrison, and we concluded as we sang the hymn of great positivity “Sing we the King who is coming to reign” followed by the blessing.