The congregation, risking life and limb almost, ignoring the present threat of fresh snow in a wintry scene, came to Church eager in their anticipation of the Nativity Service, which was to be led by members of the Junior Church.
Ben, one of our New Youth leaders welcomed the Congregation and Philip, Tanya Justin and Liam read the Advent Prayer during which the second Advent candle was lit. We all sang verses one, two and three of ' Light a Candle in a darkened place'.
The call to Worship was entitled 'God is Love' and read by New Youth members, Laetitia and Tobias.
A reading from 'Little Star' by Anthony d'Stefano was read by Couvin and Eddie from New Youth, followed by the Hymn ' O Little Town of Bethlehem'.
Our musical Nativity Play followed. This was entitled 'The Sleepy Shepherd', with narration throughout by Annie from the Explorers Class. Children from the Beginners and Explorers classes came on stage dressed as Sheep, Shepherds, Angels, Wise Men and the Holy Couple and during the first song there were some unintended, but entirely realistic, collisions between the ' Sheep' as they ran around the stage area, much to the amusement of the Congregation. The story told was one of a Sleepy Shepherd, played by Olivia, who had been woken with effort by an Angel, played by Daisy, following a Star with the other Shepherds to Bethlehem. They were joined there by the three Wise Men following the same Star.
It has to be said that all of the Junior Church taking part were stars with energetic, lovely clear singing of all the songs throughout, filled with the simple wonder of children in the Christmas Story and we all found that the conclusion of the play around the Traditional Nativity Scene came only too quickly.
Steph Shipley then read an appreciation of the Children's performance and the efforts made by the Junior Church Staff.
The next Hymn ' Away in a Manger', was followed by Prayers of Intercessions lead by Alicia and Nathaniel, members of New Youth.
Ben gave a short message. He asked the Congregation to think about the wonder of holding a new born baby. He said how wonderful it must have been holding the baby Jesus in Bethlehem so long ago. A reading by Nathaniel from the Christmas Bible Story interjected 'Bens' comments. Ben said God had picked the right family, as the Star in the story found. God's Love is a simple message - Christians see the symbol of His Love in the Baby Jesus and the Cross. The Baby and the Man on the Cross is the same person, who brings us all redemption.
Our final Hymn was ' See Him Lying on a bed of straw', accompanied by very enthusiastic percussion from Junior Church, repeated with a crescendo.
Ben gave the final Blessing, asking everyone to take a few seconds of quiet to think about the Nativity Story. This was followed by the Grace which we offered to each other.
Kindly written by Joe Leighton, steward.