Sunday 20th December: 4th Sunday in Advent
Listen to the service as a radio broadcast on 105.9 BishopFM at 11am Sunday morning, or stream it at 11am on the website through YouTube [and join in with hymn-singing for 15 minutes beforehand].
If you are interested in what is happening in the coming weeks over the Christmas period at church listen to Rev John with donkey and Mary and Joseph:
Below you can find the radio podcast if you can’t listen on BishopFM and also the YouTube video stream, which will go live at 11am on Sunday. You will also see the regular extras including the video of Susan’s sermon.
If you enjoy this web content and don’t already donate to the church by standing order or by church envelope, and you would like to give, you can click on the button below and follow the instructions:
Radio podcast for 105.9BishopFM
(live at 11am, at the same time as the radio broadcast, on Sunday 15th November, and available here after that, with 15 minutes of hymns to join in with beforehand,)
If you haven’t listened to the audio or video services above, and wish to read the lectionary readings before considering these further worship resources for this week, follow this link to biblegateway.com for this week’s Bible readings from:
Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!
As we continue to worship online, we have a pick and mix approach to this sermon slot. You can choose to listen to (1) Susan’s sermon as we have had through lockdown. Today you might also choose to look at (2) Rev John’s Seasonal thought (3) the pdf sheet from Roots or (4) the pdf sheet The Vine, or read (5) the Connexional reflection; or otherwise to come (6) to the church garden to prayer walk the labyrinth or or if nothing else to stay home (7) and simply take time for yourself and reflect on the readings for the day.
1. If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne, click on the video below
2. or watch a video Seasonal thought with Rev John
This was primarily for the telephone line, but decided now you can watch it as well!
3. or you might choose to click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb adult sheet with further thoughts on these readings
4. or read the VINE worship sheet which MWiB are supporting this year:
5. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below:
It has been a while since I have read Samuel, and it came to me afresh as I read it through for the purposes of preparing this reflection.
God reminds Samuel that he does not need a house, a temple, a place to be contained. God is a free agent, who does not need a building.
Well that’s a bit of luck because for many of us, our church buildings have been closed, or for the brief period when we were able to enter the building everything was different.
Instead we have used material such as this to help us worship. Perhaps you have used the Methodist Worship Book, the Prayer Handbook, your hymnbook, television or radio services, or various online platforms.
We can encounter God in a myriad of different ways and in different places, just read through our scriptures and see for yourself.
Mary encountered God’s purpose for her through the voice of an angel, a messenger from God. A frightening, awesome, thrilling experience – one that caused her to sing a song that continues to stir the hearts of people today.
Mary became the one who housed the Son of God for a short time in her womb. Her call was to nurture and protect him whilst he was an infant; after that she could no longer contain him, he was free to go where he was needed. Free to challenge, to change, to transform, and to reveal God’s love to all he met.
As we prepare for a Christmas that may be unlike any that we have experienced, remember God does not need a building from which to be discovered and worshipped. We can celebrate the birth of Christ in our own homes. Rejoice that God revealed in Christ continues to be made known and calls people to follow and to serve.
Take a moment to think about the times you have encountered God beyond bricks and mortar. Or remember the words of a messenger, who changed your life and helped you see God.
Give thanks for those moments and, perhaps like Mary, rejoice from deep within that the love of the one who entered our world as flesh and blood, continues to be experienced.
During this season the Methodist Church is proclaiming “God is with us”. God is with us is more than a statement. It’s a reminder that God is always with us. We are encouraged to share our story (and other people’s stories) of walking with God in this extraordinary year. How might you share how God has been with you this week? Find out more here https://www.methodist.org.uk/christmas/
Take a time to sit quietly
thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Revd Deborah Cornish
6. or take a walk to the church garden and pray as you walk around the labyrinth there, silently listening to God as you travel inwards to the cross at the centre and then back outwards again into the world. Enjoy the autumn leaves as you go! The path is still visible, if you kick the leaves out of the way.
7. and/or sit quietly and reflect on the prayers, readings and thoughts here and listen for what God might be saying to you through them
(if you haven’t found them before and are interested for yourself, your children or grandchildren, have a look at the Children’s Page where Millie posts for Young Church every Sunday at 10.30am and there are links to Bishop Auckland Parish and CAFOD children’s worship.
Youth Team Resources
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
Today, think about these four phrases from Luke 1:
‘You are favoured by God’
‘God has something for you to do’
‘How can this be?’
‘Here I am’
When you hear these, think about what God may be saying to you personally? If you are able, sit quietly for a moment and listen for God and what he has to say to you.