Last Thursday before Christmas -
Thur 19th December
A lovely evening in church for our final Thursday evening service before Christmas.
We all joined in the arts and crafts, shared our peace by pulling Christmas crackers, then had our Christmas Tea party in the vestry. Fr Paul held a very special Eucharist and we all sang Christmas Carols. The children and adults all had a wonderful evening.
Community Carol Service - December 12th 2019
Although our Community Carol Service coincided with the day of the General Election, the people of Briercliffe voted with their feet and filled St. James’ to capacity. It was a truly inspiring evening in a church beautifully decorated with Christmas trees, Advent Calendar, Stars, Angels and Candles galore!
In a hushed and darkened church, Hannah’s haunting solo-voice singing of the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City prepared the way for a candlelit procession of church and school choirs.
Next, our Mayor, Cllr Anne Kelly, after a suspense-filled countdown switched on our Christmas Tree lights and then, during a group reading of Wendy Cope’s poem The Christmas Life , received special Christmas gifts and symbols brought forward by some very young members of our congregation dressed in nativity-play costumes.
The unfolding of the Christmas story in word, song, action and prayer was shared by a large number of children and adults representing church, school, Uniformed Organisations and community. St James’ School Choir enthusiastically sang a mixture of lively Christmas songs and the combined Cubs and Beavers serenaded us with a lovely rendition of Away in a Manger.
The young actors in the nativity tableaux were amazing and we had stunning solo songs from Mary (Bella) and Joseph (Kyle Harrison - our very own local professional singer! – assisted by Fynn) A moving presentation by a Shepherd (John Kelly, the Mayor’s Consort) carrying a crook belonging to former vicar, Canon Peter Hallam (and kindly donated for the evening by his wife, Debbie) was followed by a lovely song from our church choir – O Holy Night. This led us into another moment of drama when the church was plunged once again into darkness.
Into an awestruck church a young actor - Dylan - processed a large statue of a King which, when spotlighted on the chancel steps, became the focus for a re-telling of the journey of the Three Kings/Wise Men/Magi. The story was punctuated with musical interludes composed by our organist and choirmaster, Jonathan.
This lone statue (lovingly restored by talented local artist, Craig) had been ‘abandoned’ in the church belfry for some years. Its recent ‘discovery’ inspired Craig to create two very contrasting companion pieces which, brought forward by the artist and his wife, Christine, were placed on either side of the statue to stunning effect.
To draw the Christmas Story to a close three members of our church choir then stepped forward to sing the first verse of We 3 Kings which was then taken up by the congregation of over 250 people singing with great gusto!
After a time of prayer and final blessing we sang our Community Carol Service to a close with the carol O Come All Ye Faithful. Our wonderful service was followed by equally wonderful mulled-wine and assorted refreshments, lovingly prepared and served by our Events and Hospitality Team.
Thank you to all – including our fantastic team of meeters, greeters and stewards - who put so much commitment and effort into making this event for the whole community the success it was.
Christmas Fair -
Sat 30th November
Another successful event, various stalls with games, cakes and crafts, refreshments while we chatted with our friends, Kyle singing Christmas tunes and a visit from Father Christmas. What a fantastic start to our Christmas celebrations, and to top it all we raised £701.82 for our church. Thank you to everyone who helped out making, baking, collecting and clearing up afterwards. Our events team is going from strength to strength. A huge thank you to all who support our events.
Greater Than Gold by Roger Jones - Sun 17th Nov 2019
This religious musical tells the story of Mary Jones and her incredible journey to get a bible of her own in her own language. The narrator challenges us to value the message of the bible and to value our own bible by reading it.
The choir and Sunday school have spent months rehearsing and we are very grateful for the work of the band and Stuart, the conductor, who came and helped us at the dress rehearsal and night of the service. We would particularly like to thank the parents for their support ensuring their child attend rehearsals and learnt their lines. Additionally, we would like to thank the congregation that attended the service that made the meaning of the musical real.
As a result of the kind generosity of the congregation, we raised £150 for the work of the Bible Society from the collection.
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY - Sun 10th Nov 2019 - We Will Remember Them
An article written by 1st Briercliffe Beaver Scouts’ leader – Black Beaver. Following the Remembrance Sunday Parade Service
Lest we forget
It’s easy for adults to forget what it is like being a six-year-old, the average age of the 1st Briercliffe Beaver Pack. At that age the world is still full of new experiences and death is a concept hard to imagine and probably limited to the loss of a relative or a pet who, though greatly loved, had only been in their lives a few years. Death arising from wars and conflicts are even harder for a young child to understand and imagine.
Maybe their greatest fear is that their treasured X-Box fails to operate and has in fact ‘Died!’ They learn at school the facts and figures of past conflicts and wars, their minds like a sponge take it all in and ‘Saves’ for future reference and recall. Talking with the Beavers about Remembrance Day, the significance of the poppy, the millions of sacrifices that occurred, I found they knew as much as myself, details of the eleventh hour, the eleventh day, the eleventh month all filed away in their ‘hard drive’ of memory. So when we attended the Remembrance Sunday service at our church, St.James’, I was amazed at their incredible conduct.
Thanks to the efforts of our Interim Vicar, Rev’d Paul Payton and the amazing team of ‘meeters and greeters’, our visit, once again was warm and inviting. The interior had been lovingly decorated with signs and symbols of remembrance, including the poppy wreaths constructed out of old egg-boxes by the Beavers (yes, I did say ‘egg boxes and not X-Boxes!) As the sunlight streamed through the windows, Fr.Paul led us in a wonderful service, then out into the churchyard to stand before the cenotaph where all the names inscribed were read aloud, followed by our own two minutes silence. (Did you know that the churchyard contains the war graves of five soldiers of World War I, and two of World War II?...information supplied by one of the Beavers, our very own “Beaverpedia ” )
Two Beavers held our flag, two held simple wooden poppy crosses - the height of themselves - and one stood alongside the Vicar to lay a poppy ‘bouquet’. My heart filled with such pride and respect at the conduct of all the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers of 1st Briercliffe (St James) Scout Group in attendance. Fr.Paul must indeed be in favour with his ‘boss’ as after days of rain, wind and cold the sun shone brightly, transmitting shadows across the cenotaph as the two minute ‘download’ of respectful silence took place.
Following this many of us processed up to the War Memorial at the Bowling Green for the Act of Remembrance attended by members of the Parish Council and representatives from local community and faith groups. Culminating in the laying of wreaths and the two-minute silence at 11.00am - prefaced by a single bugler playing The Last Post – the whole community, standing together in solidarity, committed themselves to the cause of remembering so that the peace for which many sacrificed their lives to re-establish was not made in vain.
Lest we forget, we will remember them.
Thank you Beavers. Thank you St James. Thank you Briercliffe. Bravo!
HARVEST FESTIVAL - Sun 13th Oct 2019
Amazing turn out from our uniformed organisations, St James School and all our congregation.
The church had standing room only as we celebrated our Harvest Festival followed by our allotment blessing then refreshments in the community centre.