A warm welcome to worship in

St.Mary’s ✢ St.Faith’s ✢ St.Francis’

“May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4v7)
Today’s Worship Across the Parish:
8.00am St.Mary’s BCP Communion
Revd Andrew Norris
9.15am St.Mary’s Morning Prayer
Darren Clarke
9.30am St.Faith’s Carol Service
Susan Smith
10.45am St.Mary’s Church Alive Communion
Revd Andrew Norris
11.15am St.Francis’ Carol Service
Darren Clarke
6.30pm St.Mary’s Merbeck Communion
Revd Andrew Norris & Susan Smith


Philippians 4v4-7 and Luke 3v7-18


We’re delighted you’ve come. You’re very welcome here and we hope that you will simply join in as you feel comfortable. Sitting & listening, standing and singing – just as you wish. You should have been greeted with a Pew Sheet and any books needed for the service. Please ask the stewards if you need help and do take a ‘WELCOME’ booklet and a complimentary copy of our ‘Parish News’ away with you. Join us for refreshments.
This weekend we’re appreciating all the guests
coming to see the trees, hear the music,
offer a prayer and find sanctuary in all the
busyness of Advent. Outside of services the
following times and admissions apply:
Festival Opening Times
(£3 entry/£2 concession/<16Free)
Friday 11th December: 11.00am-6.00pm
Saturday 12th December: 11.00am-6.00pm
Sunday 13th December: 12noon-6.00pm

Festival Café for light lunches and teas – in the Parish Centre – make a special visit and enjoy the festival’s excellent hospitality.

Felling the Trees!
Any help to remove the trees at 8.00am on Monday 14th would be very much appreciated; thank you.

Christmas Tree Sale
On Monday morning about 20 good trees are usually left over trees and are available for a donation at the Parish Centre, or thereafter by arrangement with the parish office.

All prayers were appreciated for the meeting and interviewing of candidates; thank you – the whole process felt infused with God’s favour. We are pleased to say that we have appointed a Pioneering Minister and look forward to announcing ‘who’ as soon as possible. They currently live a long way off and we anticipate their licensing around Easter time for what is a permanent vicar’s post. This is very encouraging and a strategic investment. Please pray for them as for the other candidate who was interviewed only to be disappointed.

In addition to our Sunday preaching over 3 weeks, 60 people joined midweek in Part 1 of our Leading Your Church into Growth course last September. You’ll be pleased to know that Part 2 starts in January – please come.
Thursdays in January in the Parish Centre at 7.30pm:
7th January: Our Calling – telling our story and helping people meet Jesus.
14th January: Our Journey – growing deeper as
disciples of Jesus.
21st January: Our Heart – developing worship that helps the church to grow.
Some of our Bible Fellowship Groups will also be discussing the course at their sessions. Let us pray for the Bishop and diocesan staff as they seek to roll the course out across 160 churches in the diocese in 2016.

Pilgrim will return to the Parish Centre for a Bring&Share supper on Thursday 28th January followed by 6 weeks looking at the Prayers of Jesus.
This will be our Sunday and midweek theme for Lent during which time we’ll seek to grow in prioritising prayer across our life as a church in the parish.

Children are invited to our Christmas services dressed in your nativity costumes; especially at our Carol Praise Nativity on 20th and at the Crib Services on Christmas Eve. Let’s have lots of the characters from Jesus’ special birthday Lstory along with sheep and donkeys!

NEXT SUNDAY – Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols

New to ALVERSTOKE – you need the ALPHABET!
St.Mary’s has published a wonderful coffee table book called THE ALVERSTOKE ALPHABET.
It makes a great gift for Christmas. A display copy can be seen at the back of St.Mary’s alongside wrapped copies. You are welcome to take one (or more!) on trust and then pay £15 per copy to the Parish Office. Simply sign one out on the list.

A phenomenal response by the congregation saw all the cards delivered across the parish this week. Thank you so much to all who helped – we hope that many parishioners will be blessed by the greetings and venture to come and celebrate with us.

At 9.15 Morning Prayer today and on 10th Jan we shall be singing well known Advent and New Year hymns respectively instead of the Venite and Jubilate canticles. The choir will lead the singing of the Psalm to a familiar chant formerly used at Matins. Paul Pilott

Some members of the parish will be attending the very inspirational Christian holiday events. Spring Harvest follows Easter at Minehead Butlins whilst New Wine is at the Bath&Wells Showground from 23rd July. They are both great events for adults and for families. If you are interested in going along with others then please liaise through the clergy – thank you. See the Spring Harvest or New Wine websites for more details.

To report on a small but significant Alpha Course this Autumn made up of men! Very in-depth discussions over the hospitality offered at Darcey’s Tea Room. Thank you to Darcey for looking after us so generously.

DID YOU KNOW? 4 Billion Pine Needles
Each Christmas Tree is an amazing act of God’s creation with an estimated average of some 50 million pine needles per tree. That means there are 4,250,000,000 pine needles in St.Mary’s (+/- 50 or 60 needles!). We’re grateful to the team who will be sweeping up about 1 trillion of them on Monday! Our dedicated festival making team led by Rob Hamilton with Peter Camp overseeing electrical safety for the lights, Angie Jones coordinating 900 performers, Carol Workman and team in the café, Tim Finch and the stewards, and so many more with publicity, setting up, ordering trees, etc. A massive task and huge thank you to Rob and all who have joined in to deliver a wonderful Christmas Tree festival for the parish – thank you.