Worship across the Parish: Advent 3
8.00am St.Mary’s 1662 Said Morning Prayer
Darren Clarke
9.15am St.Mary’s Communion
Reg Forse
10.45am St.Mary’s Church Alive
Andrew Norris
11.15am St.Francis’ Morning Worship
Paddy Trasler
6.30pm St.Mary’s Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols
Andrew Norris/ Steve Dent/ Hazel O’Sullivan
Thurs 10.00am St.Faith’s Communion
Tim Watson

From Rob Hamilton The CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL Chairman

In a year when division and discord is all around us, this year’s Christmas Tree Festival was a heart-warming reminder that, at the community level, there continues a strong desire to work together to celebrate the birth of Christ through the creation of countless decorations, the dressing of Christmas trees and the singing of carols.

This year we welcomed over 4000 visitors. This included 581 performers who ranged from the massed KS1 and KS2 choirs of from 5 local schools, each choir over 130 strong, to solo performances from up and coming musicians. Ahead of the opening, there were specially arranged guided tours for 640 school children who were followed in the afternoon by over 25 wheelchair bound residents from residential homes who were able to enjoy the trees in peace.

Mind you, none of this would have happened without the wholehearted commitment of several hundred people from across the community who, in the days leading up to and during the Festival gave generously of their time, their talents and in many other ways. Whatever you gave, large or small, please accept my grateful thanks for your contribution. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.
Rob Hamilton, Chairman St Mary’s CTF
With very special thanks from us all to Rob & Fee for their leadership. Andy.

Acts 2v46: ’They devoted themselves… to teaching, fellowship…
prayer…and ate together with glad and sincere hearts’

Next Sun 22nd – 6.30pm St.Mary’s iNViTe for homely
Hot Chocolate & mince pies in St.Mary’s to warm up our voices ahead of singing carols at 7.00pm in The Village Home Pub.

Please note for your diary that our next Alpha Course will start with a complimentary ‘Fish n Chip’ supper on Thurs 6th February and run through to Easter in the Parish Centre, with a planned ‘day’ on 14th March. Please take and use the special Alpha invitational postcards to invite someone to Alpha – they’re the ‘Fa-la la la’ cards at the back! It’s a ‘must do’ course – who could you invite along?

Children and young people at Church Alive this morning will
rehearse ahead of next Sunday morning’s nativity. Children are invited to come dressed up for the nativity whether or not you can get to the rehearsal. Children are also welcome to dress as their favourite nativity character for the Crib Services on Christmas Eve.

Please note that the Parish Office will be closed from
Christmas Day until Monday 6th January 2020.
Urgent enquires during that time are welcome at the Rectory.

Celebrations continue in the New Year…
St.Francis’ Christingle 12th January at 11.15am
St.Mary’s Christingle 2nd February at 10.45am

A Reflective Service of Healing & Wholeness for the New Year. Sunday 29th Dec
Members of the prayer ministry team invite you join them as they host a simple said service with time for reflection and prayer in the Chapel in St.Mary’s at 6.30pm on Sunday 29th December.

SMILE goes Dotty! 31st Jan
St.Mary’s Informal Ladies Evening gathers for another creative evening of ‘Dotty Art’ on Friday 31st Jan at 7.00pm in the Parish Centre. All women welcome to get together with others to relax, feel good and have fun. You’ll be using simple dotting techniques to create beautiful wooden hanging hearts, cards and decorated envelopes. Choice of paint effects, colours, designs and stamped sentiments. Price is £7.50 to include all materials and tuition. Please contact Emma Anderton for more info and to book your Dot.

Sun 15th Dec 6.30pm Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols
Sun 22nd Dec 10.45am Carol Praise & Scratch Nativity
11.15am St.Francis’ Christmas Communion
Christmas Eve 3.00pm & 4.30pm Crib Services
11.00pm Midnight Communion
Christmas Day 8.00am Traditional Said Holy Communion
10.00am Christmas Communion (all age)
Leesland Neighbourhood Church has a programme of Christmas activity at St.Faith’s which can be seen at: www.Leesland.co.uk

In anticipation of planning approval at Christmas please put the following dates in your diary for 2020…
Jan 28th – Coffee Morning
Feb 15th – Curry & Quiz Night
Feb 25th – Coffee Morning with the Mayor
Mar 24th – Coffee Morning
Apr 25th – Sea Shanties, Fish n Chips & Pud!
Apr 28th – Coffee Morning
May 16th – Paul Pilott, Louise Helyer & Friends Concert
May 26th – Coffee Morning
Jun 2nd – Beetle Drive, Tea & Cake
Jun 23rd – Coffee Morning
Jul 4th/5th – Alverstoke Garden Walkabout

Acts 4v32: ‘“they did not claim their possessions as their own, but they shared everything they had… in God’s grace.”

Can you the Mayor’s vision supporting the homeless with accommodation and food from 6th Jan to 29th Feb? ‘Open Doors’ will use different church venues rotating weekly to provide a bed, a hot meal and breakfast each night, a listening ear and assistance. The project seeks: camp beds (£60 to reuse next year!), new pillows, single quilts/covers/sheets and food donations – also games, batteries and books! With a training evening ahead, volunteer support is sought including care and health professionals; e.g. hairdressers and nurses. More info on a letter from the Mayor at the back of St.Mary’s or email: gosportopendoors@gmail.com Thank you.

Since the CofE signed the Armed Forces Covenant we have hoped to host a monthly activity for Forces personnel and their families. We want to serve those in the forces through those who are retired from the services or any others willing to help in ‘hosting’ teas, fellowship and activity under the guiding hand of Revd Jon and Carole Backhouse (Collingwood Chaplain). Our vision is to connect with military personnel and families – seeing them supported, encouraged and growing in faith. Any who share this vision for a 4th Sunday are invited to a meeting to start planning on Sun 5th January at 4.00pm in The Chapel. Retired services folk, those serving today or any who’d like to support them are welcome in anticipation of a first tea on 26th Jan!