Advent Sunday brings a sudden jolt to our worship as we prepare for the Festival to follow. Just like Lent before Easter, so too does the Church have a short penitential period, as we spiritually prepare our hearts and minds to welcome the Christ child once again into our lives. Every year it’s always slightly different; this year being overshadowed by the events in Paris, and the huge numbers of refugees fleeing from oppression and seeking refuge. God must shake his head in despair at what is happening, not only to humanity but to the environment as well. Our need for salvation and restoration as people and nations could not be clearer, yet we have those false prophets of our secular age, who still think we have the power to heal and save, rather than a belief in something numinous and far bigger than we can really imagine and perceive. Just today the Church of England has had an advert for Christmas refused by the two largest cinema providers, in case it offends someone? Last week we had national interfaith week, and if there was one lesson we learn’t, it was to hold firm to our beliefs, and not be shy to proclaim them, providing we give other faiths the same respect and courtesy.
Now attention turns towards the New Year and plans for the Minster in 2016. The capital changes begin the first week of January with the building being handed back for Holy Week on Friday 18 March. Sunday Services will happen as normal in the Chancel. There will be a clean-up day on Saturday 19 March from 10am onwards – please come and help! Lent will see the community engage with the latest Stewardship Campaign, as we reflect together on our time for God, the use of our gifts, and our financial giving to support the mission and ministry of the Minster. Large scale services for 2016 include the Diocesan Commissioning Service for the new President of the Mother’s Union; The 30th anniversary Service for the Calderdale Women’s Centre; the Ordination Service for the Huddersfield Episcopal Area; The Yorkshire Day Civic Service; the Patronal Festival and the rededication of the Nave; not forgetting numerous concerts throughout the year and the Minster Summer Festival. Please note the Summer Dinner for 2016 will be on Saturday 18 June 7.30pm. Tickets £26.50 food provided by The House (at Scholes) music from Rishworth School Funk band, after dinner speaker Bishop Tom Butler from BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day.
A very Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone.