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At today’s All Parish Holy Communion, Rev Keith Turner informed us that, although we might have thought that Christmas was over when we took down the decorations, the Christmas festival only finishes with the festival of Candlemas, 40 days after the birth of Jesus and the appointed time for the ritual purification of his mother Mary in the Temple. It thus presents the ideal opportunity to look back over the Christmas period across Wiverton in the Vale.

As ever, Christmas was a busy time throughout the parish, with a total of 13 services in six churches over three days, culminating in Christmas Day itself. The Candlelit Carol Services were particularly well attended with full pews at many and well over 500 worshippers in total across the parish.

On Christmas Eve, St Giles’ Church, Cropwell Bishop welcomed many from across the parish to its ever-popular annual Crib Service. The narrator took us all on a journey through the Christmas story, and messages from God delivered by a very excited puppet donkey helped to move the story along. With the help of children dressed as nativity characters the story unfolded beautifully. And to finish, a thoughtful and inspiring talk from a retired rev. drew out from us what really matters at Christmas time. The children left with a gift of a Christmas story book and a sweet, ready to face their ‘one more sleep’ until the big day.

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through St Giles
there was laughter and joy spreading up through the aisles.
The children and adults all gathered round
When out from the pulpit… an ee-aw sound!
A donkey, it seemed, had a message from God,
To Joseph, wise men and shepherds with rods,
They all plodded on by way of the aisle,
to Bethlehem town – it took quite a while!
The narrator kept us wholly engaged,
As the donkey interrupted and took centre stage.
We all sang songs, watched the story unfold.
A baby was born – Jesus – we were told.
As it came to an end, Rev Fred drew us near,
speaking of Christmas and why we were here.
With Love, Joy and Laughter our hearts were o’erflowing,
and we all left church with our faces glowing.
Jesus was born, the world to redeem – 
Come join us at JOY! and meet our great team.

Rachael Halpin

Communion services were held at all six churches on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

We are exceedingly grateful to all who contributed to the success of these services, particularly our team of ‘guest’ clergy (Rev Canon Keith Turner, Revs Clare and Fred Connell and Rev Christopher Wheaton) helping us out until we have a new rector of our own.

We give thanks that the Christmas message was brought to so many souls and pray that seeds sown at this time might grow over the coming year.