Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve - what a great time of the church year to meet people!

It was 4:00pm on a windy Friday afternoon, December 24th 2010; St. Mark’s was bursting at the seams, there was standing room only for the families who poured through the door as the children’s service was about to begin. Chaos, crowds, people, stuffed animals, no room, people being called up to the chancel to find space – it had a feeling of Bethlehem as people congregated for the census. The band struck a chord with Little Drummer Boy; Bonnie held the crowd and led us all in the interactive telling of the Christmas story. Somehow, 250 people shared Holy Communion and all the children found their way to the front of the church to take up percussion instruments for the final hymn. Jesus’ birth was celebrated in Martin’s Point.

The family service in St. John’s at 7:00pm was rather more ordered with fewer congregants (I rather think most people had come out to the earlier service with the beasts!) yet it had its own magical quality as we welcomed Jesus into our world again.

Candle-lit services were held at 9:00pm in St. Mary’s and 11:00pm in St. Martin’s. The little church in Gold River was packed to the gunwales for the first Christmas in the newly renovated church. I walked into St. Martin’s as the organist was exhorting us to “Go Tell it on the Mountain” singing lustily with all his might.

I have been assigned to the parish of St. Martin’s Western Shore for my supervised field placement. There are four churches in the parish: St. Martin’s in Martin’s River, St. Mark’s in Martin’s Point, St. Mary’s in Gold River and St. John’s in Chester Basin. The rector is Archdeacon Bonnie Baird; she has set up a resource team of four people, one from each congregation, to support and guide me through my time with them.

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