Dear Friends 

What will Christmas look like this year? As I write we have just entered Lockdown 2. There is much talk of how we might save Christmas. It’s such a special time of year but quite difficult to prepare for as a church given that we don’t know whether or not we will be able to gather. 

Harthill and Woodall is at its best when it gathers together as community. Whether that be in past years at the Carnival on Spens Field or this years recent 75th Anniversary VE Day celebrations. There is no doubt that the community is better together and social media has played a big part in enabling that to continue. 

As I reflect on last year I remember the wonderful Christmas Tree Festival with so many community organizations creative contributions. There was the blessing of the beautiful Well Dressing in a packed church and the children’s singing was a joy. Our candlelit Carol Service last year was such a special occasion. Harthill Village Voices were in fine voice and the large congregation joined in the carolling with great enthusiasm. Finally family and friends snuggled closely together in our ancient church with their faces aglow with love. Illuminated by the tiny flame of the Christingle – the Christ light. 

Christmas is about the hope a tiny child brings to a troubled world 2000 years ago and today. We don’t have to save Christmas because Christmas actually saves us through the birth of a baby named Emmanuel which means ‘God is with us.’ God is with us at all times. In the good times and the more challenging moments. God knows our deepest fears and will never abandon us.

I hope you will join me on Christmas Eve at 4.00pm on Facebook Live for a unique Christingle Service. Although we can’t be with one another it doesn’t mean we need remain apart. 

The following Christmas Services are all on Wales Parish Church Facebook Live:

6 Dec 9:15am Advent 2 Holy Communion in Wales Church and Facebook Live, 10:45 am Holy Communion in Harthill Church

13 Dec 9:15am Advent 3 Holy Communion in Wales Church and Facebook Live, 10:45 am Morning Service in Harthill Church, 11am Christmas Family Service Facebook Live

20 Dec 9:15am Advent 4 Morning Worship in Wales Church, 9:45 am Holy Communion in Thorpe Church

24 Dec 4:00pm Christingle Service Facebook Live only, 8:00pm Christmas Eve Service in Harthill Church, 11:30pm Midnight Mass in Wales Church and Facebook Live

25 Dec 9:15am Christmas Day Morning Service in Wales Church and Facebook Live, 10:00 Christmas Day communion in Harthill Church

27 Dec 10:30am Christmas 1 Holy Communion in Wales Church and Facebook Live, with friends from Harthill and Thorpe 1

3 Jan 9:15 am Christmas 2 Holy Communion in Wales Church and Facebook Live, 10:45 am Holy Communion in Harthill Church

May the light of the new born Jesus illuminate your lives this Christmas and dispel the darkness and fear from your paths. 

May God bless you and your family with a healthy and peaceful Christmas.

Reverend Gary