On November 4th 2017, a small group of URC and Methodist Lay Preachers and Worship Leaders met at the Autumn Gathering of Northumberland Lay Preachers and Worship Leaders held at Wooler URC.
In the morning we were introduced to the idea of creating O Antiphons for Advent by Paulette Sheard who along with her husband Patrick got us thinking afresh about Advent. Each of us contributed one of the O Antiphons then Paulette helped us to decide on the order. They were then used interspersed with “O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel” in an act of worship. (However, they would work just as well used on their own).
Patrick helped us to explore the use of technology to create a different stimulus in Advent worship and we were pleasantly surprised by the impact the use of video versions of the nativity story (found on Youtube) had on us. He showed us that it is possible to use simple equipment in churches and small groups where large screens aren’t available.
None of us had heard of Christmons – symbols of Christ which can be made by all members of the congregation then used to decorate a Christmas tree. We certainly enjoyed having a go at creating them and agreed it was a good way of involving everyone! Templates can be found on the internet.
Our time of fellowship was richly enhanced by the opening and closing worship and the sensitive leading throughout the day of Patrick and Paulette.
We were also blessed by being able to share in singing Fiona Middlemist’s new Cradle Carol in our closing worship.
These times of fellowship and encouragement are greatly appreciated by us all.
Do look out for our Spring Gathering, perhaps you might like to come and join us.
Every blessing this Advent.
Margery Tate URC Lay Preacher and Gathering Co-ordinator