I’ll be frank, Christmas planning this year was a bit like herding cats. No sooner had we organised something, it was tweaked, rejigged or completely cancelled. Disconcerting if you don’t like last minute changes, frustrating if you’ve put lots of effort in, embarrassing if on the nth time of changing some information, it still ends up wrong.
But we stumbled through and emerged blinking into 2021, the current situation looking worse but the prospects brighter.
We hope you enjoy our photo round up of Christmas 2020 at Stoke Poges Church…
Our first event was the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Lunch, reformed for 2020 as the Senior Citizens’ Christmas Hamper. Instead of 120 people sitting down for lunch in St Andrew’s Hall, there was a socially distanced production line of turkey sandwiches, homemade cake, other edible goodies, a knitted angel, cracker and a CD and booklet of our podcast of lessons & carols. The whole hamper was carefully wrapped and given a little decorative flourish. As always, the event was funded by the Mobbs Memorial Trust which also provides a small financial gift to each recipient if they wish.
These were then doorstep delivered, with a friendly greeting, to over 100 addresses by volunteers from the church and parish council.
Our Service of Lessons and Carols would have been difficult to pull off with a diminished choir and no congregational singing, so this was transformed into a podcast, which you can still listen to on our website. It features music kindly shared via the Church of England by St Martin-in-the-Fields and our own choir members reading the lessons.
We did however attempt a Christmas party atmosphere at St Andrews with upbeat carols, cabaret seating and a game or two.
Next on the calendar was the sadly cancelled Wassailing – although we weren’t in full lockdown, it just seemed too risky to expect large numbers of guests to keep their distance in the dark whilst walking and singing. It will be all the sweeter next year.
And then it was Christmas Eve.
St Giles’ was beautifully decorated with flowers and our familiar crib, there were extra candles everywhere to make up for not being able to hand them out, and a torchlit path. The fact that we stuck it out and had three live services plus Communion on Christmas Day, all safely organised, warmly personal and fun to boot, was a huge testament to the hard work put in by Natasha and her family and everyone else who contributed to the proceedings… our church family.
This Sunday, Natasha is taking a break and so there will be a link to the Diocese “Church at Home” service on our website, Friday email and here. For junior church, there will be a link to a new episode of Virtual Sunday School in all the same places. We’ll be back with a home grown podcast and Zoom church on 17th January.