St Mary’s Church, Woodbridge, again celebrated the Feast of St. Nicholas in style ! A packed church, including dozens of children, watched with delight as ten year old Ben, dressed as a Bishop, with mitre on his head and crosier in his hand, joined the procession of choir and clergy. Ben took his role of representing St. Nicholas very seriously, portraying a dignified and solemn Saint.
This was a Service very much centred on the children, and on childhood, and we were reminded of Jesus’ teaching: that we must all become as little children to touch the deepest part of ourselves, and understand something of God. Children participated in every aspect of the Service: there were children in the choir; youngsters acted as acolytes carrying candles; the Brownies joined the procession with their banner, which was draped over the altar, and all the children present joined in giving the ‘Sign of Peace’ to all the grown-ups.
The singing was joyful as always. The prayers were led by children, and the young St. Nicholas stood on a stool, at the altar, next to the Rector, Rev. Canon Kevan McCormack, and celebrated the Eucharist with him. Rev. Dr. John Hare, when giving his homily, invited all the children to sit on blankets just in front of the altar, which is the heart of the church, where he told them stories of the loving, kind and generous Saint – who many did not realise was the origin of ‘Santa Claus’ or ‘Father Christmas’.
At the end of the Service the young St. Nicholas distributed bags of chocolate money to all the children, to their great delight. We went out with the words of the Advent Prayer ringing in our ears:
“People of God; be glad ! Your God delights in you, giving you joy for sadness and turning the dark to light. Be strong in hope therefore; for your God comes to save. You are God’s Children.
Young St. Nicholas, the clergy and congregation of St. Mary’s, hope you will experience the delight of Christmas as through the eyes of a child, and invite you to join with us throughout this Christmas and New Year season, to celebrate in words and music. It would be lovely to see you.
|Copyright © St. Mary's PCC, 2007
(contributors reserve their individual copyrights)