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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service


Good morning to you all as we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent.

We will be holding a Eucharist in our church building, this service is if you are unable to attend with us and will be worshipping at home.

As it is Christmas Eve we will also be celebrating Midnight Mass at 11.30pm and Christmas Morning at 10am on the 25th

Much love and prayers and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

God bless you all.                                                                                                                                             Love Rev Di and family xx                           


Hymn: Hark the Glad Sound, the Saviour Comes



Our prayers of Penitence

Let us confess our sins to the Lord:

Heavenly father, you call us to repent of our sins: soften our proud and stubborn hearts.

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy


Lord Jesus, you declared the forgiveness of God: teach us to forgive one another.

Christ have mercy.  Christ have mercy


Holy Spirit, you search our hearts and show us the truth: direct us in your way of righteousness.

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy

May our Almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon and forgiveness of all our sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Let us pray our Collect for today

Eternal God as Mary waited for the birth of your Son, so we wait for his coming in glory; bring us through the birth pangs of this present age to see, with her, our great salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.




2 Samuel 7. 1-11, 16   Romans 16. 25 - end


Hymn; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Gospel; Luke 1. 26 - 38

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.) 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’


In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 

And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)


The story we’ve just heard is familiar to us, so let’s talk about what we know… the angel Gabriel is sent by God to a town called Nazareth, to visit to a young girl named Mary who is betrothed to a man called Joseph.  Joseph is of the house of David, that is, he’s descended from King David, and that’s a crucial piece of information, because Gabriel is going to give news about a birth, and it’s important for us to know that the unborn child will be a descendent of David, King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart.

Moving on, Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son, and notice, he doesn’t ask her permission, nor does he go to her parents, who aren’t even mentioned. Remember, after all, this is the first century, and Mary is her father’s property. But God doesn’t let that kind of social convention get in his way, so Gabriel bypasses the family, goes directly to Mary herself and lets her know that as far as God is concerned, this is a done deal.

 And notice another thing as well, she doesn’t even get to name her own child, that too has been decided already, but I expect, when you’re favoured by God – as Gabriel tells Mary she is – you give up the right to such things.  After all, Gabriel tells her, her son ‘will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.’  Who can argue with that?

So now we can see how the pieces begin to fit together. Jesus, who is descended from David through his earthly father Joseph, will assume the throne that for so long has been abandoned to small-minded political forces. Not only that, but Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob, so now the lineage goes back even farther than David, all the way to Jacob, and his kingdom will never end.

So….God has a plan to restore the house of Israel through the lineage of David, and is now beginning to fulfill the promise he made centuries before, that God would build David a house… a throne that would be “established forever” As we can read in the book of 2 Samuel.

If we’d been in the room we might have seen the recognition in Mary’s eyes. Even though she wasn’t allowed in the area of the synagogue where the men were taught, no doubt she’d learned a number of things in her few years on earth.

She would know full well about the hope of Israel, that the long-awaited Messiah would come and reclaim Israel’s dominance in the world.

Could it be true then, that she was the one chosen by God to give birth to this new king?  But then reality set in and questions arose in her heart, ‘wait a minute, how can this be?’

Gabriel then told Mary about her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child, and he didn’t tell her to pay Elizabeth a visit, but we know Mary did, and that was without doubt a good idea, because Elizabeth would understand in a way that no one else could, as her husband Zechariah had been visited by an angel too, and while he couldn’t talk about it at the moment, he could at least confirm for Mary that this wasn’t all a dream, Angels really do come calling. They really do.

So, those are the elements of the story that we know, but somewhere, along the way, we have to think about what we don’t know. And what we don’t know is what happened after the angel left the room.

You know how it is when we’re asked a tough question, or we’re faced with a difficult situation. Later, we slap our self on the forehead and say, “I wish I’d said this…” or “I wish I’d said that…” we can never think of the right response at the time.

Was it that way with Mary? “Why didn’t I ask Gabriel this while I had the chance?” Will Joseph stick around? Will my parents still love me? Will my friends stand by me or will I get dragged into town and stoned..?

Will there be someone there to help me when my time comes? Will I know what to do? You say the child will be king of Israel, but what about me?”

“Gabriel, what is it going to be like?” I expect Mary wished she’d asked when he was still there, but now, Gabriel is gone, the angel has left the room.   But, let’s face it, all the angels in heaven couldn’t possibly have prepared Mary for what she’d experience, because that’s just not the way it works, we’ve got to go through it before we know what it’s like, the only way we can really understand is in hindsight.

And that’s true in regard to just about everything that happens to us in life, and it’s also true when it comes to the faith journey we all find ourselves on. We can make all the plans we want, but what’s the saying? ‘Life happens whilst making other plans.’

And that was certainly true for Mary’s life. Again, let’s talk about what we know. There was the temple incident when Jesus was twelve, when Mary and Joseph had to go back to Jerusalem to find their son, and they found him hardly less than contrite about the whole thing. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

There was the wedding at Cana. “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it?

As well as the time Jesus was teaching in Capernaum, when he hears Mary and his family are outside the house,

he looks at those who are seated around him and says, “Who are my mother and my brothers? Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” 

All this, not to mention what happened at Calvary. She was there, Mary was, at the foot of his cross, she was there.

But Gabriel had said nothing about what life would be like, and Mary hadn’t thought to ask, not at the time anyway, and if such thoughts came to her, it was after the angel had left the room.

But my guess is that if we had the opportunity to ask Mary; “If you could do all over again would you still say yes?” she would tell you that it was the greatest honour any woman could possibly receive… that even with the pain she had to endure, the uncertainty that came with raising this special child, the sense of estrangement that came with knowing that while he was her son he didn’t belong to her as much as he belonged to the world, as well as the pain of seeing him die like a criminal on the cross, that despite all this, she would still say yes.

And I really do think that’s a question we should try to answer this Christmas. There comes the time for each of us, when God comes calling, and how we respond is eternally important. Because what we do after the angel has left the room tells the real story, doesn’t it?

So, the next time an angel comes calling on us and says, “Have I got a proposition for you!” even if it sounds outrageous at the time, and we think; ‘How on earth can I do that?’ just say yes, then put on your seatbelt and get ready to take a ride, because when the angel leaves the room, life is about to happen.

Let us pray; Lord, as life happens to us, may we find your presence to be as real as Mary did when she was visited by the angel. And when you ask anything of us, may our response be the same as hers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Hymn; For Mary, Mother of our Lord’

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Our Intercessions this week are written by Helen Dunbar

As we share in Mary and Elizabeth’s joy at the coming of our Saviour, let us quieten and still ourselves, in the presence of God.


Dear Lord we bring our prayers and requests to you, please help us to put aside our busy rushing about, and to sense that awe and wonder which comes from an awareness that we are in your peace.  We know that you understand our worries and fears, and so we pray trusting in your willingness to share our concerns for ourselves, and others. Keep your people faithful to the revelation that they have received, to be believing, and to receive your promises.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer


Lord we pray for the people in parts of the world where life is precarious, whether through terrorism, disaster, poverty, disease, drought, flooding or war. We pray that the time may be hastened when there is peace on earth and goodwill between all people. Especially as we pray for our precious world and the need for every nation to aim for ways to stop the pollution of our seas and rivers, and to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer


Lord in heaven, we pray for your church today, gathering worldwide in churches, chapels and cathedrals, to praise you and to hear your holy word. Give us a sense of expectation as we enter and inspiration as we leave.

We pray for your blessing on all those who play a part in church life and we pray especially for our own clergy here in the diocese as they seek to do your will and guide us through our spiritual and worldly journey of Advent, until the day when we celebrate together the birth of your Son on Christmas Day. We pray for our own much loved Rev Diane and her family here in St Clement.

Give blessings to King Charles, Queen Camilla and all the royal family.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer


Dear Lord as we approach Christmas, we so often fail to hear you; we are busy with so much that we go about the things we do as though, trapped in household chores and routines, hardly giving a thought to what our lives and the season of Advent are all about.  Our spirits grow tired and you, Lord, can seem far away. Help us to hear your voice today and be with us with every gift we buy, every one we wrap and with those who receive and open them.

Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer


Loving God, we thank You for the gift of life and pray for those whose lives are troubled by illness, grief, poverty or injustice. We pray that in the darkness of their suffering and pain Your Advent light will shine to bring them the assurance and hope of the coming of your son Jesus. We remember at this time those known to personally to us: – Revd Diane and Ken, May, Diana, Alison and Rob, Terry and Dot, Margaret, Maureen, Brian, Rupert and Linda, Jan, Anita and Steven, Pam and David, Barrie and Sandra, Michael and Patricia, Stella, Alison, Callum, Jay, and Andy; those known to each of us and those who have no one to pray for them.

We pray for the bereaved, hurting from the death of someone they love, whether recently or as an anniversary falls at this time. Dear Lord, please give comfort to all who are living the last days of their lives and may they find joy with you in heaven.


Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer

 Dear Lord, who sent John the Baptist to proclaim the Good News, help us as we go from this church to be true heralds of the coming of Christ and to proclaim the Gospel through all we do and say.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Clement and St Andrew and all the saints

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen


Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.   And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hymn; Tell Out my Soul’


The Peace

In the tender mercy of our God, the dayspring from in high shall break upon us, to give light to those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace.  May the peace of the Lord always be with us. Amen.



May Christ the sun of righteousness shine upon us, scatter the darkness from before our path, and make us ready to meet him when he comes again in glory; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always.  Amen.














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