Printable service to use at home 13.12.20





               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service


Good morning on this the third Sunday in Advent, the Sunday when we remember John the Baptist and his role in preparing for the coming of the Messiah.

Advent, this year, is a challenge for so many of us in so many different ways. Some people have been shielding since March and still do not feel comfortable socialising even at church. Others have experienced all sorts of health issues, bereavement, loss of jobs and so many other challenging issues.                                                                                                                    As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child may we think of all those who are in a particularly ‘dark place’ at this time.

God bless you all.

With my love



This is Advent, season of promise. In our worship we prepare for the birth of a baby in a dusty stable in Bethlehem, and remind ourselves that this child will become the Saviour of the World who will return again in power and glory to draw all of his children together with songs of everlasting praise, The promise of the baby is also the promise of eternal life to all who believe.

God of hope and promise, be with us throughout this Advent season and draw us ever closer as we journey together toward the stable and the birth of Your Son, our Saviour. Amen


Advent brings us closer to Christ who is with us. We are reminded that no one is beyond the reach of God’s love. We wait with joy for the Lord, the hope of the world. We are called to reach out to all in need, sharing our hope for a world transformed.


Let us pray:

God of hope, who brought love into this world, be the love that dwells between us.                                                                                                                      God of hope, who brought peace into this world, be the peace that dwells between us.                                                                                                                               God of hope, who brought joy into this world, be the joy that dwells between us.                                                                                                                                              God of hope, the rock we stand upon, be the centre, the focus of our lives always, and particularly this Advent time. Amen


Our prayers of Penitence


God of healing, God of wholeness, we bring our brokenness, our sinfulness, our fears and despair, and lay them at your feet.


Lord have mercy


God of healing, God of wholeness, we hold out hearts and hands, minds and souls to feel your touch, and know the peace that only you can bring.


Christ have mercy


God of healing, God of wholeness, this precious moment in your presence and power, grant us faith and confidence that here broken lives are made whole.


Lord have mercy


May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us pray our Collect for today

O Lord Jesus Christ,                                                                                                                       who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare your way before you: grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found acceptable people in your sight; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.



Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of John Ch.1 vv 6 – 8, 19 - 28

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

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’


There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.                                                              He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’

He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’

‘Are you the prophet?’

He answered, ‘No.’

Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’

He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.                                                  

They asked him, ‘Why are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’

John answered them, ‘I baptize with water.’

Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’

This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.


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




Who are you?


Have you ever imagined what it would be like, to be the greatest singer in the world, or the greatest athlete in the world? Have you ever thought about what it would be like to hear the cheers of people as they watched you perform?


I heard a story about a little boy who walked into the backyard wearing a baseball cap and carrying a bat and ball. ‘I’m the greatest hitter in the world,’ he said. Then he tossed the ball into the air, swung at it, and missed. ‘Strike One!’ he yelled.

He picked up the ball and said again, ‘I’m the greatest hitter in the world!’ Again, he tossed the ball into the air, and again swung at it and missed. ‘Strike Two!’ he cried.

 The boy looked at his bat and ball, straightened his cap and said again, ‘I’m the greatest hitter in the world!’ A third time he tossed the ball up in the air and swung at it. He missed again. ‘Strike Three!’

The little boy picked up the ball, looked at it, and cried out in a loud voice, ‘I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!’


I guess some of us, at some time, have dreamed of being the greatest at something.


Who are you?


If we are asked this question what do we understand by it and what would our answer be?

In the time of Jesus, ‘Who are you?’ simply meant, ‘Where were you born? Who are your parents? These two things – and only these two things – determined one’s social status. One could only do what one’s social status allowed.

Unlike the little boy or maybe some of us, John had no desire to be thought of as being the greatest. In fact, he wanted to make sure that everyone knew that he was NOT the greatest.

John was popular in his day and people would travel for miles to see him and to hear him speak. He was so popular that priests and Levites were sent from Jerusalem to question him. Many people began to think that he might be the Saviour that had been promised – or that he must at least be Elijah or one of the great prophets who had come back from the dead.

The questions asked of John show that it was thought that his baptizing behaviour could only be done by the Messiah, Elijah or a prophet. That is, one of very high social status.

 Elites, (the priests and Levites,) are the gate-keepers of social status. So, their questions to John are challenges meant to undermine his popularity and put him back in his place – as a low-status unknown.


John was very clear on who he was NOT. He assured people that he was NOT the Christ, or even one of the great prophets. He told them that he was just a man who had come to tell them about one who was coming who truly WAS the greatest. ‘The one who is coming – I’m not even worthy to unbuckle his sandals.’  


If we look at the first three verses of today’s Gospel, we learn all we really need to know about John. We learn about his identity and origin, who he is, who sent him, what he came to do, and who it is he bore witness about. John is ‘a man sent by God,’ There is his authority to do what he did. He is a man on a mission. His mission is to bear witness, to testify, to tell about what he knows that others need to know. This witness or testimony is about one called ‘the light.’

The ‘light’ is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the light of the world, who brings the light of God into our sin darkened world. Jesus illumines our minds to see the truth about God and ourselves.


Who are you?


Most of us will probably never be known as the ‘greatest anything,’ but we can, like John, tell others about The Greatest.



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


Let us pray now to the living God, who always keeps his promises, and who knows us so well.


Give us now a sense of presence Lord, as we bring our prayers and requests to you, and enable us to open our hearts and minds to you. We seek to put aside our busy rushing, and to sense that awe and wonder which comes from an awareness that we are in your presence. Dearest Lord, for us you humbled yourself and lived a human life. We know that you understand our worries and fears, and so we pray trusting in your willingness to share our concerns for ourselves and for others. May all Church leaders be blessed with wisdom and holiness to guide us through this season of Advent despite the pandemic, to a holy, peaceful and joyful Christmas celebration. We bring before you our Church here at St Clement and pray our Advent celebrations may help all who join with us, to prepare a place in their hearts and homes for you and your son Jesus Christ our Lord.


May we pray for Archbishop Justin, for our own bishops Philip and Hugh. And for our much love Revd Di and ask God’s blessing on her and also her family.


Dear Lord, help the leaders of nations to seek that justice and peace which come from the Word of God. May there be good news for the poor and the broken-hearted and release for those illegally or wrongly imprisoned and an end to the conflicts throughout the world, which lead to so much grief and mourning. Let us remember those who are displaced from their own country by war and disaster. We pray for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who seek a place of peace and safety in which to love and care for their families. We pray for all those who are striving to adjust to a new way of being “normal” in these difficult times as Covid continues globally.


Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.

Lord, your son Jesus lived an ordinary life in Nazareth, with human parents, brothers and sisters. He understands the difficulties faced in families. We pray for all of those involved in providing support for troubled families and strengthening our community life. We also remember all people working to help the sick, for all working in hospitals, doctors, nurses and care workers and for all who care for their loved ones at home.


We pray for all in government and ask, Lord, that you help them with their negotiations, as they endeavour to make decisions that will affect us for years to come.


Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.


We pray for animals, who are suffering and overworked, underfed and cruelly treated; that beat their wings against bars; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for all the animals that are hunted or lost or deserted, frightened or hungry; for all those that must be put to death.


We pray too for our own pets, for the love they give us, and the love we give them. They are all very blessed to live happy and contented lives.


Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen. We thank you for her faithfulness and devotion to duty through her long reign. Give wisdom to all in authority and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and peace, that we may honour one another and seek the common good.


Merciful Lord, may your blessings be upon all those who are in pain or sickness, those who are anxious or troubled. We know that you are always present with us, even when sometimes you seem far away. Help us to feel your presence when we pass through dark places, and sustain us and all who suffer through our pains and sorrows; we pray for those known to us – Sue, Kate, Rosemary, Alex, Beth and Martin.


We pray for those who have recently passed away: for John Hurst, a member of St Paul’s and St John’s churches for many years and we ask God’s blessing on his wife Nan and his sons and their families; may he rest in peace.

We also remember the family of Nicky whose funeral took place last Monday and our hearts go out to her husband and children and all her family at this difficult time.


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


The Peace

May the peace of Christ sanctify us: may he so strengthen our hearts in holiness that we may be blameless before him at the coming of our Lord Jesus with his saints.  Amen.


Advent God, we journey with You to Bethlehem’s stable and a new-born King, ears attuned to the song of angels, eyes alert for Bethlehem’s star.                                                                                                                                      Forgive us if on our journey we are distracted by the tempting offers of this world.                                                                                                                                      Keep our hearts aflame with the hope of Christmas and the promise of a Saviour. Amen



May God give us grace to follow his saints in faith, hope and love; 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.


















Page last updated: 11th December 2020 3:26 PM