December 2016 at St Michael’s

The seasons of Advent, Christmas & Epiphany are about the earthing of religion in relationships, strained or fulfilling, the unsettling humility of God become human, one of us, at his mother’s breast, in the outbuilding behind the Inn, awake in a manger.

This is Incarnation, the messy humanity of it all, for Mary & Joseph, the Shepherds and their families, ruthless Herod and his clever advisers, the Magi with their expectations; explored in our words & music, as we ponder the selfishness, sadness and sinfulness of 2016.

There is a strange symmetry in the life of Jesus, sometimes picked up in poems or paintings – stable cave and rock-hewn tomb, the wood of crib and cross, swaddling-bands and grave-clothes, the spices of the Wise men and the Women, Angel’s words to the Shepherds and the Women, the cruel pragmatism of politicians and zealots.

We hope our worship & fellowship at St Michael’s and St David’s will help us all to delight in the Season of Incarnation, Jesus Son of God, born in humility, Joy to the World.

Sunday 4th December, Advent II, 10.45am Sung Mass. Missa Brevis by Lotti; Motet “Canite Tuba” by Guerrero. …Veni, Domine, et noli tardare. Sound the trumpet …Come, Lord, and do not delay.

Our beautiful candlelit Advent Procession at St Michael’s is on Sunday 4th December at 6pm. Prayers, Readings, Hymns and Carols illuminate the 7 Great O Antiphons of the Advent Hymn “O come, O come Emmanuel”. The choir will sing the Pergolesi/Durante setting of the Magnificat. The service is followed by mulled wine and mince pies.
Advent Procession 2015
Thursday 8th Dec at 6pm. Vespers for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. All are welcome.

Sunday 11th Dec, Advent III, Gaudete Sunday with Rose Red Vestments. 10.45am. Mass in A minor by Casciolini; E’en so Lord Jesus, by Manz.
Gaudete Sunday
Sunday 11th Dec at 2pm, the Choir will sing Carols in the Chapel at Killerton House. National Trust admission applies. Please come and support us.

Sunday 11th Dec at 4.30pm, Exeter Chorale, conducted by Dr Nigel Browne, presents a Tea-time Concert with a “watery” theme. Music includes Stanford “The Blue Bird”, Tippett “Deep River”, a couple of stormy Baroque Motets, plus Drunken Sailors and a Mermaid! Admission £8 (children free) including refreshments.

Tuesday 13th Dec at 6pm, this month’s CBS Plainsong Mass celebrated by Fr David Hastings on St Lucy’s Day. All welcome.

Saturday 17th Dec at 5pm – Carol Concert with St Michael’s Choir in aid of the charity Refugee Support Devon.

Sunday 18th Dec, Advent IV, 10.45am. Mass in Phrygian Mode, by Wood. The Motet is “Anna mater Matris Christi” by John Plummer, a 15th century piece on the worthiness of St Anne to be the grandmother of Jesus.
Christmas Day Advent Wreath
Sunday 18th Dec, at St David’s Church at 6pm – Carol Service and Farewell to Canon Tom Honey & Jeanie at 7pm.

Saturday 24th December Christmas Eve, 11pm Carols from the West Gallery, 11.30pm, Midnight Mass. A “Victoria” Christmas, Missa “O Quam Gloriosum” & Motet “O Magnum Mysterium”.

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock. “Now they are all on their knees,” An elder said as we sat in a flock By the embers in hearthside ease.
We pictured the meek mild creatures where They dwelt in their strawy pen, Nor did it occur to one of us there To doubt they were kneeling then.
So fair a fancy few would weave In these years! Yet, I feel, If someone said on Christmas Eve, “Come; see the oxen kneel,
“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb Our childhood used to know,” I should go with him in the gloom, Hoping it might be so.
“The Oxen” by Thomas Hardy, was published in The Times on Christmas Eve 1915. On the face of it, a pastoral idyll of worshipping animals and simple country folk, but below the surface are Hardy’s growing doubts and the irony of such a myth ‘in these years’ of war raging in the mud of the trenches. Yet still hope lingers for peace on earth, upon the midnight clear.
Crib Close-up
Sunday 25th Dec, Christmas Day, 10.45am Mass in F & In the Bleak Midwinter, both by Harold Darke.

Holy Communion/Low Mass will be said at 10am at St Michael’s Church by Canon Tom Honey on the 3 Feast Days following Christmas.
Monday 26th Dec, St Stephen, Deacon & First Martyr, 10am.
Tuesday 27th Dec, St John, Apostle &Evangelist, 10am.
Wednesday 28th Dec, Holy Innocents Day, Childermas, 10am.

Sunday 1st January 2017, Holy Name of Jesus, 10.45am. This will be Fr Tom Honey’s final service at St Michael’s before moving. Mass in F by Sir William Harris. Carol: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, trad. arr. Willcocks. N.B. No Evensong today, but please come to…

Friday 6th January, Epiphany, 7.30pm. Mass in F by Sumsion; O God who by the leading of a star, by Attwood. Celebrant & Preacher Fr Christopher Durrant. Please support the first Feast of 2017.
Richard Barnes.