Mission News

Advent Songs

We will celebrate Christmas in song. No surprise there – whether in the four songs of Luke’s Nativity story, or our carolling traditions or the constant soundtrack of popular favourites – we will sing our way through Christmas.

In choosing our carols I try to ensure that across each service most of the favourites are sung but will also include something rare – it might just be or become someones favourite. It means that I get to sing everything at least once and hopefully congregations will as well. I have a particular liking for Carols that have strong harmonies and descants (I can’t sing them but love to be there as better voices soar) and those carols telling the story of Jesus and sharing hope, wonder and joy.

On both counts “Hark! the Herald Angels sing” hits the mark. It speaks of glory, peace, mercy, reconciliation, joy, adoration, incarnation, and a restored relationship between God and creation all set to a wonderful tune that reaches new heights when the descant amplifies the final verse

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of righteousness!

Light and life to all he brings

risen with healing in his wings …

But in different ways, I also love to be reminded that “God surprises earth with heaven, /coming here on Christmas Day” The hymn that takes us there is so modern, asking the questions that challenge so many assumptions,

Who would think that what was needed

to transform and save the earth

might not be a plan or army

proud in purpose, proved in worth?

It is sung to such an innocuous tune in Scarlet Ribbons, that we could be tempted to dismiss such offering as unbecoming in worship – yet it reminds us that if we seek to follow this story through into our everyday lives, that God will surprise us, calling people to live in ways that challenge a world so often deaf to God’s wisdom.

May God surprise you this Christmas;

May you hear the angels sing;

and know God’s blessing for the New Year



Building Questionnaire

The sale of the Stoke Chapel building in Harefield Road has realised a significant amount of money.

“Our task now is to make good use of that money.  To explore how we might still serve the community in Stoke, whatever becomes of our former church; to use the proceeds of sale wisely in ways that express gospel values; re-develop Ansty Road in ways that will serve us well for the foreseeable future and ensure that we are serving God in those discussions and not Mammon.”

The first step in the process of exploring ways we may wish to re-develop the Ansty Road building is to gather the views of all interested parties.  This questionnaire will help us to understand what church members, congregation and building users would like to see change, if anything, and what they hope these changes will achieve.

We would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete and submit the questionnaire by 8 January 2017 by any of the following means:

  • By email to [email protected].  An electronic version is available to download on the church website
  • In person to any of the building re-development group – Janette Cobble, Mary Jones, Nigel Sprigg, Roger Linney
  • In the post box on the table in the church

The Questionnaire can be found on the following link:-