Wednesday, 2 December 2020
To maintain social distancing, the following services will be ticketed via Eventbrite. (Tickets are FREE and solely for the purpose of adhering to COVID-safe regulations.)
(To offer as many seats as possible most important services are offered twice this year.)
|Click the picture to see a larger version|
Please contact our churchwarden or the vicar via the contacts page on our website if you know of someone who does not have internet access, but would like to attend. Only a limited number of tickets will be available on the day and seating cannot be guaranteed.The RSCM is offering an open invitation to join in with our unique, participative Big Christmas Carol Service on Saturday 12th December, in partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust.
Continuing our lockdown month of Prayer for the Nation, on Wednesday we pray for businesses, the workplace and economic wellbeing.
History of Nativity Plays
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The word nativity comes from the latin word 'natal' which means birth (and is also where we get the word 'native' from).
The first Nativity Play was performed in a cave by monks in Italy by St. Francis of Assisi and his followers in 1223 to remind the local population that Jesus was born for them, as he was born into a poor family like theirs and not to a rich family. St. Francis told the part of each character in the story himself using wooden figures in the play. After a couple of years, the play had become so popular that real people played the parts of the characters in the story and songs were sung by the people taking part which eventually became what we call Christmas carols today!
Wooden figures are now used in crib scenes in many churches, and also in people's homes to tell the story of the birth of Jesus. Our Christmas Tree Festival even has it's own nativity, and it has become a tradition for visiting children to find the characters for the nativity amongst the trees in the church.
Here are our choral scholars from Framlingham College singing "O little town of Bethlehem". Hopefully next year you can enjoy carols and Christmas trees in the church!
Another recipe for you to try! For a tea time treat these brownies are a lovely Christmassy version of the traditional favourite.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and line a 8x8 inch square baking tray.
- 4 mince pies, crushed. (Homemade or store bought!)
- 113g unsalted butter
- 100g dark chocolate 100g white/caster sugar
- 100g light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 70g)plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Place the butter and dark chocolate into a heat proof bowl and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between until the chocolate and butter are all melted together.
- Place the sugars, eggs and vanilla extract into a large bowl and whisk until combined and slightly frothy.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk briefly to combine.
- Add in the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and baking powder and whisk until everything comes together and there are no lumps of flour.
- Tip in the crushed mince pies and fold in gently with a spoon.
- Pour the brownie mixture into your prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
- Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the top looks matte in the oven light and an inserted skewer into the centre comes out with a few crumbs on, not liquid mixture. A skewer into the edges should come out clean.
- Leave the brownies to cool completely in the pan before transferring to a chopping board and slicing into 9-12 squares.
- The brownies will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for 5 days.
|Photo by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash|
For our final "Tree of the Day" post, I wanted to include some photos of our fabulous Festival trees, which we will all miss this year. Here's to a better 2021, and ever MORE Christmas trees next year!
|A personal favourite, this simple tree is absolutely stunning.|
|The popular bird tree in the children's corner - watch out for a new Adam and Eve tree next year!|
|The Westgate "Rainbows" group tree.|
|Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash|
The Star of Bethlehem appears only in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew where "wise men from the East" are inspired by the star to travel to Jerusalem. There, they meet King Herod of Judea, and ask him:
"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
Herod calls his scribes and priests who quote to him a verse from the Book of Micah which states that the Jewish Messiah would be born in Bethlehem to the south of Jerusalem. The star leads them to Jesus' home in the town, where they worship him and give him gifts.
The Greek word, generally translated as 'star' (αστερα - astera/astra from which we get 'astronomy') can also mean planet, or could refer to other objects such as a comet. There is no mention that the star is particularly bright, and it doesn’t have significance for anyone other than the Magi. However, over the years there have been many possible explanations suggested for this element of the Christmas story, including a comet, supernova, conjunction of planets... but the Star of Bethlehem has become a symbol used across the world.
Make your own Christmas Star decoration
For this you will need to download and print this template. You can then trace around the template on card, and decorate with anything of your choice. The small slits enable the star to be slotted together to make a 3D star.
"God loved the world so much, that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not be lost but have eternal life." John 3:16
Giving should be so much more than an exchange of gifts, and gratitude is such an important part of Christmas.
You can download this template here to create a Gratitude Acrostic - think of all the things you have to be grateful for, and either list them - one for each letter of the word "Christmas"; or write a gratitude poem starting each line with a letter from "Christmas".
Do send us pictures of your star creations and your poems, we would love to see what you have been doing and share your efforts with our community! Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, 1 December 2020
|Adam playing the continuo organ at our 2018 performance of Handel's "Messiah"|
Continuing our lockdown month of Prayer for the Nation, on Tuesday we pray for the elderly, isolated and vulnerable.We echo God’s commitment to those most at risk of this virus by praying today for those who are particularly vulnerable and isolated:
You might have heard of "The Hold", near Ipswich waterfront. Predominantly funded by a £10.3m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, when fully open it will house the majority of Suffolk Archive's collections, as well as providing facilities for the University of Suffolk, which contributed to the project, and other public spaces including a café, shop and exhibition gallery. The Hold will replace Suffolk Archives Ipswich branch on Gatacre Road in west Ipswich.
As the University website says:-
"The Hold is the flagship new heritage facility for Suffolk located on the University of Suffolk Ipswich campus. With more than 900 years of the county's rich and diverse history to discover, this exciting new building will allow people of all ages and backgrounds to step inside and discover more about where they live and their own heritage. The Hold will be open to everyone, offering not only archives specific services in the searchroom, library, and education room, but also state-of-the-art public facilities and teaching spaces for staff and students from the University of Suffolk. An exhibition gallery, café, shop and garden will complete the visitor experience. "
The Hold is the home of the Suffolk Archives, Ipswich branch and is also where our very own Bridget Hanley works! Suffolk Archives have some lockdown activity suggestions for young and old here. One particularly interesting suggestion is recording life in lockdown. We have such a good understanding of the recent past because there is a wealth of information available to study. The further you go back in time, the more challenging it is to research and gain a real "feel" for past times. Recording our struggles in lockdown today is literally creating History - your account will contribute to future generations understanding of the pandemic and how it affected ordinary people.
|Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash|
History at St Mary le Tower
Here at the Tower we had a lady make contact with us last month, regarding a framed picture she had bought at a jumble sale near Birmingham, Alabama, USA. The picture was of a brass from a church, and the label on the back of the frame said it was of a lawyer, 1475, from St Mary le Tower in Ipswich. It turned out this was a brass of a Robert Wimbell, a "notary public". He commissioned the memorial brass with a prayer to the Trinity across his breast. It is in our chancel, currently underneath the chancel carpet. How bizarre that the picture should end up on the other side of the Atlantic!
1) Spiced Apple syrup with clementine and cloves
- 200ml apple juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole allspice
- 1 mace blade
- 2 whole cloves
- small strip fresh ginger
- 1 clementine
- zest finely peeled with a vegetable peeler
- 100g golden caster sugar
- Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.
- 6 large egg yolks
- 4 oz/115 grams granulated sugar
- 240 mls double cream
- 500 mls milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy.
- In a saucepan, bring the cream, milk, nutmeg and salt to a bare simmer, stirring often.
- Slowly ladle in half of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to avoid little bits of cooked egg.
- Ladle in the rest of the milk, whisking vigorously the entire time. Do this until all the hot milk has been added to the eggs and the mixture is well combined.
- Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan of milk on the hob, whisking quickly, and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it reaches 70 degrees C on a thermometer.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the eggnog into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
3. Non alcoholic mulled wine
|Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash|
- 500ml pomegranate juice
- 25g golden caster sugar
- handful of frozen blackberries
- 250ml apple juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 4 cloves
- 3 black peppercorns 1
- orange, quartered
- Put the pomegranate juice, sugar, blackberries and apple juice in a saucepan. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, peppercorns and orange. Heat gently until simmering. Taste for sweetness, then strain into heatproof glasses.
|An advent wreath with three purple candles and the rose coloured candle to represent joy.|
Gaudete means “rejoice”. and it is a reminder that the Advent season is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand. To have a Sunday of rejoicing in the midst of the traditional Advent fast is not simply a concession to human weakness. It serves to correct spiritual pride, reminding those who fast that the whole of the Christian life is a matter of grace. John the Baptist reminds us that salvation is a gift of grace, it is not bestowed on us in return for penitence. Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved, it requires no external conditions, unlike happiness.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4-5