West Dereham Sign Gary Trouton

Candles Candlelight Celebration!

January 2011

Report on the visitof bishop David Thomson to St Andrews Church, West Dereham to bless the recent renovations

St. Andrew's Church West Dereham was laced with frost but the atmosphere inside was warm with over a hundred people gathered inside for the Christingle Service as it got off to a resounding start with 'Hark the Herald's Angel's Sing'. Sarah lit the candles on the Advent Wreath and the church quietened as we joined together with the all time favourite 'Away in a Manger'.

Bishop David Thomson had been invited to join in the celebration and bless the recent restoration work, which has been largely funded by English Heritage. Speaking of the porch, he prayed, "May all who enter the church and all who leave through it receive God's blessing." While blessing the windows he prayed that as the light shone through the windows we would be touched by the light of Christ. Jemima, James, Jeremy and Ben told us about the work of the Children's Society, a charity which helps children in all kinds of need. The society runs projects up and down the country to help the most vulnerable of our children find light in their lives. It introduced the Christingle Service to the Anglican Church in Britain in 1968. During the next carol 'Once in Royal David's City', the collection was taken on behalf of the society.

During his talk, the bishop explained that the Christingle orange represented the world, a beautiful planet set in space which actually glows blue from above. In his previous ministry as a parish priest the bishop visited parents who wished to have their children baptised. He asked the fathers to imagine that while they were on the phone their child began to crawl on all fours along the garden path heading for an open gate and the road. Not one of the fathers said they would carry on the phone call. All of them would rush and scoop up the child in their arms knowing that they might be killed by a car themselves but the child would be saved. The world had got itself into a mess it was heading towards danger. God plunged into it just as the candle was plunged into the orange. He brought light, and that light is available to all of us.

Following more carols and prayers, Christingles were handed by Bishop David to the children and they carefully returned to their places, faces aglow with wonder in the candlelight. After a couple more carols with Chris Young our organist, accompanied by Tracy on the flute, keeping a lively tempo going, we sang the well known Graham Kendrick song, 'Shine Jesus Shine' lifting the Christingles in the air for the chorus.

After the blessing by Bishop David, coffee, chat, laughter and mince pies were enjoyed in the round tower, before we left through the newly restored and blessed porch taking with us the light of Christ and Christmas.

Janet Gough

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.