In a crowded and joyful series of services and celebrations in the run up to Christmas, none was more special than the Crib Service at Henshaw on Christmas Eve, when the children participated in the telling of the Nativity story and placed the crib figures into the crib. Not only were there excellent readings by the children, but also a “first performance” from an embryonic children’s choir. The church was full of parents and grandparents, and all participated lustily in singing some well known and loved carols.
The children of Bardon Mill had a wonderful time on Sunday afternoon with their Messy Church Christmas Party. More than thirty children and their parents took part. At one o'clock they tucked into a lunch of pizza, sausage rolls, sandwiches and cheese scones, followed by jelly and ice-cream. After lunch there were activities such as icing and decorating Christmas biscuits, making a Christmas wreath and decorating a lantern. Many of the grown-ups (especially dads!) joined in with enthusiasm! Then there were traditional party games such as "statues" and "corners". As the sun started to set, everyone came together to form a lantern procession and walked along to the Village Green. The wonderful Messy Church Mums brought along flasks of Hot Chocolate which tasted amazing - especially as the temperature around us was below freezing. We sang carols and everyone cheered when the Christmas tree lights were switched on. To end an excellent afternoon, Santa Claus arrived on his wonderful red sleigh with special treats for the children.
On Sunday 26 November our joint service was the next in our new pattern of 'Celebration Services'.
Focusing on the theme of 'Heaven' we drew together the themes from our children's and family worship through the month to reflect on the idea of Heaven and God's promise that, in Jesus, Heaven and Earth meet.
The main focus was this banner created by the Children from Messy Church which included what they think heaven looks like - look out for the giraffe.
Through the service we then built a ladder reaching from Heave to Earth to remind us that in worship and in Jesus heaven and earth come together.
Each month we will celebrate at 10am on the fourth Sunday of the month drawing together all worship from the past month. These will usually be a non-communion service.
Our next Celebration service will be on Sunday 28 January 2018 at 10am at St Cuthbert's Haydon Bridge where we will have a Christingle Service to Celebrate the Feast of Candlemas and the end of the Christmas period.
Why not come along and find out more?
From Sunday we will move into the great Season of Advent where we will watch and wait for the coming of Jesus.
On Saturday, as dusk falls, there will be a Candlelit Advent Carol Service at Haydon Old Church. There will be parking and refreshments - and remember to wrap up warm!
And through Advent, on Tuesdays at Henshaw and Fridays at Haydon Bridge, there will be a short reflection as part of Evening Prayer on a servies of Advent Themes which will be uploaded to the website each week.
These reflections will follow the pattern of the Church of England #GodWithUs resources which offer opportunities to stop and watch and wait through Advent and Christmas.
One of our priorities in the Parishes by the Wall is to secure the long term sustainability of all the churches in our care.
This is particularly the case with the Haydon Churches - St Cuthbert's Haydon Bridge and Haydon Old Church.
To begin this process we are asking as many people as possible what their 'dreams' for these Churches are.
Don't worry about the cost or the money, let us know what you would like to see the Haydon Churches become for the life of the whole community in the coming years.
Please take our survey it will only take a minute or so of your time.
We will then use the responses to this survey to develop a more concrete plan for the development of both churches. We hope that the first version of this plan will be available in the new year.