On Sunday 7th December we hold our Carol Service.
Doors open at 7.30pm for Mulled Wine and Mince Pies.
The service will run from 8pm-9pm and include traditional carols, readings and a Christmas message by Stuart Alred. Music by local funk band Mammoth.
There will be no Sunday morning meeting on 7th December.
On Sunday 21st December we’ll have our final meeting of 2014. This will be a family celebration.
Doors will open for tea, coffee and festive goodies from 10am. The service will run from 10.30am-11.30am.
Instead of going out to groups as normal kids will stay in the main meeting which will include carols, a nativity play and a short Christmas message.
On Sunday 14th December and January 4th we will be meeting as normal with coffee from 10am and our service from 10.30am-midday. These two Sundays we’ll take up our usual exploratory approach to the Christian faith by taking a moment to reflect on one of the distinctive beliefs that the church has held for 2000 years, the Incarnation.
Joan Osbourne famously sang: what if God was one of us? And that’s what we’ll be exploring with help from 4th Century believer, Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt who invested his life in helping others to see how this makes a difference. Dave Bish will walk us through this ancient belief and help us to see what difference it might make if God has walked in our shoes.
- Sunday 14th December 2014. One of us (1): What can be done with this broken world?
- Sunday 4th January 2014. One of us (2): If there’s a God, how could we know?
The John Lewis advert is out which can mean only one thing: Christmas is coming soon. Invitations to our Christmas season Sundays will be available soon at our Sunday Gathersing, but in the meantime, here are the dates for your diary.
CAROL SERVICE. Sunday 7th December. Mulled wine and mince pies from 7.30pm. Service from 8-9pm. Our main Christmas Carol Service with local funk band Mammoth. Stu Alred will speak on the meaning of Christmas. Evening meeting only this Sunday. There will be no morning service on this Sunday – we want to give you the maximum opportunity to engage in this special Sunday. Facebook event here for more information.
ONE OF US (1). Sunday 14th December. Coffee from 10am with service from 10.30am-midday. The first of two reflective studies on Sunday mornings on the meaning of Christmas. Joan Osbourne famously sang: what if God was one of us? Dave Bish will lead us through a study on this Christian belief that God did indeed become a member of the human race. Come and explore this historic faith.
FAMILY CELEBRATION. Sunday 21st December. 10am for coffee. Service from 10.30-11.30am. Our family morning Christmas celebration with carols, nativity play and a short Christmas message.
NO MEETING. Sunday 28th December. We recognise that the demographic of our church means that many will be elsewhere in the country with family and friends on this weekend. Enjoy a good break and take the opportunity to connect through our Community Groups.
ONE OF US (2). Sunday 4th January. Coffee from 10am with service from 10.30am-midday. The second of our two reflective studies on the meaning of Christmas. Dave Bish will continue to lead us through a study on the implications of God becoming one of us, as the Christian faith claims.
During our Sunday Gathering on November 9th we will stand in silence to remember the sacrifice of those who give their lives on our behalf and to mourn the tragedy of a war-torn world. We will do this just before 11am, before Stu Alred gives the next sermon in our You are always welcome series.
Jesus said ‘when you hear of wars and rumours of war do not be alarmed.’ We join the Psalmists expectation that in the end ‘He makes wars cease.’
What does the Christian faith have to say about my work and home, my food and drink, my interests, the culture and opportunities of our city?
In the spring we’ll be saying “I love my city” as we explore this theme.
In our Sunday Gatherings from 11th January – 29th March we’ll walk through the first four chapters of the Bible book of Genesis.
On Wednesdays at the start of term we’ll gather to pray and worship, and to explore in more depth.
- 7.30pm-9.15pm Wednesday 14th January – I love my city
- 7.30pm-9.15pm Wednesday 21st January – I love education and learning
- 7.30pm-9.15pm Wednesday 28th January – I love the arts and culture
- 7.30pm-9.15pm Wednesday 4th February – I love health and social care
We’d love you to prioritise these. Some will particularly connect with you so if you’re only able to make some of the evenings please do get to those ones. As we look in different directions we hope you’ll find easily transferable principles for the things in your in our city.
We’d love for you to take photos of the things that make you say: I love my city. Whether places or people or things, at home, work or play. Email the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet with the hashtag #ilovemycity and see your pictures on Instagram.com/gracechurchexeter.
We love life in Devon. One of the great events of the autumn is the Ottery Tar Barrels, an event that has been running for centuries.
This year the event is on Wednesday 5th November. Entry is free. More information here. For students the University RAG put on coaches.
Year on year, Halloween grows as a festival in our culture. Perhaps not quite rivalling Christmas commercially, but nonetheless a major event in the middle of the autumn term. As with most traditions in our culture, it’s worth thinking through our approach and attitude – wherever you land in practice.
Peter Dray traces the story back:
“What has happened for centuries on All Saints’ Eve – or Halloween – is quite simple. God’s people act out a drama – a drama in which the demonic realm tries one last time to achieve victory, but is seen for what it really is. What is the means by which the demonic realm is seen for what it is? In a word: mockery…
…on Halloween, the custom arose of mocking the demonic realm by dressing children in costumes. Because the power of Satan has been broken once and for all, children can mock him by dressing up like ghosts, goblins, and witches. The fact that Christians dressed up their children in this way shows our supreme confidence in the utter defeat of Satan by Jesus Christ – there is no fear!” (Read more here)
Glen Scrivener reflects more poetically:
Halloween: Trick or Treat? from 10ofthose.com on Vimeo.
On Sunday 19th many in our city will be involved in The Great West Run. If you’re involved in any way we hope you have a great morning.
Our Sunday Gathering will be happening. Please be aware that some roads will be closed which may effect your journey to The Maynard School.
You’ll find the course map here. The race starts by 9.15 and roads will re-open gradually as the race proceeds.
What do you need to feel safe? What good and bad things do you carry around on your back to help you feel like you’re in the right?
Early Christian Peter was prone to a ‘gospel amnesia’ caused by a deep rooted love of pleasing people, a deep fear of others thinking he wasn’t holy enough, and so he kept trying to reinstate old rules that God had given his people for a previous generation in his own life. And in so doing he kept excluding people who Jesus welcomed.
Paul had good news for Peter. In the words of Barbara Duguid, “There is grace to change you and there is grace to help you cope with failing to change.” Both are needed, though the second is a bit scary.
It’s not just Peter though, followers of Jesus for 2000 years have found themselves prone to forget how good Jesus is, and imagining themselves less than safe in him, they’ve reached for countless others things, good things, bad things, cultural things to define themselves.
On Sunday morning Stuart quoted Paul Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling: “My experience with hundreds of pastors is that many sadly function in a regular state of gospel amnesia. I love reminding pastors of the present benefits of the person and work of Jesus. I love helping them to see their security… in how much Jesus has already loved them.”
Paul spoke to his friend Peter, two rocks of the early church movement, to remind him that ‘the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.’
It feels terrifying to let go of all the good things and bad things in which we find our security, but says Paul, you really can trust Jesus to carry you, just see his arms open as he died for you. Would you entrust yourself to him?
We continue our series You are always welcome at our next Sunday gathering.