a week of song, day 5


3rd Sunday of Advent

Last Sunday was the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and now we are at the 3rd Sunday already. No blog post was written last week, because even though we Christians are meant to be in a time of preparation and waiting, we too get swept up with the busyness of the season.

So today let us stop and take stock. How is the jar going with the daily blessings in it? Did you find time to do it? Have you found time to read your bible this advent?

For sure the ones who have had the time they need to prepare are probably feeling a lot more peaceful than those of us who have not. They feel ready for the coming of the Lord, whether symbolically at Christmas, everyday as they experience him in their daily lives, or if he was to return with all the angels tomorrow.

The rest of us are in various stages of readiness, and although the bible tells us to be always alert, and prepared, with oil filled lamps for we know not when the Lord will come, we should not feel that we have to be totally prepared, otherwise we have failed. The Lord knows our hearts and only he can judge us. He also knows how we humans are and that life is a whirl, for he made us this way.

So take a moment to relax now. Light a candle, say a prayer, maybe read some scripture, and know that all will be well.

Have a blessed advent week.worship_advent-wreath3_2015

1 Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Christ. Let us take time in this period to think and reflect.

Adventskranz 1. Advent

Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 196

   “Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.

   “An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’

   “The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.”

An idea to help you in your awareness is to create a blessing jar. Find a glass jar, and each day in this period write down one thing for which you are thankful or blessed and put it in the Jar. On Christmas Eve you can open the jar and read the blessings in your life and be thankful for them

Wishing you a blessed Advent time

farewell to the vicar

Today was the last service for Father Peter at our Church. Tomorrow he will board a plane back to the UK to start his hard earned retirement in Scotland. Peter has been with us 8 years, and many are sorry to see him go. He and his wife are also very sad to leave us. Switzerland is of course a beautiful country, slap in the middle of Europe with a top standard of living. They return to a country that is divided, and where many people live lives of quiet desperation. Little wonder they turn their frustrations onto the foreigner among them.

Actually that was a part of  the sermon today. Sermons are available on our website if you want to take a listen. It was a good one today, so hopefully will be listed soon on the site

Vicar2-1024x576For the council we now have to start the search for a replacement. This is quite a process with the main focus being on finding out what our congregation like in our Church, and where they see us in the future. Then we need to draw up a profile of our ideal candidate plus ran an advert. The Diocese filter the applications based on our profile, and then at some point 2 people of our Parish along with other Church officials will conduct the interviews in London. Interviews are not expected before November, with the new Priest not expected to start before 1 March. The UK will have a new Prime Minister before we even do the interviews – seems strange really.

In the meantime we will have a series of Locums coming over, staying in the house, taking some services and enjoying Switzerland. Generally locums tend to be retired priests, but they always bring some variety and new wind to the Church, which can only be good. It might help us focus on what sort of Priest is the right one for us, or maybe what to avoid. We are not expecting a huge amount of candidates however, but we do not have to, as long as we get the right one.

So remember to pray for our departing Priest Peter, and his wife Shareene, and then to pray for the council as they go through the search process, and pray for the locums as they come to us. We need a lot of prayer.


The gift of song

Isn’t music a wonderful thing? Music is something that all ages enjoy and which brings people together. This weekend St Ursula’s was proud to host the Swiss Archdeaconry Choir Festival, a joyous event where several Choirs from Churches in Switzerland and also singers from the UK came together to sing together under the directorship of Gordon Appleton, and with the accompaniment of organist Mark Jones.

Gordon retired recently after nearly twenty years as a staff member of The Royal School of Music. He has directed many RSCM courses for children and adults in the UK and other countries. He previously lived and taught in Jamaica where he was Organist and Choirmaster of Kingston College, and in Australia where he taught in schools and was for seven years Organist and Master of the Music at St George’s Anglican Cathedral, Perth.

Over the 2 day period the choirs performed together culminating in a magnificent Evensong on Saturday evening, and Eucharist this morning. The singing was beautiful, and Mark got more out of our organ than any of us had realised it was capable of. We all felt very privileged to have been a part of it, whether singing or listening.