As this Sunday is Christ the King Sunday it means we have arrived at the end of this liturgical year and will be staring the new one with the First Sunday in Advent.
The beginning of Advent signals the start of our preparations for Christmas and inevitably the Circuit Carol Service which is probably one of my least favourite events. I am not sure how this works in other circuits or even if other circuits have a Circuit Carol Service, but in our case it is organised by a different minister each years with a planning group made up of two representatives of all 10 churches in the circuit. In my experience it has always included an item from each of the ten churches and featured only traditional hymns and carols. Now I have no problem with traditional carols but really do feel it would be good if we could include the odd more modern carol or Christmas Hymn, and not have to have every church taking part. In fact two years ago I went as one of our church representatives and stuck my head over the parapet to suggest some modernisation and perhaps a shift of organisation so that the churches in the section of the minister leading on this actually planned and took part in the event. This was met with some degree of disdain and comments like ‘What’s wrong with traditional music?’ and ‘It wouldn’t be a Circuit Service if we weren’t all involved!’ I decided it was probably best to shut up and with a group of five likeminded people we organised an alternative Carol event on a different night which wasn’t particularly well attended but enjoyed immensely by those who did.
Last year I happened to be missing because in the middle of summer someone had booked me to take a service on the night that turned out to be the Circuit Carol Service. My son has been to the first planning meeting this year and it seems as if we will be getting much of the same again. I am not out preaching this year (yet) so may have to attend!
I wonder if any readers have any experiences from their own situations they might like to share – who knows next year we might be able to do it differently if some good suggestions come up and I feel brave enough to suggest them.
Over to you.