Advent: A Time to Prepare – Diocese of Camden

To you O Lord I lift up my soul



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

There is no other commandment greater than these.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son

who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung by Sue Turner


Stir up your power, Lord and come

that with you as our protector,

we may be rescued from our sins;

and with you as our deliverer,

we may be set free;

for you who live and reign with the Father

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen


JEREMIAH 33:14-16 read by Liz Ballard

The Righteous Branch and the Covenant with David

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

1 THESSALONIANS 3: 9-13 read by Simon Lidwell

Apostolic Prayer – 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 - highway2Him

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.


LUKE 21:25-36 read by Rev Ann Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Luke chapter 21 beginning at verse 25

Luke 21:25-36 | The Reflectionary

Glory to Christ our Saviour

The Coming of the Son of Man

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

escape Archives - Brenda Walsh Scripture Images

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Exhortation to Watch

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”


Wait Watch Listen - Catholic Action For Faith and Family

In the movie Mrs. Brown, Queen Victoria is sunk in a deep depression after the death of her husband Albert, when her advisers come up with an idea. They send for her pony to be brought to Balmoral, accompanied by a handsome Scot named John Brown. She is not interested in being cheered up, and is infuriated when she looks out in the royal courtyard to see John Brown standing at attention beside her saddled pony. Day after day she refuses to go down. Day after day he returns. Finally, she sends someone to tell him that she is not now and may never be interested in riding. John Brown is unmoved. “When her majesty does wish to ride,” he says, “I shall be ready.” John Brown shows the attitude Jesus wants from us in our faith life. Can we say, “When His Majesty, God, does come, I shall be ready”?

Being ready… While on a South Pole expedition, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left a few men on Elephant Island, promising that he would return. Later, when he tried to go back, huge icebergs blocked the way. But suddenly, as if by a miracle, an avenue opened in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through. His men, ready and waiting, quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship cleared the island than the ice crashed together behind them. Contemplating their narrow escape, the explorer said to his men, “It was fortunate you were all packed and ready to go!” They replied, “We never gave up hope. Whenever the sea was clear of ice, we rolled up our sleeping bags and reminded each other, ‘He may come today’

He may come today! The explorers never waned in anticipation and hope. Anticipation, and hope are Advent themes. These themes might not be apparent at first as you listen to the Advent readings. The readings tend to be a bit daunting and scary and full of doom and gloom until you dig a bit deeper and find that they contain hope and light.

The passage in Luke, with its doom and gloom, implies that creation is falling apart, almost Genesis in reverse. The lamps that God hung in the sky to light the earth- the sun, moon, and stars are now sending out alarm signals. The waters that once covered everything and that God had siphoned off into containers called seas are making a comeback. God had raised up the earth in the midst of the seas, giving people a place to stand secure. But now the seas are seething and roaring, threatening the order of creation with a return to primordial chaos. Some might say today this speaks of climate change. Whatever this state of affairs is, there is no doubt that this noise frightens people. But that is not the last word, there is hope, for rescue from this earthly collapse is in the coming of Jesus.

Adventus — GraceLife Sermons — GraceLife Church

Coming is an Advent word, deriving from the Latin word, “adventus,” which means “the coming”… not “he came” but “the coming.”  It has a note of constancy about it… not “he has arrived,” but “he is arriving,” he is near, he’s at the door, he’s waiting for you. Scholars often talk of a three- fold coming of Christ.

The First Coming, of course, is the coming of the Child at Christmas: the coming of the Saviour, Emmanuel, God with us. He comes as an infant, born in a humble village of Bethlehem.  The First Coming, of course, is the coming of the Child at Christmas: the coming of the Saviour, Emmanuel, God with us. This is God’s coming into history.

8,671 Jesus Birth Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

The First Coming of the Lord comes with God coming in weakness.  He comes in the quiet of the night.  He is born a helpless child, in need of men and women and others to take care of him, to watch over him, to feed him, to do all these things. Unbelievable, when you come to think of it.  Mary and Joseph, a poor, poor carpenter and a teenaged girl, are called to raise a child who is God Himself.

The Second Coming of the Lord is more dramatic, as we read in the Gospel. It is Jesus speaking of the end of the world as we know it. It frightens people, but Jesus promises us: in the midst of the darkness on the edges of despair, when it seems that all is lost, and the world as we know it has been torn asunder, lightning in the skies, fire on the earth, then Jesus says to us: “On that day, lift up your heads, for your redemption, your healing, is at hand.” Today our readings concentrate on the second coming. The reason for this is that before we commit ourselves at the start of the new church year to a journey, we need to know the goal of the journey, and that of the world namely the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Seven Signs of Christ's Second Coming

The early Christians believed that the second coming was near and would be preceded by cosmic signs. They spoke of the end as a time of gloom and doom. But Jesus spoke of it as a day of liberation and salvation for his followers. The world is not heading for catastrophe or mere ending. God has a goal for the world. The goal is the coming of God’s kingdom in all its glory. Jesus will come in a cloud of glory with all the angels. The cloud, of course, is the symbol of the Presence of God. He will come to initiate the new world where love finally triumphs over hate, where people turn to each other and embrace each other in joy, for the world that God intended will finally be complete when the Son of Man comes in glory the Second Time.

Pin on Scripture Writing - April Grace

So that leaves the Third Coming of the Lord. This is for us who wait and wonder at what we are supposed to do while we’re here on Earth. The third lies between the other two-the birth and the second coming. The third is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming God was seen on earth, dwelling among men; Jesus himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming, all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming, the third coming is a hidden one; in it only those who believe, will see the Lord within themselves, and be saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming, he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.”

This third coming, this hidden coming, is all about Christ coming to us through grace. And while this coming isn’t as visibly apparent as the first two comings, it is just as real. Grace is God’s very own divine life being shared with us. Grace comes to us through prayer, and is seen in the works we do. Advent invites us to spent more time in prayer so that grace may grow within us.

Noelle Kirchner: December 2017

Finding time for prayer is a real challenge as we are bombarded daily with so many distractions. It is often good things that distract us, demand our attention, and consume all our time and energy. Work, God’s work can take over, and before we know it, we push God further and further away. Instead of being central in our lives, God is on the periphery. So watch out, be on your guard and pray. Create pockets of quiet this Advent so that God’s whisper can be heard, and be vigilant to discern his presence in your midst.

There is an old tale of a cobbler who felt his faith growing weak one winter morning. So he prayed, “O Lord, please visit me today.” He finished praying with the conviction that God would answer his prayer and that Jesus would come to his humble shop that day.

Shoe Repair | The Village Cobbler

The cobbler opened the shop, where he made shoes, and started looking frequently out the window, expecting the Lord to arrive any moment. As he was watching, he saw one of his neighbours, an old workman, leaning against his shovel, shivering in the cold. The cobbler opened his door and called to the workman, “Come in and warm yourself with a bowl of soup and a cup of tea!” The man returned to his work sometime later, warmed by the food and drink—and by the cobbler’s kindness.

Later, the cobbler saw a woman pass by his window. In her arms she held a baby, loosely wrapped in a thin blanket. The baby was crying from the cold. The cobbler yanked his door open and called to the woman. “Please come inside. Warm yourself and your child.” When the woman came inside, the cobbler found a much thicker blanket than the one she held and gave it to her. The woman left a few moments later, warmed by the cobbler’s gift—and by his kindness. Scenes like that were repeated several times throughout the day, as the cobbler watched and watched for the Lord to come to his humble shop. But night arrived, and still the cobbler watched. Finally, the day came to an end. The cobbler, disappointed, locked his doors and turned down his lamp. “Lord,” he said, “I prayed for you to come to my shop today, but you did not.”

7,667 You Ready Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from Dreamstime

Suddenly, the cobbler’s room blazed with warm light, though the lamp still burned low. He heard a voice and knew immediately that it was the Lord’s. “I came, Cobbler,” the voice said. “And you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing—for when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

Being watchful and prayerful this Advent is vital so that we can say, “When His Majesty, God, does come, I shall be ready”? Amen


Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Let us pray to the God to the God of all time and space,

in whose love we exist

and by whose love we are saved.

As we prepare ourselves

for the time when Christ comes again in glory,

awake in us a grace and honesty

to see what needs transforming

in our lives as individuals

and as members of the Church of God.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

How the Church as a Holy Nation is called to Disciple the Nations - Mattera  Ministries International

Be with all the leaders of the nations

in their onerous and difficult task of governing.

Awake in them a desire and determination

to emulate your ways of justice and righteousness,

and may they be filled with the longing

to help the vulnerable, poor and needy.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

Be with all the families on earth,

awake in them the significance and priority of love,

and help them to care considerately for one another.

Where there is disharmony, bring peace.

Where there is fear, bring calm.

Where there are misunderstandings, bring reconciliation and healing.

Where there is darkness, bring hope.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

God Takes Our Suffering Very Personal | Renewal Christian Center

Be with all who are suffering at this time,

from illness, bereavement or injury.

Draw near and enfold them in your love,

and grant them your wisdom, strength and light

to persevere and to receive your healing touch.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

Be with all who find this time of year hard,

for it is a poignant reminder of their emptiness and aloneness.

Remind that that you are Emmanuel, God with us

and that you are ever present help and refuge.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

Come Lord Jesus – Fellowship Church of Spokane

Come Lord, your wounded world is yearning
for you to come again.
Come Lord, your weary world is crying out
for you to lift us up
out of our despair, our hunger,
our thirst for something better,
our need for the food that will last.
Come Lord, come again,
we need to begin again

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those+

who sin against us.

Do not bring us

to the time of trial+

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.


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The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.


And, as always, if you need us, you can contact  

Annual General Meeting:

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 1st October. As usual it will be held within the context of the 11am service. There will be a bring and share lunch and the formal meeting will follow. Forms for nominations to the elected vacancies are at the back of the church.  The AGM papers are at the back of the church.  If they run out, please ask the Church Office.    If you prefer to receive them by email, please sign the sheet at the back of the church.  You only need to give your name, assuming we have your up to date email address.  If you will NOT be able to attend the AGM, and would like your apologies noted, there is a sheet to sign for this as well.  If you wish to raise a matter under Any Other Business please let Margaret Morton have the details of that by 12 noon on Friday 29th September. or 01387 262734


If there is sufficient demand, we hope to run a trip (destination not decided on, yet, but suggestions welcome) in mid-October (possibly 14th or 21st, date still to be decided);  we may also run something in mid-November, and there has been a suggestion we might go to the Christmas Market in Hawkshead (near Ambleside/Windermere) on or about 2 December.  Watch this space!

Other Dates for your Diary:

  • Friday, 06/10/2023:                                           Beetle Drive*
  • Friday, 19/01/2024:                                           Burns Supper
  • Thursday,  14/03/2024                                      Pamper Session
  • Saturday, 16/03/2024                                        Men’s Breakfast

* See notice below….


  • A gentle reminder to those who have bought tickets for Cook and Taste India – this will take place in the Hall on Saturday 30th September at 2.30 pm. Come ready to enjoy all the goodies on offer, and watch out for the raffle prizes, too.
  • Watch out for MU Prayer space which is held on the second Thursday of the month, via Zoom, at 12noon and 8pm. You’ve (probably) just missed Peace & Reconciliation this week, but forthcoming sessions include Faith in Action (12 Oct), Gender Justice (9 Nov) and God With Us (14 Dec).  Details on the poster on the lit noticeboard, and also the St J’s website.  The Church Office (pastadmin@stjohnsdumfries.,org) can provide Zoom joining details.  The invitation to join in ‘Prayer Space’ is not just for MU members…(see above)

We are hoping to have different themes in the window bays in the church at Harvest, particularly celebrating the theme of ‘Gifts’.  If you would like to contribute towards the cost of the flowers, provide some kind of gift, or would like to take on decorating a bay yourself, please speak to Carolynne or Janice.

Activities are resuming after the summer break.  Short Mat Bowling will resume, in the Hall, this Tuesday, 26/09/2023;  the Quiz Nights will resume this Friday, 29/09/2023, both at 7.30pm.

On the subject of activities, please support the Beetle Drive here at St J’s Hall on Friday, 06/10/2023.  Doors open 18.30;  eyes (however many you have) down at 19.00. There will be a refreshment break halfway through (no bush tucker involved), and a raffle.  No entry fee, but donations invited.  If you’ve never played before, don’t worry;  all will be explained, and it should be fun.

Dumfries Christian Network tells us…

African Children’s Choir on Monday 25th September at 2.00pm in St Andrew’s Church (picture of poster below…note that the time is incorrectly stated on the poster;  concert starts at 2pm, not 2.30pm)

Quartz says…

  • CLC:  This is the Quartz house group, we meet every second Monday. More info is on the website. [].  On the 05/10/2023, we are planning to meet at Tatyana’s!  Please get in touch if you need directions. 
  • Forest Church:  We will continue to meet at the Crichton on the 3rd Sunday in the Month.  
  • Magazine:  A Quartz review is being written for the Autumn/Winter St Johns Magazine. You can still read the last one in the current magazine which can be downloaded from the St John’s website or picked up in the building.
  • The Blog:  This site is maintained by Wordsmith Crafts CIC. Sometimes the content comes from people who have sent things in. There is the capacity to let other people post blogs directly too, and these will be tagged with their name. This expands the use of the site to encourage discussion, even for those who cannot physically meet in one place often. If you would like to contribute, or recommend someone, please get in touch.
  • An invitation:  Would you like to become more involved in Quartz?   We will be publishing a list of ideas for projects. If you are inspired and would like to contribute an idea have a quick search on the website for similar things to compare it with what Quartz has done in the past – then send your idea in. Once the list is published, we will be trying to find people to help make them happen! Involvement in one activity does not commit you to being involved in any others (unless you want to be). If you are willing to be more involved in the planning and selection of ideas let us know.

Dumfries Academy tell us…We would be extremely grateful if you could share details about our Fairtrade Coffee Morning with your congregation.  It is being held on Saturday, 30th of September, 10am – 12:00 pm at St George’s Church Hall.  All the money raised will help pupils to finance a life changing trip to Kenya in 2024.   Entry costs £5 for adult and children can attend for free!

There will be live musical performances by pupils throughout the morning,  a raffle and a selection of stalls selling home-baking, second-hand books and home-made jewellery.  

It promises to be a good day!

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service will be at 6pm on Sunday 21st September followed by refreshments in the hall.


St John's Church

2 days 10 hours ago

Sunday 24th September is our Seventeenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is a

St John's Church

6 days 14 hours ago

You are must welcome to join us for our contemporary service this Sunday in St John’s at 6pm. Be great to see you! 👍

St John's Church

1 week 4 days ago

Choral Evensong will take place at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, on Sunday 17th September at 6pm, sung by the Choir of St John's Church, Dumfries, in memory of

St John's Church

3 weeks 3 days ago

Sunday 3rd September is our Fourteenth Sunday Service after Pentecost. There is an Eucharistic service at 11:00 am. Do join us- be great to see you! Tonight there is evensong