Christmas Eve Communion Service

The Memorial Church by candlelight
At 6.30pm tonight in Cambridge at the Memorial Church we will be celebrating, by candlelight, a service of communion. I'm posting a link to the full order of service below in case anyone out there wishes to look at it before hand or even to use it themselves. The liturgy is entirely composed from from Unitarian and Free Christian sources except for the table prayer at the beginning which comes from the Dutch Remonstrant Church. Over the years I've met a few of their ministers and been very taken by their tradition. Below the link for the Communion service you'll find their current confession from 2006. I like it very much and, at least as far as my own faith is concerned, it is a confession I can say wholeheartedly.

A happy Christmas to you all!

CHRISTMAS EVE COMMUNION SERVICE 2012 - click here for the PDF

We are aware and we affirm

that we do not find our peace in the certainty of what we confess,
but in wonder of what befalls us and what we are given;

that we do not find our destination in indifference and greed,
but in vigilance and in connection with all that lives;

that our existence is not fulfilled by who we are and what we possess,
but by what is infinitely greater than we can contain.

Guided by this awareness, we believe in God's Spirit
who transcends all that divides people
and inspires them to what is holy and good,
that in singing and in silence,
in prayer and in work,
they worship and serve God.

We believe in Jesus, a Spirit-filled human,
the face of God, seeing us and disturbing us.
He loved humanity and was crucified
but he lives, beyond his own and our death.
He is our holy example of wisdom and courage
and he brings God's eternal love close to us.

We believe in God, the Eternal,
who is love unfathomed, the ground of being,
who shows us the way of freedom and justice
and beckons us to a future of peace.

We believe that 
weak and fallible though we are,
we are called to be church,
connected to Christ and all who believe,
in the sign of hope.

For we believe in the future of God and the world,
in a divine patience that gives time
to live and to die and to rise,
in the kingdom that is and will come,
where God will be for eternity: all in all.

To God be the glory and honour
in time and eternity.

Amen

Comments

Mike Tyldesley said…
Andrew

Best wishes for the new year.
I've been reading Steven Nadler's biography of Spinoza recently and so found your Remonstrant link fascinating. I wondered if you can supply the answer to a question that's interesting me; are there still any Collegiants around? The internet is supplying a wide variety of historical answers here. Anyway, if you know the answer I look forward to hearing it. I'm guessing they died out last century some time.

Mike Tyldesley
Andrew Brown said…
Greetings Mike - very good to hear from you. We really should try and hook up again in the new year.

Ah, the wonderful Collegiants. To my knowledge they no longer seem to exist. If anyone knows otherwise please let me know! However, I like to think that in a small but real way the church in Cambridge embodies some kind of continuity with that tradition not least of all in the period of conversation that immediately follows every address I give. If you go to the following sermon you'll find links to the order of service:

A lesson for liberal religion from the world of sport – a meditation for the year to come.

You've probably come across it but an excellent account of the Collegiants can be found in "Prophecy and Reason: Dutch Collegiants in the Early Enlightenment" by A. C. Fix.

Additionally there is a very interesting Collegiant related text called "A Light Upon the Candlestick" written by Peter Balling, an acquaintance of Spinoza's. I even used a section of it in the prayer book I wrote with John Morgan.

A Happy New Year to you.

Andrew