Today we reach the half-way stage in Advent. In the middle ages the first words said (in Latin) in today's service were 'Gaudete'! "Rejoice: The Lord is near." As Christmas draws nearer, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of the Lord means for us. The oft-repeated 'Veni' ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John (Book of Revelation): "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament. Today is also known as Gaudete Sunday. Rose coloured vestments are often worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.

This Week:

Sunday 13th December 11.00am, The Parish Eucharist at St Martin's Sherford. There has been a wonderful return to worshipping together again! It will be lovely to see you if you feel it is safe for you to come. Please do not come more than 15 minutes beforehand, wear a facemask while in Church, and use the sanitiser when you come in, before going to Communion, and when you leave. You can also join our online Eucharist through our website / or YouTube.

 Wednesday 16th December 10.00am, The Eucharist said with quiet time for prayer and reflection at St Michael's Stokenham.

NEXT SUNDAY 20th DECEMBER: 10.00am, The Parish Eucharist for the Fourth Sunday of Advent at St Michael's Stokenham when we may gather together again in Church or online worship through our website. 




CHRISTMAS SERVICES 2020 (while in Tier 2!):















Christmas Carol Service 4pm Sunday 20th December. This will be online only this year accessible through our website on YouTube. Readings contributed by Parishioners, music from the St Martin’s Voices (some of the choristers of St Martin in the Fields London) in the Fields, Blessing of the Christmas Crib.

Christmas Charity: We have decided that our Christmas Appeal this year should be to ask for donations to be given to the Kingsbridge Area Foodbank which is coming under unprecedented demand for supplies as so many have lost jobs and businesses. In addition to supplying food, they are supplying Christmas presents for children and Christmas presents for the children to give to their parents. The details are: ‘Kingsbridge Area Foodbank’ Sort code: 77 09 24 Account number: 17928860. A gift aid form is available on the website or from the Parish Office.


Download GIFT AID Form

St Michael's and St Martin's will also both be open to all for private prayer and reflection. We will be doing this between 10.00am - 12.00noon at St Michael's and 10.00am – 4.00pm at St Martins. You are very welcome to come in for any period, however short. Bring your prayers, for others, for our world and for yourself, your Bible, and most importantly, an intention to simply be in God's presence.

St Martin’s Sherford Finances – an appeal

The treasurer of St Martin’s DCC has advised me that due to the lack of fund-raising events and plate collections at services during the pandemic, the DCC is unfortunately heading for a deficit of about £7,000.00 for this financial year (which will end on 31st December 2020). St Martin’s contributes greatly to the life of our Parish and has a loyal and committed congregation of worshippers at the Sherford/Frogmore end. If you feel you might be able to help in any way by a one off donation (which can be gift aided) or by reviewing the amount you currently give to the work of the Church, or gift aiding it if you do not already, (to give you a steer, it costs about £80.00 per month per member of the electoral roll to run the Church), or have any other ideas which might help, please contact Peter Boult, the treasurer.

Thank you!... to the brave band of cleaners who have done such a fantastic job in cleaning St Michael’s Church so thoroughly this week.

Morning and Evening Prayer: Said daily at 9.00am & 6.00pm by Fr Michael with prayers for Parish and People. Please join him at these times in your homes. You might like to use the Form of Morning and Evening Prayer for Advent which is available on the website, or your own Book of Common Prayer.

Reading the scriptures:

If you would like to use some notes to help you make a daily short reading of the Bible and reflect on it then you might try Bible Alive (a Roman Catholic publication but follows our daily and Sunday cycle of readings) at or

Bible Reading Fellowship

 'Daily Hope' is a free phone line of hymns, reflections, and prayers. Now that we have begun public worship again and have the streamed service online, the weekly reflection has come to a natural end. But those unable to join us in either way can access this free telephone line to hear hymns, daily prayers, and reflections: 0800 804 804

Reflection for Advent:

John the Baptist’s part in the story of Jesus is bigger and closer to Jesus than we normally recognise. He led the way for Jesus right the way through to death. In many ways his life was as demanding as the Virgin Mary’s, but he’s much less reflected upon and his prayers are much less sought. But for today I want to point to just one aspect of his life. In the Christian East John is known, not as ‘the Baptist’, but as the Forerunner, the Preparer. Preparation is what John preaches, but it’s what he is. If Jesus’ life is the gospel itself; John’s life is the straight path that prepares the way for him.

We often talk of this in terms of ‘conversion’, of people coming from no or old faith to a fresh faith in God. A turning point, a change of direction, a replacement of one thing with another. But the word that’s in the gospel (v. 4), that scripture uses, is much more interesting, metanoia (μετάνοια). It runs much deeper. It’s about transformation over time; a response that inaugurates a change to a new way of thinking and living that lasts over time. It’s about something deep in our inner life, in our spirits, our consciences.

Matthew begins his gospel with Jesus’s birth; Luke begins with John’s birth; the evangelist John begins with creation’s birth. But Mark begins much later than all of them with the appearance in the desert of a man who feels personally challenged by the word of God, and responds to it with his life. He’s literally a voice in the wilderness, calling to others to do the same as him and prepare their lives for the Son of God to come. The gospel begins when a human being shows the ability to start something in his life in obedience to the word of God, even if that’s confusing or painful. It’s a beginning that depends on a lively relationship with God, and that extends for a lifetime.

This was why people “from the whole Judean countryside and all of Jerusalem went out to him”. They were not going far: just the few miles east of Jerusalem into the nearby rocky desert territory that leads down and down and down to Jericho and the Jordan river, where John was baptised them as a new sign of preparation for the appearance of the Messiah.

And nor do we need to go far to enter a space, and listen to a voice that calls us to change our lives—whether that voice comes from Christ himself in prayer, or through his saints, his word, the clergy who serve our life in the Church, or one another as disciples. We need to prepare our lives for the good news of Jesus to take change us by his mercy and grace. It will be an experience like going into a barren desert waste, because it will involve us coming to terms with what is essential—what we need and what we lack, what we do not need and what we need to shake off. In the Scriptures the desert is a place of ruins, wild beasts and demons. And there is no doubt that if our lives are to be changed we will need to deal with the wild beasts of our desires, the ghosts of our hearts, the demons of our secrets, and some of the ruins of our past lives. But by listening to the word of God the human heart also experiences—bit by bit, because we can’t cope with it full-on—God’s freedom, and light, and mercy. The effect of listening to the word of God is to be able to hear God speaking to our hearts, and, over a lifetime, our hearts being transformed into Christ’s heart.

Our prayers this week for:

Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury...our part in proclaiming the coming of God’s kingdom…H M The Queen and her family…growth in our Churches…our Churchwardens and Deputies...those resident in care homes and their relatives…Kingsbridge Area Foodbank …those who have lost their work or business and their families…the depressed, lonely and anxious... our home communicants...all who have asked our prayers including the sick and among them Gill and Trevor Moore, Jean Flawn, Bobby Parsons, Dick Lloyd, Gill Mickel, Evelyn Hedger, Keith and Jackie Rollinson, Katherine Yandell, Jamie Cooke, Andrew Graner, Carlene Whittington and Marjorie Godden.. those who have died recently and among them Marie-Christine Kerr and those whose anniversaries we keep at this time and among them Beverly Brown, Edna Collins, Mary Stevens, Gladys Dorling and Beryl Ticquet.

 Visiting & Home Communions

I am recommencing visiting and home communions provided it is safe for me to visit. I shall contact folk first and please expect me to come wearing a facemask.

If you would like to contact me about any personal or pastoral matter please do so, I should be very happy to help you. Please leave a message on my phone 01548 580908 or send me an email.

Your Church is still here for you, please know we are praying for you, for those in need, and for all those you love. Please do get in touch if there is anyone or anything I can pray for or if I can help you in any way.

With my prayers and very best wishes

Fr Michael

Priest in Charge: Fr Michael Berrett, The Vicarage, Stokenham, Kingsbridge, Devon TQ7 2ST 01548 580908

The Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent

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This weeks 'LOOK' magazine

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Public Notice                                                                   Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011                   Draft Pastoral Scheme

10th November 2020

The Exeter Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee has prepared a draft Pastoral Scheme for:

the creation of the new parish of Buckland-Tout-Saints in the area of the benefice of Stokenham, Slapton, Charleton with Buckland-Tout-Saints, East Portlemouth, South Pool, and Chivelstone, for its parish church and for renaming the parish of Charleton with Buckland-Tout-Saints “Charleton”, together with altering the benefice’s name in the diocese of Exeter.

The draft Scheme is on the Commissioners’ website or you may obtain a copy from me.   Large print and/or audio copies are available on request.

·           Anyone may make representations for or against all or any part of the draft Scheme (please include the reasons for your views) preferably by email or by post to reach the Commissioners no later than midnight on Tuesday 22nd December 2020.   Send your representation to or by a letter marked for the attention of Rex Andrew, Pastoral Division, Church Commissioners, Church House, Great Smith Street, LONDON SW1P 3AZ.

·           If they have not acknowledged receipt of your representation before this date, please ring 020 7898 1743 or e-mail them to ensure it has been received. For administrative purposes, a petition will be classed as a single representation and the Commissioners will only correspond with the sender of the petition, if known, or otherwise the first signatory for whom they can identify an address – “the primary petitioner”.

·           When making a representation, please indicate the nature of your interest in the proposals (e.g. parishioner, member of parochial church council, etc) and whether you would like an opportunity to speak to their Committee regarding your representation if the Commissioners decide a hearing should be held regarding the case.

·           If they receive representations against the draft Scheme, they will send them, and any representations supporting the draft Scheme, to the Bishop whose views will be sought.  Individual representors and the primary petitioner will then receive copies of the correspondence with the Bishop (including copies of all the representations) and will be told whether a hearing is to be held.  They and individual petitioners may comment further to the Commissioners.  Copies of all of the representations received and associated correspondence will normally be published on the Commissioners’ website if the matter needs to be considered by them.

·           If a hearing is held, anyone may attend the meeting of the Commissioners that considers the case and representors may have an opportunity to speak to their Committee. Otherwise, if a hearing is not to be held, the case will be considered in private and you will be informed accordingly.

·           When they acknowledge representations the Commissioners will let individual representors (and the primary petitioner) know the next few dates of their Committee’s meetings. They will confirm the actual date if a hearing is to be held nearer the time.

·           The Commissioners’ will decide if the draft Scheme should proceed when they consider all the representations on the basis of a paper prepared by the Commissioners’ staff and any points raised at the meeting.

·           The Commissioners will notify all representors of their decision and give a statement of the reasons for it.

·           If they so decide, any representor or petitioner against the draft Scheme may seek leave from the Privy Council to appeal against the decision.

·           Please see the Commissioners’ website for further information about the procedure.

Revd Dr Adrian Hough                                                                                                                                                               Secretary Exeter Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee

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