Christmas Services 2019

We hope to see you at some of our Christmas Services and wish you a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.
Sunday 15th December

3.30pm: Messy Nativity
Mess! Fun! Food! FREE Kids crafts, activities, games, stories, & songs! Children must be accompanied by an adult. This event is free, no booking necessary, but – if you can – please email to let us know you’re coming:

Sunday 22nd December

2.30pm: Charles Dickens
Performed by Anthony Roberts & Jamie Cunliffe in aid of Colchester CAP Debt Centre.
6.30pm: Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
A service of traditional carols and readings.

Tuesday 24th December – Christmas Eve

2.30pm: Crib Service
Especially for small children who are invited to come dressed as shepherds or angels.
4.30pm*: The Service of Light – a candlelight carol service for all ages
The 4.30pm service is usually very busy with standing room only. If we are full, there may be the option to watch the service in our side room on a large TV screen. However, the service is also repeated at 6.30pm.
6.30pm*: The Service of Light – a candlelight carol service for all ages
If we are full, there may be the option to watch the service in our side room on a large TV screen.
*These two services are identical.
11.15pm: Midnight Mass with the Blessing of the Crib

Wednesday 25th December – Christmas Day

8.00am: Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer)
9.45am: Christmas Eucharist
6.30pm: No Evening Service

Thursday 26th December – Friday 27th December

There are no midweek services.

Sunday 29th December

8.00am: No Service
9.45am: Parish Eucharist (Common Worship)
6.30pm: No Service

The 2019 Christmas card with details of our Services

A summary of our Christmas Services 2019 (pdf format) can be downloaded here.

Christmas Services at other churches

A Church near you gives details of Christmas Services at other churches which can be searched using a postcode or place.

What we do: welcoming in, and reaching out

Church at St Leonard’s is about living as part of a group of ordinary, loving, generous people who seek to share the light of God’s love with those around us. We’re a welcoming community that is inclusive and relaxed, with a variety of worship ranging from the fun and creativity of Messy Church, via the calm and beauty of our Book of Common Prayer and choral services, to the joy and breadth of our sung Parish Eucharist. We welcome those with babies or children of any age, have an all-age service on the first Sunday of the month, a Junior Church all other Sundays, and a youth group.

Most importantly, we seek to share light with our community throughout the whole of our lives. A handful of the ways we try to do this include our work with those who are ill, lonely, or bereaved, with debt counselling services, the Colchester Soup Run, as well as popular activities like our toddler group, friendship lunches for those who’d like an opportunity for good company, our choir, and much more. If you’re interested in any of this, our work with Colchester CAP Debt Centre, or our special group for those who have been bereaved, please get in touch.

Can we help? We LOVE to help with baptisms, weddings and funerals!

We get lots of enquiries about baptisms, weddings, and funerals, and are often asked, ‘Can we have the service, even though we are not members of the church?’ The answer is usually, ‘Yes!’. If you live in our parish (and if you had our Christmas card delivered to your door – you do!) you can usually be baptised, married or have your funeral here. And even if you don’t live in the parish, please get in touch – often we are able to say ‘yes’ or to advise how we could say ‘yes’.

Hope came at Christmas

There are few more amazing things than holding a new-born baby. To witness a child’s first few hours in the world is to see the overwhelming beauty of life, but also its fragility – through shining eyes, tiny fingers, and delicate breaths. How tragic it is that we so often fail to recognise that same preciousness and vulnerability in others when we look at them as adults. 2019 has been a year of continued political frustrations, hardened divisions, and ugly arguments. At times it has seemed that opponents can no longer see any value in those they disagree with. But if we lessen the value of others, we make life cheap and violence can increase. It has indeed been a year of violence across the world, and – heartbreakingly – in Colchester itself too.

It was into a violent and confused world that the baby Jesus was born, of course. This is why the Christmas story of his birth can bring us great hope and confidence. Hope, because the baby who arrived in Bethlehem turned out to be the Son of God himself. Incredibly, the Son of God arrived just as you and I did – as an utterly vulnerable baby, completely dependent upon others to survive each day. And, from then on, the preciousness and fragility of life wasn’t simply a human matter, but something literally touched by the divine.

Jesus needed the warmth and nourishment of his mother in order to survive his first hours. Two thousand years on we still depend on each other. And, as Jesus went on to show us, we need to love one another – even the people we find difficult!

Please join us this Christmas as we delight in the hope of Christmas through the beauty of candlelight, music, poetry, wondrous stories & inspiring worship. It doesn’t matter what your background is. It doesn’t matter what you do or don’t believe. You don’t need to be a church member. And you certainly don’t need to have lived a perfect life. You are welcome here.

The Reverend Matt Simpkins

The Reverend Matt Simpkins, Priest-in-Charge, St Leonard’s Church
01206 577392,