Advent candle liturgies

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Mark Earey, writer of the Advent hymn ‘Advent candles tell their story’ (StF 165), has produced a short liturgy to accompany the  lighting of the Advent candles.

He has a strong feeling that the words we say when lighting the candles should complement the action and not try to explain what is, he says, a symbolic act. He prefers to avoid the words “This candle reminds us of…” and draws, instead, upon words from scripture to sit alongside this meaningful Advent ceremony.

Download Mark’s liturgy here.

An alternative set of reponses are those written by Alison Richards. This liturgy was originally written also to accompany Mark Earey’s hymn, but it works equally well with the other two candle-lighting hymns in Singing the Faith: Clare Stainsby’s ‘Light a candle in a darkened place’ (StF 174) and John Bell’s ‘Christmas is coming!’ (StF 166).

Download Alison’s liturgy here.

A third alternative is Alison Richards’ set of responses built around  Bernadette Farrell’s hymn, ‘Longing for light, we wait in darkness’ (‘Christ, be our light!’) (StF 706). This hymn brings peace and justice themes right into the heart of our Advent preparations and offers a sung/spoken accompaniment to our candle lighting that complements the increasingly popular ‘alternative Christmas’ gifts – such as those available through the Methodist relief nad development charity, All We Can.

Download the ‘Christ be our light!’ liturgy here.


Categories: Advent and Christmas, Bell, John L. (comp), Earey, Mark, Farrell, Bernadette (auth), Stainsby, Clare (auth), Worship Resources.

6 Responses to Advent candle liturgies

  1. Madelyn says:

    Rather strange that “longing for light” isn’t in the advent section, not even in the “also” list. I wonder if the next editors of StF could consider just having the hymns in alphabetical order rather than trying to cram them into sections that just cause confusion ? Themes can always be included at the back instead of the index, but many hymns fit more than one theme. Also having the theme title at the top of the page rather than the hymn title is irritating, too.

    • Editor says:

      Hi Madelyn –

      thanks for your comments. I see that these are specifically about the printed edition of StF and will pass them on to the right people. Regarding Longing for Light – I suppose it is true that many hymns are applicable to more than one time or occasion and that the editors of StF had to make a choice about where to place this hymn. Happily, as you’ve obviously realised, on this website we have been able to point people in this hymns’ direction for Advent. I hope you enjoy using it this year.

    • Gordon James says:

      I appreciate that having hymns in alphabetical order may suit some people, but for others of us it is so much easier in planning worship, devotions and even in encouraging congregations to widen their realisation that there ARE themes and subjects rather than just “pick that, I like it”. Sorry, but I hope the well-established way our Hymn collections have been set up will not become just alphabetical -indexes at the back of them are just what you ask.

      • Editor says:

        Thank you for your comments, Gordon – and your point is well made. My understanding is that the book editors were alert to the issues you raise and, for that reason, opted not to arrange the entire book alphabetically but to arrange by alphabet only within sections – precisely so that hymns could be searched by theme and subject. Once within a themed section, hopefully it makes it quicker to find a hymn if you have a particular one in mind.

        Interestingly, when we compile the hymn suggestions on this website that accompany the lectionary each we week (e.g., these are deliberately listed alphabetically rather than by number in order to encourage users to range across the different sections of the book rather than respond to a reading with hymns only from one section.

        Thank you for your contribution to this ongoing discussion.

  2. Pete Taylor says:

    Alison, thank you too. This looks very good. Will put this in my Advent resources journal.

  3. Pete Taylor says:

    Spot on Mark. Looks very good!

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