Advent 3

THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT Hymns 12, 10, 275, 15

FIRST READING Isaiah 61.1-4,8-11 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.

For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

RESPONSORIAL CANTICLE Response:  My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

For he has looked with favour on his lowly servant;

from this day all generations will call me blessèd.

The Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his name. R

He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm;

he has scattered the proud in their conceit. R

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things

and the rich he has sent away empty. R

He has come to the help of his servant, Israel,

for he has remembered his promise of mercy.

The promise he made to our forebears:

to Abraham and his children for ever. R

SECOND READING 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

GOSPEL John 1.6-8,19-28 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord”’, as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning. Everyone is warmly invited to coffee in the Vestry Hall after Mass. If new to St Michael's, do join us so that we can welcome you properly!

Please note: No Mass on Thursday 21st December.

Our Christmas services: Mass as usual – with Holy Baptism – at 10.30 am on Christmas Eve. Then: Crib Service 4.30 pm, Midnight Mass 11.30 pm. Christmas morning: Mass 10.30 am.

Christmas Communion at home can be arranged if you, or someone you know, will be unable to come to church for health reasons. Just speak to Eleanor about it.

Come and decorate our church for Christmas! Willing hands will be most welcome on Friday (the 22nd) from 10 am. If you have any suitable greenery in your garden, please bring it along!

Interesting stamps on your Christmas mail? Please think of putting them in Jacqui's box at the back of church, for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

A long way ahead but… Fr Peter Harnden, Rector of Harbledown, is arranging a pilgrimage to Walsingham for Resolution parishes in this diocese, from 19th to 23^rd^ August 2024. If you think you might be interested, please speak to Eleanor. This doesn't commit you at all, but he'd like to form a guestimate of the size of the party and make a preliminary reservation next month. Anyone who has previously spent the inside of a week at Walsingham (rather than a weekend or one-day pilgrimage, which is rewarding but can feel rather congested and rushed) will tell you how worthwhile the more “spread-out” kind of pilgrimage can be.

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald, will be holding a Surgery in the Vestry Hall on 19th December, 1.30 – 3.30.

Margaret Broadbent's funeral at Vinters Park will be on 20th December at 10.15 am. Few present members of the congregation knew her well, but she made a considerable contribution to the life of our parish in her time, and it would be good if St Michael's could be well represented at the service.

The Pilsdon Community at West Malling – An ecumenical Christian community providing a safe space where people can rebuild their lives – is seeking a new Guardian from March 2024. Enquiries to the Chair of Trustees:

World Religion Day on 22 January will be marked by an event on the theme of Peace at Sessions House, County Hall, 4.00-6.00 pm. Maidstone Choral Union will be performing and light refreshments will be available.

“The Song of the Angels” is the theme of talks and videos mounted by Canterbury Cathedral during Advent and available on You-Tube afterwards. For information visit the Cathedral website (

From Our Tower: Kent County Association - Maidstone, Kent, St Michael & All Angels

Sunday, 10 December 2023 in 40m (6–1–24 in C)

1296 Spliced Surprise Minor (2m)

2m:720 London, 576 Cambridge; 18 com.

  1. Janice Byrne
  2. Jacqueline Barlow
  3. Rona Joiner
  4. Mark Elvers
  5. Philip Jarvis
  6. Neil Jones (C)

Remembering Emma Cundiff, 9/12/2020.

The Living Well (the diocesan centre for Healing and Wholeness) is looking for a new Warden, possibly two. The job entails responsibilities in the areas of care, hospitality, and security of the property and can to some extent be shaped according to the applicants' skills. A 2-bedroom flat is provided. For further information, please see The Living Well blog (

Among the sick we pray for Paul's continued progress, for Fr Paul's forthcoming eye treatment, and for Margaret, Ellie, Pauline, Rue, Fr Leon, Antony, Fran, Ellie, Tom, Joseph, Valerie, Peter, Joan, Margaret, Lindsay, Glynis, Ethan, Sarah, Yvonne and Eileen.

Among the departed: Richard Seddon, Henry Watson, Jean Farnan

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?