Sunday, November 24 was the Sunday next before Advent, that is the last Sunday in Trinity before beginning the new liturgical year in Advent. Altar and vestment colors are still green, but for the harvest season Rita, the head of altar guild, uses a special group of green and gold linens only used at this time of year, which marks it as a special time.

As we are a history-minded congregation Bishop Hartley began his sermon with a history lesson, noting that the prayers and scripture reading appointed for this day, which is only observed in traditional church such as ours, date from the Old Sarum Missal, the prayer book used in midieval times which became the basis for the English language Book of Common Prayer compiled in 1549 when Henry the Eighth separated the church of England from the Roman Catholic Church.

This day is known as “stir up” Sunay from the Collect prayer “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.” Bishop Hartley is fond of food traditions and there is one connected to this day as it was the tradition in English families to stir the Christmas pudding which was in preparation at this time, but Rita says this tradition has largely disappeared in recent times.

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