Those at Huddersfield Parish Church are inviting others to join them next week to learn how to make the most of their Advent prayer and reflections.
The church will be holding a Great O’s service which will precede a session exploring the best way to pray to be led by Fr Oswin, monk and Prior at the Community of the Resurrection, Mirfield.
The events have been organised by the Revd Simon Crook, Assistant Curate at St Peter’s Church in Huddersfield, and will be held on Sunday the 29th November.
Revd Simon Crook says, “We have held Great O services in the past - the Great O's is an Advent service of preparation and celebration.
“The talk by Fr Oswin, helping us to deepen our prayer lives, is also a good thing to do at this time of year.
"It will provide prayerful reflection and practical pointers about praying; it will give stillness and reflection in this busy run up to Christmas.”
Fr Oswin, leading the session on ‘how to pray’, will bring experience and expertise to the discussion as a monk from the Community of the Resurrection.
Revd Simon says, “The monks are immersed in a daily round of prayer - it surrounds and affects everything they do.
“This together with Fr Oswin's knowledge about prayer and meditation means that he will bring together the theology and practice of prayer into one useful session.”
It is very appropriate for Fr Oswin’s talk to coincide with the Great O’s service due to the importance of these antiphons in monasteries across the Advent period.
Revd Simon explains, “Christmas is a time of tension between Christ born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago and Christ who is present with us now and Christ who will come again - Advent will hold all of these together and we prepare for and look forward to each of these happening.
“To understand the O antiphons, we look to monastery worship, which mostly uses ancient forms of liturgy.
“Here, the office of Evensong or Vespers contains the Magnificat - this is the same throughout the year, every single day; but before and after the Magnificat is sung what is called an antiphon and these change according to the season and the day.
“There is a tension between the constant of the Magnificat and the changing of the antiphon, a tension between the constancy of the form of worship and the changing seasons and these resonate with the tensions of Advent: we look to Christ born in the past, Christ present now and Christ to come, all at the same time.”
Revd Simon continues, “In the last seven days of Advent these antiphons sung with the Magnificat all begin with the word “O”, hence the name, ‘Great O’s’.
“The hymn ‘O Come! O Come! Emmanuel’ was written around these Great ‘O’ Antiphons.
The confirmation candidates of Huddersfield Parish Church will also be attending the service as a part of their preparation for confirmation.
Revd Simon mentions, “We have had a Great O's service for the last few years and would like this to continue every Advent.”
The Great O’s service will take place at 3pm on Sunday 29th November at Huddersfield Parish Church, and Fr Oswin’s talk will begin at 4pm also at the church.
The events are free and open to anyone wishing to attend, though Revd Simon asks that if any parishes are sending a lot of people it would be useful to let him know via email at: revscrook [at] gmail.com