CHURCHES across Ryedale are preparing for a different Advent and Christmas this year.

While some churches have been open for private prayer during the second lockdown, no public worship has been allowed because of the government guidelines.

However, most churches in Ryedale will reopen their doors once again for worship next Sunday, the second Sunday in Advent.

Reverend Peter Sheasby, superintendent minister of the Methodist Church in Ryedale, said: “For Christian denominations, the season of Advent is a time of expectant waiting and a preparation for the nativity of Christ at Christmas.

“Who would have thought this time last year that we’d be preparing for Christmas in such a different way in 2020.”

Despite not being able to sing when meeting together in person, many churches have been adapting to the new circumstances by also using technology to reach out to their congregations during the lockdown periods as well.

Father Tim Bywater, Parish Priest at St Leonard and St Mary RC Church in Malton, added: “During these difficult times, we look forward to the day when life can once again return to near-normality.

“But that expectant ‘hope’ is also bound in the message of Advent, not only in the anticipation of Christ’s birth, but how we can find joy, peace and love for our families and our neighbours as we journey towards Christmas.”

Church services on Sunday’s through Advent in the Malton and Norton area: St Michael’s Church in Malton, Parish Communion at 9.30am; St Peter’s Church, Norton, Parish Communion at 10am; The Methodist Church and Baptists at the Wesley Centre, Malton, 10am; Norton Trinity Methodist Church at 10am; Norton Bethel Methodist Church at 6pm; St Leonard and St Mary RC Church, Saturday Vigil Mass at 6.30pm, Sunday Mass at 9am (booking essential for both) and Elim Ryedale at the Wesley Centre, 4pm.

Further details can be found on church websites, and details of Christmas services will be published later in the month.