Wednesday, 25 May 2016


The United Society lent Course has now ended and we are considering how we can respond to the things that we have learnt and shared. The course was challenging in many ways. Click here to read the Low Sunday sermon by Rev Martin Wilson which draws together the strands, bringing us back to community, forgivness and living together in God's peace.

How do we respond?

The Five Marks of Mission are: 
Anglican Communion - In over 165  countries

1    To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
2    To teach, baptise and nurture new believers

3    To respond to human need by loving service

4    To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation

5    To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

Tuesday, 29 March 2016


easter iconAlmighty Father,
who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such knowledge of his presence with us,
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

May the risen Christ grant us the joys of eternal life.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.


Friday, 18 March 2016

The Road to the Cross and Beyond

Palm Sunday

The disciples of Our Lord thought that the moment had arrived when their Master would be welcomed and recognised for who he really was, the Chosen One of God. The entry into Jerusalem was full of excitement and anticipation.

We enter that atmosphere of enthusiasm and joy as we travel together from St Chad’s to St Alkmund’s in procession. Any bright clothes we wear will help make the point. Before what is to come, this is a day of rejoicing. Together we keep this feast celebrating his entry into his own City, the City which had always spoken of God’s presence on earth.

The First Three Weekdays

Once in the City, the stakes are raised on the life of Our Lord. Powerful and influential people plot against him and the events of his Passion are already in the air.

We enter into this approaching rejection, injustice and pain by travelling the Way of the Cross each evening, treading the steps between each resting place, then hearing the next episode of his agonised journey. We hear of his body being taken to the limit of human suffering and the wood weighing heavily on his bruised frame. We stand close to his humiliation and desolation. We are there as he falls.

After the remembering of impending sorrow each day, we move to the quiet Evening Office. Compline, the monastic office which was a major source for Evening Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer, is the great and ancient late-evening prayer of the Church. At its heart lie the psalms which both invoke and re-state the protection of God and the assurance of his unassailable peace. Despite the agonies we are to remember in the coming hours, we can return to our homes each night in that peace.

Maundy Thursday

Our Lord knew well that he was in the midst of people who intended him the worst. In the evening he brought together the Apostles. What was to be done must convey all his purpose, sum up who he was, and fully express what he was doing for them and for the world. The Last Supper was what he offered to them; the perfect symbol, giving them the very substance of his suffering, his sacrifice, and his love for them and for all humankind. We do what he commanded.

In the evening the altars are stripped as we recall the solemn hours ahead, and we watch in silence as we think of those dreadful events which took place in the night.

The sacrament is taken from the altar and kept for the following day.

Good Friday

Today is meant to be a challenge to mind, body and spirit. It begins with the Stations of the Cross at St Alkmund’s. The sparse words and our brief responses express perfectly the emptiness of the day. It is a day of desolation, destruction and death.

It is fitting that faith in Our Lord and the Cross that he carried should be displayed before everyone on this holy day. We join all Christian people in a Walk of Faith through the streets, showing our common loyalty to him and proclaiming together the Cross of our Salvation.

From noon the liturgy at St Chad’s keeps the traditional Three Hours before the Cross. The first hour consists of the Way of the Cross set to music. This is a time for meditation, allowing the voices to bring to us the movement, the incidents, the atmosphere of the narrow rough-paved street, the jeering crowds, the hard-faced soldiers, the broken-hearted women, the face of Christ.

Then follows the reading of the Suffering Servant passages from Isaiah, showing how all that is happening was in the mind and heart of God from of old. Good Friday is the great visible outpouring of his unfailing love for us from the beginning.

Next, we hear the momentous readings of the day. The reproaches are sung, in which we acknowledge our rejection of the good things offered to us by God and our deafness to his voice. In penitence, too, we offer our prayers for the needs of the world, a world we have failed to serve as we ought. Finally, after our many words, God’s own Word comes to us, simply, in the sacrament, reminding us, even at the time of his death, that he is with us always, until the end of time.

Easter Day

In the early days of the Christian Faith, all baptisms took place at Easter. This year Easter Day at St Chad’s begins with an adult baptism, set in a liturgy of great age. At the early morning service, after readings outlining the deliverance brought by God through history, the Easter Fire is lit and the Paschal Candle illuminated.

Thus the Resurrection of Our Lord is symbolised and then his Risen Presence known in the breaking of the bread. It is if we join the disciples as they arrive in Emmaus or meet the men by Tiberias, as breakfast is prepared for them by the Christ who has risen from the grave. Alleluia, he is Risen. he is risen indeed, Alleluia.

Further Eucharistic celebrations at both St Alkmund’s and St Chad’s continue the day’s rejoicing. Christ is victorious over death. Death itself has been destroyed. We are offered Life that knows no boundary but eternity.

To complete the great day, Choral Evensong adds its uniquely Anglican note. Evensong is a rich and beautiful office in itself: sung, it is one of our great glories. There can be no finer way of ending a wonderful Easter Day than by offering our praises with outstanding music and triumphal readings.

The Week’s Journey

The spiritual journey of Holy Week has been expressed deliberately in a wide range of forms of worship. We hope you will avail yourself of many of these and commit yourselves to our travelling together in rejoicing, in sorrow, then finally in triumph; through the gates of the City, to Calvary, to the empty tomb and to the breaking of all earth’s boundaries.

[The image is from a 13th century psalter, Oxford, England held in the British Library]