Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Year of Mercy




 
In March this year, Pope Francis announced ‘A Holy Year of Mercy’. The Holy Year, with the theme of mercy and forgiveness, is to take place from 8 December 2015 (The Celebration of the Immaculate Conception) to 20 November 2016 (The Feast of Christ the King).

 

The Holy Year will be marked by the opening of the Holy Door in Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the celebration of pilgrimages, special celebrations and events in Cathedrals and Churches throughout the whole world. At the heart of the year are the words of Jesus in the Beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in St Matthew’s Gospel. "Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Jesus teaches us that God is mercy and compassion, and calls us to share this rich treasury of grace in our Christian lives.

 

We will join with many Anglicans in celebrating this Holy Year. May this ecumenical initiative bear rich fruit in drawing God’s scattered children ever closer together.

 

In this season of Advent, we look to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, as an example of one who was open to God, and who committed herself to doing his will. Pope Francis writes of her,

 

It is Mary who will prepare us for the Year of Mercy.  I pray that the sweetness of [Mary's] countenance might watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God's tenderness.

 

Mary received God’s act of mercy that she did nothing to deserve.  Rather it came as a totally free gift at the very moment when she came to be.  Because Mary knows the free gift of God's mercy more than any other creature, she wants us to know it too. Through Mary, may we enter in more deeply to experience God's mercy, that we may be able to share it better with others.

 

 

May the Lord bless all our spiritual, and practical preparations for the coming great Festival of the Birth of our Saviour, the Incarnation of Christ. May we pause along the way, and know God’s mercy and Grace. He has given us his very self!

 

Pax et Bonum – Peace and all Good to you! 

 

Father David

 

 

A PRAYER FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY 

 

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!” 

 

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God. 

 

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind. 

 

We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

All Saints & Remembrancetide

I always find celebrating the Feasts and Commemorations of November to be both poignant and troubling. The first days bring both the euphoria of All Saints Day, and the commemoration of the Faithful Departed at All Souls tide. Remembrancetide adds so much significance to that mix, even before we approach the Feast of Christ the King, bringing the Church’s Year to its completion. Then we face Advent Sunday, with sombre warnings of time moving inexorably on. November is all about connections, our connection in faith to those who have gone before, and to those whose examples, and prayers, encourage us on.

The Hymn, O Valiant Hearts, is little sung now. Written by Sir John Arkwright, and immensely popular immediately after the Great War, it is rarely even found in Hymn Books nowadays, and has been the subject of much Clerical controversy, principally around verse 5, and the reference to those killed in warfare as having their own sacrifice like that of Christ’s on the Cross, the ‘lesser calvaries’.

O valiant hearts who to your glory came
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.

Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war
As who had heard God’s message from afar;
All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave,
To save mankind—yourselves you scorned to save.

Splendid you passed, the great surrender made;
Into the light that nevermore shall fade;
Deep your contentment in that blest abode,
Who wait the last clear trumpet call of God.

Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,
Rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill,
While in the frailty of our human way,
Christ, our Redeemer, passed the self same way.

Still stands His Cross from that dread hour to this,
Like some bright star above the dark abyss;
Still, through the veil, the Victor’s pitying eyes
Look down to bless our lesser Calvaries.

These were His servants, in His steps they trod,
Following through death the martyred Son of God:
Victor, He rose; victorious too shall rise
They who have drunk His cup of sacrifice.

O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead,
Whose cross has bought them and Whose staff has led,
In glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land
Commits her children to Thy gracious hand.

Indeed I was intrigued, when reading an article recently on the controversy this Hymn has caused over the years, to discover that one of the first to raise a concern was a predecessor as Rector of Elland, Canon Bernard Pawley, future Archdeacon of Canterbury. In a Letter to the Church Times of March 1946 from Elland Rectory, at a time when the horrors of Hiroshima and Belsen were undoubtedly still raw, he writes  ‘Is the Hymn, ‘O Valiant Hearts’, in comparing the sacrifice of the fallen with the sacrifice of Calvary, an edifying Christian document?’

Both Fr Pawley, as a former Army Chaplain and Prisoner of War, and John Arkwright were trying to make sense of slaughter and human evil on a previously unknown scale. Both looked for the Crucified Christ in the midst of destruction and heartache, while reaching quite different conclusions. In our own day, when evil and the human capacity to destroy have found ever new and heartbreaking means to operate, then perhaps our starting point is that we must continue to remember and pray, and to offer ourselves as a part of God’s desire to build a better world.


Sunday, 30 August 2015

Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

A Call to Prayer for September 1st, a Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Pope Francis has established an annual day of global prayer “for the Care of Creation” to boost support for the environment. This first day of prayer coincides with the build-up to a global conference to roll back the peril of climate change. “I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’ which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on 1st September,” the Pope said in a letter released by the Vatican. Francis said he had been inspired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, who have been praying for the environment on that date since the late 1980s.

“The celebration of this day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters,” the Pope said.
“We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective.” Many Anglicans will wish to join with the Holy Father and the Patriarch in prayer on this day.

The prayer day “will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation” and reflect upon “the adoption of appropriate lifestyles,” Pope Francis said. He has become a leading defender of the environment, particularly in the fight against climate change, publishing an environmental encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’ earlier this year, which denounced exploitation of the poor and waste of the planet’s resources, and he is due to address the UN Special Summit on Sustainable Development in September.

Hear are some prayers for us to use at this time:

O Lord, grant us the grace to respect and care for Your creation.
Lord, hear our prayer.

O Lord, bless all of your creatures as a sign of Your wondrous love.
Lord, hear our prayer.

O Lord, help us to end the suffering of the poor and bring healing to all of your creation.
Lord, hear our prayer.

O Lord, help us to use our technological inventiveness to undo the damage we have done to Your
creation and to sustain Your gift of nature.
Lord, hear our prayer.

May God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the source of all goodness and growth,
pour his blessing upon all things created,
and upon you his children,
that you may use his gifts to his glory and the welfare of all peoples;
and God’s blessing be with us all. Amen.


Friday, 10 July 2015

St Mary's Flower & Hanging Baskets Festival

Pictures from Today, with many thanks for the hard work and dedication that has gone into preparing and staffing the Festival Weekend










Monday, 29 June 2015

Vocations to the Consecrated Life

A story is told of the great medieval theologian and Dominican Friar, St Thomas Aquinas. As a little boy, he went and knocked on the door of his local Monastery. A bearded brother answered his knock, and looking down at him asked, ‘What do you want my lad?’, to which the young Thomas answered, ‘I want God.’

July 5th, the 5th Sunday after Trinity, is a day of Prayer for Vocations to the Religious, or Consecrated Life. Pray that those whom the Lord is calling to serve him as Monks and Nuns, Friars, Brothers and Sisters, will have the grace to hear, and the courage to respond to that life changing, and life completing, call. While the majority of those living out the Consecrated Life are Roman Catholic or Orthodox, Religious are now found in many Christian traditions. Indeed, there are many Orders for both men and women in the Church of England, and throughout the Anglican Communion. Living out Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, or, within the Benedictine Tradition, of Stability and Conversion of Life, Religious are at the heart of what it means to be a praying, serving Church. While their life is, of necessity, largely hidden, their prayer and service is a key foundation for all of us.

As well as those called to such a radical way of Christian living, increasing numbers of folk are interested in being associated with our Religious Communities, and are known as Oblates or Tertiaries, Companions or Associates. I made Life Vows as a member of the Franciscan Third Order, or Tertiaries, nearly 20 years ago. Living out my Christian life in the spirit of St Francis of Assisi, the lover of the crucified Christ, continues to be an inspiration and guide. The Franciscan Third Order was founded by St Francis himself, as a Way of Gospel Living for those who, while following the ordinary professions of life, are nonetheless called to live under a definite discipline and vows.

So, please pray for Vocations, remembering our local Communities at Mirfield and Horbury, together with the Franciscans. Religious are not perfect Christians, there are as human as everyone else, but they are seeking to respond to God’s call in their lives in a particular way. And know that God, too, has a call and a purpose for you. Using Cardinal Newman’s prayer may be a helpful way to perceive it:

God created me to do Him some definite service.
He has committed some work to me,
which He has not committed to another.
I have a mission.
I am a link in a chain,
a bond of connection between persons.

Therefore I will trust Him.
Whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
if I am perplexed, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in joy, my joy may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him.
He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about.
Amen.



Sermon from Fr Miguel's First Mass: Sunday 28th June 2015

Homily by Fr Guillermo Cavieses, Asst Curate, St Giles, Pontefract, given at All Saints Church, Elland

May I speak in the name of the living God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is a real honour and privilege to be here today, once more. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Fr Guillermo and I am the assistant curate of St Giles, Pontefract. And if you are wondering about my accent: I am from Pontefract, that is my story and I am sticking to it!

Today, is a very special day, both for you Fr Miguel and for all of us who have had the privilege to walk with you (at least part of the journey) that has taken you all the way from Spain – by way of the Jesuit Order and the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield – to this altar, here in this magnificent church of All Saints, Elland. It is a day filled with much joy, as we celebrate with our new priest as he presides at the Eucharist for the very first time. Yesterday, at your ordination, Bishop Tony, along with your fellow priests laid hands on you in an ancient ceremony. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, in the laying on of hands, you received the power to absolve, consecrate and bless. You my friend, have been changed forever. You have been set aside by the Church, for the Church – consecrated to live for the People of God and to be a priest – not just for as long as you feel like it – but forever... You are: a servant of the servants of God – and remember, dear Fr, that the diaconate remains at the heart of priestly ministry.

This sermon poses is one of those opportunities when an old, wise and experienced priest is supposed to give advice to his younger collogue...which makes me wonder why on earth you chose me!(I guess the first five people you asked couldn't make it). So be prepared to be dazzled by my vast experience of a full year in the priesthood! Now, because I have not had much more experience than you, I will simply have to rely on the experience of those ancient and wise masters of the faith that have gone before us both, and so therefore, let me share with you what Fr David once told me “there is no problem that cannot be solved with a stiff gin and another mass!”. (This may or may not be a real quote). On the other hand, St Gregory the Great had this advice for those embarking on a life of priestly service: Whosoever, then, desires to obtain priesthood, not for the pomp of elation but for doing good, let him first measure his own strength with the burden he is to undergo…and also approach it with fear, even if he thinks himself sufficient for it.  And of course none of us is sufficient for it in our own strength but only through the help of God who has called us to share in His apostolic mission and given us this wonderful gift of priesthood. And it is a gift because despite the sheer hard work, priesthood brings great joy – the wonder of presiding at the Eucharist can never be equalled. Michael Ramsey once Archbishop of Canterbury, said that: As priests we are called to be near to Jesus, with Jesus and in Jesus. To adore Him. To be still in the Presence of the Lord.

In the Sacraments – A priest is ordained to be mediator ad Deum – mediator before God. The priest mediates God’s forgiveness, his love and his presence in all aspects of our lives. Jesus said in handing on this reconciling power to His apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit – whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sin you retain, they are retained. You are called to consecrate…to make holy. At the Holy Eucharist, the priest is in persona Christi – through the action of the Holy Spirit the priest has the power to make the ordinary holy so that Christ can truly be among us. It is one of the reasons why your hands where anointed with Chrism at ordination. In taking, consecrating, breaking and distributing the body of Christ, the priest acts in Christ’s name and not only in the name of the gathered congregation but of the Church universal, on earth and in heaven.

Nevertheless, as a servant of the servants of God, your are also ordained to the day-to-day experience of the church – you know: The joy of late night PCC meetings, the interminable discussions on what colour of curtains to buy, who will or will not be serving coffee two Sundays from next, and oh, don't forget the diocesan paperwork in triplicate, as well as printing and copying parish magazines, orders of service and coordinating endlessly changing rotas, oh what a joy! Not to mention leaking roofs, church reconstructions, faculty applications etc etc– but you see, dear Fr – and here is the tough part –  as a priest you are not only expected to act in persona Christi at the altar, but also amid all the mundane stuff of the daily life of your Parish, and the world. Your task is to bring holiness to all these aspects of ministry, to make them whole! Because at the end of the day, when everyone is tired and have lost the will to go on, or when disaster strikes and people loose hope, it is your job, as their priest, to remind them of the kingdom of God, that mysterious and wonderful, loving presence, that never leaves our side, which is also the reason we do all these things in his Holy Church, from pouring coffees and teas, to the sacrament of the altar; and all of it is yours to care for, Fr, you are to be a living reminder of God's love for his people.

But there is also another reason why God has called Fr Miguel to the holy order the Priesthood: The Church is in dire straights. I believe we would have to look pretty far back in our history to find a time in which the Church of God was in so much trouble. Because, when the ancient church was being persecuted (as it still is in some parts of the world) those Christians knew that they where holding on to the truth of God; and the truth tends to make people afraid, specially powerful people. So, if they scared the rulers of the Roman Empire, that meant that their message, however dangerous and rebellious, was permeated with the powerful truth of God. However, today, we face a threat that in some ways, is much more severe than oppression and persecution, and that is irrelevance and indifference

In order to illustrate this point allow me tell you a story: At the turn of the millennium, the devil was holding a council. All his minions where gathered around a table, and he challenged them by saying that they needed a new marketing strategy, a new and more aggressive plan of action for the new millennium. (Ever noticed how the devil speaks in modern banking and business language? Just saying…). One of his captains says “why don’t we just keep telling people you don't exist? You know, the best trick the devil ever pulled and so forth”. The devil looks at the captain and says “no that doesn't work any more, Hollywood ruined that with all those films and TV shows about exorcisms and possessions and stuff”. After a moment of silence, during which all the demons where scratching their heads, one of them says “I know! For this new era, let's convince everybody that the devil may or may not exists, and that the same goes for God himself, hence, in the end it really doesn't make that much difference one way or another, because it's all out for grabs, according to each individual and whatever you fancy, that way it doesn't really matter what anyone truly believes!”

Like I said before, I believe this story is a good illustration of the times we live in. However, the real issue (and what has actually landed us in all this trouble) is not just the challenge imposed upon the Church by our modern society, but rather how the Church's own leadership has chosen to react to this. Many of whom have chosen to tackle this issue by assimilating the spirit of our aggressively over commercialised times, and thus are attempting to bring business language and marketing strategies into the Church, with all the fancy graphics and 3D pie charts that come along with it. You can hear evidence of this in all this recent talk of leadership development, recruitments tools, talent management, and all that other nonsense. We are being told to think as if the Church was some kind of corporation, suffering from a low profit problem, in which you, sitting in the pews, are stockholders and we, the clergy, are the executives. These days, we even have forced mergers brought upon us for reasons that nobody understands, expect maybe some executive in York with delusions of grandeur, or some other high ranking CEO sitting somewhere down south. We seem to have forgotten that the mission of the Church is not, nor has it ever been, to be popular and “successful” in the eyes of the world,  but to be faithful before the eyes of God, no matter what.

And so, it is in times such as these that God calls people like Fr Miguel to the priesthood. You my friend, have been called to be a defender of the faith, a caretaker of our ancient heritage, who is not to be afraid of swimming against the current, nor hesitant to pay the price of speaking the truth, which as I mentioned before, tends to make a lot of high and mighty people feel uncomfortable and even threatened. To be honest though, if you look at the situation from the outside, the odds are definitely stacked against those of us who do not wish to join in the fancy market strategy talk, produce progress reports with multi coloured charts, and who do not go along with all kinds of modernist innovations, but who rather wish to maintain the ethos of the ancient Church alive, today, in our beloved Anglican Church, both here in England and worldwide. Thus, it may seem unwise to ally yourself with our cause. However, I believe that it was Fr Thomas of the Community of The Resurrection, who at Fr Miguel's welcoming mass, last year, drew a parallel with that other brave Spaniard, Don Quijote de la Mancha. Of course, looking at Fr David, Fr Philip and Fr Miguel, I am not sure who is Don Quijote and who is his faithful sidekick Sancho Panza. Nevertheless, to be perfectly honest, I think we all have to be a little quixotic in this day and age, we have to be hopeless romantics in order to keep going and dare to dream of a brighter future for our Church. And you Miguel, you are precisely that kind of person. That is why I am so honoured and proud to call you not only my friend but a brother Priest in Christ.

And so, as you preside at the altar for the first time, today – and every time you do so from now on, remember that God, creator of the Universe, Source and Lord of all life, the One who weaved you together in your mother's womb, chose you to be His priest, to bear fruit – fruit that will last. He chose you to go where He leads, to be for His people and to celebrate His Presence. He has consecrated you to a life of dedication and holiness. Remember this at the altar, but also during those tedious long hours in the middle of the night when you are rushing to finish a sermon or writing a rota; because He (point at crucifix) has called you – exactly because of who you are – laid back Spaniard, with all your sense of humour, your intelligence, your vast knowledge of Theology, and your sensitivity – He called you, Miguel, to be His priest forever...
Amen.


Bishop Tony, meet the Childrens Liturgy's version of Bishop Tony


After the Ordination


Fr David, Fr Miguel, Bishop Tony, (Bishop of Wakefield), Bishop Glyn, (Bishop of Beverley)


 Best Ordination Cake Ever! Thank you, Susan Booth!



Fr Guillermo with Fr Miguel 


After the Missa Prima, Fr Philip, Fr Miguel, Fr David. Heat Exhaustion. 


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Father Miguel's Ordination and First Mass

Click here for details, and a copy of the Ember Prayer Card

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Priests!

On Saturday 27th June at 1.30pm, Fr Miguel will be Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Tony in All Saints, and, the following day, Sunday 28th June, he will celebrate his First Mass, presiding at the Eucharist for the first time, at 10am in All Saints. We look forward to a great weekend of celebration, a significant time for all of us in both of our Parishes.

It is good for all of us to ponder some words that Bishop Tony will read at the Ordination, a charge not just to Fr Miguel, and to all priests present, but words for all of us, a summary of the priestly ministry that he will offer for the people of God, on behalf of Christ, our Great High Priest:


Priests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent.  With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God’s new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world’s temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ's name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.

With all God’s people, they are to tell the story of God’s love.  They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord's table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God’s name.  They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need.  They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God’s people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.



If I was to pick two words to describe my own experience of being ordained all those years ago, I would have to say I was both humbled and affirmed. Despite my own inadequacies, I was called forth to serve as a minister of God and his Church. Despite my unworthiness, I was judged to be worthy and chosen as a candidate for ordination, ordained and commissioned to proclaim the Gospel and to serve at the altar during the Sacred Liturgy. It was truly humbling to be called to such a ministry, as it was also humbling to receive so much support and encouragement from all those who prayed with and for me, and who continue to do so.

As a successor of the Apostles, Bishop Tony will lay hands on Fr Miguel, ordaining him to assist the people of God in that same apostolic mission and calling. Please pray for Fr Miguel, and for Yaneth, Samuel and Xavier, as he approaches this great time. This prayer will be used in the Liturgy on June 27th:

Bishop: Let us pray for Miguel, and for the ministry of the whole people of God.

God our Father, Lord of all the world,
through your Son you have called us
into the fellowship of your universal Church:
hear our prayer for your faithful people that in their vocation and ministry
each may be an instrument of your love, and give to your servant Miguel
now to be ordained the needful gifts of grace;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Fr Miguel as Deacon at the Easter Vigil, as Fr David lights the Paschal Candle



The Most Holy Trinity

The Most Holy Trinity: Sunday 31st May 2015
Masses 8am & 11am, St Mary's
9.30am, All Saints

THE PRAISES OF THE DIVINE TRINITY
(The Praises Before the Office) 
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
who was, and who is, and who is coming:
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honour and power.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Praise our God, all you his servants,
and you who fear him, the small and the great.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Praise him in his glory, heaven and earth,
and every creature that is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are on the seas,
and all that are in them.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

As it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 

St Francis of Assisi , The Praises before the Divine Office

St Mary's & All Saints Elland's photo.



(The Praises Before the Office) 
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
who was, and who is, and who is coming:
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honour and power.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Praise our God, all you his servants,
and you who fear him, the small and the great.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Praise him in his glory, heaven and earth,
and every creature that is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are on the seas,
and all that are in them.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever. 
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.

(The Praises Before the Office)
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
who was, and who is, and who is coming:
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive glory and honour and power.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and blessing.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Let us bless the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Praise our God, all you his servants,
and you who fear him, the small and the great.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Praise him in his glory, heaven and earth,
and every creature that is in heaven and on the earth
and under the earth and such as are on the seas,
and all that are in them.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
We praise and glorify you for ever.
As it was in the beginning, is now,
and shall be for ever. Amen.



Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise

A little late posting this month, but here is my (now slightly out of date) Pastoral Letter for May:

Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise!

Dear Friends in Christ,

Christian Aid Week falls this month, from 10th-17th May. Christian Aid Week is the single biggest act of Christian witness in these Islands. This year Christian Aid Week confronts one of the greatest injustices of all time: discrimination against women, especially in some of the poorest countries in our world. The good news is that individuals, communities and churches can make a real difference this Christian Aid Week. Last year, a magnificent 20,000 churches across the country helped raise £12m (€14.3m) for Christian Aid Week. Thanks to your efforts, many more people can look forward to a future free from poverty. As Archbishop Justin writes, ‘Jesus calls us to love our neighbour, and challenges any limit we put on who that neighbour might be.’

Easter is a 50 day long Alleluia of praise. In our Sunday Liturgies, as we think and pray about what it means to be an Easter People, we concentrate this month on the Resurrection appearances of Jesus, leading up to our celebration of the Ascension on the 40th day, Thursday 14th May. Jesus leaves the apostles with a promise of his abiding presence, made real through the Holy Spirit. Constantly he tells them, as he tells us, ‘Do not be afraid’.

Looking forward, we begin this month with the All Saints Art Exhibition, and a number of us will then  make the Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.  We are always aware of taking the prayers and hopes of our Parishes with us to Walsingham, to offer them in ‘a place where prayer has been valid’; please do pass on any prayer requests if you would like them to be remembered there in the Holy House.  May is often called Mary’s month, as the Church rejoices to join with her and the Apostles, praying to her Risen Son, and reflecting the picture of the early Church gathered together in Acts 1.14, in praying for the Gift of the Holy Spirit, a prayer that will come to its fruition on the Feast of Pentecost. How wonderful, and awe-inspiring, to think that God wants you and I to share in that offering of prayer with Mary and the Saints!

I write these words as I am preparing for Parishes’ Annual Meetings. My thanks to all who have held, and to all who will hold office, as Wardens and Church Council members. Thank you also to all who contributed to our Easter worship, and all who helped to clean and prepare our Church buildings.

May the Risen Christ grant us his peace. Alleluia!

Pax et Bonum (Peace and All Good to you)

Father David


Friday, 17 April 2015

All Saints Art Festival

The All Saints Art Exhibition and Sale: Friday 1st May to Monday 4th May 2015

Full Details Click Here

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Lent, Holy Week and Easter 2015

This Years Lent Leaflet is available here

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

From the Crib to the Cross

February moves us on from the Crib, and puts our feet firmly on the Road to the Cross, as Lent begins.

On February 1st, we keep the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, the encounter between the Christ-Child, Mary and Joseph, with aged Simeon and Anna, as his parents bring him to Jerusalem to offer their thanksgiving. Candlemass Day marks a last fond look towards the Crib, as we turn to the Cross. At 6pm in All Saints we will celebrate that turning with an Evening Service of Light, and the blessing and procession with candles.

Then, as the days lengthen, we look for the signs of early spring, of snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils.  Then it will only be a few weeks until Easter. Lent prepares us to keep Holy Week and Easter, and begins on Ash Wednesday, 18th February. In the early Church people who wanted to be baptised were expected to undertake an intense period of Christian training at this time, including a programme of regular prayer and fasting, to prepare them for an Easter baptism. Eventually all devout Christians were able to share in the blessings of this time of prayer, almsgiving and fasting every year.

The potential origins for this Spring Fast are fascinating, and reach back to a time before the coming of Christianity. With winter food stores running low, perhaps it would have been necessary to ration the amount people ate in order to avoid starvation. In due course, the day before the Lent Fast began, all surplus luxury foods such as meat, eggs and dairy products had to be consumed so that they wouldn’t be wasted. This festival was known in Britain as “Shrove Tuesday” – named after the private confessions that took place before Lent began. Most of us would know it as Pancake Day, the last day to indulge yourself in rich food. All over the Catholic world there were carnivals celebrating “Mardi Gras”, meaning Fat Tuesday.

On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, we receive the sign of the Cross, in Ash, on our forehead, as a sign of repentance. The ash reminds us of our mortality, and invites us to turn again to the Lord. Given the sign of the Cross at our baptism, we are re-signed for the journey. Our Lenten worship is less cluttered, we refrain from Alleluia and Gloria, so we can mark their joyful restoration to the Liturgy at Easter. The liturgical colour is purple, the colour of Christ’s pain and our repentance, and a sign of preparation and getting ready. There is an emphasis on prayer, self examination, self denial and almsgiving.

For our own day, it is good to both give up something, and to take on more. Don’t just give up grumbling about that particular person; how can you get to know them, and love them, better? The Lenten disciplines have so much to give us, if only we are willing to allow them.


May God bless us in the keeping of a Holy Lent.