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Snippets from worship on Sunday 13th September

Today we marked Holy Cross day.

The cross on which our Lord was crucified has become the universal symbol for Christianity, replacing the fish symbol of the early Church. After the end of the persecution era, early in the fourth century, pilgrims began to travel to Jerusalem to visit and pray at the places associated with the life of Jesus. Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine the Great, was a Christian and, whilst overseeing excavations in the city, is said to have uncovered a cross, which many believed to be the Cross of Christ.  A basilica was built on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and dedicated on the 14th September 335.  Regardless of whether you yourself believe that Christ’s cross was discovered that day, the 14th of September has remained a day for the church to remember that through pain came glory, through death comes resurrection – and maybe for these times more than ever – that through a selfless act many can find hope.

Below are the intercessions from the service

Christ of the Cross, be with those this day who suffer, those who suffer in body, in mind or in spirit, those whose suffering is long, those whose suffering is new. May they know your comfort and your peace. Christ of the Cross, be with those in authority who make decisions which affect the lives of others, for good and bad. Grant them the grace to seek the common good, regardless of what the loudest or nearest voices may be shouting. Christ of the Cross, as you were there in the creation of the world, from the forests of wood on the mountainside, to the forest of kelp in the depth of the sea, creation is blessed by you. Help us to be more aware of what we can and should do to protect the world, the land and sea, air and all creatures. Help us in the choices we make in our food, our leisure, and our daily lives. As Forrest burn, drought threatens, and sea levels rise; make us willing to sacrifice the luxuries we have come to take for granted today, so that the world may heal and be fruitful for the generations to come. Christ of the Cross, be with the Church your body in the world, a body which while it celebrates the glory of your resurrection, also bears the wounds of the cross. Help us to heal, to forgive and be forgiven, and to be vehicles of your healing love. Be with all Kevin our bishop, all those who lead in Christians communities, and Christians everywhere. May humility, faithfulness and service may mark all our words and actions as we pray together the prayer you taught us: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Do not bring us to the time of trial but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Snippets from worship on Sunday 6th September

Our Psalm for Sunday was Psalm 149

Psalm 149
Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands,
to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters and their nobles with chains of iron,
to execute on them the judgment decreed. This is glory for all his faithful ones. Praise the LORD!

Sermon Snippet

So join with the psalmist and sing a new song, be it an old one discovered for the first time, an old one you have rediscovered, or one that it new, or at least new to you.  Sing a new song, just as MIriam and Deborah did, as David and Solomon did, as Mary and Simeon did, or as the angles crying holy, holy, holy in heaven constantly do.  The same words, but each and every time a new song, for each time you sing be it a song old in years or newborn, it is being sung anew.  No matter what you sing God will never have heard it how you are singing it this time and God will take pleasure in your song, even if you are tone deaf and God hears not the words be they old or new or the notes be they sharp or flat.  What God hears is that new song in your heart, the song you are singing today, for the first and the last time.

Snippets from worship on Sunday 30th August

Moses encounter with God in the Burning Bush was our theme for Sunday 30th August

Our opening prayer

God of wonder, creator of all things. You are the God of the whole universe for the greatest to the smallest, amidst all that is you also know us by name, by the number of hairs on our heads. You call us into Your presence and to reveal it with those around us. Wherever we gather, wherever we gather, You are present making every space a sacred space. May our worship increase our awareness of Your beating heart wherever we are worshiping this morning, at the centre of our daily lives, surprising us with Your wonder, calming our fears and restoring our souls, remind us once more that we are beloved of You. Amen.

Old Testament Reading – Exodus 3:1-15

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock deep into the wilderness, Moses came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  The messenger of YHWH appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a thornbush. Moses saw—“The bush is ablaze with fire, and yet it isn’t consumed!”  Moses said, “Let me go over and look at this remarkable sight—and see why the bush doesn’t burn up!”  When YHWH saw Moses coming to look more closely, God called out to him from the midst of the bush: “Moses! Moses!” Moses answered, “I am here.”  God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground!  “I am the God of your ancestors,” the voice continued, “the God of Sarah and Abraham, the God of Rebecca and Isaac, the God of Leah and Rachel and Jacob!” Moses hid his face, afraid to look at the Holy One.  Then YHWH said, “I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt; I have heard their cries under those who oppress them; I have felt their sufferings.  Now I have come down to rescue them from the hand of Egypt, out of their place of suffering, and bring them to a place that is wide and fertile, a land flowing with milk and honey—the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.  The cry of the children of Israel has reached me, and I have watched how the Egyptians are oppressing them.  Now, go! I will send you to Pharaoh, to bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  God answered, “I will be with you, and this is the sign by which you will know that it is I who have sent you: after you bring my people out of Egypt, you will all worship at this very mountain.”  “But,” Moses said, “when I go to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ if they ask me, ‘What is this god’s name?’ what am I to tell them?”  God replied, “I AM AS I AM. This is what you will tell the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”  God spoke further to Moses: “Tell the children of Israel: ‘YHWH, the ‘I AM,’ the God of your ancestors, the God of Sarah and Abraham, of Rebecca and Isaac, of Leah and Rachel and Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my Name forever; this is the name you are to remember for all generations.

Sermon Snippet

… Moses looks at the burning bush and he sees that it’s a miracle because he has looked closely, his eyes are truly open, his heart is open, his life is open. He is ready to receive whatever wonder God puts in front of him. We, too, stand in front of the burning bush. It still burns. It’s up to us to practice opening our lives, on every level, so that we can see all of the miracles which are right in front of us. So often, we go through our days spiritually asleep: our eyes may be open, but we’re so caught up in our anxieties or frustrations or distractions, in our belief in what we already know what is going to happen, we have plans and our life experiences tell us what to expect, we go about, as I saw someone on holiday doing, paddling with wellington boots on and in doing that we don’t get the full experience of God’s presence right in front of us. We don’t feel the warmth on the water lapping our skin, the sand between our toes, the receding wave pulling the sand from beneath our feet, the sun drying our skin and the salt that is left behind …

Take of your shoes for you are walking on Holy Ground.

Snippets from worship on Sunday 23rd August

The on Sunday the 23rd was the last Sunday service to be held in the Rectory, from next Sunday 30th August, the service will be live-streamed from the Church once more.

This Sunday we had the reading of Moses as a babe being bundled up, put in a basket and placed on the Nile to be rescued by Pharaohs’ daughter. In this story so familiar from our childhood, we were urged to rediscover it for our adulthood. This story of hope, is our story, there are times when we fell adrift from God, or think God had abandoned us, yet often only after awhile with hindsight, we discover God had a plan, God plucked us out of the river and showered us with love, sometimes from the most unsurprising directions.

Worship on 2nd August

Our service for Sunday 2nd August was live via zoom with Jesus’ feeding of the 5,000 households with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread and psalm 145 verses 8-9, 14-21.

YHWH, you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
YHWH, you are good to all and compassionate toward all your creatures.  
You lift up those who are falling and raise up those who are oppressed.
the eyes of all look to you in hope, and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
YHWH, you are just in all your ways and loving toward all that you have created.
You are near to all who call upon you, all who call upon you in truth.
You fulfil the desires of those who revere you; you hear their cry and save them.
You watch over all who love you, YHWH, but you’ll destroy all who are corrupt.
My mouth will speak your praise, YHWH, and may all creation bless your holy Name forever and ever!

Worship on 26th July

Despite some technical problems we gathered virtually to mark the feast of St James including singing this wonderful version of I Waited Patiently for God and listening to David sing Lead me Lord, which you can hear below.

Lead Me Lord sung by David Simmons
This is a slightly different version to what we will be singing on Sunday but rather wonderful.

Re-Opening of All Saints

We are now moving towards re-opening All Saints, we do not yet have a date, there is a process we need to go through until permission will be granted for us to hold services in the Church again. It is unlikely that everything will be in place and the permission will have been received before September. The vestry will be embarking on a risk assessment after which a plan will be drawn up and implemented. Below will give you some kind of idea as to what might encountered if you attended a service, it will not be as it was before. This is also in the centre of the magazine and available as a pdf below.

The Sunday service will continue to be offered on live via zoom until at least the end of August. After that date there will continue to be an on-line option but it may take a different form.

Further information will be made available once it is known.

Statement from the College of Bishops

Statement from the Bishops with regard to Emerging from Lockdown Phase 3

“Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13.34).
“Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all Your strength.’ The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40)

For the first time in its history, the Church has been prevented from gathering face to face for worship. We have continued to worship from home, online and on paper, but we have not come together as congregations now for four months, one third of a year. We have accepted this loss for the sake of love, because, as Christians, love of God and love of neighbour can never be separated. The danger of passing infection to others, rather than fear of being infected, is what has kept us away from church. But it has been a real deprivation, not just as individual Christians who miss going to church, but as the whole Church, called to be the gathered people of God. But now, in Phase 3, it will become possible for us to gather together again for worship.

The careful conditions for gatherings in church described here will make the experience of worship quite different from anything we have known: the Eucharist in one kind only; the wearing of face coverings; the distance between worshippers; the absence of singing. But there are two reasons why being able to worship at all, even with these conditions, is something we can give thanks for. Both are about who we are as the Church of Jesus

First, because, just as we have done by not coming together for worship but worshipping from home, so now, by gathering again but under the limitations and restrictions described here for Phase 3, we can continue to express Christ’s care for one another and for others around us. Our gathering for worship can be the means of loving not only God but loving our neighbour, of following Jesus’ new commandment, “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13.34).

Second, because we can gather again for worship we will be able again to fulfil more completely the Church’s basic calling to be the visible Body of Christ in the world. Jesus taught that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18.20), and the embodied nature of this calling is what causes Christians to gather in worship, especially on Sunday, the Lord’s Day. And when we gather, as Christians have gathered since the earliest times, to celebrate the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the embodied sacrament of our salvation, we seek to fulfil Jesus’s other commandment to “do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11.24). As Dr John Davies, former Convener of the Liturgy Committee, writes:
The life of the Church, as the worshipping community of all the baptised, has the Eucharist at its heart. The people of God meet Christ, above all, in the Eucharist. Through the liturgy of the Eucharist we truly become the body of Christ, are fed by him in Word and Sacrament, and are sent out into the world to proclaim the good news of his kingdom.

We have learnt much during this period of physical separation, we have learnt how much we desire to gather at the altar and share in the sacrament of love. We have also learned that there are many new ways of gathering people together, of enabling greater participation from those unable to come to the church and ways of speaking out to our communities, calling them into faith. We will continue to learn and develop these things, yet at heart we are the community gathered around the table and we wait patiently for the day when we can do this free from restrictions.

The possibility of returning to worship and to share in the Eucharist together is good news for us, for the whole Church, and for the world we seek to serve in Christ’s name.

Statement issued by the College of Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church