Snippets from the service for Sunday 4th October – Harvest

Some members of the congregation joined the Rector in church to celebrate Harvest and while they couldn’t sing those who also joined virtually did get to sing the hymn below.

Giving thanks is always a good thing to do but perhaps even more so in these times.

Opening Prayer

God of harvest time, we gather together and apart today as Your people and Your church; to celebrate and to give thanks for the harvest we have been fortunate enough to share in. A harvest we have benefited from throughout our lives but especially throughout these last six months. Enable us to be fruitful in our worship, just as the earth is fruitful in her gifts, as we join with the whole of creation in giving thanks with joyful hearts. Amen.

At the end of the service we blessed those pets gathered via zoom, those who were camera shy and all pets everywhere as we prayed for all creatures great and small.

Life-giving God we thank you for all animals, the large and the small, the furry, the scaly and the feathery; the ones that walk, the ones that swim, the ones that fly, the ones that slither.  Teach us to love all your creation and revere its sacredness, give us the gifts of compassion not just towards humankind but towards all creatures great and small.  We thank you for those animals who work, and pray that they may have plenty of rest and fun also. We pray for all farm animals, that their lives maybe free from distress, and for all the creatures we are not too keen on, the spider, the midge, the cockroach. 

And now we ask you to bless all pets.  We give thanks for those pets who have provided valuable and immeasurable companionship through the lonely days of the virus time.  We pray for your blessing upon them, by the power of your love, enable these beloved creatures to live according to your plan.  May all pets be safe, happy and healthy, we thank you for the pleasures, the companionship, the friendship and the love they give us.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hymn for those on Zoom

St Michael and All Angels

Uncharted areas of maps used to have the phrase ‘Here be dragons’ across the blankness accompanied sometimes by a representation of a dragon.  They were a symbol for many of the unknown and fear was associated with places which nothing if anything was know about. Undiscovered places, places of mystery or dread, areas which no one quite knew any travel into would be safe or racked with danger. 

In today’s uncertain days we can get a new understanding of such associations once more. Things we thought of as certain, took for granted, expected always to be the case are now in question, not just for the few weeks we thought of in March, but for the foreseeable future, even maybe forever. The furture is more unknown than it maybe has ever been in our lifetime’s. People fear the academic and employment future, what health and social context they will have to continue to live their lives in, and the sheer uncertainty of what even tomorrow might hold with the change in cases of CoVid-19 and how new restrictions might impact on the things we like, or would want to do.

Charles Spurgeon wrote:-

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow – only today of its strength.

We need not be anxious for the dragons are conquered, the angels are there to protect us for tomorrow and remind us that we have strength enough for today. Just simply knowing that can indeed help us through these, and any, days.

So today on the feast of St Michael and All Angels we pray that the angels will forever protect us, that they will come to our aid, and that in our deepest darkest hours they will carry the Christ Light to lighten our way when our arms are heavy and we are weary.

My thanks to the Diocesan Digital Mission Petko for the fabulous picture or our east (and only stained glass) window. It may not be St Michael, but they are most certainly angels.

Re-Opening of All Saints

All Saints has resumed public worship for the time being we are asking you to pre-book to ensure we can get those who wish to attend in safely. If you wish to attend the service on Sunday 9th November at 10.30am then please contact the Rector before noon on Thursday 5th November.

The Church is currently in a tier 3 area, please do not come to church if your home is another council area which is in a different tier.

On the 22nd of September the First Minister strongly advised against car sharing. 

Also please remember that while it is nice to see people you haven’t seen for a while it is now a legal requirement that people do not congregate in groups of more than 6 adults from more than 2 households. (The rule is slightly different for children if present.) That law applies to all private gardens including the Church garden.

The vestry have done all they can to ensure the church is as safe as possible, however we would still urge you to consider your own risk factors. There is a helpful risk assessment tool below as an image of a pdf.  Just because the church is open once more, does not mean you need to, or must come to church if you do not yet feel able to do so.  The 10.30am will continue to be live-streamed via zoom and the Tuesday morning Eucharist at 10.30am will continue to be live-streamed also.

Please do not request a space, or indeed come to church if you, or anyone else in your household, or social bubble is:-

  • awaiting a CoVid-19 test or test result
  • has been given a positive test result
  • self isolating because of foreign travel
  • self isolating upon the request of Test and Protect
  • coughing or sneezing, even if you think it is not CoVid-19 related
  • feels unwell

If after you have booked a place one of the above factors comes into play, please do not attend and if there is time let the Rector know so she may reallocate your space should there be others waiting.

Please also note that church will be very different from how it was in early March.  For your safety and for the safety of everyone else, these restrictions will be in place.

  • There will be no toilet facilities available at All Saints.
  • Wearing of a mask is compulsory.
  • The use of hand sanitizer, on arrival, on departure, before and after receiving communion.  Hand sanitizer is provided.
  • Keeping 2 meters distance within the church and church grounds.
  • You will not be able to pick where you sit.
  • The car park at the church will not be available for use.
  • There will be no singing.
  • There will be no coffee/tea after the service.
  • The screen will be used for the liturgy, or you can bring your own copy, it will be available on the web site from Saturday.
  • Your name will be kept for 21 days and passed on to Test and Protect, along with the contact details which are held for you on the congregational roll, on request.
  • You should arrive during your designated 10 minute arrival slot or you may have to wait to be admitted.
  • There will be no admittance to the church once the service has begun.
  • You will be required to stay seated for the whole service and only move when requested to by the stewards.

Please also note:

  • Please do not bring any shopping or similar items to church.
  • The coat hooks and the umbrella stand at the back of the church will not be available for use.
  • If you bring a collection to church it will be placed in the plate at the back of the church on your arrival.
  • The service will be live-streamed via zoom and there is a possibility that you may appear on that live feed.  The live feed is restricted to those who have signed in using a meeting id and password and so it is not viewable by the public at large.   Should this be an issue please let the Rector know when you are booking your space.
  • Children are welcome to come along, however there is no Sunday School or Crèche at present.
  • The halls will be locked and not available. (These are not currently being cleaned and so classed as unsafe.)

Snippets from worship on Sunday 20th September

Our opening prayer

Jesus you invite us
to leave the past behind
to answer your call to follow
today and every day.
Encourage us in faith
renew our hope
and strengthen our desire
to follow you
in all we say
in all we do
in all we think
in how we praise
and how we pray
in this act of worship and always
amen.

Sermon Snippet

With St Matthew’s day on Monday and Jesus words of  the last being first, and the first being last, we explored what it means to be called to follow and to answer that call. Matthew was certainly seen by many of his time as among the last and least. His life was not good enough, not worthy for the pious Jew and he mixed with other unworties.

Jesus didn’t see the person who had been tarred by the prejudices and hang ups of others, Jesus saw a child of God, just as precious and beloved as those who looked on and sneered. The first shall be last and the last shall be first is a difficult verse only if we put people on pedestals, decide some are worthy and others aren’t. However if we see all as equal, treat all as equal then all equally are welcomed.

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!