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Friday, 3 April 2020
3rd April 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Here are some practical pieces of information and advice, including details of the celebration of Holy Week from Chichester.

Holy Week from Chichester

The Dean and Chapter have facilitated a programme of services for Holy Week as shown below.  We are grateful to them for this contribution to our household of faith, enabling me to celebrate with you and for you, in these strange circumstances, the renewal of our commitment to Jesus Christ.

They will be streamed on the diocesan and cathedral websites.

Please take particular note of the short Liturgy of Renewal of Ordination Promises on Maundy Thursday at 12 noon.

Palm Sunday, April 5

10:30 am The Eucharist

 Monday of Holy Week, April 6

7:30pm Compline and Address (audio only)

Led by the Chancellor, Dan Inman

Tuesday of Holy Week, April 7

7:30pm Compline and Address (audio only)

Led by the Dean, Stephen Waine

Wednesday of Holy Week, April 8

7:30pm Compline and Address (audio only)

Led by the Precentor, Tim Schofield

Maundy Thursday, April 9

12 noon Renewal of Ordination Promises

7:30pm  The Eucharist

Good Friday, April 10

3:00pm The Liturgy for Good Friday

 Easter Day, April 12

10:30am The Eucharist and renewal of Baptism promises

This is to be a Holy Week like no other in living memory for most of us.

It is clear that parishes across the diocese are rising to the challenge as preparations are now in hand to present the drama of the Lord’s passion, and the joy of his resurrection, in new and exciting ways.

My personal experience of Holy Week is that it feels like the beginning of a week in retreat.  All other demands are set to one side.  It’s a busy and demanding time.  Tempers fray, life is intensified, our limitations and priorities are exposed.  These are indications of authenticity.  They are the terms and conditions of our humanity, in which we enter Jerusalem, stand bereft at Calvary, and come starkly to the tomb.

Like any retreat, it takes a bit of time to get into the rhythm of the days.  This year, we have the unprecedented gift of time, because there is nowhere else to go.  How will you use that time?

There are already more than enough suggestions on our website and on social media.  So forgive me if I make another suggestion.  I hope it will help you deal with the rest.

Do not make yourself busy.  Resist the attraction of too much streaming and the temptation to check on what others did, and how many hits they got.

This Holy Week is a week for being re-created, for understanding the complexity of nature, even in its destructive manifestations, and marvel at it.  Take God as your example, from the opening of Genesis.  Do one thing well in each day.  Review your day: discern the points at which you can rejoice and give thanks from what is good.

Keep an eye on the Genesis list.  Rejoice in creation – sun, moon, stars, hills, rivers, seas, etc.  Take note that the beasts of the field are made on the 5th day (Thursday), as the paschal lamb is prepared.  Take note that humanity, the crown of God’s creation, is made on the 6th day, as we are re-made on the wood of the cross.

And on the 7th day, take note of what sabbath rest is and does.  It is the gaze of love that transforms irrevocably what it sees, in its intensity and delight.  It is eternity at peace with itself, capable of whatever space is needed for the recovery of what was lost (the harrowing of hell).

Do not make yourself busy but delight on Easter Sunday in the 8th day of creation: God’s new work.  This is the day of the new creation.  It is the day of your baptismal renewal when you became a pledge and sign of the perfection of God’s work.

The truth of this holy week is not diminished by the limitations on our freedom to assemble. Death is a part of the whole story.  Fear and grief are the part we play in the story; joy and peace and glory must be the conclusion that we can demonstrate to the people among whom we live and whom we are called to lead by hope and love into the future.

Please be assured of my prayers for each of you.  May God bless you in the sabbath rest and re-creation of the paschal mystery of Easter.

And keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, who was wounded for our sins, that you might bear in your life and ministry, the love and joy and peace, which are the marks of Jesus in his disciples.


Service Times

10:00am Sunday Service

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  2. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  3. Prayer for today.
  4. The C of E youtube channel.
  5. We will be updating Fr Stephens Message page on a regular basis.
  6. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  7. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.