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Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Dear friends

Following the announcement from Downing Street this morning, I am delighted to say that the next Bishop of Horsham is to be The Revd Ruth Bushyager and the next Bishop of Lewes is to be The Revd Prebendary Will Hazlewood.    A video in which Ruth and Will introduce themselves is available on the Diocesan website .

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Audio files for this page are available on The Message page.


John Linell, ‘Christ Appearing to the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus’, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Dear Friends
The Gospel reading for this day is Luke 24:13-35, in which the evangelist narrates how two disciples, one of whom was called Cleopas, are travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus and unknowingly encounter the Risen Lord.  He talks to them on the way and, in response to their questions, explains to them how he is present in the Scriptures.  He makes as though to walk on as they reach their destination but, as it is evening, they eagerly invite him to stay for supper.  He breaks bread for them at the meal and, as he does so, they recognise him, although Jesus then vanishes from their sight.  They, however, filled with joy, rush back to Jerusalem to share the good news with the other disciples.

Journeys such as this relatively short one (it is approximately seven miles between Jerusalem and Emmaus), or longer ones such as the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela (literally ‘St James of the Field of Stars’) in northern Spain, are often the settings for an inner journey of the soul in search of God – not that pilgrims think that God is ‘lost’, but that the outward, physical journey provides the context, and the impetus, for the inward, spiritual journey.  Unfortunately, with increasing mobility problems, my own pilgrimage days are over, but I shall always be glad of those I was able to undertake in the past, since the discipline and even minor hardships involved often yield unexpected insights into the way in which God meets us at our point of need.

As I have suggested many times in the past, the Emmaus narrative has an unmistakably liturgical feel to it.  Its shape reflects that of the Eucharist, beginning with an exposition of the Scriptures, followed by the ‘breaking of bread’, in which we can share in the body and blood of Christ, who is always present in our worship, although we may not always be aware of it.  In this way, as the third evangelist is suggesting here, our Eucharistic worship, too, becomes a ‘pilgrimage’ in which Christ reveals himself - and perhaps our current situation, in which we are unable to undertake this journey, except ‘virtually’, will help us rejoice all the more in this privilege, once restrictions are lifted.
In the meantime, with prayers and blessings continuing,

Fr Stephen

Collect for the Third Sunday of Easter

Almighty 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.  Amen.

Acts 2:14a and 36-41

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

On the day of Pentecost,

Peter, standing with the eleven,
raised his voice and addressed the crowd,

"Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty
that God has made him both Lord and Messiah,
this Jesus whom you crucified."

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart
and said to Peter and to the other apostles,
"Brothers, what should we do?"

Peter said to them,
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ
so that your sins may be forgiven;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the promise is for you, for your children,
and for all who are far away,
everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him."

And he testified with many other arguments
and exhorted them, saying,
"Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

So those who welcomed his message were baptized,
and that day about three thousand persons
were added to their number.

Gospel  Luke 24:13-35

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

On that same day
two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem,

and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.

While they were talking and discussing,
Jesus himself came near and went with them,

but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

And he said to them,
"What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?"
They stood still, looking sad.

Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him,
"Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem
who does not know the things
that have taken place there in these days?"

He asked them, "What things?"
They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth,
who was a prophet mighty in deed and word
before God and all the people,

and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over
to be condemned to death and crucified him.

But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.
Yes, and besides all this,
it is now the third day since these things took place.

Moreover, some women of our group astounded us.
They were at the tomb early this morning,

and when they did not find his body there,
they came back
and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels
who said that he was alive.

Some of those who were with us went to the tomb
 and found it just as the women had said;
but they did not see Jesus."

Then he said to them,
"Oh, how foolish you are,
and how slow of heart
to believe all that the prophets have declared!

Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things
and then enter into his glory?"

Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets,
 he interpreted to them
the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were going,
he walked ahead as if he were going on.

But they urged him strongly, saying,
"Stay with us, because it is almost evening
and the day is now nearly over."
So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them,
he took bread, blessed and broke it,
and gave it to them.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus;
and he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he was talking to us on the road,
while he was opening the scriptures to us?"

That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem;
and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together.

They were saying,
"The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!"

Then they told what had happened on the road,
and how he had been made known to them
in the breaking of the bread.
Sunday, 19 April 2020
If you would like to listen to audio files of the readings, please switch to The Message blog.


‘The Incredulity of Saint Thomas’, Caravaggio, c1601-1602

Dear Friends
The Gospel reading for this day is John 20:19-end.  John’s description of the disciples meeting with the doors ‘locked’ because of their fear ‘of the Jews’ (the Gospel was compiled during a time when some Christian churches were experiencing persecution by Jewish communities) has a striking resonance with our current situation, when churches continue to remain closed – but, of course, with the important difference that the disciples were huddled together for self-preservation, whereas today’s locked doors are intended to assist the safety of the entire faith community.  There is an interesting article on this point by Angus Ritchie, in the 17 April edition of The Church Times, in which it is mentioned that some have been questioning the legality of the Archbishops’ directive to close all churches during the current crisis, especially since this has deprived many of a much-needed sanctuary for private prayer and solace in a time of grief, separation and fear of the unknown.
Most of us, however, understand the necessity for the directive, and accept this deprivation as part of the contribution we must all make towards the greater good - and it has, at least, led to the increase in on-line services, which are reaching, and being appreciated by, many who would not count themselves as regular churchgoers – the story of ‘doubting Thomas’ which concludes today’s Gospel reading, continues to resonate with many who, for whatever reason, find difficulty in accepting the faith.  The Spirit, in other words, continues to be at work in this situation, and many commentators are suggesting that ‘virtual church’ will remain a significant part of our outreach and mission, long after the lockdown has been lifted.
In my view, although this could well turn out to be a good thing, it could never replace the incarnational nature of meeting together in person for worship, in which all the senses, including those of touch and taste (the exchange of the peace, the reception of the bread and wine of the Eucharist) are involved in our corporate offering of thanksgiving to God.  

Nevertheless, in cases where this is not possible for any reason, ‘spiritual Communion’ is a recognized alternative, as indicated in the following prayer, which may be of help in our current situation:-
‘In union, dear Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where your blessed body and blood are being offered to the Father, I offer you praise and thanksgiving.  I believe you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.  And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I pray that you will come spiritually into my heart.  I unite myself to you and embrace you, do not let me be separated from you.  Let me live and die in your love.  Amen.’ [From the manual of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.]
With prayer continuing for our entire community of faith, and blessings,
Fr Stephen

Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter
Almighty Father,
you have given your only Son to die for our sins
and to rise again for our justification:
grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness
that we may always serve you
in pureness of living and truth;
through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:14a and 22-32

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

On the day of Pentecost.

Peter, standing with the eleven,
raised his voice and addressed the crowd,

"You that are Israelites,
listen to what I have to say:
Jesus of Nazareth,
a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs
that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know—

this man, handed over to you
according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God,
you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law.

But God raised him up, having freed him from death,
because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.

For David says concerning him,
"I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken;

therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will live in hope.

For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One experience corruption.

You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

"Fellow Israelites,
I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David
that he both died and was buried,
and his tomb is with us to this day.

Since he was a prophet,
he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him
that he would put one of his descendants on his throne.

Foreseeing this,
David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying,
"He was not abandoned to Hades,
nor did his flesh experience corruption.'

This Jesus God raised up,
and of that all of us are witnesses.

Daniel 6:6-23

A reading from the book of Daniel.

So the presidents and satraps conspired
and came to the king and said to him,
"O King Darius, live forever!

All the presidents of the kingdom,
the prefects and the satraps,
the counsellors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance
and enforce an interdict,
that whoever prays to anyone,
divine or human, for thirty days,
except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions.

Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document,
so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians,
which cannot be revoked."

Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.

Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed,
he continued to go to his house,
which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem,
and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God
and praise him, just as he had done previously.

The conspirators came and found Daniel praying
and seeking mercy before his God.

Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, 
"O king! Did you not sign an interdict, 
that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, 
within thirty days except to you, O king, 
shall be thrown into a den of lions?" 
The king answered, 
"The thing stands fast, 
according to the law of the Medes and Persians, 
which cannot be revoked."

Then they responded to the king, 
"Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, 
pays no attention to you, O king, 
or to the interdict you have signed, 
but he is saying his prayers three times a day."

When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. 
He was determined to save Daniel, 
and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him.

Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, 
"Know, O king, 
that it is a law of the Medes and Persians 
that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed."

Then the king gave the command, 
and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. 
The king said to Daniel, 
"May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!"

A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, 
and the king sealed it with his own signet 
and with the signet of his lords, 
so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.

Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; 
no food was brought to him, 
and sleep fled from him.

Then, at break of day, 
the king got up and hurried to the den of lions.

When he came near the den where Daniel was, 
he cried out anxiously to Daniel, 
"O Daniel, servant of the living God, 
has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?"

Daniel then said to the king,
 "O king, live forever!

My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths 
so that they would not hurt me, 
because I was found blameless before him; 
and also before you, O king, 
I have done no wrong."

Then the king was exceedingly glad 
and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. 
So Daniel was taken up out of the den, 
and no kind of harm was found on him, 
because he had trusted in his God.

John 20:19-31

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

When it was evening on the first day of the week, 
and the doors of the house where the disciples had met 
were locked for fear of the Jews, 
Jesus came and stood among them and said, 
"Peace be with you." 

After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. 
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 

Jesus said to them again, 
"Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you." 

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 
"Receive the Holy Spirit. 

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; 
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 

But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, 
was not with them when Jesus came. 

So the other disciples told him, 
"We have seen the Lord." 
But he said to them, 
"Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands,
and put my finger in the mark of the nails 
and my hand in his side, 
I will not believe." 

A week later his disciples were again in the house, 
and Thomas was with them. 
Although the doors were shut, 
Jesus came and stood among them and said, 
"Peace be with you." 

Then he said to Thomas, 
"Put your finger here and see my hands. 
Reach out your hand and put it in my side. 
Do not doubt but believe." 

Thomas answered him, 
"My Lord and my God!" 

Jesus said to him, 
"Have you believed because you have seen me? 
Blessed are those who have not seen 
and yet have come to believe." 

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, 
which are not written in this book. 

But these are written so that you may come to believe 
that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, 
and that through believing you may have life in his name. 
Saturday, 18 April 2020
Below is a link to the Church of England website with various prayers for use at this time which you may find helpful at this time.

Sunday, 12 April 2020


Piero della Francesca, ‘The Resurrection’, c1463-5, Museo Civico, Sansepolcro

Dear Friends
Looking at my diary, I see that the last public service I conducted was a baptism which took place on Sunday, 15 March.  Thereafter, the Lent Group and a Guild of the Servants Sanctuary Stations of the Cross had to be cancelled as, of course, were our Mothering Sunday services.  To say that we feel bereft, when we cannot even enter our churches for quiet prayer, especially during Holy Week and Easter, is truly an understatement.
However, I was very grateful to receive, from a member of our St Mary’s congregation, an article by Tim Stanley which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Maundy Thursday, describing how churches are reaching out, through the live streaming of services and the provision of other online resources, to all sorts of people who would not normally attend church, or who have ‘lapsed’ from doing so.  So perhaps, in God’s providence, this situation is being used for good in unexpected ways, and maybe we can trust that, what feels at the moment like a ‘continuous Lent’ will be turned eventually to Easter joy.
Certainly, the message of the liturgies we would normally be holding in church at this time during the Easter Triduum (Maundy Thursday through to the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday) is, precisely, that God’s salvation for all humankind is effected through events which, at first sight, appeared to represent the triumph of the forces of darkness.  People sometimes say to me, ‘Why is Good Friday called ‘good’?’ and, of course, the answer must be that the passion and death of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, were permitted for our sake.  As Bishop Melito of Sardis puts it in one of his sermons on the Pasch:-
‘He (ie Jesus) is the Passover of our salvation.  He was present in Mary so as to endure many things; in Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound; in Jacob a stranger, in Joseph sold; in Moses exposed; in David persecuted; in the prophets dishonoured.  He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary.  Not a bone of his was broken on the tree.  He was buried in the earth, but he rose from the dead and was lifted up to the heights of heaven.  He has brought us from slavery to freedom.  He delivered us from darkness to light, from death to life, from tyranny to an eternal Kingdom.’
It is my prayer that we’ll all be given grace to rejoice in, and give thanks for, these eternal truths this Easter, whatever our circumstances.
With Easter blessings,

Fr Stephen

If you would like to listen to the readings, move to The Message where you can click to hear.

Acts 10.34-43

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

Peter began to speak to those assembled in the house of Cornelius.
"I truly understand that God shows no partiality,

but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right
is acceptable to him.

You know the message he sent to the people of Israel,
preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.

That message spread throughout Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power;
how he went about doing good
and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.

We are witnesses to all that he did
both in Judea and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;

but God raised him on the third day
and allowed him to appear,

not to all the people
but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses,
and who ate and drank with him after
he rose from the dead.

He commanded us to preach to the people
and to testify that he is the one ordained by God
as judge of the living and the dead.

All the prophets testify about him
that everyone who believes in him
receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

John 20.1-18

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Early on the first day of the week,
while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb
and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,
"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him."

Then Peter and the other disciple set out
and went toward the tomb.

The two were running together,
but the other disciple outran Peter
and reached the tomb first.

He bent down to look in
and saw the linen wrappings lying there,
but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.
He saw the linen wrappings lying there,

and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head,
not lying with the linen wrappings
but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in,
and he saw and believed;

for as yet they did not understand the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.

Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;

and she saw two angels in white,
sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying,
one at the head and the other at the feet.

They said to her,
"Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them,
"They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have laid him."

When she had said this,
she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her,
"Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,
"Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him,
and I will take him away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
"Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her,
"Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and say to them,
"I am ascending to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.' "

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord";
and she told them that he had said these things to her.


Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
to praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity.
Saturday, 11 April 2020

Exodus 14.10-31

A reading from the book of Exodus

As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back,
and there were the Egyptians advancing on them.
In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord.

They said to Moses,
"Was it because there were no graves in Egypt
that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?
What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?

Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt,
"Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians'?
For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians
than to die in the wilderness."

But Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid, stand firm,
and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today;
for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.

The Lord will fight for you,
and you have only to keep still."

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry out to me?
Tell the Israelites to go forward.

But you lift up your staff,
and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it,
that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground.

Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians
so that they will go in after them;
and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army,
his chariots, and his chariot drivers.

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord,
when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh,
his chariots, and his chariot drivers."

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army
moved and went behind them;
and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them
and took its place behind them.

It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel.
And so the cloud was there with the darkness,
and it lit up the night;
one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea.
The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night,
and turned the sea into dry land;
and the waters were divided.

The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground,
 the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them,
all of Pharaoh's horses, chariots, and chariot drivers.

At the morning watch
the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud
looked down upon the Egyptian army,
and threw the Egyptian army into panic.

He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty.
The Egyptians said,
"Let us flee from the Israelites,
for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt."

Then the Lord said to Moses,
"Stretch out your hand over the sea,
so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians,
 upon their chariots and chariot drivers."

So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea,
and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth.
As the Egyptians fled before it,
the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea.

The waters returned
and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers,
the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea;
not one of them remained.

But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea,
the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians;
and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians.
So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord
and in his servant Moses.

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister,
took a tambourine in her hand;
and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing.

And Miriam sang to them
"Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea."

Ezekiel 36.24-28

A reading from the book of the prophet Ezekiel

The word of the Lord came to me:

I will take you from the nations,
and gather you from all the countries,
and bring you into your own land.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you,
and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

A new heart I will give you,
and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.

I will put my spirit within you,
 and make you follow my statutes
and be careful to observe my ordinances.

Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors;
and you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.

Romans 6.3-11

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans

Do you not know
that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?

Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his,
we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

We know that our old self was crucified with him

so that the body of sin might be destroyed,
and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.

For whoever has died is freed from sin.

But if we have died with Christ,
we believe that we will also live with him.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead,
will never die again;
death no longer has dominion over him.

The death he died, he died to sin, once for all;
but the life he lives, he lives to God.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin
and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 28.1-10

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

After the sabbath,
as the first day of the week was dawning,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.

And suddenly there was a great earthquake;
for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven,
came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

His appearance was like lightning,
and his clothing white as snow.

For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.

But the angel said to the women,
"Do not be afraid;
I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.

He is not here;
for he has been raised, as he said.
Come, see the place where he lay.

Then go quickly and tell his disciples,
"He has been raised from the dead,
and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee;
there you will see him.'
This is my message for you."

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy,
and ran to tell his disciples.

Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!"
And they came to him,
took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.

Then Jesus said to them,
"Do not be afraid;
go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee;
there they will see me."


Lord of all life and power
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
to who with you and the Holy Spirit
to praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity.
Friday, 10 April 2020

Genesis 22.1-18

A reading from the book of Genesis.

God tested Abraham.
He said to him, "Abraham!"
And he said, "Here I am."

God said,
"Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love,
and go to the land of Moriah,
and offer him there as a burnt offering
on one of the mountains that I shall show you."

So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey,
and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac;
he cut the wood for the burnt offering,
and set out and went to the place in the distance
that God had shown him.

On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away.

Then Abraham said to his young men,
"Stay here with the donkey;
the boy and I will go over there;
we will worship, and then we will come back to you."

Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering
and laid it on his son Isaac,
and he himself carried the fire and the knife.
So the two of them walked on together.

Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Father!"
And he said,
"Here I am, my son."
Issac said, "The fire and the wood are here,
but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

Abraham said,
"God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."
So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him,
Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order.
He bound his son Isaac,
and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.

 Then Abraham reached out his hand
 and took the knife to kill his son.

But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said,
"Abraham, Abraham!"
And he said, "Here I am."

The angel said,
"Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; f
or now I know that you fear God,
since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.

And Abraham looked up and saw a ram,
caught in a thicket by its horns.
Abraham went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

So Abraham called that place "The Lord will provide";
as it is said to this day,
"On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided."

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham
a second time from heaven,

and said,
"By myself I have sworn, says the Lord:
Because you have done this,
and have not withheld your son, your only son,

I will indeed bless you,
and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven
and as the sand that is on the seashore.
And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies,

and by your offspring
shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves,
because you have obeyed my voice."

Hebrews 10.1-10

Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come
and not the true form of these realities,
it can never,
by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year,
make perfect those who approach.

Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered,
since the worshippers,
cleansed once for all,
would no longer have any consciousness of sin?

But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year.

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
 "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;

in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

Then I said, "See, God, I have come to do your will, O God'
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me)."

When he said above,
"You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices
and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings"
(these are offered according to the law),

then he added,
 "See, I have come to do your will."
He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.

And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

John 18.1 - 19.42

Hear the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

After they had eaten the supper

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to a place where there was a garden,
which he and his disciples entered.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place,
because Jesus often met there with his disciples.

So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers
together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees,
and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him,
came forward and asked them,
"For whom are you looking?"

They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus replied, "I am he."
Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

When Jesus said to them, "I am he,"
they stepped back and fell to the ground.

Again he asked them, "For whom are you looking?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."

Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go."

This was to fulfil the word that he had spoken,
"I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me."

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword,
drew it, struck the high priest's slave,
and cut off his right ear.
The slave's name was Malchus.

Jesus said to Peter,
"Put your sword back into its sheath.
Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?"

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police
arrested Jesus and bound him.

13 First they took him to Annas,
who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
the high priest that year.

Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews
that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Since that disciple was known to the high priest,
he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest,

but Peter was standing outside at the gate.
So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest,
went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate,
and brought Peter in.

The woman said to Peter,
"You are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?"
He said, "I am not."

Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire
because it was cold,
and they were standing around it and warming themselves.
Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his teaching.

Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world;
I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple,
where all the Jews come together.
I have said nothing in secret.

Why do you ask me?
Ask those who heard what I said to them;
they know what I said."

When he had said this,
one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying,
"Is that how you answer the high priest?"

Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly,
testify to the wrong.
But if I have spoken rightly,
why do you strike me?"

Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself.
They asked him,
"You are not also one of his disciples, are you?"
He denied it and said, "I am not."

One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,
asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?"

Again Peter denied it,
and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate's headquarters.
It was early in the morning.
They themselves did not enter the headquarters,
so as to avoid ritual defilement
and to be able to eat the Passover.

So Pilate went out to them and said,
"What accusation do you bring against this man?"

They answered, "If this man were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you."

Pilate said to them,
"Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law."
The Jews replied, "We are not permitted to put anyone to death."

(This was to fulfill what Jesus had said
when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again,
summoned Jesus, and asked him,
"Are you the King of the Jews?"

Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own,
or did others tell you about me?"

Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me.
What have you done?"

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world.
If my kingdom were from this world,
my followers would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."

Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?"
Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king.
For this I was born,
and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Pilate asked him, "What is truth?"
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them,
"I find no case against him.

But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover.
Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?"

They shouted in reply,
"Not this man, but Barabbas!"
Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.

And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns
and put it on his head,
and they dressed him in a purple robe.

They kept coming up to him, saying,
"Hail, King of the Jews!"
and striking him on the face.

Pilate went out again and said to them,
"Look, I am bringing him out to you
to let you know that I find no case against him."

So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.
Pilate said to them,
"Here is the man!"

When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted,
"Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Pilate said to them,
"Take him yourselves and crucify him;
I find no case against him."

The Jews answered him, "We have a law,
and according to that law he ought to die
because he has claimed to be the Son of God."

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever.

He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus,
"Where are you from?"
But Jesus gave him no answer.

Pilate therefore said to him,
"Do you refuse to speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you,
and power to crucify you?"

Jesus answered him,
"You would have no power over me
unless it had been given you from above;
therefore the one who handed me over to you
is guilty of a greater sin."

From then on Pilate tried to release him,
but the Jews cried out,
"If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor.
Everyone who claims to be a king
sets himself against the emperor."

When Pilate heard these words,
he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge's bench
at a place called The Stone Pavement,
or in Hebrew Gabbatha.

Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover;
and it was about noon.
He said to the Jews,
"Here is your King!"

They cried out,
"Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!"
Pilate asked them, "Shall I crucify your King?"
The chief priests answered, "We have no king but the emperor."

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus;

and carrying the cross by himself,
he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull,
which in Hebrew is called Golgotha.

There they crucified him,
and with him two others, one on either side,
with Jesus between them.

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

Many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek.

Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
"Do not write, "The King of the Jews,'
but, "This man said, I am King of the Jews.' "

Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four parts,
one for each soldier.
They also took his tunic;
now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top.

So they said to one another,
"Let us not tear it,
but cast lots for it to see who will get it."
This was to fulfill what the scripture says,
"They divided my clothes among themselves,
and for my clothing they cast lots."

And that is what the soldiers did.
Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother,
and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.

When Jesus saw his mother
and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her,
he said to his mother,
"Woman, here is your son."

Then he said to the disciple,
"Here is your mother."
And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished,
he said (in order to fulfil the scripture),
"I am thirsty."

A jar full of sour wine was standing there.
So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop
and held it to his mouth.

When Jesus had received the wine, he said,
"It is finished."
Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation,
the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross
during the sabbath,
especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity.
So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken
and the bodies removed.

Then the soldiers came
and broke the legs of the first and of the other
who had been crucified with him.

But when they came to Jesus
and saw that he was already dead,
 they did not break his legs.

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear,
and at once blood and water came out.

(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe.
His testimony is true,
and he knows that he tells the truth.)

These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled,
"None of his bones shall be broken."

And again another passage of scripture says,
"They will look on the one whom they have pierced."

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea,
who was a disciple of Jesus,
though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus.
Pilate gave him permission;
so he came and removed his body.

Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night,
also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes,
weighing about a hundred pounds.

They took the body of Jesus
and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths,
 according to the burial custom of the Jews.

Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified,
and in the garden there was a new tomb
in which no one had ever been laid.

And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation,
and the tomb was nearby,
they laid Jesus there.


Almighty Father,
look with mercy on this your family
for which our Lord Jesus Christ
was contact to be betrayed
and given up into the hands of sinners
and to suffer death upon the cross;
who is alive and glorified
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Thursday, 9 April 2020

1 Corinthians 11.23-26

A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians,


I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus on the night that he was betrayed
took a loaf of bread,

and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and said,
"This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying,
"This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

John 13.1-17, 31b-35

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Now before the festival of the Passover,
Jesus knew that his hour had come
to depart from this world and go to the Father.
having loved his own who were in the world,
he loved them to the end.

The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simeon Iscariot
to betray him.
And during the supper

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands,
and that he had come from God and was going to God,

got up from the table,
took off his outer robe,
and tied a towel around himself.

Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples' feet
and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
"Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus answered,
"You do not know what I am doing,
but later you will understand."

Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet."
Jesus answered,
"Unless I wash your feet, you have no share with me."

Simon Peter said to him,
"Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"

Jesus said to him,
"One who has bathed does not need to wash,
except for the feet, but is entirely clean.
And you are clean, though not all of you."

For he knew who was to betray him;
for this reason he said,
"Not all of you are clean."

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe,
and returned to the table,
he said to them,
"Do you know what I have done to you?

You call me Teacher and Lord -
and you are right for that is what I am.

So if I, your Lord and Teacher,
have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet.

For I have set you an example,
that you also should do as I have done to you.

Very truly, I tell you,
servants are not greater than their master,
nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them.

If you know these things,
you are blessed if you do them.

Now the Son of Man has been glorified,
and God has been glorified in him.

If God has been glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself
and will glorify him at once.

Little children, I am with you only a little longer.
But you will look for me;
and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you,
'Where I am going, you cannot come."

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another."


God our Father,
you have invited us to share in the supper
which your Son gave to his Church
to proclaim his death until he comes:
may he nourish us by his presence,
and unite us in his love;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020
As we are not able to meet in Church for this service, below is the link to The Church Of England's service.

Sunday, 5 April 2020


16th-Century Icon of the Entry into Jerusalem

Dear Friends
Over the last century considerable research has been carried out into the liturgical practices of the early Church. Scholars have unearthed ancient texts and documents which throw a new light on the way in which services were conducted in the first centuries, and these, in turn, have led to revisions in the way in which we conduct services today.
Nowhere is this more true than in the Church of England, which, during the 1980s, ‘reinvented’ the way in which services during Lent, Holy Week and Easter were organized.
I remember, from my time at theological college, how the advent of a book called Lent, Holy Week and Easter transformed the way in which we kept this special time of year, which of course recalls the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Lent, Holy Week and Easter drew on the diary of Egeria, probably a French or Spanish nun, who visited Jerusalem on a pilgrimage there between AD381 and 384. She describes the services she attended, which involved walks to and from the Mount of Olives and Jerusalem, as well as along the via dolorosa. Apparently, according to her account, these events were seen as one long service, which took place over several days: on Palm Sunday, palm branches were carried to commemorate the entry into Jerusalem, although no donkey was used; on Wednesday in Holy Week the focus was on Judas plotting Jesus’ betrayal; Thursday recalled the Last Supper, the washing of the disciples’ feet and the agony in the garden; Good Friday focused upon the crucifixion, and then Holy Saturday night was devoted to the Easter Vigil, with much longer readings than we would use these days. The entirety made up a single drama, broken up into a series of ‘acts’.

All these aspects continue to be recognizable within our own liturgical commemorations, although our services also draw inspiration from the medieval passion plays, during which the Franciscans introduced tableaux vivants to bring the events to life – something unheard of in Egeria’s day.

Sadly, of course, we shall not able to participate in these services this year, but we can meditate on the Scriptural readings (as published in the magazine) and in this way the events can, once again, become real for us and will help to fortify and renew our faith.

Fr Stephen

Collect for Palm Sunday
Almighty and everlasting God,
who in your tender love towards the human race
sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take upon him our flesh
and to suffer death upon the cross:
grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,
and also be made partakers of his resurrection;
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.

Philippians 2.5-11

A Reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,

he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death -
even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name that is above every name,

so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the Glory of God the Father.

Matthew 21.1-11

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

When they had come near Jerusalem
and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives,
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,

"Go into the village ahead of you,
and immediately you will find a donkey tied,
and a colt with her;
untie them and bring them to me.

If anyone says anything to you, just say this,
'The Lord needs them.'
And he will send them immediately."

This took place
to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

"Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you, 
humble, and mounted on a donkey, 
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;

they brought the donkey and the colt,
and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, 
and others cut branches from from the trees 
and spread them on the road.

The crowds that went ahead of him
and that followed were shouting,
"Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

When he entered Jerusalem,
the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?"

The crowds were saying,
"This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

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

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. St Mary's Facebook page
  2. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  3. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  4. Prayer for today.
  5. The C of E youtube channel.
  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.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

Blog Archive

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