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Monday, 30 March 2020


I've just seen a message from Bishop David on facebook which says that he has exercised his authority to relax the rule that says that a priest can only celebrate the Eucharist if there is at least one other person present; and since we are also told that we cannot stream services from the church building, I assume that he has also relaxed the rule that prevents us from consecrating the elements anywhere but a place especially designed and consecrated for such purposes.  With this in mind, I might video a full service of Holy Communion from the Vicarage on Sunday.  Would going across the road to church to collect the necessary vessels etc. be classed as an essential journey to work?  I do have chalices and patens from the holy land but they are not silver - and I suppose I could use gluten free bread and Merlot instead of communion wafers and wine - I will think about that.  Watch this space!

John 8

Today's post on the blog is about John 8:1-11.  You may want to read it before watching the video but I do give a short summary of the passage before speaking about it. There is much that I could have said about the passage but my intention is  not to do a full exposition but instead, to keep these videos short and offer a challenge to make us think about our relationships.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Morning Prayer video instructions

If you have the "Daily Prayer" App on your mobile, ipad or tablet, you can follow the service and join in with the responses and alternate verses of canticles and psalm.  When you come to the readings however, you will find that I have used the readings for Holy Communion rather than the readings for Morning Prayer; this is because this is our principle service today.  Just one reading is used, so if you are following the service using the app, when you get to the first reading, scroll down until you come to the end of the second reading, then you will be ready to continue joining in with the rest of the service once the reading and reflection are over.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

An alternative service for 29th March

Here is a service conducted by Rev Lyn in the vicarage available as a 35 min video here

Morning Prayer for 29th March

Our Processional Hymn for this Sunday would have been "Lift High the Cross".  You can sing along to the music here

A Simple Order of Morning Prayer in Lent

O Lord open our lips,
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

A short time of silence /reflection on the coming day.

Early in the morning
my prayer comes before you.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

You speak in my heart and say
‘Seek my face’; your face, Lord, will I seek.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Return to the Lord, who will have mercy, to our God, who will richly pardon.
Seek the Lord while he may be found call upon him while he is near.
Let the wicked abandon their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts;
Return to the Lord, who will have mercy to our God who will richly pardon.

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,’ says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As the rain and the snow come down from above and return not again but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth seed for sowing and bread to eat,
So is my word that goes forth from my mouth it will not return to me fruitless,
But it will accomplish that which I purpose and succeed in the task I gave it.’

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

Return to the Lord, who will have mercy, to our God, who will richly pardon.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel
for he has come to his people and set them free.
The Lord has raised up for us a mighty Saviour born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets God promised of old to save us from our enemies
from the hands of all who hate us.
To show mercy to our forebears and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear
holy and righteous before him all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever. Amen.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me
Please see the weekly prayer sheet here or pray your own prayers for:
The Church
The World
The Local Community
Those in particular need

The Lord’s Prayer is said.

See the Collect for the day here or use the collect below
Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: create and make in us new and contrite hearts that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The second collect, for peace.
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life,
to serve you is perfect freedom:
defend us in all assaults of our enemies,
that we, surely trusting in your protection, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The third collect, for grace.
Eternal God and Father,
by your power we are created
and by your love we are redeemed: guide and strengthen us by your Spirit, that we may give ourselves to you
in love and service of one another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God.

A cup as Prayer

Today (Saturday - I know some of you get this the day after I've written it) is the final day that I will be writing about how a cup can speak to us about our relationship with God.  Today, for the second time, my thought comes from something I read in Joyce Rupp's book, "The cup of our life".  The idea of using a cup has been the springboard for my many musings.  Rupp's book is full of meditations where she invites the reader to hold a cup in their hands.  In one chapter she suggests that we hold the cup in one hand but put the other hand over the cup, as we might if we were refusing a refill from someone who was offering hospitality. 

Think now, about whether or not there have been times when you have prevented God from pouring out His gifts.  We say that patience is a virtue, I think of it as a gift. There have certainly been times when I've prayed for it!  Have you ever resisted the gift of patience because you prefer what you see as righteous indignation?  Have you ever resisted the gift of reconciliation because you prefer to continue to feel aggrieved?  I'm sure we've all done this from time to time.  Let us ask God for His forgiveness and His help to move the covering hand so that the gifts can flow freely into our lives. 

Tomorrow (or later today in readiness for tomorrow) I will attempt to make a video for David to put onto the website rather than my putting a post on the blog.  (My goodness, the Vicar's getting very brave with this IT lark!)  I might produce a full service with some thoughts on the readings for the day and/or a meditation on the gospel passage and pass them to David to put on the website.  Check the website to see what appears.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Good and bad

For just over a week now, I have been using cup analogies for the prompting of spiritual thoughts.  Today I ask you to consider cups in the Bible.  Generally, a cup could either be considered as a good and joyful thing, something filled with blessings, as in, “My cup runneth over”, or it could be seen as a bad thing, something filled with the wrath of God, as in, “Can you drink of the cup that I am to drink of?”

The cup that we currently drink of, i.e. isolation and social distancing, can be seen in two ways.   The reason for the isolation is terrible, and the effects on some can be devastating, but when we are stripped of all that usually occupies our time and our minds, can often be the time when God has space to enter our otherwise frantically busy lives.  News items have shown, not only the dark side of this situation, but also how many young families are spending precious time together, talking, playing and generally making good use of the enforced containment.  God longs to be close to us, even to have fun with us, He is not just some distant judge to be feared or rebelled against, He is a loving heavenly Father who yearns for quality time with His children.

Be very aware of the dangers that we face and be sensible in your actions, but also, make the most of this time that you have to spend with your heavenly Father.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

All different or all the same?

These cups and mugs are all different, if you had to choose one, which one would it be?  Would your choice be based on colour, size, pattern, shape, inscription, or would it be because somehow it reminded you of something special, tea with Grandma perhaps?Perhaps you have a favourite mug because someone special gave it to you, or it was for a special occasion. If you could pick up these vessels, maybe your choice would be based on how it feels, is your preference for delicate or chunky?

These cups and mugs are all very special to me, and all for different reasons.  We are all God's children, we may be very different from each other but we are all loved.  As God's children, we should love each other, despite our many differences.  Some people may "feel" more comfortable to us than others but we are called to love them all. But what I really want to bring to your attention today is this: not one of these vessels is for decoration only - they are all meant to serve a purpose.  

Some of these cups bring me joy, the one's with inscriptions remind me of God's challenge to me, some evoke memories of lost loved ones, so they all do different things for me, and yet, all of them have one common purpose.  We may do different things for the Lord and yet as Christians, we all have one common purpose.  What is it? To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength - and to love your neighbour as yourself.  Let's all serve our common purpose today.   

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Emptying and refilling

The purpose of a cup or mug is not only to hold a beverage, it is to give away its contents.  Think about your morning tea or coffee, if the contents of the cup were not fully consumed, what was left in the cup would become cold and uninviting.  God pours His gifts into our lives, are we using those gifts in the service of others or are we letting our faith get cold, stale and uninviting?

If you don't think that God has given you gifts that you can share, think again!  Ask Him to show you what gifts you can use in the service of others. If nothing else, God certainly pours His love into your life; share that love with others. Now is the time to ring a neighbour to check on them, let them know that somebody cares.  God has given you the gift of faith, share that with others, not in an overbearing way but do something simple like offering to pray for something that concerns a friend or neighbour. 

Whenever we give of our gifts in the service of God and others, God refills us, time and time again, so that what we offer is always fresh and inviting.  What can you give away today?

Tuesday, 24 March 2020


Hello Everyone

The foodbank will be short of donated food right now for obvious reasons.  So that the most vulnerable in our community can still get help, we could send a monetary donation instead.  If you would like to do this, click on the link below.

Deep clean

When we have had our morning coffee or tea, it is easy to just give the cup a quick rinse under the running tap and leave it to drain, but over time the tea or coffee can stain the cup until it needs a thorough cleaning.  Our lives can be like that.  Our lives can be so busy that we don't take time for the depth of cleansing that will free us from the build up of all that stains it. 

In this new, enforced time of isolation following the Prime Minister's declaration, this time when the world seems still and hushed, ask God to show you where there may be stains in your life, spend time with Him, asking Him to cleanse you with the depth of cleansing that only He can give.

May God bless you and make His presence known to you.  Even if you live alone, you are never really alone because God is with you.  So, drink your first drink of the day, and as you do, drink in the knowledge that God loves you more than you could ever imagine and will cleanse you like you never thought possible.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Morning Prayer

During the Suspension of Services, the Morning Prayer for each Wednesday will appear on our Web site here

Great minds?

My Husband Dave and I must be thinking the same thoughts.  After the post I put on the blog yesterday, I looked at Dave's blog and found this:

God in the everyday.

  This morning I was looking through one of my old journals and came across this entry about a butterfly. I took this picture four years ago almost to the day. Spring was breaking through and the weather then was sunny as it has been over the past few days.

"Watching the butterfly land on the heather, I noticed how it angles itself to face and catch the heat of the sunlight. Life is about angling oneself to face and catch the light of Christ."

As we travel through these uncertain times, I pray that you may angle yourself to face and catch the light of Christ each and every day.

Keep safe, follow the Government’s advice and look out for the post about using our homes as prayer stations.
Peace be with you.

His take on butterflies is slightly different to mine but I was amazed to see what he had written.  We must be more in tune than I had realised! 

God bless


cup reflection day 4

I keep a cup in my cupboard which looks perfect on the outside. It matches other cups that I have but while it looks fine on the outside, if you look inside the cup you will see a very fine crack. How many of our lives are like that, looking fine on the outside but with imperfections hidden inside?  Maybe our lives are fine on the outside but showing the very first signs of falling apart inside. We may want to look the same as others and so choose not to reveal our hidden faults or brokenness. 

I keep the cup to remind me that I need to examine my interior life because I know that even the finest cracks can harbour germs. If being hurt by another has caused a fine crack in our lives, we need to be careful that germs of resentment or ill will don’t take up residence. If our perfect exterior hides a secret sin, it can cause us to rail against that same sin in others.

Unlike cups, we can take both our brokenness and our faults to Jesus.  We can be made whole. Examine your interior life today and ask the Lord to bring healing and wholeness.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Reflection on a cup day 3

This Wedgewood mug has a beautiful butterfly design.  Joyce Rupp wrote a reflection on a mug, and although she didn’t use a butterfly mug, she quoted Laurie Beth Jones, who said that the scales on a butterfly's wings are actually solar cells and that butterflies have to spread their wings in the morning sunshine in order to soak up that God given energy, without which, they could not fly.

As you look at your cup or mug today, think about it’s boundaries, it’s sides and it’s base.  Without these boundaries, the cup could not perform the function for which it was made.  Without boundaries, it could not contain anything; it could not be filled. As spiritual beings, we need boundaries, boundaries around the time we spend with God.  We need to spend time getting to know God, and our true selves better.  Without those boundaries it would be impossible for us to contain all the good things that God wants to pour into our lives and it would be impossible for us to perform the function for which we were made.

Joyce Rupp's reflection speaks of a cup having an opening, from which it can give and receive.  If we wish to serve God by giving of ourselves to others, we must also make time to receive from Him.  Today is Sunday, the day when we remember that God Himself rested.  Many Mothers will rest today as a treat on Mothering Sunday but whether you are a Mother or not, take time today to be with God, to receive from Him so that like a beautiful butterfly, you can spread your spiritual wings and fly.

(My thoughts, developed after reading Joyce Rupp, “The cup of our life”)

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday Service

Dear friends, as we approach our first Sunday not being able to worship together at St John’s, we wanted to invite you, if you can, to join us in worship in another way. Tomorrow morning, the Archbishop of Canterbury will be broadcasting a live Mothering Sunday Service. 

The service will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship at 08.10 and on local BBC radio stations in England at 8am and will premier online at 9am on Sunday.

The link to join the service online can be found here

At a time of crisis in our nation, we thought it was important to join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ across the Church of England to worship in the spirit of unity and hope, even though we are in different places, we are One Church.

If you know others who do not use the internet but would like to join the service on the radio, please do let them know and share the order of service with them if there is a safe way to do so.

The Order of Service can be found here for you to download and follow along.

Light a candle of hope:
A national call to prayer

In the same spirit of unity, Churches Together in England has invited us all to light a candle of hope in a national call to prayer and action. 

Full details can be found here, but the basic idea, taken from the website is: at 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer. Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour. We may not be able to touch physically, but we can make connections in so many other ways. 

Please attend to all the government health advice and ensure all candles are on a heatproof surface a safe distance away from all flammable materials.

Mothering Sunday

Here is a Hymn that we would normally sing on Mothering Sunday, it seems quite apt

A cup as Prayer

As you make a drink today, look at your cup. When it's empty, it’s not much use, but once it’s been filled it’s inviting, it’s warming, it’s comforting. As Christians we need to be filled, filled with the Holy Spirit; this will make our faith more inviting, warm and comforting. Like our cups, we need to be refilled regularly, pray that God will refill you with His Spirit today. 

Friday, 20 March 2020

Services Suspended

All services suspended
God still works
Updates on the church Blog

Household object - cup

If you look at this picture, you will see that, where the handle is, there is a break in the flower pattern that covers the rest of the mug.  The handle is where we hold the cup.  Now think about the pattern of our lives, where there is a break in that pattern, for instance, a bereavement, a relationship breakdown, redundancy, or even the current situation of self isolation and social distancing; when the pattern of our life is broken, that is when God holds us in His mighty hand.  

Things may be strange for you right now, especially if you live alone, but remember, you are held in God's hand, and that is the safest place to be.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Family Worship

Here is a 25-minute Family-friendly worship led by worship leaders Nick & Becky Drake and their family.

Look on our Facebook page for live stream in the coming weeks.

Be resourceful

In these unusual times, when gathering together to worship God in the church building is not an option, we have to worship Him in other ways.  As I was praying this morning, a thought came into my head about something that my Father and I listened to when I was a child. 

You can view it here

Maybe you could come up with some household objects or tasks that say something to you about the God who has us and this odd situation in His hands.

Daily Prayer

The St John the Baptist church web site has resources to help with daily prayer, you can find the page here

A statement from Crompton House School

The Governors at Crompton House have been made aware of concerns regarding the potential impact  that the closure of places of worship, due to the Covid 19 outbreak, may have on the future applications for Admission to Crompton House. As Governors we  acknowledge the difficulties of the current situation and the concerns of prospective Parents, Students and Clergy. The Governors of Crompton House will provide clear guidance once we know how long the suspension of church services will continue.  Please be assured that no future applications will be penalised due to the limited opportunities for church attendance.”

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Continuing Worship

Plans are being made to enable a form of worship to continue during the suspension of the normal pattern of services, more details can be found here when they are available.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

From the Diocese of Manchester Web Site

What should we do about our APCM?
Any Annual Parochial Church Meetings which have not yet been held should be postponed until late May. As all annual meetings should be held before 31 May, any additional appropriate advice will be issued in due course

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

No Public Worship Until Further Notice

In light of the Government guidance around non-essential contact, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice. 

This will apply to all Church of England Churches including St John's.

All of our usual acts of worship will be suspended including Sunday Morning 8am, Sunday Morning 9.30am, Wednesday 10am, and Thursday 7pm. 

We will be looking in the coming days and weeks to find new ways of being the Church, contacting people by phone instead of visiting and sharing resources to pray and worship at home. If we do not have up to date contact details for you please do get in touch.

The full text of the Archbishops' letter can be found here.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

What's Next? - Mission Action Planning & Pizza

A huge thank you to all who came this morning to think about St John's and what God is calling us to do and what kind of community God is calling us to be. A big thank you to Revd Dr Lee Longden (Sally's husband) who helped lead the morning and shared some of his insights with us. Have a look below at the brilliant 3D model of our Church our young people made and the fantastic pictures they drew (See if you can spot Jesus).

Looking forward to continuing to build on the discussions we had today to help St John's be a healthy and thriving church community for many years to come.