Past Services

September 16th – Trinity 13

Rev Daniel Frett our New Rector

Prayer for this time

Heavenly Father ,our ever present help in trouble, our fortress and our God:
calm the anxious fears of all who turn to you;
give strength and healing to those who are sick,
and courage and skill to those who care for them; grant wisdom and clarity to those in authority; and humble us all to call upon you,
that we may be saved not only in this life,
but also for that which is to come.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Simple Order of Morning Prayer in Ordinary Time

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

We sing to you, O Lord, and bless your name,
And tell of your salvation from day to day.

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.

Worship the Lord.
All praise to his name.

Silent prayer/reflection on the coming day. :

Eternal God,
we praise and thank you for the day
on which you created light
and saw that it was good;
the day on which the disciples
discovered the empty tomb
and met the risen Christ.
This is the day that you have made;
we rejoice and are glad in it.
Blessed be God for ever.

Jubilate Deo (Psalm 100)

The Lord is gracious, his steadfast love is everlasting.

O be joyful in the Lord, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Know that the Lord is God: it is he that has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise:
give thanks to him and bless his name.

For the Lord is gracious; his steadfast love is everlasting:
and his faithfulness endures from generation to generation.

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.

The Lord is gracious, his steadfast love is everlasting.

Bible Reading

FIRST READING Ezekiel 33.7–11

The word of the Lord came to me:

So, you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.

If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked ones, you shall surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand.

But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity,but you will have saved your life.

Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel,

Thus, you have said: ‘Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’

Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live, turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

PSALM 119.33–40

R Give me understanding and I shall keep your law.

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding and I shall keep your law. I shall keep it with all my heart. R

Make me go in the path of your commandments, for that is my desire. Incline my heart to your decrees and not to unjust gain. R

Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways. Fulfil your promise to your servant, which you make to those who fear you. R

Turn away the reproach which I dread, because your judgements are good. Behold, I long for your commandments, in your righteousness preserve my life. R

SECOND READING Romans 13.8–14

Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet’; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word,

‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbour, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.

For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers, the night is far gone, the day is near.

Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy.

Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Gospel of Christ according to Matthew 18. 15-20

Glory to you, O Lord.

‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’

Praise to you, O Christ.

Ted Harrison reflects on an empty rural church, where he found rest for the spirit

APART from one sneaky, two-minute visit to my local church, when I spotted that the churchwarden had opened up to check the building, I hadn’t been inside a church for 125 days. That was until the other day, when, to my delight, I came across an ancient country church in the heart of Wales, tried the big iron handle on the old studded door, and found, to my surprise and delight, that the door opened.

I had never been to that particular church before, but going inside was like meeting an old friend — one of those friends one doesn’t often see, but the moment you are together you pick up the friendship exactly where you left it.

Everything inside the church was so comfortingly typical and familiar. It was a plain, 13th-century structure, with straight-backed Victorian pews, whitewashed walls, unpretentious pulpit, unfussy sanctuary — indeed, few embellishments of any kind, bar a couple of modest memorials to long-dead squires. There were prayer books in a neat row on a shelf at the back of the church; numbers were still on the hymn board from the last service; and a visitors’ book, with just one entry since mid-March (and that was dated the day before) — a veritable time capsule of rural Anglicanism. It was a place where 800 years of the prayers and stories of a community were absorbed into the walls.

Some people, I am sure, would have looked around and seen nothing but a sad reminder of the continuing and relentless decline in churchgoing and rural life. The church was in a glorious position that had been first been consecrated as a sacred Christian place when a hermit settled there in the Dark Ages. In the churchyard was a holy well, now almost completely hidden by brambles. And there were several great yew trees, which may well have been growing before the church was built.

What was missing was a community for the church to serve. There must once have been a village, but, today, the church stands in complete isolation. It can be reached only down a narrow, winding, no-through lane. There is no passing traffic. My wife and I found it because we were looking for it.

I am sure that it would have still had a small, ageing, dedicated congregation who, pre-Covid, would drive there for Sunday worship. There was, I am sure, no longer a vicar — just, I guess, an over-worked priest-in-charge who would rush in to take occasional services before rushing off to his or her next appointment. What a change from the days when the church had its own incumbent who lived in the grand Georgian house a mile away across the fields.

A DISTANT planner in a diocesan office would be forgiven for wondering what purpose the church served. It is, no doubt, high up on a bishop’s list for closure. Tastefully converted, it would make a wonderful rural retreat for a wealthy Londoner, and, by selling it, the diocese could raise thousands of pounds. With central funds’ having taken a nasty hit from the fall-off in income because of coronavirus, the money would come in very handy.

And yet I know that the church serves a purpose that cannot appear on a balance sheet. I had never been there before, but my wife had visited it, pre-pandemic, with a friend. On that occasion, the church was not empty. Situated on a cross-country footpath as it is, there were walkers inside who had called in on their way past. From the evidence of the visitors’ book, it would appear that, in normal times, the church is seen by a steady stream of hikers. It stands as a witness to the eternal nature of God in a frantic world.

It has seen wars, famines, and plagues, but remained constant. It was there during the years of the Black Death. It stood firm during the Civil War. It has seen religious fashions swing from Catholicism to Puritanism and back again. It has been at the heart of celebrations and mourning. It has survived upheavals and disruptions of all kinds. It will long outlive any memories of the Covid-19 lockdown.

We are currently going through a general period of decline in formal religious practice. This, coupled with the depopulation of the countryside, means that the old purpose of churches such as this one is changing. They are no longer parish churches for the families, farms, and workers living around, but places for outsiders to discover — often by chance. They are resting places for walkers. Places for them to shelter, pause, and, in the silence, reflect. A kind of spiritual service station on the journey through life.

The Benedictus

In your tender compassion, O God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us. 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.

In your tender compassion, O God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us.


Lord Jesus, who in your Gospel taught us to be bold in speaking out when we see and hear wrong being perpetrated.  Through these, our intercessions, we come before you to pray for your church and for the world. Help us, O Lord, to guard against all self-righteousness, to have the grace to repent, and above all to love You, and our neighbour as ourselves. (Short Silence)

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Eternal God, whose Spirit moved over the face of the deep bringing forth light and life; by that same Spirit, renew your creation, and restore your image in your people. Turn us, O Lord, from careless tenants of this world to being faithful stewards. May your threefold blessing of clean air, pure water and a rich earth be the inheritance of everything that has the breath of life; that one generation may proclaim to another the wonder of your works. (Short Silence)

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Creator God increase in us love not only for the victims, but for the perpetrators of evil and violence in our world. We pray for all governments which run on corruption, fear, and deceit. (Pause) Lord, we pray that all may know your holy Word; that they may thereby gain the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes from dedicating their lives to your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. (Short Silence)

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Father God, never may our closeness to family and friends in our churches make us exclusive, thereby shutting others out. (Pause) Help us to be united by your Word, and in love and fellowship with all, regardless of their traditions. Encourage us, Father God, in outgoing hospitality, and keep us from becoming possessive in all aspects of our lives. (Short Silence)

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Loving God, we pray for all offenders in prison, that on release they will not re-offend but find enough support to start a new life in the community. We pray too for all in the Prisons and Probationary Services. (Pause) We pray for all who are vulnerable and unable to cope with the demands of life: for alcoholics, drug, and gambling addicts. (Pause)

We pray too for all who are suffering as a result of the recession bought about by Covid-19. Those who’ve experienced family break-up; the children who’ve been taken into care: young people who’ve been placed in hostels. Those struggling to feed their children. (Pause)

Finally, we pray most merciful Father, for all who are sick in body, mind, and spirit, and for those who care for them.  [Among those from our Community we pray most especially for David Bloutflower and all others known to us.] (Short Silence)

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we pray for those who have died alone, un-mourned and unnoticed. We pray for those who have committed suicide or died in accidents of their own making. We commend them to your merciful love. We pray for all those we have loved and see no longer. (Short Silence) We pray for the souls of all those who’ve died recently (Short Silence) Finally, we pray for all those whose anniversary of their parting falls at this time. (Short Silence)

Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Keep us Lord, in the joy, the simplicity, and the compassionate love of the gospel. Bless us and our families this day, particularly those with whom we’re committed to sharing our lives.

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour

Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer is said.

The Collect for Trinity 13

 Almighty God, who called your Church to bear witness that you were in Christ reconciling the world to yourself: help us to proclaim the good news of your love, that all who hear it may be drawn to you; through him who was lifted up on the cross, and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 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.