Uncategorized

Reflection: Easter 7, Year C John 17:20-26

Posted on

Meditation: Easter 7

What you do matters. It may not feel much like it, as you drag yourself from Sunday to Sunday, out to this place to sing hymns, hear Scripture and then return to the fields and plains, the town and city of your life, your family, your work.

And yet it matters. Why?

Because it’s true. Because of your worship, prayer and witness to the love of Jesus makes a difference in this world, empowered by prayer, emboldened by faith. It is prayer that we should think of today: our prayer, frail as it may be, and the prayer of Jesus, praying for us.

Our Gospel today offers a powerful opportunity to see prayer in unity. We are, in our Gospel, brought back on the night of Maundy Thursday, when Jesus gathers his disciples around him for a final meal. He washes their feet, setting an example for them. He shares the first Eucharist with them and then gives them a commandment to love another. And then he tries to prepare them for his departure.

In some ways, it’s an impossible task. The disciples can’t comprehend what is happening; perhaps they can’t even hear him through their confusion and fear. And so when he has said all that they can bear, he promises them that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, will come to them, remind them of what he’s said, and lead them into all truth.

And then he does one more thing. He prays for them.

The prayer is complex enough, even convoluted enough, that we can forget that it is a prayer. Indeed, we call it the “high priestly prayer” because it is not only intense, but also at portions – including in this reading – rather theologically dense. In some ways, in fact, it sounds more like a commandment – to be one; or more teaching – this time about his relationship with the Father; or even more promises – that they will one day be where Jesus is going and share his glory. But at heart it’s none of these things. It’s a prayer. It’s the prayer of one person praying for others, others whom he loves.

And that’s important. If you’ve ever had someone pray for you – not in general, but really just for you – I am sure you know what I mean.

That’s what Jesus does here. He prays for his disciples. He senses their anxiety, confusion, and fear, and so he prays for them. He knows they can bear no more, and so he prays for them. He knows he will soon leave them, and so he prays for them. And as he does, and whether or not they understand everything he says, he tells them that they do not have to do everything or even understand everything. He tells them that he is there to support him, that they are not alone, and that they are valued and loved.

It’s a powerful moment. And one of the amazing things about this passage is that Jesus doesn’t do this only for them, but also for us. As Jesus prays, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word…” And that includes us! We are the latest in a long line of persons who have been inspired and encouraged to believe because of the words and lives of those original disciples.

And what does Jesus pray for? “That they may be one.” That we may be one – one with each other, one with Jesus and the Father, one with ourselves. And that being one, we may have peace.

So my suggestion this week, my friends, would be to invite you and those outside this church to hear these words of Jesus addressed to us today. Imagine – really, to imagine – that Jesus was praying for us all those years ago and continues to care for us, to support us, and to love and value us today.

Take a moment to think about where you need to be one, to be more whole, to have more peace in your life. Imagine that Jesus is praying just for you and, indeed, for all of us.

After Ascension we are told that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in glory, ever interceding for us, ever praying for us. We have him on our side.

Let us pray…

Hear us Lord Jesus as we pray for the world, for those who do not know you and for ourselves that we might share the love you have for us, so that we may all be one. In your name. Amen

adapted with thanks from http://www.workingpreacher.org/craft.aspx?m=4377&post=2566

Uncategorized

Pancakes and Beetle (sort of) Drive, 2016

Posted on

CazH2F0W0AESUHd

We had such fun on Shrove Tuesday… ate a shedload of pancakes with loads of lovely toppings (all kindly donated by people) and played a variation on the much loved “Beetle” – we drew a church and shouted “Halleluia!” when complete. It’s a great, simple, intergenerational game which as you can see can engage children and adults of all ages. Much fun, and I hope we can make it bigger next year.

Uncategorized

Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage 2015

Posted on

National Youth Pilgrimage to Walsingham

“yeah, it’s a long way, but when we get there it’s such a laugh”

 

  • Imagine camping for a week with nearly a thousand other young people
  • Imagine joining in worship which is both traditional and yet radical, new and exciting
  • Imagine praying and playing, eating and dancing, sporting and laughing with your friends and making new friends from all around the UK
  • Imagine visiting somewhere which for more than 950 years has been one of the most special sacred places in England

The National Youth Pilgrimage has become one of the highlights of the Church of England’s year: a diverse gathering of young people from across the UK camping together (but better than just being in a field – there are showers and proper toilets!) and sharing a special week.

There’s a cool café to hang out in, Mass each day in a Big Top with the amazing band CJM, Bishop Lindsay’s Bible Studies, BBQ & Disco to open the Pilgrimage, and a last night disco and karaoke; an amazing and powerful All-Night Liturgy in the middle of the week, and a great Workshop afternoon with crafts, dance, sport, drama, music with CJM – and inflatables!

1This year’s theme is a nod towards our Swedish friends as well as prayer in a Pilgrimage called “ABBA Father”, so expect a few Eurovision Classics alongside cool liturgy, worship and explorations of the many different forms of prayer… and what does that prayer Jesus taught us actually mean?

Last year the theme was based on Dr Who and it was amazing

 

 

2
Exeter Pilgrims leading Worship

3
Worship in a Big Top

4
Walking the Holy Mile, as Pilgrims have done for centuries

Practical Stuff

When is the Pilgrimage?

We leave early on the morning of Monday 27th July and get back late on Friday 31st July. It’s the first week of the Summer Holidays… The Plymouth pilgrims will spend Saturday 25th and 26th in Teignmouth before joining the Pilgrims from Exeter, leaving quite early on the Monday morning and we hope that other young people from across the diocese will come & join us.

How much is it?

The cost of the whole week, including transport and food is only £120, which is a real bargain! We do need a £10 deposit to secure your place, and it would be great if payment is complete before the middle of July.

Where is it again?

It’s a small place in Norfolk called Walsingham. It is a long way away, but the journey itself is part of the Pilgrimage and such a lot of fun

5

Who’s Going?

We are a group made up of a number of Parishes from across Devon, from Plymouth to Exeter and all points in between. Come with a friend or two, or come and make new friends. The group is led by Fr. Robin Eastoe and his daughter Alice (who spent a whole year working with young people at the Shrine giving a Year4God). There are other Church youth leaders on the team and everyone has the appropriate training and CRB paperwork so you can be safe and well looked after.

What will I need?

You’ll need a tent, some wellies (it rains almost as much in Norfolk as it does here!) and some party clothes besides your normal clothes. We often go to the beach which is very nearby, and so you might need swimming gear. There is also the final night Eurovision ball, so you might want to pack your tuxedo or ballgown as well. There’s a Café selling everything from the most tasty Hot Chocolate in Europe to enough chocolate to give you the energy to give you that X-Factor.

A full kit list will be available closer to the time. We will need to know your T-Shirt size before the 8th July to get you a T-Shirt

More Questions?

If you (or your parents, your youth leader, your parish priest etc) have any more questions, please email fr.simon@rundell.org.uk or call/text 07976 802123 and Fr Simon will be happy to help.

Okay, I’m interested… How do I book

Why not complete the consent forms attached and send them to either:

Fr. Simon Rundell SCP Fr. Robin Eastoe SSC
S. Mary the Virgin, Bickleigh S. Michael & All Angels, Heavitree
The Vicarage The Vicarage
33 Leat Walk, Roborough 10 Victoria Park Road
Plymouth, PL6 7AT Exeter, EX2 4NT
Uncategorized

BCP for Corpus Christi, 2015

Posted on

CORPUS CHRISTI BCP (Tablet Version)

THE LORD’S PRAYER
kneeling before the altar

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. Amen.

The altar is reverenced

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost
Amen

The Lord be with you
And with thy Spirit

THE COLLECT

Almighty God,
unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy holy Name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord;
and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,
and with all thy strength.
This is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this:
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
There is none other commandment greater than these.
On these two commandments
hang all the law and the prophets.

Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these thy laws
in our hearts, we beseech thee.

COLLECT FOR THE QUEEN

Let us pray.

Almighty God,
whose kingdom is ever-lasting, and power infinite:
Have mercy upon the whole Church;
and so rule the heart of thy chosen servant
ELIZABETH, our Queen and Governor,
that she (knowing whose minister she is)
may above all things seek thy honour and glory:
and that we and all her subjects
(duly considering whose authority she hath)
may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey her,
in thee, and for thee,
according to thy blessed Word and ordinance;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth,
ever one God, world without end. Amen.

COLLECT OF THE DAY (+Advent & Lent Collects in Season)

Let us pray

God our Father,
whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderful Sacrament
hath left unto us a memorial of his passion:
Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of his
Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves
the fruit of his redemption;
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

THE EPISTLE

The Epistle is written in the 11th Chapter of the first epistle of Paul to the people of the City of Corinth beginning at the 23rd Verse.

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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.

At the end of the Epistle

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

THE HOLY GOSPEL

The holy Gospel is written in the 6th Chapter of John beginning at the 47th Verse.
Glory be to thee, O Lord.

Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’

At the end of the Gospel:

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise be to thee, O Christ.

HOMILY

Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacle of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc—one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei—the holy common people of God.

THE CREED

I believe in one God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth,
And of all things visible and invisible:

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only-begotten Son of God,
Begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God,
Begotten, not made,
Being of one substance with the Father,
By whom all things were made:
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary,
And was made man,
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
And the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures,
And ascended into heaven,
And sitteth on the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory
to judge both the quick and the dead:
Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost,
The Lord and giver of life,
Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
Who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified,
Who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church.
I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
And the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Priest prepares the Holy Table

THE PRAYERS

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church militant here in earth.

Almighty and everliving God,
who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us
to make prayers and supplications,
and to give thanks, for all men:
We humbly beseech thee most mercifully
to receive these our prayers,
which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty;
beseeching thee to inspire continually
the universal Church
with the spirit of truth, unity, and concord:
And grant, that all they
that do confess thy holy Name
may agree in the truth of thy holy Word,
and live in unity, and godly love.
We beseech thee also to save and defend
all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors;
and specially thy servant ELIZABETH our Queen;
that under her we may be godly and quietly governed:
And grant unto her whole Council,
and to all that are put in authority under her,
that they may truly and indifferently minister justice,
to the punishment of wickedness and vice,
and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.

Give grace, O heavenly Father,
to all Bishops and Curates,
that they may both by their life and doctrine
set forth thy true and lively Word,
and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments:
And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace;
and specially to this congregation here present;
that, with meek heart and due reverence,
they may hear, and receive thy holy Word;
truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness
all the days of their life.

And we most humbly beseech thee
of thy goodness, O Lord,
to comfort and succour all them,
who in this transitory life
are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness,
or any other adversity.

And we also bless thy holy Name
for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear;
beseeching thee to give us grace
so to follow their good examples,
that with them we may be partakers
of thy heavenly kingdom:
Grant this, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

THE CONFESSION

Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the Holy Communion,

Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins,
and are in love and charity with your neighbours,
and intend to lead a new life,
following the commandments of God,
and walking from henceforth in his holy ways:
Draw near with faith,
and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort;
and make your humble confession to Almighty God,
meekly kneeling upon your knees.

Kneel

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Maker of all things,
Judge of all men:
We acknowledge and bewail
our manifold sins and wickedness,
Which we from time to time
most grievously have committed,
By thought, word, and deed,
Against thy Divine Majesty,
Provoking most justly
thy wrath and indignation against us.
We do earnestly repent,
And are heartily sorry for these our misdoings;
The remembrance of them is grievous unto us;
The burden of them is intolerable.
Have mercy upon us,
Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father;
For thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
Forgive us all that is past;
And grant that we may ever hereafter
Serve and please thee
In newness of life,
To the honour and glory of thy Name;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Stand

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
who of his great mercy
hath promised forgiveness of sins
to all them that with hearty repentance
and true faith turn unto him;
Have mercy upon you;
pardon + and deliver you from all your sins;
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness;
and bring you to everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE COMFORTABLE WORDS

Then shall the Priest say,

Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all that truly turn to him.

Come unto me all that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. St. Matthew 11.28

So God loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John 3.16

Hear also what Saint Paul saith.

This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
1 St. Timothy 1.15

Hear also what Saint John saith.

If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. 1 St. John 2.1

After which the Priest shall proceed, saying,

The Lord be with you.
And with thy Spirit.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up unto the Lord.

Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
It is meet and right so to do.

Then shall the Priest say,

It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty,
that we should at all times, and in all places,
give thanks unto thee, O Lord,
Holy Father,
Almighty, Everlasting God.

And now we give thee thanks
because, having loved his own who were in the world,
he loved them to the end;
and on the night before he suffered,
sitting at table with his disciples,
he instituted these holy mysteries,
that we, redeemed by his death
and restored to life by his resurrection,
might be partakers of his divine nature.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we laud and magnify thy glorious Name;
evermore praising thee, and saying:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts,
heaven and earth are full of thy glory:
Glory be to thee, O Lord most High. Amen.

THE PRAYER OF HUMBLE ACCESS
Bowing

We do not presume to come to this thy Table,
O merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in thy manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy so much
as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.
But thou art the same Lord,
whose property is always to have mercy:
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood,
that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body,
and our souls washed through his most precious blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.
Amen.

THE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
who of thy tender mercy
didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ
to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption;
who made there
(by his one oblation of himself once offered)
a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice,
oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world;
and did institute,
and in his holy Gospel command us to continue,
a perpetual memory of that his precious death,
until his coming again:
Hear us, O merciful Father,
we most humbly beseech thee;
and grant that we receiving these
thy creatures of bread and wine,
according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s
holy institution,
in remembrance of his death and passion,
may be partakers of his most blessed + Body and Blood:

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took Bread; and, when he had given thanks,
he brake it, fraction and gave it to his disciples, saying,

Take, eat;
this is my Body
which is given for you:
Do this in remembrance of me.

Likewise after supper he took the Cup;
and, when he had given thanks,
he gave it to them, saying,

Drink ye all of this;
for this is my Blood of the New Testament,
which is shed for you and for many
for the remission of sins:
Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it,
in remembrance of me. Amen.

Then shall the Priest first receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and then proceed to deliver the same to those present in like manner,

And, when he delivereth the Bread to any one, he shall say,

The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life: Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.

And the Minister that delivereth the Cup to any one shall say,

The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life: Drink this in remembrance that Christ’s Blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.

When all have communicated, the Minister shall return to the Lord’s Table, and reverently place upon it what remaineth of the consecrated Elements, and dispose of them reverently and discretely.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

After shall the Priest say:

O Lord and heavenly Father,
we thy humble servants
entirely desire thy fatherly goodness
mercifully to accept this our sacrifice
of praise and thanksgiving;
most humbly beseeching thee to grant,
that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ,
and through faith in his blood,
we and all thy whole Church
may obtain remission of our sins,
and all other benefits of his passion.

And here we offer
and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves,
our souls and bodies,
to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee;
humbly beseeching thee,
that all we, who are partakers of this holy Communion,
may be fulfilled with thy grace and heavenly benediction.

And although we be unworthy,
through our manifold sins,
to offer unto thee any sacrifice,
yet we beseech thee to accept this
our bounden duty and service;
not weighing our merits,
but pardoning our offences,

through Jesus Christ our Lord;
by whom, and with whom,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
all honour and glory be unto thee,
O Father Almighty,
world without end. Amen.

THE GLORIA IN EXCELSIS

Glory be to God on high,
and in earth peace, good will towards men.
We praise thee, we bless thee,
we worship thee, we glorify thee,
we give thanks to thee for thy great glory,
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesu Christ;
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father,
have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy;
thou only art the Lord;
thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost,
art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Then the Priest shall let them depart with this Blessing.

The peace of God,
which passeth all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord:
And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.

Go in the peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Uncategorized

Reading Scriptures in Church

Posted on

Download: Reading Scripture in Church 2014

Bible Readings in Church

Almost anyone could do the readings. Almost anyone could do them badly and/or carelessly. But, with a little effort, most people could do them well. A little thought and a little planning can make all the difference.

Morning Prayer is part of the Church’s daily cycle of prayer: an ongoing engagement with God’s Word in Scripture and Prayer, whereas the Mass is not just worship solely led by the Priest. It is comprised of two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Sacrament. In a Mass, both are equally important, as we cannot feed properly from the Blessed Sacrament unless we have been first fed by God’s word. The word is God is also incomplete until we have partaken in God’s Holy Sacraments; so through reading in Church you are undertaking a vital role in the life and worship of this Church.

If you haven’t worked at it, don’t expect, miraculously, to do it well. God provides miracles when a problem is beyond human solution. This is not one of those.

First Things First

Clearly, you can’t just roll up on Sunday morning, stride to the front and begin reading. So to prepare: You get out your Bible, turn up the first passage and begin reading. Wrong! The first thing you should do is pray. At this stage, pray that you will understand the passages. You cannot read anything well if you do not understand it

Spadework

When you have prayed, read the other passages, including the Gospel. The three year Common Worship Lectionary chooses readings that are thematically linked to the season and ensure that the Liturgy of the Word is based on a common theme. An RCL lectionary can be obtained from any Christian bookshop, and the readings for each day can be downloaded from the internet into your Computer (see http://frsimon.wordpress.com/electric-ordo/) . The readings are distributed to you at least a few weeks in advance before the service. Understanding how your reading fits into the whole will guide you as to how to play this reading.

Dramatise

No one expects an Oscar-winning performance from you, but the most thrilling and momentous passages will seem deadly dull if they are read in a flat monotone. Pray about this, too. Look for any direct speech and work out how it might be said. Is it a question? a command? Should it be said in an angry tone? or a comforting one? Is there a point at which a slight pause would be appropriate, perhaps to let some great truth sink in? If there is no speech you can try to convey the general mood of the passage. Does it record a happy event? or a sad one? Read through again, putting in these effects in your head. Try any difficult words out loud, to make sure you can get your tongue round them. More on this later

Sunday Morning

By now the passages should seem like old friends. Read them through again, either at home or, having arrived at church sufficiently early, sitting quietly in a pew. (Of course, there is a greater danger that you will be interrupted, if you choose the latter.) This reading should also be accompanied by prayer. Pray that you will recall all the mental notes you have made and give thanks that you don’t have to do any of this in your own strength. God will calm your nerves too. I once had a friend, a gifted speaker, who told me that she was always very nervous before she began. ‘If I stopped being nervous I should stop accepting invitations to speak,’ she said, ‘because then, I would know that I was doing it in my own strength and not depending on God.

Practicalities

Except for when you are actually reading, you should be as unobtrusive as possible. Sit at the end of a pew so that you don’t have to disturb other people, and in a place where you don’t have to walk across the front of the church to get out to the lectern. Unless you have been told otherwise, the readings will be from the Jerusalem Bible, and are printed on the weekly service sheet.

Anticipate. Don’t sit in your place until there is a long silence. By the time the priest has finished the Collect you should be standing at the lectern, ready to begin, and by the end of each reading, the next person should be ready to take over almost without a pause. Being ready and in position will give you time for one last ‘arrow’ prayer for support. Don’t worry about the microphone. You don’t have to do anything to it. That is not your responsibility. If there is a problem, someone will step in to assist you or make adjustments with the controller or mixing desk. All you need to do is speak clearly and loudly, as the microphone is there to support your voice, not replace it. You don’t need to lean towards the microphone or touch it. At the front of Church people will be listening primarily to you and not the speakers. You need to speak loudly enough to be clearly heard over half the Church.

This is It

The service sheet indicates how the reading should be introduced in italics at the top. It usually takes the form “A reading from the Book of X” or “A reading from the letter of Paul to Y”. You should not read out the reference which sounds disjointed: the reading is in front of everyone so there is no scrabbling for it in a pew bible.

There should be a slight pause before beginning the text. Give expression to your reading and make use of full stops, commas and speech marks to make the reading varied and interesting. Although there is no place for silly voices in a Scriptural Reading, one should be able to differentiate in texture between the narrative of the text and the spoken word. Remember that sometimes a dramatic pause can make all the difference to a reading, particularly after a key phrase.

At the end of the reading, again make a slight pause and say, ‘This is the word of the Lord’. The congregation will respond, ‘Thanks be to God’.

Responsorial Psalms when read in the Mass should introduce the response: “The response to the Psalm is…” followed by a short pause and then repeat the response itself, where the congregation will join in with you. You need to boldly repeat the response during the Responsorial Psalm so that the congregation knows to follow with you. Sometimes they do not have the words in front of them so they are relying on you to lead them, and it might not sink in first time. Say the Psalm versicles in the same manner as a normal poetic reading, and repeat again boldly with the congregation the response to the Psalm.

If you are leading the Psalm in morning prayer, you announce the Psalm with either the traditional “The Psalm appointed for today: Psalm X” or more informally “Psalm X”. The separate sheet with the Psalm on it will be laid out for congregational reading. The Odd-numbered lines are your lines, the even-numbered lines are in bold and are for the congregation to respond. You will note that there is a diamond or an asterisk half way through the line. You should pause at that point for a moment (perhaps a count of 2) before the rest of the line. Even if the congregation ploughs on with their responses, we must gradually and gently teach the congregation to say the Psalm slowly and reflectively together, listening to each other. You will be able to model that for the Congregation. If the congregation is slow or reluctant t say their lines, lead them in saying the even-numbered verses as well. At the end of the Psalm for morning prayer we all say together the “Glory Be”.

At the end of each reading or Psalm there should be a momentary pause if you are continuing. If someone else is taking over from you, step away as the congregation makes their last response enabling the next reader to pick up with only a momentary pause. There should be a distinct gap between readings but not a long embarrassed silence. When you are back in your place don’t forget to thank God for His help. Now you can relax and enjoy the rest of the service.

Those Awful Hebrew Names

Most people don’t have a problem with New Testament names. It’s the unusual ones in the Old Testament which are difficult. Here are one or two pointers which may help. Since the Hebrew alphabet is totally different from ours, the letters are already transliterated so that the consonants can be treated just like English. These are not exactly right, but near enough. The problem with the vowels (a,e,i,o,u.) is that, in English, we make one letter represent a number of different sounds. The letter ‘a’ for example, can be interpreted in eight different ways. This doesn’t happen in other languages. Few of them have so many vocals and, in any case, the use of accents, or diacritics makes the pronunciation clear. Hebrew has very few vowel sounds. As a rule of thumb, except for familiar anglicised names, if you always pronounce a as in ‘pat’, e as in ‘egg’, i as in ‘chick’, o as in ‘note’ u as in ‘rule’ you’ll be about right. Double a as in ‘Baal’ is said as a long ‘a’ sound – ‘Baaaaal’. If you encounter a word which leaves you totally stuck, check with one of the Clergy or Readers.

The most important advice with difficult names or words is to do something and to do it with confidence. Even if the word is wrong to the ears of Hebrew scholars, we won’t notice unless you draw attention to it. So, when confronted with a difficult word, say it how you have worked it out and don’t look back. Never stop and apologise. God doesn’t mind and nor should we.

Summary

To help you remember all of this, here are five ‘P’s;

  • Pray First and last
  • Prepare Thoughtfully
  • Practice Thoroughly
  • Position In good time
  • Pronounce Clearly

I hope you will enjoy reading the Holy Scriptures in Church. Your contribution is appreciated and valued.

signature2

 

 

Fr. Simon Rundell SCP
Vicar

Uncategorized

Leading Intercessions in Church

Posted on

Download: Leading Intercessions in Church 2014

Leading Intercessions in Church

Why ask lay people to lead intercessions?

Worship is something in which we are all engaged and involved. Lay people, taking a vocal, leadership role in services send out very positive messages to the rest of the congregation about the importance of every church member playing their part. Using a variety of people will hopefully bring a variety of approaches and insights to this part of our worship.

How?

You can’t just arrive at the service, stand up and lead intercessions. You need to have an idea of the theme of the worship, so you need to have read the passages of Holy Scripture beforehand to link your prayers to the shape of the worship. You also need to be aware of events that are happening or breaking both locally, nationally and internationally, but use them to shape the theme of your prayers, not to be a re-reading of the News at Ten!

Most importantly, you need to PRAY. Pray that you understand the theme and that God will guide you to lead prayers effectively.

Be aware that leading prayer is not at all like praying privately or silently: it should not weave in and around themes, return to things previously mentioned, change tack abruptly as you think of something new. When we pray alone, this is the Spirit prompting us in new and exciting directions, but when we do this out loud, it just descends into an uncoordinated mess, as others will have difficulty following your stream of consciousness. For this reason, your intercessions should be:

  • Planned
  • Succinct
  • Short
  • Relevant

Specifics

You do need to be aware of what is happening in the world, and sometimes it is appropriate to build these into your intercessions—a good example would be the death of a member of the Royal Family, a Tsunami or Earthquake.

The prayer is collective and should always be “We pray…” When you lead intercessions in the first person “Lord, I Pray…“, it is very exclusive. You are leading us all in prayer, not parading your piety before the congregation (see Matthew 6:1)

The bidding prayer at the beginning gives you an opportunity to set the tone of the prayers as well as being a signal for those who wish to sit or kneel for prayer. In the Mass, usually the priest will open with this bidding prayer, or you may use it. One of the classic bidding prayers indicates the manner in which we pray:

“In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ Jesus, let us pray to the Father…”

Intercessions should always address the Father primarily. Phrases at the beginning of each petition can be: Heavenly Father, Lord God, Loving Father and so on

Once you have chosen one form of address for God, stick with it.

Who/What should I pray for?

Traditionally, we pray for:

  • The Church
  • The World
  • The Community
  • The Sick
  • The Dying
  • Uniting our prayers with the company of heaven and asking the intercession of Mary
  • Allowing space for our own prayers

However, you can pray in any form you want to. Other prayer ideas might include Spoken Intercessions, Visual Intercessions (Playing music, showing pictures), a Prayer Tree, using Stones or Pebbles, Clay, Prayer Strings with Knots, Bubbles blown into the air, Ribbons or flowers or shells placed on something or Candles placed in sand: Be creative!

If we pray for the Church, we MUST pray for our Bishops: Robert and Nick. If we pray for any of the other churches, then we must pray for them all. A form of words which is appropriate is:

“We pray for Justin, Our Archbishop, Francis, Bishop of Rome, Bartholomew the Ecumenical Patriarch and the leaders of the Reformed Churches”

As your Vicar, I also greatly appreciate being prayed for at every opportunity.

Intercessions need not be a litany of the news, but should be directed more towards common themes of the week. When praying for something, DO NOT be tempted to ramble on about it: bring it before the people and let them pray about it in their own way:

“We pray for the situation in Iraq and pray for the hand of peace to calm tensions there at present”

Everyone can then have their own private focus and God can sort it out how He wills. I recommend no more than 4 or 5 petitions, rounded off with a response. If you are introducing a new or slightly different response, begin your prayers with:

“The response to ‘Let us pray to the Lord’ is ‘Lord have mercy’

And then say the response so that the congregation can repeat it back to you.

Be aware of the names of the people on our notice sheet who have requested prayers, but ALWAYS RESPECT CONFIDENTIALITY

You may know of people who are sick, dying, having a ‘hard time’. Some people will tell you their problems, but do not expect the whole of Plymouth to hear about them during the intercessions.

Rather than saying ‘We pray for N as she faces a hard time at the moment’ better say ‘We pray for all facing their own trials at this time’ unless they have asked to be on the sheet by name.

Use of the Hail Mary or the prayers for the faithful departed:

“+Rest Eternal Grant unto them, O Lord
And let light perpetual shine upon them
May they rest in peace
and rise in glory

are strongly encouraged.

At the end, please close with a bidding to which the unequivocal response is “Amen”

“Heavenly Father, trusting in your love and mercy,
we lay these prayers before you, which we ask in the name of Jesus,
the Lord. Amen.”

Don’t forget that many newcomers to church don’t know classical Anglican prayer endings and for reasons of space they can’t fit on the Mass card, so please avoid them.

Practicalities

Except for when you are leading the intercessions, you should be as unobtrusive as possible. Sit at the end of the pew so you don’t have to disturb other people. Anticipate. By the time we have finished the Creed, you should be ready to begin. I advise setting off at the line “we believe in the Holy Spirit”, for it is she who is sending you to lead prayers anyway! Being in position will give you plenty of time for one last ‘arrow prayer’ for support.

Don’t worry about the microphone, or switching it on, or moving the lectern after you have finished. As you return to your seat, give thanks to God privately that you have done His work in leading the people of God in prayer.

Resources

There are many printed resources on the bookshelves, and if you want to use them as a guide, please do. In the black legillium book there are four or five stock Intercessions for when inspiration really does not strike; it also contains a number of useful openings and closing prayers and a broad outline; also, we are happy to help you. The internet is a resource, but be careful as there are some sites with strange ideas! The one resource we cannot do without is the Holy Spirit. As we keep re-iterating, the best and only way to intercede is to pray yourself first for the Holy Spirit to give you inspiration, and it will come.

If you make a mistake during your intercessions, do not worry: keep going. If you do not draw attention to yourself, no-one will notice. Never stop and apologise.

Summary

To help you remember all of this, here are five ‘P’s;

  • Pray First and last
  • Prepare Thoughtfully
  • Practice Thoroughly
  • Position In good time
  • Pronounce Clearly

I hope you will enjoy leading prayer in Church. Your contribution is appreciated and valued.

signature2

 

 

Fr. Simon Rundell SCP
Vicar

Uncategorized

Remember Me

Posted on

To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated.
But to the happy, I am at peace.
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon the shore,
gazing at the beautiful sea, remember me.

As you look in awe at a mighty forest
and in its grand majesty, remember me.
Remember me in your hearts,
in your thoughts, and the memories of the
times we loved, the times we cried,
the battle we fought and the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me,
I will never have gone.

Anon.