Friday, 31 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Friday, 31 July 2020

Another day - another Compline. It's the way to close the day and square everything away before we head for bed. Compline (Completion) is THE only way to deal with all that the day has been - handing it over into God's care (along with ourselves).



Not sure why the header on the video says Saturday - I know it's Friday :-)

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 30 July 2020

William Wilberforce, Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson, Anti-Slavery Campaigners 1833, 1797 and 1846

Psalm 14
The fool has said in his heart,‘There is no God.’ Corrupt are they, and abominable in their wickedness; there is no one that does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the children of earth, to see if there is anyone who is wise and seeks after God. But every one has turned back; all alike have become corrupt: there is none that does good; no, not one.

Have they no knowledge, those evildoers, who eat up my people as if they ate bread and do not call upon the Lord? There shall they be in great fear; for God is in the company of the righteous Though they would confound the counsel of the poor, yet the Lord shall be their refuge. O that Israel’s salvation would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, then will Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

Psalm 15
Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
Who may rest upon your holy hill?

Whoever leads an uncorrupt life and does the thing that is right; who speaks the truth from the heart and bears no deceit on the tongue; who does no evil to a friend and pours no scorn on a neighbour; in whose sight the wicked are not esteemed, but who honours those who fear the Lord. Whoever has sworn to a neighbour and never goes back on that word; who does not lend money in hope of gain, nor takes a bribe against the innocent; whoever does these things shall never fall.

Psalm 16
Preserve me, O God, for in you have I taken refuge; I have said to the Lord, ‘You are my lord, all my good depends on you.’ All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, upon those who are noble in heart. Though the idols are legion that many run after, their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, neither make mention of their names upon my lips. The Lord himself is my portion and my cup; in your hands alone is my fortune. My share has fallen in a fair land; indeed, I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel, and in the night watches he instructs my heart. I have set the Lord always before me; he is at my right hand; I shall not fall. Wherefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my flesh also shall rest secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Death, nor suffer your faithful one to see the Pit. You will show me the path of life; in your presence is the fullness of joy and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

1 Samuel 12
Samuel said to all Israel, ‘I have listened to you in all that you have said to me, and have set a king over you. See, it is the king who leads you now; I am old and grey, but my sons are with you. I have led you from my youth until this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.’ They said, ‘You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from the hand of anyone.’ He said to them, ‘The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.’ And they said, ‘He is witness.’

Samuel said to the people, ‘The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore take your stand, so that I may enter into judgement with you before the Lord, and I will declare to you all the saving deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your ancestors. When Jacob went into Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your ancestors cried to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought forth your ancestors out of Egypt, and settled them in this place. But they forgot the Lord their God; and he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of King Jabin of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. Then they cried to the Lord, and said, “We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord, and have served the Baals and the Astartes; but now rescue us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve you.”

And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak, and Jephthah, and Samson, and rescued you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you lived in safety. But when you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, “No, but a king shall reign over us”, though the Lord your God was your king. See, here is the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; see, the Lord has set a king over you. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and heed his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well; but if you will not heed the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king.

Now therefore take your stand and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that the wickedness that you have done in the sight of the Lord is great in demanding a king for yourselves.’ So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

All the people said to Samuel, ‘Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of demanding a king for ourselves.’ And Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless. For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.’

Luke 22.47-62
While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’

Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, ‘Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’ At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.

The Collect
God our deliverer, who sent your Son Jesus Christ to set your people free from the slavery of sin: grant that, as your servants William Wilberforce, Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Clarkson toiled against the sin of slavery, so we may bring compassion to all and work for the freedom of all the children of God; 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.


Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Wednesday, 29 July 2020

As night closes in and the day comes to it close we reflect on the day and offer thanks, praise and confess our failings to Almighty God. We pray for the needs of the world and those in it (known and unknown) and, laying it all at the feet of Jesus, the Christ, we head for bed.

Evening Prayer (streamed service) - Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Psalm 11, Psalm 12, Psalm 13
Ezekiel 18.21–32
2 Corinthians 12


 

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Companions of our Lord

Psalm 119.1-32
Blessed are those whose way is pure, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his testimonies and seek him with their whole heart, those who do no wickedness, but walk in his ways. You, O Lord, have charged that we should diligently keep your commandments.

O that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes. Then should I not be put to shame, because I have regard for all your commandments. I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, when I have learned your righteous judgements. I will keep your statutes; O forsake me not utterly.
How shall young people cleanse their way to keep themselves according to your word? With my whole heart have I sought you; O let me not go astray from your commandments. Your words have I hidden within my heart, that I should not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; O teach me your statutes.
With my lips have I been telling of all the judgements of your mouth. I have taken greater delight in the way of your testimonies than in all manner of riches. I will meditate on your commandments and contemplate your ways. My delight shall be in your statutes and I will not forget your word.
O do good to your servant that I may live, and so shall I keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law. I am a stranger upon earth; hide not your commandments from me. My soul is consumed at all times with fervent longing for your judgements.

You have rebuked the arrogant; cursed are those who stray from your commandments. Turn from me shame and rebuke, for I have kept your testimonies. Rulers also sit and speak against me, but your servant meditates on your statutes. For your testimonies are my delight; they are my faithful counsellors.

My soul cleaves to the dust; O give me life according to your word. I have acknowledged my ways and you have answered me; O teach me your statutes. Make me understand the way of your commandments, and so shall I meditate on your wondrous works. My soul melts away in tears of sorrow; raise me up according to your word.

Take from me the way of falsehood; be gracious to me through your law. I have chosen the way of truth and your judgements have I laid before me. I hold fast to your testimonies; O Lord, let me not be put to shame. I will run the way of your commandments, when you have set my heart at liberty.

1 Samuel 11
About a month later, Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, ‘Make a treaty with us, and we will serve you.’ But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, ‘On this condition I will make a treaty with you, namely that I gouge out everyone’s right eye, and thus put disgrace upon all Israel.’ The elders of Jabesh said to him, ‘Give us seven days’ respite that we may send messengers through all the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give ourselves up to you.’ When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the hearing of the people; and all the people wept aloud.

Now Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen; and Saul said, ‘What is the matter with the people, that they are weeping?’ So they told him the message from the inhabitants of Jabesh. And the spirit of God came upon Saul in power when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled. He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by messengers, saying, ‘Whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!’ Then the dread of the Lord fell upon the people, and they came out as one. When he mustered them at Bezek, those from Israel were three hundred thousand, and those from Judah seventy thousand. They said to the messengers who had come, ‘Thus shall you say to the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead: “Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have deliverance.” ’ When the messengers came and told the inhabitants of Jabesh, they rejoiced. So the inhabitants of Jabesh said, ‘Tomorrow we will give ourselves up to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you.’ The next day Saul put the people in three companies. At the morning watch they came into the camp and cut down the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

The people said to Samuel, ‘Who is it that said, “Shall Saul reign over us?” Give them to us so that we may put them to death.’ But Saul said, ‘No one shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has brought deliverance to Israel.’

Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.’ So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.

Luke 22.39-46
He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’

The Collect
God our Father, whose Son enjoyed the love of his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, in learning, argument and hospitality: may we so rejoice in your love that the world may come to know the depths of your wisdom, the wonder of your compassion, and your power to bring life out of death; through the merits of Jesus Christ, our friend and brother, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 29 July 2020 (streamed service)


Readings are:

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Tuesday, 28 July 2020

The day's end approaches and we reflect on all that the day has been and having given thanks, repented and prayers for the needs before us - we lay them at the feet of Jesus, the Christ, and head for bed.

Compline - a service of completion.

Morning Prayer - Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Psalm 5
Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my lamentation. Hearken to the voice of my crying, my King and my God, for to you I make my prayer. In the morning, Lord, you will hear my voice; early in the morning I make my appeal to you, and look up. For you are the God who takes no pleasure in wickedness; no evil can dwell with you.

The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all those that work wickedness. You destroy those who speak lies; the bloodthirsty and deceitful the Lord will abhor. But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy, I will come into your house; I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you.

Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness, because of my enemies; make your way straight before my face. For there is no truth in their mouth, in their heart is destruction, their throat is an open sepulchre, and they flatter with their tongue. Punish them, O God; let them fall through their own devices. Because of their many transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them sing out their joy for ever. You will shelter them, so that those who love your name may exult in you. For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous; and with your favour you will defend them as with a shield.

Psalm 6
O Lord, rebuke me not in your wrath; neither chasten me in your fierce anger. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am weak; Lord, heal me, for my bones are racked. My soul also shakes with terror; how long, O Lord, how long?

Turn again, O Lord, and deliver my soul; save me for your loving mercy’s sake. For in death no one remembers you; and who can give you thanks in the grave?

I am weary with my groaning; every night I drench my pillow and flood my bed with my tears. My eyes are wasted with grief and worn away because of all my enemies.

Depart from me, all you that do evil, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. All my enemies shall be put to shame and confusion; they shall suddenly turn back in their shame.

Psalm 8
O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!

Your majesty above the heavens is praised out of the mouths of babes at the breast. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have ordained, what is man, that you should be mindful of him; the son of man, that you should seek him out?

You have made him little lower than the angels and crown him with glory and honour. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands and put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, even the wild beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.

O Lord our governor, how glorious is your name in all the world!

1 Samuel 10.17-end
Samuel summoned the people to the Lord at Mizpah and said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.” But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses; and you have said, “No! but set a king over us.” Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.’

Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of the Matrites was taken by lot. Finally he brought the family of the Matrites near man by man, and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. So they inquired again of the Lord, ‘Did the man come here?’ and the Lord said, ‘See, he has hidden himself among the baggage.’ Then they ran and brought him from there. When he took his stand among the people, he was head and shoulders taller than any of them. Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see the one whom the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.’ And all the people shouted, ‘Long live the king!’

Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship; and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people back to their homes. Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went warriors whose hearts God had touched. But some worthless fellows said, ‘How can this man save us?’ They despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

Now Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead.

Luke 22.31-38
‘Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.’

He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’

The Collect
Generous God, you give us gifts and make them grow: though our faith is small as mustard seed, make it grow to your glory and the flourishing of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Monday, 27 July 2020

morning Prayer - Monday, 27 July 2020

The readings for this service are:Readings for this service are:
Psalms 1, 2, 3 1
Samuel 10.1–16
Luke 22.24–30

Evening Prayer - Monday, 27 July 2020

Readings for this service are:
Psalm 4,
Psalm 7,
 Ezekiel 14.12–end,
2 Corinthians 11.1–15,

Compline (night prayer) - Monday, 27 July 2020

As we prepare to lay the day down, and ourselves to our beds, we bring all that the day has been and say 'sorry' for the failures and 'thank you' for the blessings we have been or have received. We Commend the needs of the world and the nations, the individuals and the things on our hearts to God.

Job done - we leave it all at the foot of the cross and head for bed in readiness of another day serving the Lord and His creation.

Morning Prayer - Monday, 27 July 2020

Brooke Foss Westcott

Psalm 1
Blessed are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the assembly of the scornful. Their delight is in the law of the Lord and they meditate on his law day and night. Like a tree planted by streams of water bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither, whatever they do, it shall prosper.

As for the wicked, it is not so with them; they are like chaff which the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked shall not be able to stand in the judgement, nor the sinner in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.

Psalm 2
Why are the nations in tumult, and why do the peoples devise a vain plot? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed: ‘Let us break their bonds asunder and cast away their cords from us.’

He who dwells in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury: ‘Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.’

I will proclaim the decree of the Lord; he said to me: ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’
Now therefore be wise, O kings; be prudent, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and with trembling kiss his feet, lest he be angry and you perish from the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all they who take refuge in him.

Psalm 3
Lord, how many are my adversaries; many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say to my soul, ‘There is no help for you in your God.’

But you, Lord, are a shield about me; you are my glory, and the lifter up of my head. When I cry aloud to the Lord, he will answer me from his holy hill; I lie down and sleep and rise again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not be afraid of hordes of the peoples that have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord, and deliver me, O my God, for you strike all my enemies on the cheek and break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord: may your blessing be upon your people.

1 Samuel 10.1-16
Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, ‘The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over his heritage: When you depart from me today you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; they will say to you, “The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has stopped worrying about them and is worrying about you, saying: What shall I do about my son?” Then you shall go on from there further and come to the oak of Tabor; three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. They will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from them. After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, at the place where the Philistine garrison is; there, as you come to the town, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre playing in front of them; they will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person. Now when these signs meet you, do whatever you see fit to do, for God is with you. And you shall go down to Gilgal ahead of me; then I will come down to you to present burnt-offerings and offer sacrifices of well-being. For seven days you shall wait, until I come to you and show you what you shall do.’

As he turned away to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all these signs were fulfilled that day. When they were going from there to Gibeah, a band of prophets met him; and the spirit of God possessed him, and he fell into a prophetic frenzy along with them. When all who knew him before saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, ‘What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?’ A man of the place answered, ‘And who is their father?’ Therefore it became a proverb, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’ When his prophetic frenzy had ended, he went home.

Saul’s uncle said to him and to the boy, ‘Where did you go?’ And he replied, ‘To seek the donkeys; and when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.’ Saul’s uncle said, ‘Tell me what Samuel said to you.’ Saul said to his uncle, ‘He told us that the donkeys had been found.’ But about the matter of the kingship, of which Samuel had spoken, he did not tell him anything.

Luke 22.24-30
A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Collect
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; 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.


Sunday, 26 July 2020

Holy Communion - Sunday, 26 July 2020

Sunday morning Communion from St Andrew's Church, Kettlebrook

BCP - Evensong - Sunday, 26 July 2020

Psalm 75
1 Kings 6.11–14,23-38
38 Acts 12.1–17

Compline (night prayer) - Sunday, 26 July 2020

The close of the day calls us to reflect on all that has been and to rejoice, repent and to pray for the needs of others and ourselves as we prepare to take ourselves off to bed. Compline - a sublime service of reflective prayer!

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Saturday 25 July 2020

As the day ends and we come before the Lord to lay the joys, challenges and burdens of the day and the needs of the world and individuals - Compline provides that place where peace is made ours and trust in God is made real.

Morning Prayer - Saturday, 25 July 2020

James the Apostle


Psalm 7
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all who pursue me, and deliver me, lest they rend me like a lion and tear me in pieces while there is no one to help me.

O Lord my God, if I have done these things: if there is any wickedness in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil, or plundered my enemy without a cause, then let my enemy pursue me and overtake me, trample my life to the ground,
and lay my honour in the dust.

Rise up, O Lord, in your wrathlift yourself up against the fury of my enemies.
Awaken, my God, the judgement that you have commanded.
Let the assembly of the peoples gather round you;
be seated high above them: O Lord, judge the nations.

Give judgement for me according to my righteousness, O Lord, and according to the innocence that is in me.

Let the malice of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;
for you test the mind and heart, O righteous God.
God is my shield that is over me; he saves the true of heart.
God is a righteous judge; he is provoked all day long.

If they will not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent his bow and made it ready.
He has prepared the weapons of death; he makes his arrows shafts of fire.

Behold those who are in labour with wickedness, who conceive evil and give birth to lies.
They dig a pit and make it deep and fall into the hole that they have made for others.
Their mischief rebounds on their own head; their violence falls on their own scalp.
I will give thanks to the Lord for his righteousness, and I will make music to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, you powers of heaven,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the honour due to his name;
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders;
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.

The voice of the Lord is mighty in operation;
the voice of the Lord is a glorious voice.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
he makes Lebanon skip like a calf and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord splits the flash of lightning;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare;
in his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’

The Lord sits enthroned above the water flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king for evermore.

The Lord shall give strength to his people;
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

O praise the Lord, all you nations; praise him, all you peoples.
For great is his steadfast love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Alleluia.

2 Kings 1.9-15
Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, ‘O man of God, the king says, “Come down.” ’ But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.’ Then fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. He went up and said to him, ‘O man of God, this is the king’s order: Come down quickly!’ But Elijah answered them, ‘If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.’ Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. So the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and entreated him, ‘O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Look, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties; but now let my life be precious in your sight.’ Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.’ So he set out and went down with him to the king,

Luke 9.46-56
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’

John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Do not stop him; for whoever is not against you is for you.’

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, ‘Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?’ But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

The Collect
Merciful God, whose holy apostle Saint James, leaving his father and all that he had, was obedient to the calling of your Son Jesus Christ and followed him even to death: help us, forsaking the false attractions of the world, to be ready at all times to answer your call without delay; 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.


Friday, 24 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Friday, 24 July 2020

Completion (compline): The ending of the day prayers that enable us to reflect, repent, rejoice and intercede for the world and the people on it as preparation for bed.

Morning Prayer - Friday, 24 July 2020

Psalm 142
I cry aloud to the Lord; to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before him and tell him of my trouble. When my spirit faints within me, you know my path; in the way wherein I walk have they laid a snare for me. I look to my right hand, and find no one who knows me; I have no place to flee to, and no one cares for my soul.

I cry out to you, O Lord, and say:
‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Listen to my cry, for I am brought very low; save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name; when you have dealt bountifully with me, then shall the righteous gather around me.’

Psalm 144
Blessed be the Lord my rock, who teaches my hands for war and my fingers for battle; my steadfast help and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I trust, who subdues the peoples under me.

O Lord, what are mortals that you should consider them; mere human beings, that you should take thought for them?

They are like a breath of wind; their days pass away like a shadow.

Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains and they shall smoke. Cast down your lightnings and scatter them; shoot out your arrows and let thunder roar. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and take me out of the great waters, from the hand of foreign enemies whose mouth speaks wickedness and their right hand is the hand of falsehood.

O God, I will sing to you a new song;

I will play to you on a ten-stringed harp, you that give salvation to kings and have delivered David your servant. Save me from the peril of the sword and deliver me from the hand of foreign enemies, whose mouth speaks wickedness and whose right hand is the hand of falsehood;

so that our sons in their youth may be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters like pillars carved for the corners of the temple;

our barns be filled with all manner of store; our flocks bearing thousands, and ten thousands in our fields;

our cattle be heavy with young: may there be no miscarriage or untimely birth, no cry of distress in our streets.

Happy are the people whose blessing this is. Happy are the people who have the Lord for their God.

1 Samuel 9.1-14
There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. He had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had strayed. So Kish said to his son Saul, ‘Take one of the boys with you; go and look for the donkeys.’ He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, ‘Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.’ But he said to him, ‘There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honour. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.’ Then Saul replied to the boy, ‘But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we?’ The boy answered Saul again, ‘Here, I have with me a quarter-shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way.’ (Formerly in Israel, anyone who went to inquire of God would say, ‘Come, let us go to the seer’; for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.) Saul said to the boy, ‘Good; come, let us go.’ So they went to the town where the man of God was.

As they went up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and said to them, ‘Is the seer here?’ They answered, ‘Yes, there he is just ahead of you. Hurry; he has come just now to the town, because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterwards those eat who are invited. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.’ So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out towards them on his way up to the shrine.

Luke 22.1-13
Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.’ They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for it?’ ‘Listen,’ he said to them, ‘when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, “The teacher asks you, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ ” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.’ So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

The Collect
Creator God, you made us all in your image: may we discern you in all that we see, and serve you in all that we do; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Thursday, 23 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Thursday, 22 July 2020

As night closes in and the day comes to it close we reflect on the day and offer thanks, praise and confess our failings to Almighty God. We pray for the needs of the world and those in it (known and unknown) and, laying it all at the feet of Jesus, the Christ, we head for bed.

Morning Prayer - Thursday, 23 July 2020

Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373

Psalm 143
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and in your faithfulness give ear to my supplications; answer me in your righteousness. Enter not into judgement with your servant, for in your sight shall no one living be justified. For the enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground, making me sit in darkness like those long dead. My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate.

I remember the time past; I muse upon all your deeds; I consider the works of your hands I stretch out my hands to you; my soul gasps for you like a thirsty land. O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; hide not your face from me lest I be like those who go down to the Pit. Let me hear of your loving-kindness in the morning, for in you I put my trust; show me the way I should walk in,
for I lift up my soul to you.

Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies, for I flee to you for refuge. Teach me to do what pleases you, for you are my God; let your kindly spirit lead me on a level path. Revive me, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble.  In your faithfulness, slay my enemies, and destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for truly I am your servant.

Psalm 146
Alleluia. Praise the Lord, O my soul: while I live will I praise the Lord; as long as I have any being, I will sing praises to my God. Put not your trust in princes, nor in any human power, for there is no help in them. When their breath goes forth, they return to the earth; on that day all their thoughts perish.

Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, whose hope is in the Lord their God; who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps his promise for ever; who gives justice to those that suffer wrong and bread to those who hunger.

The Lord looses those that are bound; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he turns upside down. The Lord shall reign for ever, your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Alleluia.

1 Samuel 8
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. Yet his sons did not follow in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to govern us.’ Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.’

So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, ‘These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plough his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’

But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, ‘No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.’ When Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Listen to their voice and set a king over them.’ Samuel then said to the people of Israel, ‘Each of you return home.’

Luke 21.29-end
Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.

The Collect
Creator God, you made us all in your image: may we discern you in all that we see, and serve you in all that we do; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Another day - another Compline. It's the way to close the day and square everything away before we head for bed. Compline (Completion) is THE only way to deal with all that the day has been - handing it over into God's care (along with ourselves).

Morning Prayer - Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Mary Magdalene

Psalm 30
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have raised me up and have not let my foes triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to you and you have healed me. You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead; you restored me to life from among those that go down to the Pit. Sing to the Lord, you servants of his; give thanks to his holy name. For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, his favour for a lifetime. Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

In my prosperity I said, ‘I shall never be moved. You, Lord, of your goodness, have made my hill so strong.' Then you hid your face from me and I was utterly dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cried; to the Lord I made my supplication:  ‘What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me; O Lord, be my helper.’

You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; O Lord my God, I will give you thanks for ever.

Psalm 32
Happy the one whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered. Happy the one to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile. For I held my tongue; my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. Your hand was heavy upon me day and night; my moisture was dried up like the drought in summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful make their prayers to you in time of trouble; in the great water flood, it shall not reach them. You are a place for me to hide in; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with songs of deliverance.

‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way that you should go; I will guide you with my eye. Be not like horse and mule which have no understanding; whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, or else they will not stay near you.’ Great tribulations remain for the wicked, but mercy embraces those who trust in the Lord. Be glad, you righteous, and rejoice in the Lord; shout for joy, all who are true of heart.

Psalm 150
Alleluia. O praise God in his holiness; praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts; praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the blast of the trumpet; praise him upon the harp and lyre.
Praise him with timbrel and dances; praise him upon the strings and pipe.

Praise him with ringing cymbals; praise him upon the clashing cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Alleluia.

1 Samuel 16.14-23
Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, ‘See now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command the servants who attend you to look for someone who is skilful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will feel better.’ So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me someone who can play well, and bring him to me.’ One of the young men answered, ‘I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is skilful in playing, a man of valour, a warrior, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence; and the Lord is with him.’ So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, ‘Send me your son David who is with the sheep.’ Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a kid, and sent them by his son David to Saul. And David came to Saul, and entered his service. Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armour-bearer. Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David remain in my service, for he has found favour in my sight.’ And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

Luke 8.1-3
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

The Collect
Almighty God, whose Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of mind and body and called her to be a witness to his resurrection: forgive our sins and heal us by your grace, that we may serve you in the power of his risen life; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Tuesday, 21 July 2020

My Mother used to pray by my bed at night using the, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

Compline is much in the same vogue as this except that we look outside ourselves a little more.

Evening Prayer - Tuesday, 21 July 2020

The readings for this service are:


Morning Prayer - Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Psalm 132
Lord, remember for David all the hardships he endured; how he swore an oath to the Lord and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: 'I will not come within the shelter of my house, nor climb up into my bed; I will not allow my eyes to sleep, nor let my eyelids slumber, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.’

Now, we heard of the ark in Ephrathah and found it in the fields of Ja-ar. Let us enter his dwelling place and fall low before his footstool. Arise, O Lord, into your resting place, you and the ark of your strength. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness and your faithful ones sing with joy. For your servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of your anointed.

The Lord has sworn an oath to David, a promise from which he will not shrink: ‘Of the fruit of your body shall I set upon your throne. If your children keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their children also shall sit upon your throne for evermore.’ For the Lord has chosen Zion for himself; he has desired her for his habitation:

This shall be my resting place for ever; here will I dwell, for I have longed for her. I will abundantly bless her provision; her poor will I satisfy with bread. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful ones shall rejoice and sing. There will I make a horn to spring up for David; I will keep a lantern burning for my anointed. As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame; but on him shall his crown be bright.’

Psalm 133
Behold how good and pleasant it is to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, even on Aaron’s beard, running down upon the collar of his clothing. It is like the dew of Hermon running down upon the hills of Zion. For there the Lord has promised his blessing: even life for evermore.

1 Samuel 6.1-16
The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines for seven months. Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, ‘What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us what we should send with it to its place.’ They said, ‘If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt-offering. Then you will be healed and will be ransomed; will not his hand then turn from you?’ And they said, ‘What is the guilt-offering that we should return to him?’ They answered, ‘Five gold tumours and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords. So you must make images of your tumours and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your land. Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made fools of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? Now then, get ready a new cart and two milch-cows that have never borne a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. Take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart, and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt-offering. Then send it off, and let it go on its way. And watch; if it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm; but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.’

The men did so; they took two milch-cows and yoked them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box with the gold mice and the images of their tumours. The cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went; they turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.

Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they went with rejoicing to meet it. The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh, and stopped there. A large stone was there; so they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt-offering to the Lord. The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the gold objects, and set them upon the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt-offerings and presented sacrifices on that day to the Lord. When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

Luke 21.5-19
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, ‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’

They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?’ And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and, “The time is near!” Do not go after them.

‘When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

‘But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.

The Collect
Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love toward you that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; 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.

Monday, 20 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Monday, 20 July 2020

The close of the day calls us to reflect on all that has been and to rejoice, repent and to pray for the needs of others and ourselves as we prepare to take ourselves off to bed. Compline - a sublime service of prayer!

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Sunday, 19 July, 2020

The end of another day brings before the Lord in our service of Compline to reflect, repent and intercede for the world, those in it and ourselves as we leave our burdens at the feet of Jesus, the Christ and head for bed.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Compline (night prayer) - Thursday, 16 July 2020

The day is done and as we prepare for bed we reflect on the day and all that has been before praying for the needs of the world (corporate and individual) in the still setting that is Compline.

church: what colour is yours (Appendix 2)

This is a great piece - makes you realise how valuable the Church times is as reading matter:



APPENDIX TWO                  Church Times article (Madeline Davies 28th Feb 2020)
(my italics for emphasis)


PARISHES in the diocese of Chelmsford are to be given a stark message next month: if they want a priest, they will have to pay the going rate. Last Sunday was designated a day of prayer, asking God to “loosen the drawstrings of our hearts”.

In the diocesan synod meeting next month, members will be asked to agree changes to the way clergy vacancies are filled. Benefices that are unable to cover the costs of a full-time stipendiary priest — on average, £80,180, which includes a portion of central diocesan costs — will enter a new process in which alternatives are discussed, such as interim ministry, a self-supporting priest-in-charge, or a licensed lay minister. If voted through, the new processes will come into effect immediately.
This week, the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, soon to move to York, said that the diocese had needed “a big reality check. My text for all this has been ‘the truth will set you free’. . . People may hate what I am saying, but it’s simply impossible to disagree with it: the accounts reveal everything.”
The immediate cause is the loss of a substantial subsidy from the Church Commissioners. Under the previous formula (known as “Darlow”, which is currently being phased out), Chelmsford received £3.1 million a year, enabling it to balance its budget. It now receives £1 million from the Lowest Income Communities Fund (LICF), and further funds from Strategic Development grants, but that still means a deficit of at least a £1 million. Last year, parish-share receipts fell to 92.59 per cent of the total needed. Over half the shortfall was attributable to 21 parishes.
“The situation has become startlingly simple,” Bishop Cottrell told the diocesan synod in November. “If you want a priest you have to pay. . . If we don’t make these changes, it will lead to much more drastic and unplanned decisions being forced upon us.” Even parishes that met their parish share were not fully covering the cost of ministry, and would be asked to give more.
On Monday, Bishop Cottrell said that the debate in November had been “really good. There was a lot of pain expressed and honesty.” Leaving the problem for another ten years would have been a “terrible irresponsibility”. He was confident that the synod would vote in favour of the proposals. The diocese was not in “crisis mode”, and he believed that the diocese would respond with greater levels of giving. “And if not, there will have to be some cuts in clergy numbers.”
He wanted stipendiary ministry to grow, he said, and the diocese remained committed to the poorest communities. The entirety of the central LICF funding would go to subsidising their parish share, and if parish share was sufficient to pay for ministry, then all of the diocese’s investment income would also go to these parishes.
The changes build on existing reforms in the diocese. When Bishop Cottrell arrived as diocesan bishop in 2010, a pressing problem was clergy retirements: 47 per cent of stipendiary clergy were due to retire within the next decade. This was one of the drivers of the formation of Mission and Ministry Units (MMUs), whereby parishes and benefices have voluntarily joined together to share resources and mission. More than half (57 per cent) of parishes are now part of an MMU.


The “mantra” behind this was that “no priest should ever work on their own ever again,” Bishop Cottrell said on Monday. “It sounds obvious and sensible, but it’s a massive culture shock for the C of E where, for centuries, clergy have led in isolation.” Another driver was the desire to plant more churches — something that individual churches were unlikely to be able to do alone.
The population of east London and Essex is set to grow by 300,000 over the next ten years, and the diocese plans to plant 101 new Christian communities. Last year, it received  a Strategic Development Funding grant of  £3.85 million towards this goal.
“What we are really trying to do is define what we mean by ‘church’,” Bishop Cottrell said. “I think for too long, ‘church’ has meant a building and a vicar and possibly a geographic area to serve, and our job is to sustain that. . . I would say vicars only came into being as a consequence of evangelism not a cause. Europe was evangelised by movements of mission — usually monastic movements. . . We need new movements of mission, and vicars aren’t necessarily the best way of achieving that.”

church - what colour is yours (appendix 1)

This document is helpful in outlining and clarifying much of that referred to the in first post:

APPENDIX ONE                                                                               DS(2020)06 

DIOCESAN SYNOD: AN APPROACH TO REDUCING STIPENDIARY NUMBERS 
AUTHOR:  INTERIM CEO                                         6 JUNE 2020 
1. CONTEXT 
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were following two pathways towards sustainability: 
  1. a)  First, we have been progressively reducing the number of stipendiary incumbency 
posts. This work began in 2011 in response to the high average age of clergy and the inevitable rate of retirements. This produced our ‘minimum sustainable number’ of 215 stipendiary posts in 2025 to which all deaneries are working and some have already achieved. With the withdrawal of Darlow funding, which is being phased out and will disappear entirely in 2025, our 2019 estimate of the number of stipendiary incumbents we could afford in 2025 reduced to 202. This assumed that giving levels remained constant. 
  1. b)  Second, we have recognised that a very high number of parishes do not cover their “full cost of ministry” and are being subsidised (even if they have faithfully paid their allocated parish share in full). These issues were first discussed by Diocesan Synod in November 2019 and a formal proposal to implement a new approach to how vacancies will be handled would have come to the March 2020 meeting for approval. See the paper From Subsidy to Sustainability DS(20)02. 

These approaches remain valid but are now not sufficient to address the financial crisis we face. As a result, DS(20)02 is not being brought for approval at this meeting of Synod but its principles will help to inform the proposals in this paper. 
At their meeting on 12 May 2020, the Finance Committee has approved the proposal to bring forward implementation of the planned 2025 numbers to the end of 2021. This means reducing the number of stipendiary incumbent posts from 275 (as at 31 March 2020) to 215 in the next 18 months. This paper sets out a proposed method to achieve this. 

2. GUIDING PRINCIPLES 
In doing this work, it will be important that we do not unnecessarily damage our capacity for mission and ministry. As far as possible we plan to: 
a) Prune in order to enable growth. Based on Jesus’ teaching in John 15, our aim must be to enable gospel growth. Care will be taken not to cut posts that have strategic potential.

b)  Include our Strategic Development Funded Church Planting Projects in this planning alongside existing incumbencies. 
c)  Recognise and build on existing deanery plans. 
d)  Make phased decisions so that further cuts can be implemented without major re
       planning work if our financial position deteriorates and, conversely, our plans for
       reducing numbers can be scaled back if we can afford to do so. 
e)  To proceed in hope and confidence that God’s Spirit will lead us into new and fruitful
      ways of being church. 
f)  Expect that reducing our reliance on stipendiary ordained ministry will foster new
     vocations to lay and ordained ministry including self-supporting, part-time and
     House for Duty ministry. 

HANDLING CURRENT VACANCIES 
We have an unprecedented number of vacancies across the diocese which totalled 48.5 posts at the end of March. 
Freezing these vacancies would take us to within 12 posts of our 2025 objective. However, this is not recommended – not least because it would not address Principle a) above. Also, these vacancies are not uniformly distributed across all deaneries and a blanket approach would be neither missional nor fair.  However, to avoid the risk of compromising this planning task, it would be sensible to pause filling as many stipendiary vacancies as possible until September. 

4. PLANNING THE REDUCTION OF STIPENDIARY POSTS 
Archdeacons are asked to coordinate this work in partnership with Area Deans, Lay Chairs and Area Teams to code each stipendiary post as Green, Amber or Red. In summary, Green would mean this post is of strategic importance and is to be retained (or filled if vacant). Amber means this post is desirable and should be retained if finances permit but other options for enabling ministry could be considered. Red means this post is unlikely to be filled with a full-time stipendiary incumbent and other options for enabling ministry should be considered. This is a deliberately simple and subjective assessment to start the ball rolling. Please note, this coding is about stipendiary posts and is not an assessment of parishes or benefices – many of which are thriving with other patterns of ordained and lay ministry. 

In order to encourage reimagining ministry for mission, the maximum number of ‘green’ posts across the diocese should be restricted to 150. This is 25% below the affordable number determined in 2019 and is a reasonable worse-case scenario for long-term affordability. By limiting ‘green’ posts to this number we should not have to repeat this exercise in the foreseeable future. 
Once the ‘green’ posts are agreed, the ‘amber’ posts can be ranked in each deanery to determine those which will be retained subject to overall affordability. Thus, we expect a significant number of ‘amber’ posts to be retained when the 2025 number of posts (215) is reached at the end of 2021.
There can be flexibility between deaneries to allow Archdeacons and Bishops to provide for particular mission opportunities. Such changes would need agreement by Area Mission and Pastoral Committees or the Diocesan Mission and Pastoral Committee, as appropriate. 
Archdeacons are asked to produce an initial coding of posts in each of their deaneries by the end of July. This will allow refinement at AMPC and DMPC leading to a plan that can be ratified by Synod in November 2020. 

Some implementation, where there is agreement between all parties, can begin immediately, subject to the approval of the bishops and CEO. This includes making appointments to ‘green’ posts and initiating any necessary pastoral reorganisation needed to close ‘red’ posts currently in vacancy. 
We recognise that a simple allocation of posts into three categories may not be sufficient to record the effects of, for example, potential pastoral reorganisation or the deployment of time-limited Interim Ministry posts. We plan to develop more detailed guidance in the coming days so that a consistent approach can be used across the diocese. 

5. ACHIEVING THE REDUCTION IN POSTS 
Once the plan for stipendiary posts is agreed, work can then begin on any necessary pastoral reorganisation of parishes and a range of options can be explored for those incumbents who are in posts that will not be retained beyond the end of 2021. These options will be explored sensitively, confidentially, pastorally and vocationally in individual conversations with bishops and archdeacons. 
It is expected that in most instances a mutually agreed plan can be put in place. However, there may be instances where financial support will be needed to enable an incumbent to follow a different vocational pathway and, in the last resort, some Common Tenure posts may have to be made redundant. We anticipate that the Church Commissioners will consider grants for such transformation costs where necessary. 

6. APPROVAL SOUGHT 
Diocesan Synod is invited to NOTE this paper and SUPPORT the actions proposed, subject to formal AGREEMENT in November 2020. 

church: what colour is yours?

As Chelmsford diocese looks to embark on ‘drastic’ reductions as it looks to lose some sixty  stipendiary posts over the coming eighteen months; something on the drawing board but now accelerated as a result of the impact on finances that is Covid-19.

Chelmsford diocesan synod’s finance committee briefing papers (20th June 2020 - see next post) outline how plans to  reduce to a ‘minimum sustainable number of two hundred and fifteen posts (from two hundred and seventy-five) by 2025’ has been accelerated for completion by 2021 (a period of eighteen months) - and Chelmsford’s diocesan synod are in favour of this and so, subject to formal agreement in November, this is the emerging reality in Chelmsford and quite likely in a diocese near you before too long and this will result in posts being classified by means of a ‘traffic light’ system:

Green: To be retained or filled if vacant,

Amber: Desirable and should be retained if finances permit,

Red:      Unlikely to be filled with full-time stipendiary incumbent - other options for
              enabling ministry should be considered.

Chelmsford’s upper limit for GREEN Zone posts is set to 150. This is 25% below the affordable number determined  in 2019 as a reasonable worse-case scenario for long-term affordability – and, if achieved and maintained will preclude the need for the establishment to re-examined in the ‘foreseeable future’.

The next phase of the process will be to assess and rank the AMBER zone posts, which will be retained (if affordable).  Chelmsford, “Expect a significant number of ‘amber’ posts to be retained at the end of 2021.”

Then final phase will be to consider the RED zone posts. Benefices unable to cover the cost of a full-time stipendiary priest  (Chelmsford assesses the average cost as £80,180) will be invited to discuss alternatives, such as interim ministry, a self-supporting priest-in-charge, or a licensed lay minister (The post after next)).

There are obviously implications for posts available to newly ordained priests. In Chelmsford stipendiary curacy posts have increased from twelve to sixteen (thanks to the national vocation drive) but only two of the additional four posts are being funded by the Church Commissioners. The briefing paper explains:
“The time is now right to reconsider the number of stipendiary curates we will need to maintain incumbent numbers as well as the length of curacies and the possibility of placing curates towards the end of their training to support vacant parishes. We do not plan to furlough stipendiary curates in order that training and formation continues. And we recognise that many of our curates have been in the forefront of applying technology for ‘church at home’.”

Plans for reduction of stipendiary posts in Chelmsford have been in place since 2011 when almost half the stipendiary clergy were due to have retired within ten years of that date bring ‘natural reductions. The situation has been made more urgent by the loss of a subsidy from the Church Commissioners which results in a budgetary deficit which is hampered by lower parish share income. Interestingly, over half of the shortfall was attributable to 21 parishes (so guess which colour they might be?).

Three-months of Covid-19 closure has further exacerbated the financial situation as parish share receipts (everywhere) have dipped bringing about a real challenge for diocese finance teams seeking to meet ministerial and other costs in their patches. Chelmsford has, at the time of writing, forty-eight vacancies but, thankfully, it has been decided that ‘freezing’ them is not the way forward – but the reality (as I see it) is that they won’t be that speedy thanks to a combination of the Covid-19 and financial situations.

OUR TASK
I offer this document to you as something to be reflected upon for ourselves and the churches under our care. Far too often clergy are taken up with the situation of the churches around them as they seek to make cuts and changes elsewhere that will effectively leave them relatively unscathed.

Some will continually plead special circumstances (claiming to be a poor church perhaps?) and others will bemoan the reductions in clergy numbers where they are and the pressures these realities have brought about in their patch. Some will point to all the good work which they, or their congregation and the people working in it do (why? It’s what we are supposed to be doing isn’t it?) as a reason to be subsidised and supported.

One of the Archdeacons I have worked with repeatedly used this mantra:
“If you can’t pay, then you can’t have!” 

This, it seems is the reality before us – our task is to ensure that our diocesan resources are sufficient to meet the demands placed on it.

This is not a something that is, “All about money” (something some parochial clergy could do with learning) but is concerned with the establishment and maintenance of prayerful, effective, intelligent, collegial, missional and pastorally-engaged ministry.

I would commend to you the words of the Archbishop of York in the second appendix as something to take to heart and make your own.