What a “Resource Church” really means…

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in mission, parish
When a shiny new Church Plant (usually from a shiny church in central west London) appears like a cuckoo in a city – in a reasonably affluent area or an area saturated with students, one of the phrases used to calm us is that it will be a “resource church” which on the face of it, does not sound like a bad thing at all.

 

“Oh good,” we think, “maybe some of those shiny resources can be put to good use in my slightly less shiny parish”, “perhaps they might have a screen or PA we could borrow, or even a working photocopier”, “I wonder if they might have some shiny young people to help us leaflet the estate about our mission to the elderly there…”

 

But such hopes are quickly dashed as the pre-existing congregation are levered out of their not very shiny church and abandoned as they focus relentlessly on a growth strategy that initially strips all the young people out of other churches  into the remodelled (how did they get that through the DAC so quickly? Money still clearly talks…) new interior where the boring old essentials of Anglicanism are relegated to the back to be forgotten, as a Cafe is open before each service serving “absolutely divine coffee”

 

As for the resources they have on offer for us? Well, the transplanted Vicar, Curate, “Worship Leader” and Administrator are very willing to resource the entire church… Why not send your people to one of their Discipleship or Beginners Courses? Why not gather all the “worship leaders” together and our Worship Leader can show them how finally to do it right. It’s funny, because I always thought the leading of Worship was the primary responsibility of the Vicar, Curate, Reader etc. Not just some bloke with a guitar (Fr Robb being the obvious exception to this).

 

What they want to resource us with is their way of doing things,  to insinuate themselves into each and every parish until,  rather like McDonald’s Franchises they come to be the bland, homogenised face of Christendom. If your face does not fit this shiny model of church: if you don’t have the same responses as them, share the same sexuality or gender then they can’y help

 

As an aside, I am amazed that there is not a single woman involved here who is not married to a ‘minister’ – it seems to be the only way they are allowed to minister, because someone in this resource church needs to have a penis somewhere it would appear. It seems that capable and spiritual women are reduced to smiling add-ons with great teeth, beautiful hair and a better class of theology degree that they simply are not allowed to properly utilise in proper ministry because of a single casual line in a pastoral letter of Paul. But I digress.

 

If your taste leans towards valuing the sacraments that Jesus and his bride, the Church have used for centuries and if guitar and drums don’t always work for you, then I am afraid, we can’t resource you.

 

You aren’t resourceable. Even though we must be Jews to the Jews and Greeks to the Greeks, that we must make our ministry as protean as Paul was prepared to do at the Areopagus, these resources come in only one form and in only one spirituality.

 

Tough. Our tanks are here on the lawn now. We are taking over.

What is Prayer?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in mission, parish, teaching

 

There are probably as many different thoughts on prayer as people in the world, and this is the thing that I want to assure everybody with – no-one, but no-one thinks they are any good at it.

The kind of prayer that we may have been taught at our Grandmother’s knee or in Infant School hands together, eyes closed is probably as far from most people’s prayer lives as infant school itself is, but the danger is that we may not have moved on from that ideal, even though our reality is quite different.

There are two types of prayer: the personal, the private and the corporate, the communal either shared with one other person or a whole congregation and they are two very different things. The latter is a corporate thing: you are leading a whole community in prayer and so your prayers should be collective “We pray for…” rather than “I pray for…” because that is the realm of the private prayer. It’s not about what you think, but where the whole community is being led, so I encourage the leading of prayer with others as a corporate act. Don’t over use words like the prophets of Baal:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xiyljA9qz0]

The personal is just that: to an extent I cannot tell you, but to equip you with thoughts, ideas and maybe a few good prayers as a springboard, but you are, I am afraid, on your own.

When you started praying there must have been an intention to use Prayer like a Christmas List – a series of things reeled off for Santa or God to grant:

“God Bless Mummy and God Bless Daddy and God Bless Auntie Susan and help make me a Good Boy, Amen Oh and can I have a new bicycle for Christmas…”

But that is a one-way diatribe, not a dialogue, a conversation between two intimates. Prayer involves just as much listening as it does saying.

What God says might not be very loud or clear at all. At the times when his voice has been very clear, I have found it to be exhilarating, overwhelming, challenging and simply awesome, but it is not the everyday encounter with God in prayer. Often He is silent, and it may feel like he is not listening.

As I wait on God, often notions occur to me, as I think the matters on my heart through, some solution, strategy, action sometimes comes out. Often not the kind of thing I would usually think of and certainly not what I am willing to do. It is there, as I think things over, that those senses are guided by God.

For me at least, God seldom speaks, but often nudges. You might want to say that I have come to the conclusions myself, but they are so often so different from my own self-perception that I have to conclude they are Other. And if they are Other, then I can only conclude (because the fruits of these actions are always positive) that they are the promptings of God, rather the distractions of the Evil one.

This is why I say that distraction in prayer is not a bad thing, but rather the work of the Holy Spirit, leading you to think of those things done, not done, needing to be done, from the trivial to the critical, from the intimate to the global. If you are thinking of lunch, then so be it.

Prayer with God is not a test, either for Him or you. You are not being asked to reel off the sickest of our community in your mind, or the places of world conflict and tension (hint: the Middle East is a safe bet on that one). God knows this. It doesn’t matter is someone or something gets missed, for if we pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17) the opportunity will come around again. He knows the needs of the world and of you. Prayer is therefore an opportunity for you to recognise these people and places for yourself and to prompt you into action about them.

Prayer therefore becomes a cry for help, on behalf of yourself or on behalf of others and the help which is sought is not merely a passive seeking for the external, supernatural power of God to step into this world and sort it out, but a way for God to use us in these matters – to prompt us to say this, do this, be this, shout aloud for this and to be whatever is needed to sort it out. Prayer therefore becomes a springboard for action.

Prayer cannot do this, unless you are listening. That small voice, that sense that “this is the right thing to do” is God’s response to your prayers.

“But God doesn’t answer my prayers” you may cry, as your lottery ticket fails to deliver yet again. God always answers prayer. In three ways: “Yes”. “No” and “here’s a better idea”. My lack of lottery win is therefore because (and I hate to admit it is true) I would be ruined by untold riches and my worst character traits would destroy me. No is the right answer. There are times when the method of God saying Yes is not what I expected, because he always has a better plan and a wider perspective: I literally cannot see the forest because of the tree right in front of me. So, when I pray for the healing of a person and they die, why children get cancer or run over or lose their parents and are forced to flee alone from their homes I lack the perspective to understand how God works. My own desires, my own selfishness is not God’s purpose, and the seemingly arbitrary cruelty inflicted on innocent, good people is a mystery beyond all understanding. I must recognise that this is not the action of a cruel tyrant, pushing us around  like pieces on a cosmic chessboard, but of one who wishes to show us love and be loved in return and yet loves us enough to allow us the opportunity to fuck mess it all up.

What if God answered all prayers with YES? Bruce Almighty gave us an insight…

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHBQC0XYvYg]

Similarly, the timescales of our lives do not fit the cosmic timescale of God. God is outside of time, it’s creator who transcends the boundaries of time and space. He will therefore answer prayer (however it is) in his own good time. It is wrong to seek to persuade or trick God into something simply because it fits our own selfish desires (one of the key reasons why the answer might be “No”). It is said that God has all of eternity to respond to the split-second prayer of someone throwing out a “help me” prayer as their car crashes. “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” demands that we do not ask the impossible, nor expect any response in our own timeframe: God’s response will be at the appropriate time (Kairos) and not earthly human time (chronos). Wait on the Lord and accept whatever might come, or be stirred into action to bring it about, under God’s guidance.

If the answer to “What is Prayer” is “Whatever you want it to be” then it might be worth providing a toolkit for you to explore some of the different ways of thinking about prayer. The exploration of place and time, silence, senses and words over the next few weeks of Lent will hopefully provide some ways of engaging in prayer: active, responsive, quiet, reflective or aloud; in stillness or bustle, in action and ritual, music, art or words.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vescUPhdT2k]

There is no one way to pray and as you seek out what works for you, be aware that no one thinks they can really do it well, and that’s okay; for God will still hear our prayers…

…and he loves them all.

Dwelling in the Word – Reflection & Meditation before a PCC or any other meeting at which we should hear God’s Voice…

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in mission, scripture

I found this exercise very useful, and the two times I have done it, I have been drawn by different things. Here is the key difference between this and Lectio Divina:  you do the same passage each time. This means that new meanings arise in each context. Also, it is not about a personal reflection, as Lectio is, but is about listening to your partner, and listening is a key value to get into frame with at the beginning of a meeting.

How we Dwell in the Word

  • Listen to the passage read (below)
  • Consider where it “captures” you, speaks to you and/or what question(s) it raises for you
  • Find a person in the group you do not know or know less well, a ‘reasonably friendly-looking stranger’.
  • Listen to that person as he or she tells you what they heard in the passage. They may mention something they’d never heard before, something odd or something comforting, or something about which they’d like to ask a Bible scholar.
  • Listen well, because your job will be to report to the rest of the group what your partner has said, not what you yourself said. Some people take notes to help them focus and remember.

At the end:

A prayer as we Dwell in the Word

Loving God,
Though our destination is not yet clear,
May we trust in Your graceful promises;
Though we are uncertain of ourselves,
May we be rooted in Your loving regard;
Though our attention is inclined to wander,
May we hear the things You are saying;
Though we often neglect Your influence,
May we be convicted of Your power to change,
In Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The Text: Luke 10:1-12   (NRSVA)

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house.

Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.” 12 I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.

Eucharistic Preface for Unity

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in alt.worship, inclusive, mission

for use in times of national disunity

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

Almighty God and Ever-lasting Father
We come together in this holy sanctuary
From many different places, spaces and positions
To sing your praise and glory.

You weave us together
Shape us on the potter’s wheel
You take our glorious diversity of creation
And unite us in the one universal Kingdom of God

A Kingdom where peace and prosperity,
Worship and love
Justice, mercy and joy abound
Even in the face of our human frailty and failings.

The choirs of heaven, the angels, saints, prophets & patriarchs
Join together in unity to sing of your praise and glory
And we join with them, singing

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Power & Might
Heaven & Earth are full of your glory
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed are they who come in the name of the Lord
Hosanna in the highest!

Liturgical note: Yes, you CAN write your own prefaces!

A message to all those preparing for Ordination to the Priesthood

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in mission, sacraments

We have not ordained you to be a caring person; you are already called to that;

We have not ordained you to serve the Church in committees, planning activities, and organisation; that is already implied in your membership;

We have not ordained you to become involved in issues of justice and peace, in the struggle, personal, social, political, against all forms of oppression and idolatry; for that is laid upon every Christian.

We have ordained you to something smaller and less spectacular:

  • to read and interpret those sacred stories of our community so that they speak the Word to people today;
  • to remember and practice those rituals and rites of meaning which in their poetry address people at the level where change operates;
  • to foster in community through Word and Sacrament and pastoral care that encounter with truth which will set people free to minister as the body of Christ.

We have ordained you to BE a priest, not to work as a priest, but to BE.

May God bless you in your future ministry.

NewCurateBingo

Dave Walker – www.cartoonchurch.com

Online Baptism Application Form (with configuration) in WordPress

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in geek, mission, parish, sacraments, tech

Keeping my finger on the pulse of the nation, one thing I have noticed recently is the number of people who no longer own a printer… after all, why would you need to print anything out? Like a baptism application form, for example… What is the point of having the forms online if people can’t then send them to you?

The advantages of an electronic version are legion: no misreading of badly written forms, the ability to print them off and/or save them as pdfs so you have a record that can’t be lost, a copy in the mail archive (in Gmail, I never delete messages, except spam and adverts) and an easy solution for people to complete in their own homes.

So, the solution is an online form in itself…

screenshot-www.roborough.org.uk 2016-04-28 08-44-04

As our website is (like so many others) in WordPress, I have sought out a free, flexible plugin which does what I need. I am using Contact Form 7 which I found to be a doddle to configure.

Below are the two key scripts you need, one for the form itself and the other for the email you get sent:

Form:

<p>Your Name*<br />
 [text* your-name] </p>
<p>Your Email*<br />
 [email* your-email] </p>
<hr>
<p>Church*<br />
[checkbox* church exclusive "S. Mary the Virgin, Bickleigh" "S. Edward, Shaugh Prior" "S. Anne, Glenholt" "S. Cecilia, Woolwell"]</p>
<p>Preferred Date of Baptism*<br />
 [date* date-baptism]</p>
<p>Preferred Time of Baptism* (select from the following)<br />
[select* time-baptism include_blank "In the main service at Mass" "2pm" "4pm" "Other (enter in comments below)"]</p>
<hr>
<p>Child's Date of Birth*<br />
 [date* child-dob]</p>
<p>Child's Full Name*<br />
[text* child-christian-name placeholder "christian"] [text* child-surname placeholder "surname"]</p>
<p>Father's Name*<br />
[text* father-christian-name placeholder "christian"] [text* father-surname placeholder "surname"]</p>
<p>has Dad been<br />
[checkbox dad-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Father's Occupation*<br />
[text* father-occupation]</p>
<p>Mother's Name*<br />
[text* mother-christian-name placeholder "christian"] [text* mother-surname placeholder "surname"]</p>
<p>has Mum been<br />
[checkbox mum-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Mother's Occupation*<br />
[text* mother-occupation]</p>
<p>Your address*<br />
[textarea* address]</p>
<p>Phone number*<br />
[tel* phone]</p>
<hr>
<p>Godparent 1<br />
[text Godparent-1]</p>
<p>has Godparent 1 been<br />
[checkbox godparent1-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Godparent 2<br />
[text Godparent-2]</p>
<p>has Godparent 2 been<br />
[checkbox godparent2-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Godparent 3<br />
[text Godparent-3]</p>
<p>has Godparent 3 been<br />
[checkbox godparent3-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<p>Godparent 4<br />
[text Godparent-4]</p>
<p>has Godparent 4 been<br />
[checkbox godparent4-baptised-confirmed "Baptised?" "Confirmed?"]</p>
<hr>
<p>Comment / Notes<br />
[textarea comment]

<p>[recaptcha id:verify]</p>

<p>[submit "Submit Baptism Form"]</p>
The mail template:

From: [your-name] <[your-email]>
Subject: Roborough Team Ministry Baptism Application Form

Baptism Details:
Church: [church]
Date: [date-baptism]
Time: [time-baptism]

Child Name: [child-christian-name] [child-surname] 
Child DOB: [child-dob]

Father: [father-christian-name] [father-surname]
[dad-baptised-confirmed]
Occupation: [father-occupation]

Mother: [mother-christian-name] [mother-surname]
[mum-baptised-confirmed]
Occupation: [mother-occupation]

Contact Details: [address]
Phone: [phone]
eMail: [your-email]

Godparent 1: [Godparent-1] [godparent1-baptised-confirmed]
Godparent 1: [Godparent-2] [godparent2-baptised-confirmed]
Godparent 1: [Godparent-3] [godparent3-baptised-confirmed]
Godparent 1: [Godparent-4] [godparent4-baptised-confirmed]

Additional Comments:

[comment]

--
This e-mail was sent from a contact form on Roborough Team Ministry (http://www.roborough.org.uk)

 

The email comes through like this:

screenshot-mail.google.com 2016-04-28 09-05-58

Obviously, you need to configure it for your own needs, but the design and layout is quite self-explanatory. Have fun!

Now to think about Marriage forms…

 

Easter Vigil Liturgy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in mission, parish, sacraments, scripture

Tablets are great for the Easter Vigil – they’re backlit and so you can do the Vigil without any additional light at the legillium

Easter Vigil

A fire is lit outside the darkened church

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this most holy night,
in which our Lord Jesus Christ passed over from death to life,
the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world,
to gather in vigil and prayer.

For this is the Passover of the Lord,
in which through word and sacrament we share in his victory over death.

As we await the risen Christ,
let us hear the record of God’s saving deeds in history,
recalling how he saved his people in ages past
and in the fullness of time sent his Son to be our Redeemer;
and let us pray that through this Easter celebration,
God may bring to perfection in each of us the saving work he has begun.
Service of Light

Eternal God,
who made this most holy night
to shine with the brightness of your one true light:
set us aflame with the fire of your love,
and bring us to the radiance of your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Christ yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega,
all time belongs to him,
and all ages;
to him be glory and power,
through every age and for ever. Amen.

By his holy
and glorious wounds
may Christ our Lord
guard us
and keep us. Amen.

The priest lights the Easter candle with the taper saying

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

The candle is brought in

The Light of Christ
Thanks be to God (sung three times)

(said)

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Exsultet

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, Choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendour,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! D
darkness vanishes forever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Saviour shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

My dearest friends,
standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,
that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

The Lord be with you.
and also with you.

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

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God,
the all-powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our eternal Father!

This is our Passover feast,
When Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night, when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their sláv’ry,
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night,
when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin.

This is the night, when Christians ev’rywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defĩlement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night,
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a sláve you gave away your Son.

O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day: it will become my light, my joy.”

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innócence,
brings mourners joy; it casts out hátred,
brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed,
when heaven is wedded to earth and we are reconciled to God!

Therefore, heavenly Fáther,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.

Accept this Easter cándle,
a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honour of God.

Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!

May the Mórning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on áll mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Amen.

Vigil

Dear friends in Christ,
we have begun our solemn vigil.
Let us now listen attentively to the word of God,
recalling how God saved his people throughout history and,
in the fullness of time, sent his own Son to be our Redeemer.

Through this Easter celebration
May God bring to perfection
The saving work he has begun in us

Reading I Genesis 1.1-2.2
A reading from the book of Genesis

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening, and there was morning— the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.
7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so.
8 God called the expanse sky. And there was evening, and there was morning— the second day.
9 And God said, Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear. And it was so.
10 God called the dry ground land, and the gathered waters he called seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so.
12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
13 And there was evening, and there was morning— the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years,
15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth. And it was so.
16 God made two great lights— the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth,
18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And there was evening, and there was morning— the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.
21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them and said, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.
23 And there was evening, and there was morning— the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind. And it was so.
25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
29 Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground— everything that has the breath of life in it— I give every green plant for food. And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning— the sixth day.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God,
you created all things in wonderful beauty and order.
Help us now to perceive
how still more wonderful is the new creation
by which in the fullness of time
you redeemed your people
through the sacrifice of our passover, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Reading II Genesis 3
A reading from the book of Genesis

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?
2 The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’
4 You will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman.
5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, Where are you?
10 He answered, I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
11 And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?
12 The man said, The woman you put here with me— she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
16To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.
17To Adam he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.
20Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.
23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Let us pray.

Lord God,
the creation of man was a wonderful work,
his redemption still more wonderful.
May we persevere in right reason
against all that entices to sin
and so attain to everlasting joy.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Reading III Genesis 7.1-5; 7.10-18; 8.6-18; 9.8-13
A reading from the book of Genesis

1 The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
6 After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you-the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground-so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it.”
18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives.
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you-the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you-every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Let us pray.

Father,
even today we see the wonders
of the miracles you worked so long ago.
You once saved a single nation from slavery,
and now you offer that salvation to all through baptism.
May the peoples of the world become true sons of Abraham
and prove worthy of the heritage of Israel.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Reading IV Isaiah 55.1-11
A reading from the Prophet Isaiah

1 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labour on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD yourGod, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendour.
6Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Let us pray.

Almighty, ever-living God,
only hope of the world,
by the preaching of the prophets
you proclaimed the mysteries we are celebrating tonight.
Help us to be your faithful people,
for it is by your inspiration along
that we can grow in goodness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Reading V – Ezekiel 36.25-28
A reading from the prophet Ezekiel
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

Let us pray.

God of unchanging power and light,
look with mercy and favor on your entire Church.
Bring lasting salvation to mankind,
so that the world may see
the fallen lifted up,
the old made new,
and all things brought to perfection,
through him who is their origin,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Reading VI – Romans 6.3-11
A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death?
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—
7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Let us pray.

Father,
you teach us in both the Old and the New Testament
to celebrate this passover mystery.
Help us to understand your great love for us.
May the goodness you now show us
confirm our hope in your future mercy.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Reading VII – Luke 24:1-12 Year C
Hear the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke

1On the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.
2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
3but when they went in, they did not find the body.
4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.
5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,
7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’
8Then they remembered his words,
9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.
11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.
12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Thanks be to God

After the Gospel reading we move straight into the Gloria

Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for Your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; You are seated at the right hand of the Father: Receive our prayer.

For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, In the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Collect

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

Homily

Blessing of the Water

My brothers and sisters,
Let us ask the Lord our God to +bless this water he has created
Which we shall use to recall our baptism.
May he renew us and keep us faithful to the Spirit we have all received
through the sacrament of Holy Baptism

Renewal of Baptismal Vows

As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead,
we remember that through the paschal mystery
we have died and been buried with him in baptism,
so that we may rise with him to a new life within the family of his Church.

The Paschal candle is dipped 3 times in the font.

Now that we have completed our observance of Lent,
we renew the promises made at our baptism,
affirming our allegiance to Christ,
and our rejection of all that is evil.

Therefore I ask these questions:

Do you turn to Christ?
I turn to Christ.

Do you repent of your sins?
I repent of my sins.

Do you renounce evil?
I renounce evil.

And now I ask you to make the profession of Christian faith into which you were baptized, and in which you live and grow.

Do you believe and trust in God the Father, who made the world?
I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ, who redeemed mankind?
I believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in his Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God?
I believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Almighty God,
we thank you for our fellowship in the household of faith
with all those who have been baptized in your name.
Keep us faithful to our baptism, and so make us ready for that day when the whole creation shall be made perfect in your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Peace

The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, Peace be with you! Then were they glad when they saw the Lord.
Alleluia! The peace of the risen Christ be always with you
and also with you. Alleluia!

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

all may exchange a sign of peace, greeting one another with these words.

The Lord is risen.
He is risen indeed.

Offertory

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his Church.

Prayer over the gifts

Lord,
accept the prayers and offerings of your people.
With your help may this Easter mystery of our redemption
bring to perfection the saving work you have begun in us.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Preface

The Lord be with you
and also with you

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God
It is right to give thanks and praise

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We praise you with greater joy than ever
on this Easter night,
when Christ became our paschal sacrifice.

He is the true Lamb that took away the sins of the world.
By dying he destroyed our death;
by rising he restored our life.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:

Holy Holy Holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory, hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Eucharistic Prayer B

Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness;
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit,
and according to your holy will,
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks;
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body
which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith…
Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again!

And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross,
his perfect sacrifice made once for the sins
of the whole world;
rejoicing in his mighty resurrection
and glorious ascension,
and looking for his coming in glory,
we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.

As we offer you this our sacrifice
of praise and thanksgiving,
we bring before you this bread and this cup
and we thank you for counting us worthy
to stand in your presence and serve you.

Send the Holy Spirit on your people
and gather into one in your kingdom
all who share this one bread and one cup,
so that we, in the company of
Our Blesséd Lady, St. Anne, St. Cecilia, St Edward,
and all the saints,
may praise and glorify you for ever,
through Jesus Christ our Lord;

by whom, and with whom, and in whom,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who 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.

We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share the one bread

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace

[Optional:

Come not because you are strong,
but because you are weak.
Come not because any goodness of your own
but because you need mercy and help.
Come because you love the Lord a little
and would like to love him more.
Come because he loves you
and gave his life for you.]

This is the lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blesséd are those who are called to his supper
Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Communion Antiphon

Christ has become our paschal sacrifice; let us feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, alleluia. I Corinthians 5:7-8

Post Communion

Heavenly Father,
you have delivered us from the power of darkness,
and brought us into the kingdom of your Son:
grant that, as his death has recalled us to life,
so his continual presence in us
may raise us to eternal joy. Amen.

Lighting of the Easter Candles from the other Churches

Blessing and Dismissal

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Aleluia!

God the Father,
by whose glory Christ was raised from the dead,
strengthen you to walk with him in his risen life;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you, and remain with you,
this night, this blessed Easter and always. Amen.

The mass is ended Go in the peace of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Christingle 2015

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in mission, scripture, teaching

Christmas Eve

The Prezi which accompanies this can be found at: https://prezi.com/mj9bepkettmj/

Equipment:
Christingle Kits and Grace, Knitted Nativity given to various children around Church and asked to look after them carefully, Candles & Tapers, Fire Extinguishers and Water Buckets in Chancel. Voile covers the big nativity

People gather in Nave; while Micky Mouse’s Christmas, Tom & Jerry’s “Twas the Night before Christmas” and CJMs “Heaven’s Final Word” plays

Welcome

(coming in from the back) 10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1…

Christmas starts… now! Welcome to our Christingle Service

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

The Lord Be With You
And also with you

O Come All Ye Faithful

(vs 1-3) ( Number 12 on Carol Sheets)

1 O come, all ye faithful,
joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
come and behold him,
born the King of angels:

O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord!

2 God of God,
Light of light,
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
very God,
begotten, not created:
Chorus

3 Sing, choirs of angels,
sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above:
‘Glory to God
in the highest:’
Chorus

  • Now I won’t want to keep you long tonight as I know you all have to get back to your beds
  • because some of you may be expecting something or someone later to call.
  • However, before then, I want us tonight to go on a special journey.
  • There are so many of us that we can’t actually move, but this will be a journey of the mind: a journey through the Christmas story, and through this journey, I hope that we will be able to remind ourselves of the reason why we gather on this special night, the reason for the season, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

So, let us begin our journey by hearing what Isaiah foretold…

Listen to this:

A reading from the book of a wise man called Isaiah

“Once upon a time, everyone lived in the dark,
but now – we can see!
They used to live in a world that was so full of shadows
But now – we have a light to light up our way!

We have God with us
And he has made us happy
He has sent us a baby
Who is to be our King,
And he will keep everyone safe.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

This is certainly an exciting time: and as we get all figitty with the sheer fun of seeing all our relatives, eating lots of scrummy food and may (if we’ve been good) opening the odd present or two! Sometimes, we can miss the reason for the season: sometimes amid the hustle and bustle, the noise, we can lose sight of the stillness, the pause.

God plan has been coming some time. A baby takes time to grow in their Mummy’s tummy and in the same way, Jesus grew inside Mary, slowly and over the past few weeks and months we have been looking forward to this wonderful thing which the prophets of old (like Isaiah) foretold.

Until God chooses to step into this world and become one of us,

GOD

IS

HERE

God is here to be a part of our lives, not remote and distant, but here in time and history and to be present today in the Church, in his word and in his holy sacraments.

Let us now sing The First Noel (Vs 1+6) as we turn round to the sanctuary

The First Noel

(Vs 1+6) (Number 5)
1 The first Nowell the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay:
In fields where they lay a-keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep:

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
Born is the King of Israel.

6 Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made heaven and earth of nought,
And with his blood mankind hath bought:

Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell,
Born is the King of Israel.

Knitted Nativity – dotted around with various children in the church, who should be there?

Mary / Joseph / Shepherds / Kings / Animals

Call children up to form mixed human/knitted tableau

No Jesus, because he is born tonight.

We have another crib in this church, before we see it let us sing While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks.

While Shepherds Watched their flocks

(Number 7)

1 While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
all seated on the ground,
the angel of the Lord came down,
and glory shone around.

2 ‘Fear not,’ said he (for mighty dread
had seized their troubled mind);
‘glad tidings of great joy I bring
to you and all mankind.

3 ‘To you in David’s town this day
is born of David’s line
a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
and this shall be the sign:

4 ‘The heavenly babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
all meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
and in a manger laid.’

5 Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
appeared a shining throng
of angels praising God, who thus
addressed their joyful song;

6 ‘All glory be to God on high,
and to the earth be peace;
good will henceforth from heaven to men
begin and never cease.’

The Voile is lifted from the Big Nativity

Here we can see all those characters that we collected at the front of Church.

Listen to the story from the holy bible:

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew:

Joseph lived in the town of Nazareth
But one day he had to go all the way to Bethlehem with Mary
Even though she was going to have a baby.
While they were in Bethlehem,
The Baby was born – it was Mary’s first little boy,
And she dressed him up in baby clothes
And made a bed for him in a stable
Because there was no room left for them at the Inn.

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

This year has certainly been a good year for Christmas Adverts hasn’t it? Mog’s Christmas, and the one about the man in the moon. They’re all trying to make us buy stuff for Christmas, but the best gift is different.

This version of the Man in the Moon video ends a bit different

As we are all excited about all the gifts Father Christmas will bring, we need to remember that the best gift of all comes wrapped not in shiny paper with a big bow on it, but wrapped in human flesh.

Every time a gift is given, it says something doesn’t it? A gift means:

  • I care about you
  • I think you’re special
  • I love you

And this gift from God says exactly that.

God, the powerful creator of the world, could have sent his Son in power and glory and forced us to be good; but God loves us, and wanted his Son to show us, not force us.

God sent Jesus in the world as a tiny, vulnerable baby; in an obscure corner of the world; so that the saviour of the world would be one of us: tiny and vulnerable in this great big world.

It’s very tempting to only think of the baby Jesus and to forget that this is not the end of the story, but only the beginning. The child born in a smelly, cold, cave which sheltered animals would grow up, and the fabulous stories told of his birth would be mirrored by those wonderful things he did as an adult: to make the deaf hear, the blind see, the lame walk and to heal the sick; but none of that compares to the ultimate giving – the best present of all, the gift of our eternal life, won by the baby grown into the man, the man who offered himself on the cross.

So remember, don’t keep the baby in the manger, don’t cling onto the chocolate box image of the child, but allow the child to grow, and your faith will grow too – for the mature Jesus is the man who won us the ultimate freedom through the victory of the Cross.

Christingles

This is a Christingle Service, which means I suppose that we should have some Christingles around here somewhere… Oh yes, you have them in kit form! I hope no-one has opened and eaten the sweets yet…

Because this year, I thought it would be a good idea for us to make our own, and you have the kit here

Can anyone tell me what a Christingle is?

The Christingle was invented by Saint Lucia in Scandanavia to explain symbolically God’s goodness to the world. As this is quite a large crowd, I’m going to scale up my Christingle a little bit, so everyone can see. It features:

• An Orange, which represents the World that God made.
• Four cocktail sticks, representing the four seasons, the four corners of the earth
• … dried fruit, and sweets representing God’s gifts to the world.
• A Red Ribbon tied around the Orange, representing the Blood of Christ
• A Lighted Candle representing Jesus Christ, shining in the world today

Christingles not only signify the goodness of God to us, but also they can be a focus for Christmas.

If you can, replace the sweeties on the Christingle tonight and place it alit on your Christmas table, so as you gather as a family, you can be reminded of the place that Jesus Christ has amongst your festivities.

Say Grace before your meal, and thank God for bringing you together as a family. On the outside of the bag there is a special grace that you can say together when you have re-lit your Christingle

When you have completed your Christingle…

Start with your vial of iron powder – show it, sprinkle some between your fingers, back into the container. Explain what it is – it looks just like dust. In fact, it’s what the earth’s core is made of. It’s the most common element in our planet. It’s earth-dust, nothing more; we might remember that the Bible tells of God making the first human being from dust.  You can’t get anything more earthy than this. It’s grey and dull, really. It doesn’t look like anything special. It doesn’t look like it’s going to do anything cool.  Not on its own, anyway.

But look what happens when we introduce the dust of the earth to the light of the world. (Light your own Christingle at this point, dim the lights, and carefully sprinkle some of the iron powder into the flame – it’s worth practicing before the service so you get the right amount – the iron should turn to bright orange sparks, clearly visible in a dark church).

The dust of the earth comes alive when it touches the light of Christ – Jesus came into the world to bring it to life, to bring energy and joy to places that were grey and lifeless.  When Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world’ he meant that he was bringing the light of heaven right into the midst of earth’s darkness.  When he said ‘you are the light of the world’ he meant that he could transform our dull dustiness into bright shining sparks of God’s love in the world!

At this service, we turn from dust to sparkles! The light of Jesus is with us, and is bringing us to life, so that we can bring his light and life to the dark places of this world – that’s our life’s work, and we do it in the transforming love and power of Jesus.  So shine as lights in the world to the glory of God the Father! (Ally Barrett)

Candles are lit.

The children will sing the first verse of Away in a Manger in the candlelight and then for the next two verses we will all join in.

Light Christingles LIGHTS OUT

Away in a Manager

(Number 6)
(in dark, Children first verse, 2nd/3rd verse, all)

1 Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
the stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

2 The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,
and stay by my bedside till morning is nigh.

3 Be near me, Lord Jesus: I ask thee to stay
close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
and fit us for heaven, to live with thee there.

Now, tomorrow is the birthday of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, and all these candles make it look a bit like a birthday cake.

I don’t know if we have 2012 candles here, but we have quite a lot… What song do we sing at someone’s birthday? Why don’t we all sing “Happy Birthday Dear Jesus” to remind ourselves of why we celebrate Christmas – the birthday of the most special man ever in the history of the world!

Happy Birthday to you

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Jesus,
Happy birthday to you!

Blow Candles Out.

Poem

And that’s why we have Christmas and welcome the day
And sing and eat turkey and put on a play
And dress up like angels and get lots of toys
It’s not just because of that sweet baby boy
It’s because of the man he grew up to be
Who changed people’s lives and can change you and me
To live and to love just like God always planned
And turn what is sad into glad again
And turn what is sad
INTO GLAD!

Blessing

May the humility of the shepherds,
the faith of the wise men,
the joy of the angels,
and the peace of the Christ Child,
be God’s gift to us and to all people this Christmas
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the +Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be upon you and remain with you, this night and always.

Amen

Depart

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

END

Reading for Christingle Service 1

A reading from the book of a wise man called Isaiah
(small pause)

“Once upon a time, everyone lived in the dark,
but now – we can see!
They used to live in a world that was so full of shadows
But now – we have a light to light up our way!

We have God with us
And he has made us happy
He has sent us a baby
Who is to be our King,
And he will keep everyone safe.

(small pause)

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Reading for Christingle Service 2

A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew:
(small pause)

Joseph lived in the town of Nazareth
But one day he had to go all the way to Bethlehem with Mary
Even though she was going to have a baby.

While they were in Bethlehem,
The Baby was born – it was Mary’s first little boy,
And she dressed him up in baby clothes
And made a bed for him in a stable
Because there was no room left for them at the Inn.

(small pause)

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

How to use Prezi for Collective Worship (& other useful bits about using tech in worship)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in geek, mission, parish, scripture, teaching, youth

Death by Powerpoint - a crime against humanityI’ve been speaking to people about Jesus (and in previous lives, other things as well) and supporting that with slides for more years than I care to remember. It started with Harvard Graphics for me, and if you too remember that on DOS then we are both way too old for this game. However, Powerpoint eventually took over and on Windows it has been and remains the dominant presentational tool used. However, we have all encountered Death by Powerpoint where a dull speaker simply reads dense and poorly set out text to a bored and lifeless audience.

Text on it’s own is dull. The visual media was intended for the visual, with text kept to a minimum. I see Dr Bex Lewis report from the many many conferences she attends and am struck by how wordy, how dull, how lifeless many of the slides on screen are like. Once when I was giving a Clinical Paper using traditional old-fashioned 35mm slides, as a poor and unfunded Staff Nurse I could not afford to have any extra slides made above the 5 which the conference would pay for. This focuses the mind somewhat on what you really want to illustrate so it was just the most important diagrams I needed. To fill the space, I went down to the National Gallery and interspersed my talk with classical paintings on 35mm slides (remember them?) and it went down a storm as people remembered images and what I said around the images far better. It was not what was on screen that was important, but the story that I told using the images as backdrop. Less words. More images. Images tell a story for you whilst you spin a yarn.

The TED talks have reinvigorated the scientific conference: short and pithy, scriptless 20 min talks direct to an audience which inspire and invigorate. Every Collective Worship should be like a TED talk and enable those in Worship to leave inspired and challenged.

image

The story is the important thing. Never read it, but internalise it: tell it from the first person, as one of the witnesses or one of the protagonists (but obviously not as Jesus himself), the woman who was healed, a disciple in the boat, or the Last Supper, someone in the Jerusalem observing the Crucifixion. I seem to spend a lot of time playing S. Peter – especially as he was good at stupid statements at critical times which make hugely useful teaching opportunities. Draw the audience in with what is going on and through that communicate the awesome truth of the Gospel of Jesus. None of these stories are very long. You probably grew up with them, and with a little prompt can remember it fully. It doesn’t matter if a word is out of place, for this is the Oral tradition which you are continuing: worry less about the words, but about the word – the overarching meaning of this story. It’s better also, given in your own accent, the accent of the people you are speaking with, as though we were all there.

Reading from the Powerpoint doesn’t work with Children, especially not in Worship

Children are the worst audience. They don’t hide their boredom or disengagement and the problem with many clergy coming into to Schools to lead Collective Worship (previously known as Assembles, but no longer) is that they have forgotten how visual the story we have to tell is. If you simply read a passage of the Holy Scriptures at them in a dull and lifeless way then they will come to believe that Scripture is dull and lifeless. This is a dynamic collection of stories inherited from an Oral Tradition, which was told and retold before anyone ever got to writing it down. It speaks powerfully and so your Collective Worship should also be powerful, driven and lively. I find that with a well-crafted retelling of a Gospel Story, one can hold a large hall of Children rapt with attention, because most of them have never heard the story. It is said that you have to hear the (whole) truth about Jesus dozens of times before it even starts to make an impact, so start here and repeat until evangelised.

“I won’t use the screen because I’m not technical” is not really an excuse, because the screen becomes the backdrop and the prompt for the important bit: the story. Later in this post, I will guide you step-by-step through effective use of presentation software with a minimum of technical skill. If you don’t know how to do it yet, then why not try and learn: baby steps at first because you have the most important task in primary evangelism later this morning, with undoubtedly the largest congregation you will have all week, to make Christ known through your Collective Worship.

Of course this is but one way to reinvigorating Collective Worship, and if you have a team of people, I highly commend the Open the Book project from the Bible Society which uses real live drama, and backs up my point perfectly. However, few of us have those human resources (on our own normally) and have to tell the story as best we can.

The End of Death by Powerpoint

I do use projected images in Worship, and there are some words on them. I always begin worship with “In the name of the Father…”, use “The Lord be with you” on absolutely every encounter with a group of young people, close with the Lord’s Prayer, the Grace and a proper Blessing and Dismissal because, well, it’s part of the Anglican liturgical heritage and how can you teach authentic Anglican values (as desired by SIAMS) if you don’t frame Collective Worship in an Anglican structure? I use the opening, blessing and dismissal and Lord’s Prayer in non-Church schools as well, but whether in Church or LA Schools, children are never forced to pray. “I invite you to pray. If you don’t want to pray, then that’s fine but please remain still with your own thoughts so as not to disturb those who do want to pray...” If the Humanists don’t think that this is adequate, then they really have no confidence in their misunderstandings.

To support the Worship, I use a presentation tool called Prezi.

screenshot-prezi.com 2015-11-27 11-14-25

Prezi is available online and for free, but you have only limited space for presentations and have to have an internet connection (although it has run very successfully over my phone). You can create a wonderful Prezi online and download it as a standalone, take anywhere presentation (and I have seen them used very effectively as an interactive kiosk tool) but obviously that is fixed and you can’t modify the Prezi rapidly without downloading a fresh, edited standalone file.

However, there is a very reasonably priced Educational/Non Profit licence which schools and churches can sign up for and which not only gives you much more space but the ability to work offline which is what I normally do, particularly as the firewall in most schools block access to YouTube and your carefully embedded video link won’t play. I always embedd a complete video inside my Prezi – of course it makes the file bigger, but it always works, even offline. You can edit and share really easily without Internet and they are synced with your online version. Editing and reusing is a doddle.

Prezi

Rather than having traditional “slides” it features a canvas around which the user may roam. Once can zoom in and out of sections, revealing text and images and moving around a graphic, a picture or even text. This means that for storytelling, it gives you a perfect backdrop.

I often call up an image: a painting or an icon of a given story, and then roam around it highlighting details as part of my story

You can call up an image or some text, and then zoom in to make a point, or draw attention to something, zoom out to get a bigger picture.

prezi_demo

Notice how little text there is above here.

You can link to YouTube Videos to illustrate or amuse or even help tell the story. I often take an animation like a lego brickmation and have the sound off in order to tell my story over the top. As I mentioned before, I have often reedited these slightly to either trim the beginning (the annoying titles are unnecessary and the audio is often not needed). Most of this basic editing can be done in Windows Movie Maker (free for PC) or iMovie (Mac), but you will need to get the movie from YouTube or Vimeo first.

screenshot-www.freemake.com 2015-11-27 17-52-33

There are many ways of downloading video off the Internet, but my current favourite is Freemake Video Downloader. It is free, but comes bundled with loads of bloatware, which you just have to be careful with and decline to install. Once you wade through that, it is a powerful and effective tool that can download in a variety of formats. My preferred format and which is perfect for Prezi is the one with the little Apple Symbol next to it – 640×480 MP4 (if this means nothing to you, don’t worry, just look for the little Apple icon and you’re fine. Prezi can import other formats, but it needs to upload them, crunch them and send them back (automatically) as the same format I just described – so saving a file directly means that you cut out the middleman.

All you have to do is find the video you want, copy the address of the video and then paste it into Freemake Video Downloader, choose your format and choose just Download.

Making a Prezi

screenshot-prezi.com 2015-11-28 09-23-38

As with all things, Prezi provides a host of templates which enable your presentations/worship to look like everybody else’s. My advice is to ignore those and concentrate more on your look and feel. There is a limited pallete of fonts for each Prezi which prevents the ‘I’ve just got a new presentation tool’ riot of colour, whizzy transitions and fonts which proliferate: Teachers, I’m looking at you. Choose a colour scheme to suit you. Choose fonts which are first of all legible. Non-Serif fonts are generally accepted as better. However if you use Comic Sans then you are patronising the children and you might as well leave now…screenshot-prezi.com 2015-11-28 09-22-37

screenshot-prezi.com 2015-11-28 09-21-52I tend to create ‘invisible frames’ which I suppose are the closest to slides Prezi has. By being invisible it does not clutter up the screen. There is only one form of transition, praise the Lord, which is the simple fade-in and is all you need: seriously, all you need.


Stop thinking in bullet points.

screenshot-prezi.com 2015-11-28 09-23-16It is possible to do bullet points, and I do occasionally use them, but it should not be your default way of thinking. Consider instead how to illustrate your story. Move through that story using the screen as your support, not your script. Engage by telling the story to, not at your young people.

The Zooming around concept in Prezi is awesome, but you should be careful with moving rapidly across a massive canvas, in and out quickly: it can disorientate, so better to make reasonable, non vomit-inducing moves. Or provide a bucket – your choice.

The rest of this tutorial

The only way to learn is to play: start basic and then progress. My first test Prezis were very basic indeed, then they got horrible and over-ambitious and so I scaled them back to where we are now. It’s a good tool, but it doesn’t replace YOU. Your story is the heart of this: short, pithy, challenging and with something to learn from: oh yes, just like the stories Jesus himself taught…

Parish Pilgrimage Liturgy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in mission, parish, sacraments, scripture, teaching

Next weekend we shall be in Walsingham
pilgrimage guide 2015

This is our Parish Manual, designed to sit alongside the annual Pilgrim Manual from the Shrine

I’m posting this here in case it has any info on it which you might like to borrow for your own parish manual.

In pdf format: Bickleigh and Shaugh Prior Pilgrimage guide 2015 single page version

In Microsoft Publisher: Download from Dropbox