Archives February 2011

Presentation to U3A Comparative Religion Group on Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism

Due to give this next tuesday to the local U3A Group on Comparative Religion. They sound an interesting group. I hope they enjoy this presentation.

[slideshare id=7080887&doc=comparativereligion-anglocatholicism-110227131305-phpapp01

The comments are personal and not owned by the Church of England or the Diocese of Portsmouth, however, I think I’ve been fair and honest about current issues: which I’ve said on here before – the Ordinariate saddens me, because I hoped we could all remain together, despite our tensions.

Liturgy: Ordinary 8, Year A

Ordinary 8, Year A


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


Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all

and also with you


The Lord has been my strength; he has led me into freedom. He saved me because he loves me. (Psalm 18:19-20)


My dear friends in Christ, we come together this morning to be refreshed and renewed by the word of God and his holy sacraments. Today’s Gospel reminds us of God’s wonderful creation, our place in it and the need to at times pause and look around to see his wonderful gifts to us.


As we come together, praying for the life, work and witness of this parish, and prepare to encounter God in these holy and sacred mysteries, we begin by recognising the wonderful grace that Christ has won for us, and we come into this holy space seeking God’s forgiveness…


I confess…




The Collect

Let us pray


guide the course of world events
and give your Church the joy and peace
of serving you in freedom.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

All    Amen.




Alleluia, alleluia.

Your word is truth, O Lord. Consecrate us in the truth.


All    Alleluia.


The Peace


We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace
and builds up our common life.


The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you


Prayer after Communion


God of salvation,
may this sacrament which strengthens us here on earth
bring us to eternal life.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.






The God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus,
establish, strengthen and settle you in the faith;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

All    Amen.


The mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ.

All    Thanks be to God.


Next Blesséd – "Sorry…" – an act of reconciliation for children & grown-ups who mess up as well

As part of the preparation for Holy Communion course that the Parish of S. Thomas the Apostle, Elson actively engages in (we have over a dozen active communicants aged between Ages 7 and 11), we draw in a service of reconciliation. This year, Blesséd takes the lead in this service and both adults and children will be invited to explore their need to say sorry, and the promise of forgiveness by God which is at the heart of the sacrament of reconciliation.

The worship will be at 5pm on Sunday 6th March at S. Thomas the Apostle, Elson, on the corner of Elson Road and Elson Lane in Gosport, PO12 4EZ.

More information on the Blesséd website:

Come. All are welcome: no matter what your age or how much you think you’ve messed up. Come.

Liturgy: Ordinary 7, Year A

Ordinary 7, Year A


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


Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all

and also with you


Lord, your mercy is my hope, my heart rejoices in your saving power. I will sing to the Lord for his goodness to me. (Psalm 13:6)



My dear friends in Christ, we come together this morning to offer this holy sacrifice to Almighty God, our heavenly Father as hear the radical call to love even those whom we despise, and even harder, might despise us.


A warm welcome to you all, as we pray with special intention for the life, work and witness of the parish, filled with grace and hope for the work of God in our lives.


So, my dear friends, as we gather to meet God in Word and Sacrament we prepare ourselves by first calling to mind our sins.


I confess…

The Collect

Let us pray


keep before us the wisdom and love
you have revealed in your Son.
Help us to be like him
in word and deed,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.







Alleluia, alleluia.
If anyone loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him

All    Alleluia.




The Peace


God has made us one in Christ.

He has set his seal upon us

and, as a pledge of what is to come,

has given the Spirit to dwell in our hearts.


The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you


Prayer after Communion


Almighty God,
help us to live the example of love
we celebrate in this eucharist,
that we may come to its fulfillment in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen








The Lord be with you

And also with you



The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.



The mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ.

Thanks be to God.


Liturgy: Ordinary 6, Year A


Ordinary 6, Year B


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


Grace, mercy and peace from God Our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit be with you all

and also with you


Lord, be my rock of safety, the stronghold that saves me. For the honour of your name, lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3-4)


My dear friends in Christ, we come together today in worship and song, to meet with the risen Christ who completes the Law of God and establishes a new kingdom and a new covenant with each and every one of us: A warm welcome to you all.


We pray for the life, work and witness of this parish and pray that our inward lives and beings might reflect God’s will for all of us.


However, we often fall short of that, and we therefore need to be reconciled with our Heavenly Father and seek his boundless forgiveness.


Let us therefore confess our sins…


I Confess…




The Collect

Let us pray


God our Father,
you have promised to remain for ever
with those who do what is just and right.
Help us to live in your presence. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


All    Amen.




Alleluia, alleluia.

Speak Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life


All    Alleluia.


The Peace


May the God of peace sanctify you:
may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness
that you may be blameless before him
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ


The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you


Prayer after Communion


you give us food from heaven.
May we always hunger
for the bread of life.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.







The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
…and the blessing of God almighty,

the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

All    Amen.


The mass is ended. Go in the peace of Christ.

All    Thanks be to God.


Thanksgiving for Marriage (Valentine's Service) Homily

  • A Husband says: You have to admit (my dear) that men have much better judgement than women. His Wife replies: You’re right. You married me and I married you.
  • Well, the fact that you have come here this evening, on the closest Saturday night to S.Valentines and just (I hope) before he takes you out, (yeah, right!) shows that you BOTH showed exceptional taste and judgement!
  • Valentine has become a Saint’s day which now overwhelmingly is given over to commercialism (for the benefit of card manufacturers) and the repackaging of sex as a commodity rather than a gift from God
  • This is a pity, because S. Valentine was a Saint who facilitated the love of a young Christian couple, defended and protected them and ultimately was martyred because he believed that love, shown one for another was a manifestation of God’s love.
  • We gather here to celebrate the God given gift of Partnership – the joining of two people and the joy, commitment, fidelity that that sacrament calls us to.
  • It is, indeed a sacrament
    • It has an outward visible sign
    • It has an inward spiritual grace
      • The outward signs are not, as commonly supposed those rings, or the certificate, or any of those elements that you fretted over when you prepared your special day
      • But the outward and visible sign of your sacrament is yourselves
      • The inward spiritual grace is what drew you together, continues to sustain you on your life’s adventure and which is the ultimate proof, I believe of the existence of God: love.
  • When God draws two people together, he does so for a reason, and he does so in joy
  • We gather today to celebrate all we have been through – and that does mean not shying away from the tough times as well as the good ones
  • And we look forward, for our lives spent in partnership are more significant than just for the here and now.
  • I actually believe that “until death us do part” is only a part of it and that when we are gathered into glory with the Lord, there our partnership is continued, sustained as a reflection of the love that God has for us.
  • There may be some gathered here whose life partners are no longer with us, but their commitment to each other remains true.
  • This is an opportunity for us to take stock, and to pause and reflect on our lives spent in partnership and marriage.
  • It is a moment to give thanks to God for each other, and for the place of God in that life-long partnership.
  • We realise that our committed relationships demand from us the same gifts that God shows to us:
    • Communication
    • Empathy – sensing the needs of our loved ones
    • Fidelity
    • Honesty
  • If we take our soul-mates seriously, then we are called to both give and receive those gifts
  • When we do, we realise that they are worth all the chocolates and flowers in the world.
  • Amen


Sermon Notes: Ordinary 6, Year A – the letter of the Law

Text: Matthew 5:17-37

  • It is the law which so often runs us into trouble
    • Controversy over European Courts vs the Sovereignty of Parliament
    • The letter of the law being very different to the spirit of the law
    • Laws that are unenforceable,impractical or simple knee-jerk reactions (Dangerous Dogs Act, CRB Checks, and even worse the shelving of the ISA safeguarding mechanism)
  • The Laws of Moses have been both a source of light and inspiration to us over the centuries
  • And have also been a millstone
    • because they weren’t written for us
    • they were written for a nomadic people, moving into a new territory, seeking to ethnically clense the land of the Canaanites and replant the vine of Israel (Ps 90)
    • The Law of Moses is about separation, about practical purity, about ensuring that the Jewish lineage was not diluted by intermarriage
    • So the Law of Moses prescribes in both literal and metaphorical terms the dangers of mixing with the locals
      • So a fabric may not be made of two different kinds of thread
      • So the eating of animals which are neither one thing nor another (like shellfish) is prohibited
      • So ritual practices associated with the worship of ‘foreign Gods’ such as tattooing or sexual practices are forbidden
  • These laws were written because as Jesus says in relationship to divorce “because of the hardness of your hearts”
  • For the context in which these laws were created, they were in many ways appropriate (although the culture of separation and ethnic clensing is perhaps debateable)
  • Just as some laws in England no longer have relevance (the requirement to practice archery every Sunday after Mass for example), so the letter of the Jewish Law is no longer strictly appropriate.
  • We should be careful when trying to apply Bronze Age constructs to 21st Century society: there are some places where the sense of what the Torah is trying to say is more important than the actual words.
  • Jesus comes therefore to his own time and to our time, to complete the law, and with the advent of Christ, the law becomes complete and the time to move on has come.
  • We gladly threw out the dietary laws, even during the lives of the first apostles, but the hardness of our hearts has limited the extent to which we have taken that, to the point where most people on the streets believe that these days to be a Christian is not to seek tolerance, forgiveness or understanding, but to claim special privilege, prejudice and judgement over the sexuality and morality of others.
  • This is not what Christ calls us to. Matthew 7:1 calls us not to judge, but to trust in the righteous judge and to follow the will of God not in the pharisaical letter of the law, but in the sweep of the Gospel
    • To love
    • To forgive
    • To heal
    • To reconcile
  • Jesus recognises that our sin may be deeply buried within us
    • That lust inside is as corrosive as the adulterous act itself
    • That the law merely frames the evil and wrong doing of society
      • If the law on Murder were repealed tomorrow, it would not make murder any more acceptable
  • The framework of love that underpins our Christian faith calls us individually and as a society to be reconciled with God
    • This isn’t just for law breaking
    • but rather for failing to grasp the call of the Gospel
    • for putting ourselves before others
    • for placing others on the edge of our concern
  • May our ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, when we embrace the new law of Christ and may that be a wholehearted ‘yes’ to God.

    Liturgy for Service of Thanksgiving for Partnership and Marriage

    This liturgy is for all kinds of Partnerships that are honoured by God, for he loves and cherishes the commitment of anyone to anyone else. What he wants is fidelity. STE especially affirms all kinds of partnership and marriage.


    Organ – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring or Clark – Trumpet Tune

    Welcome and Introduction

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



    We gather here (t: Jerusalem)

    We gather here, we gather now,
    drawn by the love we know and share.
    We come to celebrate in our joy
    the union of this special pair.
    To them our hearts reach out with love,
    on them the light of heav’n above
    shines down in grace abundant and free
    to bless them both eternally.

    And we who join to wish them well,
    offer them both our love and pray’r
    that they may walk in fullness of life
    the journey they have come to share.
    That they may know if storms come near
    that they have friends and fam’ly here
    for we commit ourselves to pray
    and love and cherish them each day.

    Susan Sayers (born 1946)

    Tune: “Jerusalem (Parry)”

    We have come together in the presence of God

    to give thanks for the sacraments of marriage and partnership,

    to ask God’s forgiveness for all that has been amiss

    and to rejoice together and to ask for God’s blessing.

    As our Lord Jesus Christ was himself a guest

    at the wedding in Cana of Galilee,

    so through his Holy Spirit he is with us now.


    Partnership and Marriage are gifts of God in creation

    and a means of his grace;

    it is given that a couple

    may comfort and help each other;

    living faithfully together in times of need as well as in plenty.

    It is given that with delight and tenderness

    they may know each other in love.


    In Partnership and Marriage a couple belong together

    and live life in the community:

    it is a way of life created and hallowed by God,

    that all should honour.


    Therefore we pray together

    that, strengthened and guided by God,

    we may continue to fulfil his purpose for our lives together.

    Let us pause and recall that shared experience, and in the silence of our hearts offer it all to God.


    Silence is kept for reflection on the years that have passed and on shared experiences, good and bad.


    Let us hear the word of the Lord


    First Reading

    Song of Solomon 2.10-13; 8.6,7

    My beloved speaks and says to me:
    ‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away;
    for now the winter is past,
    the rain is over and gone.
    The flowers appear on the earth;
    the time of singing has come,
    and the voice of the turtle dove
    is heard in our land.
    The fig tree puts forth its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
    Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away.’

    Set me as a seal upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm;
    for love is strong as death,
    passion fierce as the grave.
    Its flashes are flashes of fire,
    a raging flame.
    Many waters cannot quench love,
    neither can floods drown it.
    If one offered for love
    all the wealth of one’s house,
    it would be utterly scorned.

    This is the word of the Lord

    Thanks be to God.



    God of All living (t: Morning has broken)

    God of all living,
    Father, we praise you,
    Full of Thanksgiving,
    For so much love;
    Now in this wedding,
    Come down among us,
    Pour out your blessing,
    Heavenly dove.

    With love’s true splendour,
    Father, delight us,
    Each giving honour,
    With faithfulness;
    And may the sharing,
    Of this sweet union
    Deepen our caring,
    With tenderness.

    May there be children,
    Fruit of our loving,
    True men and women,
    With faith beside;
    Grant us your keeping
    In all our future,
    Your love caressing
    Bridegroom and bride.

    Canon Michael Walker

    Let us hear again, from the word of the Lord.


    Second Reading

    1 Corinthians 13

    If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

    This is the word of the Lord

    Thanks be to God.


    Fr. Simon Rundell, Vicar



    Love Divine, all loves excelling (t: Blaenwern)

    Love divine, all loves excelling,

    Joy of heaven to earth come down,

    Fix in us your humble dwelling,

    All thy faithful mercies crown.

    Jesus, you are all compassion

    Boundless love that makes us whole;

    Visit us with your salvation,

    Enter every trembling soul.


    Come, almighty to deliver,

    Let us all your grace receive;

    Suddenly return, and never,

    Never more your temples leave.

    Thee we would be always blessing,

    Serve you as your hosts above,

    Pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,

    Glory in your perfect love.


    Finish then your new creation,

    Pure and sinless let us be;

    Let us see your great salvation,

    Perfect in eternity;

    Changed from glory into glory,

    Till in heaven we take our place,

    Till we cast our crowns before you,

    Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

    Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


    Reading: Marriage joins two people in the circle of its love

    Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.

    Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child.

    Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.

    Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life.

    When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfil.

    Edmund O’Neill

    Prayers of Commitment and Thanksgiving

    taken from Jim Cotter’s Covenant of Profound and Special Friendship

    Let us all say these words of commitment to our partners, both here with us and those gathered on a farther shore.

    In the wonderful mystery of God

    Love-making Spirit between us

    Pain-bearing presence beside us

    Life-giving Future before us

    You, my soul-mate have been given to me

    to be cherished in a profound and special friendship

    to share with you all that I have and all that I am

    with a loyalty to you that comes before all others.

    Of my own free will, I chose to share my life with you

    With and in that greater Love

    and in the presence of our family and friends

    I, [state your Christian name, affirm, renew and deepen my promise

    to honour you as God’s home

    and to be loyal to you,

    and full of faith in you

    our life-day long.

    We give thanks for the sacraments of partnership and marriage, draw upon our treasured memories and look forward to the promise of heaven.

    We say together the prayer of St Francis:

    Lord, make
    us instruments of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is discord, union;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where there is sadness, joy;
    O Divine Master, Grant that we may not so much seek
    To be consoled as to console,
    To be understood as to understand,
    To be loved as to love.
    For it is in giving that we receive;
    It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
    And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

    Francis of Assisi

    Lord’s Prayer

    Offertory Hymn

    Dear Lord & Father of mankind (t: Repton)

    Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

    Forgive our foolish ways;

    Reclothe us in our rightful mind;

    In purer lives thy service find,

    In deeper reverence, praise.


    In simple trust like theirs who heard

    Beside the Syrian sea

    The gracious calling of the Lord,

    Let us, like them, without a word

    Rise up and follow thee.


    O sabbath rest by Galilee!

    O calm of hills above,

    Where Jesus knelt to share with thee

    The silence of eternity,

    Interpreted by love!


    Drop thy still dews of quietness,

    Till all our strivings cease;

    Take from our souls the strain and stress,

    And let our ordered lives confess

    The beauty of thy peace.


    Breathe through the heats of our desire

    Thy coolness and thy balm;

    Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;

    Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,

    O still small voice of calm!

    John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

    Blessing of Rings

    The wedding ring is the outward and the visible sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts in endless love. A circle: the emblem of eternity; In gold, the type of what is least tarnished and most enduring: it is to show how lasting and imperishable is the faith you once pledged and which you all continue to honour.

    Let your rings, a fit token of that which is unending, continue to be to you both a symbol of the value, the purity, and the constancy of the sacrament of marriage, and the seal of the vows in which you have pledged your most solemn and sacred honour.

    Let us gather together, together as couples, and in memory of those that we love and see no longer, so that we may be forever blessed by God’s unending, every-circling love.

    Heavenly Father, lover of all mankind, we ask you to continue to bless these relationships joined together in the sacraments of partnership and marriage. Pour out your love upon them all, and all those whose lives they touch.

    We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord


    The rings are sprinkled


    God the Giver of Life,

    God the Bearer of Pain

    God the Maker of love

    bless, preserve and keep you

    The divine light illuminate you,

    and shine out even from the cells of your being

    guiding you in truth and peace

    and making you strong in faith and wisdom

    that you may grow together in this life

    and that the love which endures

    carved and polished like a diamond,

    the love that can never be overcome,

    may it bear you even beyond death itself

    and transfigure you all to glory

    And the blessing of God, +Father, Son and Holy Spirit

    be upon you all, this day and always. Amen


    Organ – Mendelsohn – Wedding March



    Oooo listen! I'm on the pod…


    There is a new TwurchCast over at the Twurch. Enjoy!

    I enjoy this podcast, even if the Church Mouse’s voice is strangely disturbing, but in this one, you’ll hear a long and rambling interview with me, where I do not disappoint in saying scurrilous things and being outrageously inclusive. What Peter Ould must have thought of me, and my unsoundness I have no idea. My voice was shot to pieces after Elizabeth’s funeral, and so I croaked my way through it. I hope it (and what I said about the sacramental life) doesn’t make me sound like more of an idiot than I am already.

    You can subscribe to the Twurchcast via iTunes and pick up past broadcasts.

    In this episode @peterould and @thechurchmouse talk Going for Growth, Big Bible Lent studies, Bishops and AV, Church of England attendance figures and loads and loads of strange twitter accounts, blogs and facebook personas. After that,@peterould talks to @frsimon about alternative worship from an Anglo-Catholic perspective, attempts to burn down cathedrals and not just seven but nine sacraments…