Archives February 2014

Collective Worship and School Teaching for Ash Wednesday

Download: Teaching Powerpoint on Ash Wednesday

Prezi at

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You can work out the words from these slides. I am working with each year group from Reception through to Year 6 (skipping some bits for the littler ones obviously) and covering all this in 30 mins per year group, based on the following outline


Each theme below to be differentiated for each year group. Each session requires access to Powerpoint and Sound Playback and space for some movement and ritual for each yeargroup. Fr. Simon will produce these materials.

  • Introduction and Welcome
  • Purpose of the Session
  • Recall Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday
  • Identify today as Ash Wednesday
  • Set Ash Wednesday in context of Lent, Holy Week and Easter
  • Describe Ashing: where the ashes come from and what they are used for
  • Burn a Palm Cross with a blow torch to make the link clear
  • Doing Bad Things
    • The reality of bad things in the world, in the playground
    • How bad things affect relationships
    • How people feel when bad things are done to them (Golden Rules?)
    • Opportunity to recap whichever rule system is used in school
  • Bad things make God sad = sin
  • The effect of saying sorry and meaning it
  • The promise of forgiveness
  • The reality of grace
  • Opportunity for personal reflection on our actions
    • Including guided silence and reflection with music and images (visual)
    • Ritual with stones and large pot of water (supplied by Fr. Simon) and/or cairns of stones scattered and then rebuilt depending on year group (kinaesthetic)
    • Task:  Draw/Paint/Collage in small groups/individually (decided by class teachers) pieces to offer reflecting on Ash Weds.

Examples might be:

  • Ink ripple prints recalling the water/stones ritual earlier
  • Charcoal as an art medium, recalling the Ash
  • Collage of news items/internet images of things for society to repent about (older age group)
  • …or of course any others thought up by Young People, Art Manager, Class Teacher etc!

This is then followed by Collective Worship for KS1 and then KS2 which ends with the ashing of all the children who want it.

Act of Worship at the end of the school day

Prezi at

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Gathering Song:  King of Kings, Majesty

Mr Davey recaps the day’s Ash Wednesday activities


protect us in our struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline of Lent,
make this day holy by our self-denial.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Gospel: John 21:1-19

Options include: I could simply retell the story in the idiom of the next book: Frontline Evangelism with Youth People (yes, that is a plug)

1 Later, Jesus appeared again to his followers by Lake Galilee.  This is how it happened: 2 Some of the followers were together—Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the two sons of Zebedee, and two other followers. 3 Simon Peter said, “I am going out to fish.”

The other followers said, “We will go with you.” So all of them went out and got into the boat. They fished that night but caught nothing.

4 Early the next morning Jesus stood on the shore. But the followers did not know it was Jesus. 5 Then he said to them, “Friends, have you caught any fish?”

They answered, “No.”

6 He said, “Throw your net into the water on the right side of your boat. You will find some fish there.” So they did this. They caught so many fish that they could not pull the net back into the boat.

7 The follower Jesus loved very much said to Peter, “That man is the Lord!” When Peter heard him say it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself. (He had taken his clothes off to work.) Then he jumped into the water. 8 The other followers went to shore in the boat. They pulled the net full of fish. They were not very far from shore, only about 100 yards. [b 9 When they stepped out of the boat and onto the shore, they saw a fire of hot coals. There were fish on the fire and some bread there too. 10 Then Jesus said, “Bring some of the fish that you caught.”

11 Simon Peter got into the boat and pulled the net to the shore. It was full of big fish—153 of them! But even with that many fish, the net did not tear. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat.” None of the followers would ask him, “Who are you?” They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus walked over to get the bread and gave it to them. He also gave them the fish.

14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his followers after he was raised from death.

15 When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these other men love me?”

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Take care of my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Then Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 A third time Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was sad because Jesus asked him three times, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep. 18 The truth is, when you were young, you tied your own belt and went where you wanted. But when you are old, you will put out your hands, and someone else will tie your belt. They will lead you where you don’t want to go.” 19  Then he said to Peter, “Follow me!”

This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Fr Simon’s Homily:  Washed Clean
See an example given at:

Example text (I always ad lib this, so this is just a guide):

Tools: (supplied by Fr. Simon)
2 Clear Glass Bowls
1 small bottle of Iodine
1 bottle of Film Fixer
1 Purificator or Handkerchief

Fill the two bowls with approximately 1 litre of water, in one bowl have approximately 150-200mls of fixer in the bottom [adding the water could be part of the story

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

I want to show you something quite special this afternoon, something that illustrates very clearly what God does for us.

I have here, in these very bowls, some water, as you can see: plain ordinary water. Now these two bowls represent the world, and as the world is over 70% water, it is quite right that they are full of water.

Now, here I have a handkerchief, a plain ordinary handkerchief, and I think, even, that it’s clean. This handkerchief represents us, people in the world; and as you can see, when I dip it into the clean water, it stays nice and bright and shiny.

However, the world isn’t really as clean as all that is it? There are lots of nasty things going on, people killing each other and hating each other, simply because they live in the wrong part of town, or because they have different colour skin; people arguing and stealing and telling lies, all things that make God very sad about the wonderful world that he created: failing to love God, failing to follow God’s laws and failure to treat other people as we want to be treated.

So, to show this, I am going to add a few drops of some of this badness into the bowl of water, just a little, because I am sure that there is just a little bit of badness in the world, not a lot, but see what happens – the little bit of badness spreads throughout the earth and makes the water all mucky and brown.

What happens when I dip the nice clean hankie into the water now [put hankie in iodine solution, and it goes black – it makes it dirty and stained: we are affected by the badness in the world, and we are marked by it; see how the hankie goes black – and sometimes we even make the badness worse by adding our own badness: a bit of lying, a bit of cheating, a bit of stealing and a bit of failing to love God as we should.

Now, in this other bowl, we have a slightly different world, a world which is touched with the love of Jesus Christ in it: he loves each and every one of us, no matter how black and dirty we think we may me, no matter how clever we are or how we look, he simply loves us no matter what

Watch what happens now, if I take the cloth that is us, marked with sin, and put it in the Jesus bowl, [put cloth in fixer bowl, and it will turn clean again it takes away our sin, and makes us clean again, and you can see that the hankie has gone back to white again, as it has been touched by the love of Jesus.

However, and I think this is the clever part, this story does not just end with the wiping clean of us, and the making of us clean from sin: watch what happens when I take the cloth that has encountered the love of Jesus, and put it back in the dirty, sinful old world again [put the cloth from the fixer back in the iodine solution – the iodine will clear and the ‘water’ will be clean again, the love of Christ which has changed you, has the power to change the world, and the effect of sin can be overcome.

Let us Pray:

Dear Lord, we know that there are so many bad things that happen in the world, but help us to see that these bad things are not caused or made by you, but that they are the result of people turning away from you, and going their own way without listening to your commandments. We know that you feel for each and every one of us, when something bad happens and to show that love for us, you sent your Son, Jesus Christ to take away that sin, that badness for us. We saw with wonder and amazement, the really cool way that you wiped out our sin, and we ask, Dear God, that through us, showing the love of Christ in the way we treat each other, can make this world once more, sinless and clean.


Forgiveness Song

Just like lost sheep we have gone astray
Done bad things and run away
So we come to say sorry
Make things better as you see
Loving Jesus make anew
Our lives so we can be like you.

God loves you. God forgives you. God takes away your sin.

Fr. Simon recaps on forgiveness and grace and teaches a very silly song on forgiveness:

You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands
You’re forgiven and you know, so you really ought to show it,
You’re forgiven and you know it, so clap your hands

Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet
Jesus loves you and you know it, so you really ought to show it
Jesus loves you and you know it, so stamp your feet

If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
If you believe that God forgives you, say “We do” “We do”
When you say that you are sorry, you no longer have to worry
God takes away your sin, so say “Amen”. Amen!

Simon Rundell (2011), Creative Ideas for Sacramental Worship with Children, Canterbury Press

Lord’s Prayer (to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel)

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy na-a-ame.
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us all our si-i-ns
As we forgive
all those us who sin
or trespass against us

Let us not be drawn into
Any kind of temptation
Deliver us
from the evil one
Amen, Amen, Amen.

Liturgy of Ashing

Dear friends in Christ, let us ask our Father to bless these ashes which we will use as the mark of our repentance.

(Silent prayer)
Lord, bless the one who asks your forgiveness
and bless + all those who receive these ashes.
May they keep this Lenten season in preparation for the joy of Easter.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

The Ashes are sprinkled with Holy Water and then we say the grace together

The +grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us all evermore. Amen


Christ give you grace to grow in holiness,
to deny yourselves, take up your cross, and follow him;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Our service is ended. Go in the peace, love and forgiveness of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

Every person, beginning with the priests are offered to be ashed. They are then given a small prayer card. They are ashed with the words:

Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.
God loves you. God forgives you. God restores you through Jesus Christ

They are then given a small prayer card which says the same. If anyone declines Ashing, they will be offered a prayer of blessing and a card. If they decline both, they will be offered a card.

Recessional Video (as the children are ashed)

Video: Prayer from the Heart (John Taverner/Bjork) modified for Ashing

( )


Philip Larkin – Church Going

Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence.

Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new -
Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches will fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?

Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognisable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,

Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation - marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;

A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.

I’ve always had a special place for Larkin in my heart. I even gave my wife a copy of “An Arundel Tomb” on our wedding day.

Sermon Notes: Ordinary 6, Year A 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, EU Immigration)
  • 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.
  • In the same way, by clinging to narrow interpretations of a few select verses (often considered without context), many people have been excluded by the church
    • In the past, by the colour of their skin
    • In the present by their innate, God-given orientation
    • When we should be repenting of that past, we remain entrenched in it
      • The Church of England House of Bishops yesterday issued guidance which effectively turns its back on a society looking to the Church for commitment and tells many that their commitment, fidelity, their love is not Christ-like – which is fundamentally NOT Gospel-shaped
        • Jesus said nothing about sexuality
        • But he said a lot about the misuse of money and power
      • The Church which should promote life-long relationships, monogamy and above all things LOVE has now come out of the closet in favour of, even for some of its own ministers: lies, mistrust, deceit and subterfuge.
      • I will pray that the Church at large repents, even while many of us seek to ensure a welcome place for all, without judgement.
  • For 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
    • To welcome in
  • 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.

Collective Worship: Valentines Day

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Prezi may be accessed here:

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

“It must be love..” “Love is all around” “All you need is love” “Love is in the air”

Love, it would seem is the major concern of our lives. Music and Adverts are full of it. It fills our iPods and clogs up our TVs. We can’t seem to get away from it… but What is this thing called love?

Tomorrow/Today is St. Valentine’s Day.

Maybe you are expecting to send a card (or two)

Maybe you are expecting to get at least a card! I some some of the teachers are. I know one at least who’ll be disappointed!

St Valentines Day is the day when sales of cards and flowers and chocolates and teddy bears rocket.

A day to celebrate love. And it is the feast day of this Saint of Love,

…about whom I bet you currently know next to nothing

St. Valentine was a priest in Rome sometime (and to be honest, we don’t know exactly when) in the Third Century AD, so that’s about 1700 years ago…

The Roman Emperor disapproved of marriage, believing that it prevented young men from being excellent soldiers, but St. Valentine disagreed with him, and would secretly marry young men and women to came to him.

He was caught and thrown into gaol, which is where he met the jailer’s daughter, who was blind. They often say that love is blind, and their love flourished. He converted her to the faith, and it is said that his love healed her.

He used to write to her, and always signed his letters “From your Valentine…”

Love is a very complex thing. It isn’t as straightforward a thing as One Direction or Taylor Swift sings about…

Eskimos have hundreds of words for snow: they see there’s a difference between the light flakes of snow that dance in the morning sunshine and the heavy ice that clogs up our roads and needs parents and governors to dig the school out of.

In the same way, there are many different ways to think about love.

Of course the songs we mainly hear about are the soppy kind of love: the “I love you baby” type of love.

But there’s also the love between a parent and a child, so you’d say “I love my Mum or Dad”

Then there’s the love between friends, or between brothers and sisters

And there’s the selfless love that we try to show to our neighbour that Jesus tried to tell us about – the kind of love that doesn’t need chocolates or teddy bears or flowers to be proven – the kind of love that doesn’t have a price tag.

I believe God loves you as a parent loves a child – as one of his own

I believe God loves you with a passion, with intimacy, as a pair of grown-ups love each other

I believe God loves you and celebrates you as you are – as a friend and a brother or sister

I know, and I have experienced, that God loves you, and me, regardless of whether we love him back.

God’s love has, I believe, no strings attached, no conditions.

That’s the most challenging thing about this sort of love – the love that Christians believe Jesus poured out for us on the cross.

It’s not something we asked for, but still God still gives it. God wasn’t required to give us this love, he didn’t have to, but he gives his love anyway: his amazing grace.

It flows as freely as running water, and all we need to do is jump in and be prepared to swim in this amazing love.

This love will never run out, never fade like the flowers, get consumed like the chocolates, get threadbare like the teddies.

This love is for all time, and it is for you. St. Valentine is a symbol both of the love between two grown-ups and the love of God for us.

May you, know, deep down, that you are loved. Amen.

Let us pray…

Lord’s Prayer

Blessing and Dismissal

Gloria to Old MacDonald for the Nursery Rhyme Mass, a better version

From the genius pen of Sue Wallace (@PrecentorSue), shortly to be Precentor of Winchester Cathedral

Where you see a word in red, the congregation can clap or ring a bell, hand chime

Glory be to God on high
On the earth be peace 
Lord and God and heavenly king
Our praises never cease

We praise you YES!
We bless you YES!
We praise you, bless you 
Glory and adore you
Thank you glorious God on high
Lord God Heavenly king. 

God Almighty Father Dear
Jesus Christ God’s son
Like a lamb you take our sin
The wrong things we have done

Hear our prayer YES!
Hear our prayer YES!
Hear us  Hear us.
Have mercy and be near us
For you are the Holy One. 
Father, Spirit, Son.