Pioneer Evangelism

I was asked what I thought of it. This was my response…

Evangelism is at the heart of all Christian calling, a living out of the baptismal call and is therefore not unique to the Pioneer charism, but the way in which it is intentionally shaped is depending upon the Pioneering context.

As Pioneering is based upon a situational, ground-up approach to building community, so evangelism within those communities is also based upon situational, contextual approaches. The top-down, one-size-fits-all, hierarchically imposed model of discipleship is therefore inappropriate because strategies have to be based upon first the people with whom we are called to work. The model for mission and evangelism therefore has to be a close application of Acts 17: Paul speaking to the Areopagus where he contextualises the Gospel message to begin where his audience/congregation/mission field are at. He assimilates the Hellenistic model of both rhetoric and spirituality and seeks to transform it. Therefore any Fresh Expression which evangelises using an Alpha Course isn’t really Pioneering.

Where I have seen this most effectively is when different techniques and approaches have been adopted for different constituencies: the mid-teens who became involved in the first incarnation of Blessed were inspired by ritual, mystery and setting fire to tealights and incense: a technique which almost entirely failed with a different group of younger people in a different parish (after I had moved) who responded to an interactive story-telling and activity-based mode of evangelism. On the face of it, two entirely different modes of mission, the latter of which had to be experientially discovered.

So, to my mind, Pioneer Evangelism calls for flexibility of approach: a willingness to ditch well loved and well worn familiar techniques of evangelism and an embracing of the context in which we Pioneer; a process of listening and discerning which does not automatically discount the life-experiences of the community, but which speaks their language (a good example would be Fr Robb Sutherland’s Rock Mass in a very poor estate in Halifax), which authentically projects the charism of the evangelist themselves (no clones of Nicky Gumbel or Mark Driscoll required) and transforms any given gathering or community with the Good News of Jesus for them, not some asinine middle-class aspiration of megachurch.

Paul Fiddes – Sacraments in a Virtual World

(This paper is no longer available elsewhere on the web, although its critiques are; so as Prof Fiddes gave us a copy of it, I have scanned it here for the sake of completeness)

From The Virtual Body of Christ? Sacrament and Liturgy in Digital Spaces – a symposium organised by the CODEC research centre for Digital Theology (@CODECUK

Sacraments in a Virtual World?

A contribution by Paul S. Fiddes, University of Oxford, June 2009


An avatar can receive the bread and wine of the Eucharist within the logic of the virtual world and it will still be a means of grace, since God is present in a virtual world in a way that is suitable for its inhabitants. We may expect that the grace received by the avatar will be shared in some way by the person behind the avatar, because the person in our everyday world has a complex relationship with his or her persona.


The key theological question is whether the triune God is present, and whether Christ is incarnate (in some form, including the church) within the virtual world.*If the answer is yes, then one can conceive of the mediation of grace through the materials of that world, i.e. through digital representations.

Grace is, of course, not a substance but the gracious presence of God, coming to transform personality and society. In sacrament, God takes the occasion of bodies in creation to be present in an intense or ‘focused’ way to renew life.

One ought not to assume that cyberspace is a disembodied world. The net is composed of a form of energy, just as is the familiar ‘physical’ world in which we operate everyday. Moreover, the persons behind the avatars are in physical connection with the virtual world – through many of the senses (sight, hearing, touch — i.e. keyboard, mouse). Anyway, mental activity always has a physical base in the brain. Studies have shown that people feel a bodily connection with those with whom they are communicating over the net.

Theologically we should develop a notion of ‘virtual sacraments’ rather than an ‘extension’ of the consecration of elements over a distance, and their direct reception by the person employing the avatar. Within the logic of the virtual world, the cathedral in Second Life is a place where avatars worship God and avatars minister to avatars. The ‘person’ can thus only receive a virtual sacrament indirectly through relation to the avatar. There is a mysterious and complex interaction between the person and the persona projected (avatar), just as there is between the person and his/her personae (self-presentations to others) in everyday life. Avatars do not, however, worship merely an avatarGod because there is only one God, for whom person and persona are identical and in whom ‘all things live and move and have their being’, including the beings of virtual worlds.

There can be an ‘extension’ of the sacraments from the church sacraments of bread and wine into the sacramentality of the whole world, since the world is held in the life of the triune God; for an expression of this, see Teilhard de Chardin’s Mass on the World. Many physical objects in the world can become a focus of mediated grace in continuity with the church sacraments, while remaining dependent upon the sacraments of dominical institution for their meaning. My suggestion about virtual sacraments thus falls somewhere into the spectrum between church sacraments of bread and wine and other sacramental media in the world. I do not want to suggest that virtual sacraments would be simply identical with the church sacraments, though given the context of a ‘virtual church’ I suggest they would be closer on the spectrum than — say — the sacraments of sand and light in RS Thomas’ poem ‘In Great Waters’ :

The sand crumbles
like bread; the wine is
the light quietly lying
in its own chalice. There is
A sacrament there…

It might be said that the stuff of a virtual sacrament includes both sand (silicon) and light (photons)! Is there any less sand and light in a virtual world than in Thomas’ experience of the sea off the coast of Wales?

* This is not an outlandish question. The same question may be asked about the world which is inhabited by a schizophrenic, which appears completely real to the schizophrenic subject but which will be alien to others who share that person’s life in daily experience.

Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Brighton Dec 2017

At the #CuratingLiturgy conference I began the day with an act of benediction. Liturgically traditional, yet realised in a distinctively holy ground way. All videos can be downloaded from the Agnus Dei Website


The host in the Perspex monstrance is revealed slowly from underneath organza coverings

He is here…

You might not be able to spot him… but he is present

Really, literally present… amongst us

The image of the invisible God enfleshed at one time, and now with us in another form.

The form he left us: Body and Blood. Bread and wine.

No less than his real self.

To bring change to our humdrum lives, to transform us, as so surely he himself was transformed

To be amongst us… alongside us… with us…

It may be just a glimpse, a suggestion, an idea, captured in the corner of your eye, but he wants to reveal himself to you…

From the mountain top, to the upper room, to this sacred, holy meeting point between you and him.

O saving victim! opening wide
The gate of heaven to man below,
Our foes press hard on every side-
Thine aid supply, thy strength bestow.

All praise and thanks to thee ascend
For evermore, blest One in Three;
O grant us life that shall not end
In our true native land with thee. Amen


While the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar, we spend sometime in silent prayer. There may be scripture readings, hymns and prayers from time to time.

Blessed, Praised, Hallowed and Adored,
Be Our Lord Jesus Christ on his throne of Glory
And in the most holy sacrament of the altar


Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesu, hear me,
Within thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from thee.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come to thee
That with thy saints I may praise thee
for all eternity. Amen


Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Repeat each line after the priest

Blessed be God.
Blessed be his holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be his most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be his most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother. ;
Blessed be S.Joseph, her spouse most chaste.
Blessed be God in his Angels and in his Saints.


Therefore we, before him bending,
This great Sacrament revere:
Types and shadows have there ending,
For the newer rite is here;
Faith, our outward sense befriending,
Makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
To the Father and the Son.
Honour, might, and praise addressing,
While eternal ages run;
Ever to his love confessing,
Who, from both, with both is one. Amen

Thou gavest them bread from heaven.
Containing in itself all sweetness.

Let us pray.

O GOD, who in a wondrous Sacrament has left us a memorial of thy passion: grant that we may so venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood; that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of thy redemption: who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

The priest makes the sign of the cross over the people with the Blessed Sacrament in silence.



After Benediction the Blessed Sacrament is placed at the other end.

A Godly-Play Type Story about the Flight to Egypt

Scripture: Matthew 2: 13-23
Equipment: Sand bag, Two boxes, Holy Family from a Nativity Set, Angel from Nativity Set

Welcome. Are you ready for a story?

(open bag)

Long ago, in a far off land, (spread sand)

God reached down from heaven and became one of us.

Mighty, All-Powerful God could have come in any shape or form he wanted, he could have impressed us with his power, but he loved us so much, he came as… a tiny baby.

(place Jesus in centre of sand)

Born of his Mother, Our Lady Mary… (place Mary)

To be brought up and supported by Joseph… (place Joseph)

God poured his almighty self into this little form, to be with us, alongside us. God-in-a-child.

The King of the Universe was born in poor surroundings and with no comforts that befitted a King. In a Stable, for animals … and all their dirty, smelly mess.

The King of that land, a man called King Herod had heard that somewhere in his land a King had been born, a great King, an all-powerful King… and he was afraid.

King Herod couldn’t bear the thought of being replaced by a King who rightfully should be on his throne, so he sought to catch and kill this threat before it became a problem.

(remove Holy Family, place box at one corner, walk fingers all over the sand)

He sent his guards all across his land to find and kill the new King who might take his place.

(place Holy Family on top of box)

One night, as Mary and Joseph and the baby were asleep, and angel (place Angel on box) appeared to Joseph in a dream.

He warned Joseph that Herod sought to kill the God-in-a-child and that they should run for their lives, to another country.

(place box in opposite corner)

So, Our Lady, and Joseph took God-in-a-child and in the middle of the night, they ran away to be safe in a land called Egypt (meander the Holy Family through the desert). It was a long, scary, dangerous journey until at last they came to the land of Egypt where they could be safe.

They had to live and wait in Egypt until Herod was no longer King and they had to life as refugees for a number of years before Herod died.

(place Holy Family on other box)

Meanwhile, the guards did some horrible things to any child under the age of two, and killed all of the innocent babies just in case they might be the God-in-a-child who threatened Herod’s job. The tears of the Mothers must have fallen on the land like rain

(fingertip pats on the sand)

When Herod died, the Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream once more. (place Angel)

He told them that it was safe to return, and so Mary, and Joseph and God-in-a-child made the long journey back from the land of Egypt to a place called Nazareth, where God-in-a-child grew big and strong and faithful to God and where everyone called him by his name:


From Nazareth. Out of Egypt.


I wonder…

I wonder how Herod felt to hear that a real King was born.

I wonder what it felt like to leave in the middle of the night and go to a far-off place…

I wonder how it might have felt in Egypt,

I wonder how people feel today when they have to leave their homelands for fear of their lives.

I wonder what we might do, if Mary and Joseph and God-in-a… and Jesus came to our door needing our help.



Blessing for Baptism

There isn’t really a good blessing for the end of baptism. I hope this might be useful to you:

May Christ, who marks you with his own cross
who washes you clean with the living waters of baptism,
who pours out his blessings on you in oil of chrism
who wraps you in his love
give you the light of new life in him
and the blessing of God almighty,
the +Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.

Eucharistic Preface for Unity

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!

Crowdsourced Liturgy for Pentecost

I need your voice:

For the Pentecost worship as a part of the Archbishop’s Call for Prayer, we at Holy Ground at Exeter Cathedral are creating something different, unique and special and we’d like your voice to be a part of it.

I need this recorded: (instructions are below)

Give us a zeal to work for your Kingdom on earth, protecting creation, striving for peace
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

Breathe on us Lord, expel our sinfulness, stir us up to stand for justice
Christ have mercy
Christ have mercy

Set us on fire with a Passion burning in our hearts for the Lord, to reach out to the marginalised
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy


  1. If you have a phone like an iPhone or an Android, there is usually an app to record your voice – often called “Voice Memo” or some thing similar. I use a free Android App called ASR which can be installed for free from  If you have better recording equipment, then even better, but I have found that most smartphones are good enough nowadays. You can configure it to record at quite a good quality: I would suggest 192k in MP3 or MP4 format if that means anything to you. If not, just record it as it comes and I will do spooky mysterious things with it with electronics.
  2. iPhones will record in the very nice .M4a format. This is fine, but please try and set it to the highest quality you can.
  3. Read (nicely and in the highest possible quality)  the above text. Click here to see the optimum settings in ASR…
  4. After recording select “Share” (or similar) and email it to me at
  5. It would be really helpful if you named the file with your name. This will help me collate them.
  6. I will cut it up with all the others and make these into a cool video using the multiplicity of voices, accents, genders etc.
  7. Can you tell others and ask them to do it for me please so I get lots and lots of voices.
  8. This is an offshoot of a bigger project: a desire to record in this way all 150 Psalms please visit to add your voice by recording any of the outstanding Psalms.

Thank you.

Holy Ground Liturgy April 2016

(Videos will be added shortly and will be available for download)


As people arrive they will be met by Hoodies who will have collection bags and offer them money… hand in take a coin Point – to surprise people – that’s not what I expected – church takes money doesn’t give it away  !

6.50pm – Video: Beatitudes Homeless

[vimeo 162354755

Ends with “God is here. Make yourself at home


God is here. Make yourselves at home.

My dear friends, Welcome to Holy Ground, a safe, sacred space where all are valued, all are loved, all are respected.

Tonight we consider the upside down nature of the Kingdom of God: where the rich are poor, and he poor are rich, and where we discover that it is more blessed to give than receive.

As you came into this sacred space tonight, you were invited to take a coin – unusual, I know, don’t we usually do it the other way round and ask you for money in Church? How did it feel? Especially now that I tell you that it’s yours, a gift freely given, to do with as you wish, to do with as God calls you.

Tonight we think of prosperity and poverty, of security and homelessness, of the values of the Kingdom and the awkward questions that that poses to society.

To help us tonight, we are pleased to welcome David Rhodes, a former journalist and parish priest. His extensive work among homeless people resulted in a series of ground breaking books on spirituality and social justice and his innovative Retreats on the Streets. David’s contact with marginalised people led to the discovery that the Gospel is not only good news for the poor but may also be good news from among those we call the poor.
So, tonight in this holy place, as we prepare to enter into the holy mysteries of God and share his life-giving sacraments, we come to Him, the way, the truth and the life…

Jesus says, ‘I am the Way for you’
And so we come to follow Christ

Jesus says, ‘I am the Truth for you’
And so we come to dwell in the Light.

Jesus says ‘I am the Life for you’
And so we come
Leaving behind all else to which we cling.

Song : The Love of Christ

The love of God comes close
Where stands an open door
To let the stranger in,
To mingle rich and poor:
The love of God is here to stay
Embracing those who walk his way.

The peace of God comes close
To those caught in the storm,
Forgoing lives of ease
To ease the lives forlorn:
The peace of God is here to stay
Embracing those who walk his way.

The joy of God comes close
Where faith encounters fears,
Where heights and depths of life
Are found through smiles and tears:
The joy of God is here to stay
Embracing those who walk his way.

Reading: Luke 21:1 – 4 The Widows Mite

Hear the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Glory to you, O Lord

Video: Widow’s Mite

[vimeo 162355144

Live reading:

At the Synagogue, Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; 2he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; 4for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ

Video: Better to Give

[vimeo 162355361

Stillness/ silence. Video: Rotating Coin Loop (on loop)

Penitential Rite:
Three images on screen. Live voices.

I am a widow, a refugee, longing to return home and raise my orphaned children in peace. Who will give me a voice today?
I am that person, Lord have mercy

I am an old person, struggling to live on my pension, lonely and fearful of what tomorrow will bring. Who will give me a voice today?
I am that person, Christ have mercy

I am a child growing up believing that because I have less, I am worth less. Who will give me a voice today?
I am that person, Lord have mercy


The Lord Jesus who hears the cries of the least,
the lonely and the lost +Grant you his pardon and peace
And set you free to serve your neighbour
Through the power of his Spirit at work within you.

Offertory – ‘Thou who was rich beyond all splendour’.

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becomes poor.

Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love’s sake becamest man.

Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

Eucharistic Prayer

Video: HG Preface

[vimeo 162356340

The Lord is here
God’s Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord

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

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father of mercies and faithful God.

For you have given us Jesus Christ, your Son, as our Lord and Redeemer.

He always showed compassion for children and for the poor, for the sick and for sinners, and he became a neighbour to the oppressed and the afflicted.

By word and deed he announced to the world that you are our Father and that you care for all your sons and daughters.

And so, with all the Angels and Saints, we exalt and bless your name and sing the hymn of your glory, as without end we acclaim:

Video: HG Sanctus

[vimeo 162356341

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord
God of Power and God might
Heaven and Earth are full of your glory
Hosanna in the Highest

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

Video: HG Institution

[vimeo 162356367

We praise and bless you, loving Father,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord;
and as we obey his command,
+send your Holy Spirit,
that broken bread and wine outpoured
may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.

On the night before he died he had supper with his friends
and, taking bread, he praised you.
He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.
Again he praised you, gave it to them and said:

Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

So, Father, we remember all that Jesus did,
in him we plead with confidence his sacrifice
made once for all upon the cross.
Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation,
we proclaim his death and resurrection
until he comes in glory.

Lord of all life,
help us to work together for that day
when your kingdom comes, the chains that bind us will be broken
and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.

Look with favour on your people,
gather us in your loving arms
and bring us with all who have worked for justice
to feast at your table in heaven.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father,
for ever and ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


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


Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world
Lord I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed.


Screen: Come followed by HG Distribution Loop (on loop)

Blessing & Peace.

May God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done.
And the blessing of God Almighty,
The + Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with you always.

May the God of grace who raises up the lowly, casts down the mighty from their thrones bring you all the peace promised to all generations…

The Peace of the Lord be always with you – Allelulia!  Allelulia!
And also with you- Alleluia! Alleluia!

We share the peace as we go to coffee

Holy Ground March 2016 – ‘God’s Inclusive generous love’


7pm at the strike – ‘Bring ‘em’ all in
At “God is here. Make yourselves at home”…
Anna – Welcomes & Introduces the theme.

We are the body of Christ
In the one Spirit
We were all baptised into one body
We are one body

We affirm all that is good in each other:
Our God given dignity and integrity,
Our companionship and common pilgrimage:
We are one body.

We acknowledge the wounds we share:
In our society and in ourselves,
Our brokenness and our dis- ease
We are one body.

We are one body.
We are the body of Christ.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you

Let us share the peace of Christ….

All share the peace

Song: All are Welcome

Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:

All are welcome, all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.


Let us remain standing if we are able for the Gospel reading.

(A Hoodie processes the Gospel book through the congregation and raises it aloft and turns to face the screen.)

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke
Glory to you O Lord.

‘And Mary said,’


‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you O Christ.

The congregation is seated.

Meditation – Buttons

A simple round inanimate object
Easily overlooked when lying on the ground
Designed, made and created for the purpose of joining things

Yet …All different in size, depth, orientation, age and composition

What attracted you to your button?
What made it stand out for you?
Turn it over, examine it closely
Look at the beauty

Yet….All united in purpose, usefulness, pleasure and shape

Hold the button
You are the button
Precious, unique, important, useful, designed and different
Value yourself
Love yourself
Love God

Is your button lost or found?
Is it damaged or mint?
Is it worn or shiny?
Is it used or unused?
Is it Chipped or perfect?

Buttons fit into buttonholes, but they need to be the right size and fit
Before God we are all unique, he has a purpose for each of us just like the hole.
Reflect on that purpose right now before God

Each button needs a thread to hold it firm; Love is that thread it must be tied strong to keep it from unravelling.
How strong is your thread today?
What can you say to God now?

Lord when we pre-judge help us to open our eyes
Lord have mercy

Christ when we turn away from those in need, help us to open our eyes
Christ have mercy

Lord in a world that is often too busy to engage, help use slow down and look around us, to open our eyes.
Lord have mercy

Asperges – Blessing of Water (same video)

Lord God almighty, creator of all life, of body and soul, we ask you to +bless this water: as we use it in faith forgive our sins and save us from all illness and the power of evil.

Lord, in your mercy give us living water, always springing up as a fountain of salvation: free us, body and soul, from every danger, and admit us to your presence in purity of heart.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

The people are sprinkled.

After the Asperges

Screen: You are forgiven

May almighty God +cleanse us of our sins, and through the Eucharist we celebrate make us all worthy to sit at his table in his heavenly kingdom, where there is no seating plan and we are all welcome. Amen.

Congregation hold silence after the meditation.


Let us pray…

Stigmatised God
In Christ you tasted the bitterness of rejection
And bore the fear and prejudice of others.
Give strength to those who carry
That same weight today,
Living hope to those in despair,
And the fullness of your love to the exhausted.
And give your people grace
That we may see in others the face of your son
Jesus Christ our Lord

Conscious of the buttons we hold and what they represent to us and about us we affirm our faith:

(Right and Left side antiphonally)
We rejoice to believe in God both holy and mysterious,
both Mother and Father, in whose image we are made.

Who gives us freedom, purpose and order.
Who embraces, protects and provides.
Whose eternal arms reach out through Christ, to bring us home.

We believe and depend upon the God of love
Who created us in all our glorious difference

Who sustains us through all our numerous trials
And who heals, reinvigorates, and holds us in time and beyond

Always forgiving, accepting, and surprising us, as the Spirit moves.
God, you are our rock

Our place of safety in our journey through life
You are our companion in our dark places

The strong hand for our uncertain steps
Our creator and recreator who forgives us and heals us

Our journey’s end
In whom all shall be well

Offertory Song – We come to your feast

We place upon Your table a gleaming cloth of white
The weaving of our stories, the fabric of our lives,
The dreams of those before us, the ancient hopeful cries,
The promise of our future, our needing and our nurture
Lie here before our lives.

We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast:
the young and old, the frightened, the bold, the greatest and the least.
We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast
with the fruit of our lands and the work of our hands, we come to Your feast.

We place upon Your table a humble loaf of bread:
the gift of field and hillside, the grain by which we’re fed;
we come to taste the presence of Him on whom we feed,
to strengthen and connect us, to challenge and correct us,
to love in word and deed.
We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast:
the young and old, the frightened, the bold, the greatest and the least.
We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast
with the fruit of our lands and the work of our hands, we come to Your feast.

We place upon Your table a simple cup of wine:
the fruit of human labour, the gift of sun and vine;
we come to taste the presence of Him we claim as Lord,
His dying and His living. His leading and His giving,
His love in cup outpoured.

We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast:
the young and old, the frightened, the bold, the greatest and the least.
We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast
with the fruit of our lands and the work of our hands, we come to Your feast.

We gather ‘round Your table, we pause within our quest,
we stand beside our neighbours, we name the stranger “guest.”
The feast is spread before us; You bid us come and dine:
in blessing we’ll uncover, in sharing we’ll discover
Your substance and Your sign.

We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast:
the young and old, the frightened, the bold, the greatest and the least.
We come to Your feast, we come to Your feast
with the fruit of our lands and the work of our hands, we come to Your feast.

Offering Prayer

Be gentle
When you
Touch bread.
Let it not lie
Uncared for,
So often bread
Is taken for granted.

There is such beauty in bread,
Beauty of sun and soil,
Beauty of patient toil.
Wind and rain have caressed it,
Christ often blessed it.
Be gentle when you touch bread

Be careful
When you
Pour wine.
Let it not be
So often wine
Is taken for granted.

There is such beauty in wine:
The sweetness of love,
The power of blood.
Wind and rain have raised it,
Christ often blessed it.
Be careful when you pour wine

Blessed be God for ever


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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 him thanks and praise

1. Father, all loving, all embracing, ever living God
Mother of creation,
Spirit of truth and wisdom,
We gather in your presence to give you thanks and praise
Through Jesus Christ our Lord

2. For you know us better than we know ourselves.
You know our thoughts,
our weaknesses,
our motivations,
our sins.
And you love us still.

3. You love us when we don’t believe such love is true or possible;
You love when we wonder how you could love us just as we are,
when we forget our intricate construction,
fearfully, wonderfully made,
in your image!

3. Your Son opened wide his arms for us,
Sought out the marginalised, the oppressed, the feared
And showed us that your love has no boundaries,
No favourites
No fear
And call us to do the same for all

4. Remove from our minds every thought which keeps us from you.
Break down the walls,
push aside our self-centred desires, our prejudices, our fears
and help us to trust anew.

5. And so joining the limitless worship of the whole company of heaven
Every race and language, colour, gender and sexuality
Angels, Saints, Sinners and Redeemed
We praise you saying…


Eucharistic Prayer

6. This table is God’s offer of grace
and an invitation to community
where forgiveness is found and
we are called to be the body of Christ.

7. In that body, we find
all shapes, sizes, and abilities,
the young and the old,
all colours and shades,
and the created diversity of loving relationships.

8. Let your +Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy
that broken bread and wine outpoured
may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.

9. On the night before he died he gathered them in
and, taking bread, he praised you.
He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

10. When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.
Again he praised you, gave it to them and said:
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.

11. Help us to work together for that day
when your kingdom comes
when justice, inclusion and mercy
will be seen in all the earth.

12. Gather us in your loving arms
and bring us with S. Peter, patron of this Cathedral,
all the angels, saints, prophets and patriarchs
to feast at your table in heaven.

13. Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father,
for ever and ever.

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.


God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people
Jesus Christ is holy
Jesus Christ is Lord
To the glory of God the Father

Beware! In this Holy Ground we practice
the inclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This means you may well be mixing with tax collectors, sinners, adulterers, hypocrites, Greeks, Jews, women as well as men, female and male priests, homosexuals, lesbians, the disabled, thieves and other sinners, the dying, white people, black people, Asians and people from other races, Muslims, Bishops, bigots, people of other faiths, strangers, Deans, heretics and people with no particular faith etc. etc. In fact, anyone like those with whom Jesus himself mixed.

So beware – this is not a private club.
We Welcome All.

We invite you to take the button you have prayed with earlier, and take it to the place of unity: the font, where baptism unites us in Christ, and then afterwards to make your way to one of the three stations at the side and in front of the altar to receive the other sacrament of unity in diversity, of inclusive love made manifest in the holy mysteries of communion.

This is not a private club. We welcome all.

The people are invited to take their buttons to the font, to place them in it and then to disperse and receive Holy Communion

Post Communion Prayer

We say together…

Lord, we thank you for inviting us
to share your meal.
May we hear the call to
Love one another
as you have loved us:
One body, many members,
the body of Christ.

Go in the peace of Christ
Go into the hamlets and the villages
The estates and the towerblocks
And bring them all so we may be one in Christ
Thanks be to God.

First Draft: Hymns for Baptism (to well known tunes)

The problem with All Things Bright & Beautiful is that it is simultaneously loathed by anyone (lay and ordained) in the Church and loved fondly by those with only a peripheral connection; it speaks of a particular generation of Primary School and says nothing of either baptism or marriage (where they are frequently requested). This is the beginning of a process to reclaim the well-known tunes with words which speak to the pastoral office. It should be considered alongside these hymns for weddings (and this one) to well-known tunes.

Now, this is a very first draft, and I do not want to claim final overall ownership of what I would love to be a collaborative project. Before you simply comment ‘It doesn’t scan’ kindly suggest a change/rewrite and make it better, together. So, here’s a start…

to the tune of Morning has broken

Out of the waters
We come to salvation
In pure fresh water
We wash ourselves clean
Following Jesus
Ever hereafter
A new beginning
A new life to lead

The oil of baptism
the cross on our forehead
The oil of Chrism
Crowned on our heads
A robe of pure whiteness
Wrapped tight around us
The candle of our faith
To ward away dark

God gives us a new gift
of life here and after
With family around us
We look to the dawn
Baptismal waters
show us a new way
to follow Jesus:
live life in full.

to the tune of All Things Bright & Beautiful

Baptism brings us into life
With Jesus Christ our Lord
God’s blessing poured out on us all
Water and Oil and Word

As he did in the Jordan
We follow his command
to bring good news to nations
to both the poor and grand

In waters of baptism
New life in Christ reborn
A white robe wraps us in the truth
We greet the happy dawn

Signed upon our foreheads
the Cross of Victory marked
As it goes on before us
To dispell the fear and dark

The fragrant oil of Chrism
is poured upon our heads
A sign of God’s great blessing
Won for us from the dead

Though the world may feel quite dark
Christ’s light will cast out fear
There is nothing we cannot face
For the Lord is always near