Ephesians 4 :12 ‘to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ‘. This verse is one way of expressing the the purpose of ordained ministry. I hope that all we have done before and the resources below will assist us in being the church at this time and of the future.
Order of Service for Compline: Night Prayer on Church of England website
For anyone with a black Common Worship book the service is on page 81. And if you posses a red Common Worship Daily prayer book then the service is on page 333.
A new Order of Service for the weekly Eucharist now we are in Ordinary Time. This service takes place on Zoom, which is free and easy to use. Access details are emailed to those on the email contact list. If you would like to be on the list or receive the Zoom details then please do let me know. The Weekly Eucharist is uploaded to Facebook and can be access there later on the Tuesday afternoon. A Facebook account is not needed as the videos are set as ‘public’.
Day of Pentecost (Whit Sunday)
7th Week of Easter
Many people now find themselves part of a whole variety online gatherings using Zoom or MS teams; work meetings, governors, family, school lessons, quiz nights, singing and our own pop-in, cuppa and company….We are learning to live apart but find ways of being united. COVID-19 has forced us all to maintain physical distance, cancel our services, keep apart, not enter our churches and fast from the Eucharist.
So what does Jesus’ prayer that we ‘remain one’ mean at this time? How can we “be one” when we have to communicate online, by phone or mail? No longer can we share the peace, the sacraments, or gather for our events such as the May Fayre.
Throughout history the church has had to live through times of being separate yet united. The 1918 flu pandemic, and plagues over the centuries would periodically pass through the population, forcing separations and leaving sickness and death in their wake. it is helpful to remember that we are not the first to experience the terror of pandemic.
In this Gospel passage we heard Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper. It follows the foot washing and his preparation of the disciples for life without him, so now he prays, for his current and future disciples who are to carry on his work.
Jesus prayed that they would remain faithful; he prayed for unity and that they would be preserved in the truth. It is at times when death is near that truths can be spoken.
One thing this pandemic has done is to highlight our need to be separate yet still united. And as we read this gospel passage, after the Ascension of Jesus, we realize that that is exactly what Jesus was preparing them for — to remain united with him, and with each other, even when he is not physically present.
A crisis can open us up to truth. This was the case for the disciples at the time of Jesus’ death, and it is true for us now. We heard in an earlier readings from John, I am the way, the truth and the life. In Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, the disciples learn that the worst thing is not the last thing. That life follows death. All things are made new.
We are in the process of realising the same thing. When Christ ascended, the disciples were left looking up at the sky, and the angels asked, “Why do you stand looking up toward heaven?” It is okay not to know what to do next. It is okay to be just doing the next thing. And it is okay to feel uncertain about physical separation from those who are usually close and whose presence comforts us and lifts us up.
Churches are learning, to be with one another, united in prayer and worship, even when we are not physically present in the building. We find ourselves united, with people in different countries and from different times of our lives, in our common faith and love for one another. We have done nothing perfectly, but we are finding our way.
We find how we are united in Christ with people we have never met: Christians around the world continue to gather, and Christ’s prayer is that we be one with them. Christ is holding us together with people all around the world. Even though we cannot be physically present with Christians in other nations, we can be united with them in Christ, just as we have been united even in our own separations within our congregation.
We are also united with those who have gone before – with the saints both those named and those unknown.
Perhaps this pandemic can teach us to be one in Christ with people with whom we may never be physically present in this life. Perhaps it can serve as a reminder that nonetheless, we are all united in Christ, and Christ is with us, now and always. In Christ, neither death, nor life, nor pandemics, nor wars can ever separate us.
6th week of Easter
Tuesday Eucharist is now uploaded to Facebook
with readings from Acts 14: 19-end and John 14:27-end and a short reflection on the theme of encouragement:
We have a new ritual since the lock down began. Whether in royal residences, local streets and outside humble homes people go outside on a Thursday evening to clap. We clap to thank NHS works, to recognize their work and to give encouragement.
Encouragement. We all need it and in all sorts of ways we give it, even if we are not consciously aware of it. Friendliness, concern, a phone call, an offer to pray, a willingness to help people with their burdens- are all ways that people can encourage each other.
Our ability to keep going depends on encouragement. It lets us know that what we are doing is worthwhile, helpful, and good.
In the first reading; despite oppositions and beatings, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps to where they had been received in young Christian communities and we hear, 22 There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
They tell their story and encourage the community in he face of all the hardships they had been through.
Both readings have a sense of passing through difficult times to a much better world. At the last supper Jesus knew what lay ahead; the journey to the cross, and how the disciples will be left terrified and bereaved. Yet Jesus says,27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. Whatever the world throws at us, our faith can help us through, not taking away the pain or difficulty, but leading to a place where we have grown, where there is a new life.
So today; we thank God for the world’s encouragers.
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Fourth Sunday of Easter.
In the gospel reading set for Sunday Jesus compares his love for the disciples to the love of a shepherd for his sheep.
At 10.30 am there will be a service involving the reading of the gospel, a reflection, prayers and blessing. I’ll be thinking of the words of Jesus when he described himself as the gate for the sheep and in John 10:10 where he says that ‘i came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’
At 5.30 pm there will be our usual Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer.
Both services will be broadcast via Facebook Live
Writing posts or sermons asking for donations are not easy as we are aware of the great generosity of people in terms of time and in terms of donations to the Night Shelter, fabric of the church, events and it’s ongoing life and mission. And now, in these challenging conditions, we are asking again. We hope to return to the building, we hope to maintain it’s good order and beauty and pay our way. With the income we have lost we ask that you consider the request for support. Giving
A copy of the words of the service including readings and reflection can be found here,
The video of the service can be found on the All Saints’ Facebook page
We are developing what we are doing as a church at this time of physical separation. Thank you o those who have offered to read and pray. As we go on as a church it would be lovely if we could involve more people as being church is what we do together. Any ideas most welcome of how we can develop our online worship; perhaps there are people or families who could contribute some music, craft, acting out of the reading…. I’m sure there is more than I think think of ! Themes for the coming four Sundays are: Jesus the Good Shepherd; Jesus, the way the truth and the life; Keeping Jesus’ commands by listening to his words and putting them into action; Our need of the Holy Spirit.
This is a spiritual communion.
This reflection by Steve Benoy, who has preached at All Saints’, invites us to think about our life as Christians at this time,
Third Sunday of Easter 26th April 2020
This service will be broadcast on Facebook Live and include The Service of Light with the marking of the Easter candle, the reading of the Easter gospel, a Reflection, Prayers and Blessing.
Just as in the early Church, worship has moved back into homes with small groups of maybe only 2 or 3 gathered. Other resources for Night Prayer and Worship at Home -with children are in the resources section below. I will be broadcasting an early morning service on Easter Sunday morning via Facebook live which will then continue to be available to be watched. At the service I’ll be including the marking of the Easter (Paschal) candle that will be used in church during the year.
Other options for Sunday worship include our cathedral, a BBC service at 11.25 am from Bangor Cathedral and C of E online services
The Triduum ( Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday)
This looks a rather good way of keeping the Easter Vigil. Many great speakers are contributing.
A Church Times article,
Link to Sunday evensong on C of E website
This is a word document that can be downloaded for the words for Evening Prayer on Sunday 5th April.
So we are 10 days into this time of Staying Home and Staying Safe. And at this time the school holidays officially begin. Many people will be home unless needing to travel for work or other essential business. We can feel cut off from family, friends, and church. With reports of increasing numbers of deaths we may well feel anxious and worried about those we know. There can be a tendency to turn inwards and to withdraw and disconnect. Now we are called to be Church but without gathering under the church roof. The Church is still open as a body of people. But what does that mean in practice? How do we express being church at the current time?
I find the psalms a great resource – words that seem to express so well, and certainly better than i am able, what it is to experience life. We may say with the psalmist 55 v5 which was set for yesterday, ‘My heart is disquieted within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.’ And the psalmist also lifts us and gives hope, Ps 55 v 24, ‘cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you, and will not let the righteous fall for ever.’ or psalm 40 set for today, which is well worth reading in its entirety, 40 v1, ‘I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry’, 40 v18, 19, ‘Though I am poor and and needy, the Lord cares for me. You are my helper and my deliverer; O my God, make no delay.’. the psalms can make very good prayers – giving us words when our minds feel empty.
So how do we express being church at the current time? How do we express our faith? One answer is to turn outwards with acts of kindness and generosity. We are seeing lots of this. So thank you to the many who have expressed a willingness to support the isolated, vulnerable and lonely.
And we can turn Godwards. Despite not being in the church building our prayers can continue – perhaps by making a place for quiet with a candle, an image and books of prayers. I have started to provide resources but am very happy to hear of other things that could be supportive of our spiritual lives at this time.
The church can continue in its life of prayer, community and practical service. The church though is now located in homes and work places. But we need ways of coming together – so one idea at the moment:
Palm Crosses: many thanks to those who have emailed crosses being held in the palm , they are really lovely. As a reminder; the idea is that we could take a photo of a cross that we like being held in our palm and then email it to me. I would then make collages from them ready for Sunday. Young people may wish, with parental blessing and supervision, to maybe hand paint a cross, and again email me a photo. I do realise that not everyone has the required technology to do this but if it appeals then lets give it ago. If you like maybe say something about the cross or why it is important. I’ve already started a page on the website to show these – though at present it is not public. Even though we cannot be together physically we can be together in this way and show our unity online.
My email address : email@example.com
I’ve been told of the following:
# Radio 4 broadcast every Sunday at 8.10 am
# Peterborough Cathedral live video service (& then available to view later) at 10.30 am on Sundays
# A new service on BBC 1 at 10.45 am on Sundays
# Songs of Praise on BBC 1 at 1.15 pm on Sundays
# Choral evensong on Sundays on Radio 3 at 3 pm, repeated from 3.30 pm on Wednesdays
# On weekdays on long wave Radio 4, there is a daily service at 9.45 am.
I’ve now recorded two items on Facebook live which are available on the All Saints’ Facebook page
One does not need to have joined Facebook to see the content as it’s all set as public.I will be leading a service of evensong from my study at our usual time of 5.30 pm on Sunday. It will be accessible on Facebook.
The Order of Service I’ll upload to the this website where you will also find resources, information and the Weekly Sheet. During the service I’ll bless our palm crosses and they will be available in the future.
Many thanks indeed to those who have given feedback so far. It’s important that we maintain communication and fellowship even though we are physically separated. Please do let me know of any prayer requests to include and any further thoughts of how we continue as All Saint’s Church in the months ahead as we seek to continue our life together of prayer, worship, discipleship, service and pastoral care.
With every blessing, Greg
Thursday 2nd April
We have been informed by the Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board of the following scam:
‘Calls from somebody claiming to be from Public Health England, asking residents if they had received their letter from the government and then asking if they have support from family and friends, etc. and trying to obtain personal details’
Please can you share with your networks as appropriate and keep safe
Warm Regards, Bev Huff
Wednesday 1st April
Quiet Prayer for Lent ( based on the service of Compline) will now be a Facebook live event at 8 pm using the Order of Service for Night Prayer ( below) on the All Saints’ website and with the parable of the Prodigal Son as the Bible reading
Tuesday 31st March
Point of Contact: The Parish Safeguarding Officer is Sam Gyselings . Any concerns can be discussed with her Samantha.Gyselings@ntlword.com or alternatively raised with a member of the clergy.
Monday 30th March
A couple of ideas for Palm Sunday.
Usually we would have a Palm Sunday procession outside, if dry, with palm crosses that had been blessed and hear a reading of the Passion during the Eucharist, rather than a sermon.
We are now finding different ways of being church and of keeping in touch with each other. So far this has involved emails like this, updates on the website and on Facebook, and contact through phone calls and social media. Not everyone can access each form of communication. Yesterday was a first for me, giving a reading of the gospel and a homily over Facebook live. If anyone would like a copy copy to read there is one available for download on this webpage.
Two things have come to mind. We could take a photo of a cross that we like being held in our palm, use the edit functions to add our name, and then email it to me. TheRevdGregRoberts@Outlook.com An example is below. I would then make collages from them ready for Sunday. Young people may wish, with parental blessing and supervision, to maybe hand paint a cross, and again email me a photo. I do realise that not everyone has the required technology to do this but if it appeals then lets give it ago. If you like maybe say something about the cross or why it is important.
A second idea is to use the Zoom app and gather together online for a reading of the passion narrative in which people take different parts. I attach a copy of the passion narrative which this year comes from Matthew’s gospel. We may in time have a prayer group that meets through Zoom as well. To use a phrase, many of us are upskilling, myself and my colleagues included. I had not used Facebook live before yesterday. I have yet to install Zoom!
The Zoom app would allow us to see each other, each in a window, as the reading progresses.
I don’t feel able to take the organisation of this on myself at the moment. If anyone does feel that they could be the coordinator then please let me know. I’ll then send out that information and the coordinator would bring us together and arrange parts.
Sunday 29th March
Words from this morning’s broadcast on FacebookLive
List of sources of support updated with further Safeguarding bodies and foodbank locations and times.
Saturday 28th March, Easter Gardens
If you would like to do an activity with your child(children) to continue the Easter theme, how about making an Easter Garden. This garden is to signify the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, his burial in a tomb and his resurrection to new life on Easter Sunday. If you want to grow your own, please find included instructions. If you don’t have all the equipment there are some alternatives suggested. If you don’t have the equipment to grow a live version, how about making one with Lego, plasticine, marbles etc depending on the age of your child and the resources you have available.
Friday 27th Service for Sunday
A short homily based on the gospel reading will be available, hopefully, via Facebook Live at 10.30 am on Sunday. I’ll be reflecting on our current situation, loss and grief and how God comes to us.
Tuesday 24th Downloadable Resources
The Church of England makes words of services available online to be prayed at home. The services include Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer and will contain the set Bible readings for the day and the Collect.
If you have ever seen me check my mobile phone during Evensong I’m, not checking the share prices but, looking up the Collect having failed to move the correct book! These services can also be accessed via apps which can also be downloaded from the above link. The services accessed via the app are ones I use for my own daily prayers.
A good one to start off with for this form of prayer could be: Time to Pray: from the C of E, by Aimer Media
This card may be used to drop through the doors of any neighbours we may feel worried about and enables us to offer practical support at this time.
Monday 23rd March
I’m sorry to have to say that following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement All Saints’ will now be closed along with all other churches. Everything that is being done is to ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity of good health and to enable those who are ill to receive good treatment from the NHS.
So the church will not be open for private prayer or reflection. We don’t have any baptisms or weddings currently booked between now and Easter, but they would have needed to be cancelled. For now funerals can continue, but with only close family present. Pastoral visiting will also need to stop now too. So please expect communication to be by phone or electronic means.
More updates will follow and further resources made available for worship at home both here and on Face Book. Yet, it is the building that is closed. The church is still open; praying, lamenting, serving, hoping. With every blessing as we move into yet another stage of this unprecedented event,
Prayers during the pandemic
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.
Loving Lord, We pray for your love and compassion to abound as we walk through this challenging season. We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load of making decision with widespread consequences. We pray for those who are suffering with sickness and for all who are caring for them. We ask for protection for the elderly and vulnerable to not succumb to the risks of virus. We pray for misinformation to be curbed that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds. As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide may we also approach each day in faith and peace, trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us. Amen.
God of healing and hope, in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear. Look with mercy on those who have contracted the new virus, on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger.
Through this time of global concern, by your Holy Spirit bring out the best not the worst in us. Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other, and of the strength that comes from being one body in you. Through Christ our wounded healer. Amen.
(The Rev’d Dr Sam Wells
Vicar of St Martin’s in the Field)
Thank you Lord. I am one of your holy people.
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety: we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity. We are your people God, giving and loving,
wherever we are, whatever it costs.
For as long as it takes wherever you call us. Amen
From one who is ill or isolated:
help me to trust you,
help me to know that you are with me,
help me to believe that nothing can separate me
from your love
revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
( C of E liturgy and prayer resources)
Sunday 22nd March 2020 Mothering Sunday
The church will be open from before 8 am until after 11 am for prayer and reflection. Please feel free to call in but don’t take risks if unwell or self-isolating. in church we have hand gel and ask people to maintain a physical distance of 2 m between themselves for the maintenance of good health.
At 8 am and 10 am Morning Prayer will be said over the pa system for any who wish to sit and listen or follow with the words that will be provided.
There will be flowers, prayer cards, the Weekly Sheet and copies of services that I’ve sent to the email list that can be taken away.
Many thanks indeed to those who have offered help during this time as we seek to support our worshiping and local community.
If anyone would like to offer support by joining the group of volunteers, or would like something remembered in our prayers, or know of someone who would value some additional help then please feel free to contact Fr Greg
Various churches will be streaming services in the coming weekly over platforms such as Facebook live and You Tube. Our Cathedral are planning to do this:
All Saints’ Church Pastoral Support during times of isolation ( copy of email sent to the contact list. Please do ask if you would like to be included in future letters.)
Much has changed in just over 24 hours. We have seen many groups ceasing to meet for the time being and guidance being for the older and the more vulnerable to really restrict social contact. As we as a church adjust I’m keeping this website updated and will send out updates via email and our Facebook page.
The situation is and will continue to change rapidly.
We have ceased to meet for public worship but the life of the church continues. I know that people have different private prayer routines which is really good but if anyone wants resources then I’m very happy to provide some. I have a copy of Night Prayer which is a nice way to conclude the day, a Service of Spiritual Communion and a link to prayer resources is below.
The archbishops have asked that churches are open. So I will be in church at our usual worship times so that our church can be available for those who would like quiet space and time to reflect and pray. I may well be saying Morning or Night prayer and people are welcome to join and listen while we maintaining a safe distance and the usual hygiene regime. Those who use apps on their mobile phone will be able to follow the servicing if they download the Church of England Daily Prayer app and I have some Common Worship books in church for those who don’t !.
As mentioned in the notices on Sunday we as a church can offer each other and our parish both practical and pastoral support. There will be people who are self-isolating, housebound or indeed ill. I know that support happens anyway within our community both informally and more formally with visits to individuals and home communions. I’d like to set up something more structured so that we have a sense of pastoral care being available and supported and a system that is resilient in case any of us, myself included, become ill.
I envisage groups with leaders who will keep in touch with their groups and share information and support needs and requests for help. I imagine this will take the form of phone calls or electronic communication to keep in touch and connecting into practical support. I plan to make resources available so we know what is available both within our community and more widely in the city. The groups will initially be from names within the worshiping community but once set up I’d like this to be available to include both offers of help and requests from the local community of the parish. People I have already been in contact with have been very appreciative to have been called and for support to have been offered.
Therefore, in order that I can connect people effectively may I invite offers of support? It would be useful to know of any parameters such as times, locality and activity and preferred contact method. Some people may prefer to support from home with phone calls. Others may be willing to do some shopping for a neighbour if asked. My I also invite requests for support. I will endeavor to coordinate our responses.
I will produce a support map. My plan is to review the draft with the church officers and PCC if we are able to meet.
My contact details: 01733 896180 and TheRevdGregRoberts@Outlook.com
There is hand sanitizer in church. We are no longer going into Care Homes to take services at the request of the Homes who have the responsibility to care for a vulnerable group of people. We can take Home Communions if that is requested and hygiene regimes are maintained.
With all of this we are living our faith, to love God and our neighbour as well as ourselves. I’m sure these plans will evolve, they will be imperfect, but my hope is that we can be Good News to others.
Some useful articles:
Government advice on social distancing
Avoiding fear and panic
With every blessing,
Tuesday 6.15 pm U3A Visit to All Saints Church Park Road Peterborough 2 and 9 April 2020 and 4 and 11 June 2020 now cancelled until a future date.
Tuesday 3.30 pm Public Worship is now suspended across the Church of England. Our life of prayer and service, our care for our neighbour and our community continues. The archbishops have asked that churches are open. So I will be in church at our usual worship times ( but not evensong this Sunday due to a family commitment) so that our church can be available for those who would like quiet space and time to reflect and pray. I may well be saying Morning or Night prayer and people are welcome to join and listen while we maintaining a safe distance and the usual hygiene regime.
Tuesday 2.30 pm All Girl Guiding activities and meetings are now suspended following advice from Girl guiding HQ
U3A Patchwork and Quilting is also stopping their Monday and Wednesday groups.
Tuesday 2 pm: the decision has been taken to stop choir club and choir practice on Friday but continue with Sunday mornings while we can.
Tuesday 8 am: it has been decided to cancel the Fish and Chip Supper, the Croydon Make Voice Choir (Friday 15th May) and the Spring Fayre and plant sale ( 6th June)
Monday 16th March, 5.30 pm, We have been informed that Yoga classes are now cancelled until September at the earliest.
Monday 16th March,
At the current time church services and church hall bookings are continuing at All Saints’. The situation is changing day by day and any updates will be posted here and communicated electronically.
We are following the instructions and guidance about good hygiene that have been sent out by Bishop Donald. There is hand sanitizer in church, communion is given in one kind ( bread but no common cup) and the Peace is shared without contact. We are no longer going into Care Homes to take services at the request of the Homes who have the responsibility to care for a vulnerable group of people.
Should advice be received from the government or public health bodies about not meeting together in groups then we will communicate what is cancelled and when. Hirers of our Hall may well make decisions independently and decide to cancel their meetings/ events for the next few weeks. We do ask that good hygiene procedures are in place by all. So anyone with a new, continuous cough/ high temperature please do take care to follow government advice on self-isolation and self care.
We remain in contact with our link church in Seoul sharing information and prayer requests. In Korea we have be told that there have been 8086 cases ( Saturday 14th ) with a mortality rate of 0.89%, 100 to 200 new cases each day, schools are closed, and there have been no church services for 3 weeks. People can join in with services electronically, via You Tube, from Seoul Cathedral.
We may well find ourselves in a similar situation. Even if we don’t meet together under one roof the church will continue and arrangements are being made to provide pastoral and practical support. There will be resources for continued worship through paper and electronic resources. Should anyone wish to offer support or request it then I can be contacted on 01733 896180 or firstname.lastname@example.org
With all good wishes at this unique time in our lives, Greg