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.
Pop-in Company and Company. Each Saturday 11 am to 12 noon via Zoom which is free, easy to install and use. Zoom link Thursdays at 7 pm the Prayer group meets on Zoom
Our Harvest Festival will be celebrated on Sunday 4th October. Gifts are invited of tinned foods ( not beans, pasta, tinned tomatoes UHT milk) to be given to Peterborough Foodbank. Their website lists what they are in need of and at the moment includes: LONG LIFE FRUIT JUICE, SWEET TREATS AND CRISPS, BISCUITS, TINNED SPAGHETTI, TINNED FRUIT, INSTANT MASH, RICE PUDDING, CUSTARD. They can be brought on any Sunday and kept near the chancel screen as an offering. I can’t see that we will be able to have the usual offertory of gifts during the service as it would not maintain our systems for keeping each other safe and secure. This service will be what is called an Instructed Eucharist; five brief talks will explain what is happening at each part of the service.
After the Greeting: Talk 1 – What are we doing here?
After the Collect: Talk 2 – Hearing the Word of God in the scriptures
After the Gospel: Talk 3 – The sermon – responding to the Word of God – given by Bishop Donald (as a recording)
After the Peace: Talk 4 – Gifts to Give and Share
After the post-communion prayer: Talk 5 -Going out into the World.
Eucharist on Tuesday 22nd September
Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity
Let us pray for the church and for the world, and let us thank God for his goodness.We are the body of Christ and each one of us a member of it.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith:
Give us grace to think not of ‘they’ the church but of ‘we’ the church where each of us is part of the whole. We all have our part to play and if we do not do our part then the whole church suffers. Help us to accept our share of ministry and to reach out to each other; to bring out the best in each other. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We pray for your church throughout the world and especially in areas where Xtns live in daily peril for practising their faith; for Christians living in countries where they are a minority faith and penalised for being different.
We pray for our own diocese; for our bishops and their staff, and for all our parishes and for the laity and clergy who sustain the mission and service of your church. It is by your Holy Spirit that we are given life and are bound together. Help us to welcome the stranger and the lost and to dedicate the skills you have given us to the building up of your kingdom.
Strengthen Donald our bishop and all your church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love and reveal your glory in the world. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We pray for all who have positions of authority and responsibility in our country. Give them wisdom, integrity and compassion as they seek justice and peace for all. In the Coronavirus pandemic we pray for all those making decisions that affect our safety and health. We pray for all who live in this country that we may accept the restrictions placed upon us with patience and understanding; and behave responsibly.
As the Brexit discussions drag on and acrimony increases may we unite as a country and act in the interests of world peace and well-being.
Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen, give wisdom to all in authority and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace, that we may honour one another and seek the common good. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We pray for the communities of which we are a part and for our town and all who contribute to its well-being. We pray for our neighbours and for all who give us a helping hand and for those whom it is our privilege to help; and for our families and friends and especially those living at a distance from us. We remember our friends in South Korea and pray for your blessing on them and on the relationship between us.
Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours, that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We pray for all who need our prayers this morning; those who are ill or awaiting admission to hospital; those fearful for the future; those who have lost the health, strength and optimism that once they had. Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit, give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring them the joy of your salvation. Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
We remember all whose journey in this world is over. As we give thanks for all that they have given us we entrust them to your loving care praying that they may rest in peace and rise in glory. Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ; according to your promises grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.
Rejoicing in the fellowship of all the saints we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love, Merciful Father, Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, or Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
Tomorrow the theme is one that concerns us all – forgiveness – we welcome a guest preacher (in person)
Saturday 11 am there is Pop-in, cuppa and Company, also on Zoom.
Joining details can be sent by email ( contact TheRevdGregRoberts@Outlook.com ), or by joining our email distribution list,
Wednesday 9th September 8 pm: There will be a service of Night Prayer (Compline) this evening at 8 pm, broadcast here on Facebook.
If you would like to see the words they can be accessed via app:
Reflections on the call of the disciples ( Luke 6:12-19) and conflict in churches ( ! Cor 6:1-11) for Tuesday Zoom Eucharist:
The first thing that strikes me in this gospel is that before making a major decision, the choosing of his disciples, Jesus spends a significant period in prayer. To ask God to be with us and guide our decision making is really important. God’s way might not be the way we would come up with ourselves. On our own we can easily be swayed by the voices of self-interest in our head. So if we were choosing colleagues we might to choose those who, for instance, agree with us , or won’t be a threat, or won’t rock the boat. A bit like choosing a cabinet!
I was reading the online sermon of Richard Coles, from last Sunday, he commented that Jesus’ choice of disciples was like having Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage in the same cabinet – so one can predict conflict will arise quickly and often.
Two words are used for the 12 who are called together. Disciples and Apostles.
Disciples are students, or ‘learners’. Whatever our age we all have plenty that we can learn. One of my hopes for a church community is that members will continue learning about the faith. Apostles are those who are sent to be messengers to deliver what has been learnt to others.
Today we are both – disciples and apostles. We learn and we go out to reveal news of God’s love to others in word and in action.
As with the disciples, church communities are composed of a range of personalities. It is so easy to fall out over what one or another feels is so important. What do we then do? Complain to others whether in the church or outside it, or try to reach a common understanding within the church.
The first reading, from Paul, is very similar to the gospel we heard from Matthew on Sunday. One thing Paul is saying is for them to consider what conflicts and tensions will look like to those observing the church and perhaps wondering whether it is a good thing to be part of. Faith should be transforming us and our relationships be ones that possess grace.
Secondly Paul says, ‘Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another’. In other words, look, there are many capable people in your number, you have the resources and skills to deal with this. The same is true of All Saints, many capable people who can help build our life together.
And the Good News? ‘But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ Whatever has happened God offers forgiveness and the possibility of a new start – a turning around and a new life in Christ.
Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
Address, based on the week’s readings, reflecting on conflict in churches and what scripture says about seeking to resolve it:
The Gospel reading addresses ways to settle disagreements and conflicts. How do you feel about disagreements and conflict? Do you avoid them? Do you hate them? Do you enjoy them? Fear getting into one? People can have the impression that Christians shouldn’t experience conflict; that Christians will live in peace and harmony all the time. People can have the impression that any form of conflict is a falling short, a failure. Of course we prefer agreement, yet we know that in the reality of life we will have disagreements with others.
Matthew gives a process for addressing issues and problems which arise in the life of the local church. He is writing a generation after Jesus so Jesus is present in the spirit, wherever two or three are gathered in his name.
One thing that strikes me is that it all revolves around direct communication. Too often in churches we avoid the direct face to face communication; so when an issue arises we can pretend it didn’t happen, or cold shoulder the person, not speak, or take revenge on them, which could be by gossiping about the other person. It all creates a distance between the people and not just that, it creates a distance between them and truth and with God.
The advice in the gospel is straightforward: “If your brother or sister does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves.”
The Gospel says that the offended party, not the offending one, should first seek reconciliation. It counsels personal intervention and honest confrontation. It encourages members of the Christian community to straighten things out with each other privately, if that is at all possible. Christians are to deal with each other candidly and personally – no anonymous complaints to the authorities, no whispering campaigns. The purpose of confronting a brother or sister who has done wrong is not to humiliate them, but to be reconciled with them. It is an honest attempt to avoid a breakdown developing and a poisonous relationship.
If private reconciliation fails, another attempt must be made by invoking the help of one or two others, who are to try to settle the matter before it goes public. Only when this fails is the offended party to bring the matter to the attention of the whole community. If the wayward brother or sister is still impenitent, he must be excluded from the life of the community. The decision of the local community will be the decision of God: as God inspires them in making the decision, so God will also honour their judgement.
The gospel gives a way of handling wrongdoing and hurt. Just as conflict is bound to happen in a community of imperfect people, so confrontation can sometimes be the only language of love.
In the second reading Paul says: “Love is the one thing that cannot hurt your neighbour.” If love faces the real, it cannot avoid facing conflict. The danger is that silence could permit greater division in a community, so love must do something. As Edmund Burke noted: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” And doing nothing is the thing that the Gospel opposes.
Today’s Gospel is not easy to follow. Yet direct communication can clear the air and be a great relief to all concerned. We haven’t spoken about forgiveness – that is the topic for next week. Love one another as I have loved you. It can sound so easy, so gentle. It’s relatively easy if that love leads us to be caring, generous or compassionate. But far more difficult if in loving one another one needs to confront, challenge, or even, oppose.
Such love requires real courage, because it can be misunderstood and can easily lead to hostility and rejection. If we confront another person in the right spirit, and the person is genuine, then they will very likely want to put things right. If not, then they won’t be able to say, ‘ Why didn’t you tell me.’ The object is not to score a victory but to win the person over, to become reconciled.
As a church we are called to bind and to loose; to bind the forces of evil that enslave people, to loosen the bonds of oppression that prevent people from living the fullness of life of God’s kingdom. Whether that means opposing individuals or governments, a society’s values or corrupt economic practices, the challenge of the Gospel means Christians need to love enough to speak uncomfortable truths – in humility, but with courage. And when we do that, we know that Christ promises to be there with us.
Confirm, O God, in unity and truth the Church you gather together in Christ. Encourage the fervent, enlighten the doubtful, and bring back the wayward. Bind us together in mutual love, that our prayer in Christ’s name may be pleasing to you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Twelfth Sunday after Trinity (30th August 2020)
Talk given on Sunday 30th:
In life, sooner or later, all of us have to bear something that is, to all intents and purposes, unbearable. The death or terminal illness of a partner. A baby dies at birth. A sister dies in a car crash involving a drunk driver. All we have to do is turn on the television news to see immediate images of natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Sooner or later, bearing the unbearable, we discover how little control we really have and how much there is that that damages our society and ourselves. Grief, rage, anger, and fear can be the emotions felt. But what do we include in our prayers? What do we say to God when we feel this?
The Bible has a tradition of ‘Lament’. It’s a form of literature that expresses to God rage, grief, feeling are vented, complaints are made….we find laments in the book of Job, on the lips of Jeremiah, and especially in the psalms. On the cross, Jesus quotes from psalm 22, a psalm of lament, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’. Jeremiah is bearing something unbearable, and all he wants is for the misery to stop. God assures Jeremiah of his presence, and strengthen to withstand more misery.
The gospel follows on from last week – Peter has recognised Jesus as the Christ but is shocked to discover what being the Christ is going to entail. ‘Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day.’‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.’
Jesus’ hearers would have known very clearly what sort of death awaited those condemned to crucifixion. The Roman’s used this punishment for rebels and many thousands died in this way. So the disciples who heard Jesus say ‘take up your cross’ would most likely have reacted in horror. There are times when we think ‘taking up your cross’ means coping with a painful illness, or a coping with a difficult relationship, putting up with those things in life that cannot be changed. But when Matthew wrote his gospel he meant the suffering which comes into our lives because of the choices we have made for God’s kingdom. In that sense it is always something that we choose.
The life of Nelson Mandela is an example; In prison for 27 years, and before that on the run for a couple of years. Of the time he was on the run he wrote: ‘It wasn’t easy for me to separate myself from my wife and children, to say goodbye to the good old days when, at the end of a strenuous day at the office, I could look forward to joining my family at the dinner table, instead to take up the life of a man hunted continuously by the police, living separated from those who are closest to me, facing continually the hazards of detection and of arrest. This was a life infinitely more difficult than serving a prison sentence.’
What drove Mandela to make such great sacrifices was his love for his country. This was the ‘cross’ he carried because of his love for his people. Our faith is a very good support in times of weakness. It offers comfort and consolation. The danger is that religion becomes a crutch, when in fact it should challenge us. It should be a positive force in our lives. It should raise us up – allow us to be fully alive and know times of joy and strength… allowing us to go beyond what we though was our limit.
‘Take up your cross and follow me’. What does sacrificial living actually looks like… what is the real cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Well… the letter to the Christians in Rome gives us plenty to think about. ‘Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you…rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep…live in harmony with one another.’ I would like to make a suggestion, as always we can take the service sheet home and meditate on the readings. Applying what it says literally to ourselves.
I have been doing this and found it challenging and thought provoking. Just part of the reading… but I wonder which parts speak most to you. The words are challenging, and they are an invitation. But we do not have to do it all on our own.
O God, whose word burns like a fire within us, grant us a bold and faithful spirit, that in your strength we may be unafraid to speak your word and to follow where your lead. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen
Eleventh Sunday after trinity ( 23rd August 2020)
Tenth Sunday after Trinity ( 16th August 2020)
Ninth Sunday after Trinity (9th August 2020)
Saturday 11 am there is Pop-in, cuppa and Company, also on Zoom.
Joining details will be sent to the email list or by messaging Fr Greg
Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Seventh Sunday after Trinity (26th July 2020)
Face masks: today, Friday 24th July 2020, it has become necessary to wear face masks in a number of public places. The legislation does not mention places of worship so the wearing of masks is not mandatory. The House of Bishops Recovery group said the following on 17th July,
“We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”
I will continue to wear a mask while distributing communion and leave it up to the discretion of those attending All Saints’ as to whether they wear a mask when they come to worship.
Sixth Sunday after Trinity (19th July 2020)
There will be services in church at 10.00 am, a said Eucharist, and at 5.30 pm, evensong. Both will be broadcast on Facebook as well. A link to the Order of Service and the risk assessment is below – under the heading for the fourth Sunday after Trinity. The said Eucharist is about 35 minutes in length with an address suitable for all ages. Even though the choir is not singing live all ages are most welcome to attend.
Now that we are open twice on a Sunday for worship there does not appear to be a demand for private private prayer in church so the opening rota will go into abeyance for now.
Please could I encourage those who are not coming to church in person, but who may in the future ask for a school admission form to be completed, to engage with online worship so there is some evidence to refer to.
Fifth Sunday after Trinity
There are phrases that seem to take hold and are used a great deal in conversation. One that I’ve experienced recently is ‘reach out’ and now I keep hearing it the American series I like watching – Madam Secretary.
At theological college the principal used the phrase, ‘firm expectation’ a great deal, meaning that this is what I want you to do but I’m not going to make it sound like an order.
In lectures and seminars, a common phrase, was, ‘unpacking’. Used for a particular passage that needed explaining and putting into context.
We have one today, the gospel reading certainly needs a great deal of ‘unpacking’.
Jesus knew the city of Capernaum well, it’s on the shores of the Sea of Galilei, he taught in its synagogue. Here he says, ‘And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.’ Hades; the grave, the place of the dead. Strong words indeed.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! These are two towns that are within reach of Capernaum and it seems likely that Jesus knew them, had visited and performed great deeds in them. Jesus says, Woe, or it could be translated ‘Alas’, and the expression is one of sorrow, Jesus is not showing anger but is expressing pity and sorrow. Sodom and Gomorrah are places synonymous with iniquity and wickedness. So what had these two towns, Chorazin and Bethsaida, done wrong? Three things:
Not seeing the good that is around – which can be many things – which in this situation is also the good that Jesus has brought to them. Tyre and Sidon hadn’t heard of Jesus and his message but these two towns had.
Secondly, indifference, the towns didn’t attach Jesus or seek to kill him as others did, but they disregarded the message. It is so true today, many like there to be a church, a church that can be supported, a place to host ceremonies and large occasions, but so many people are indifference to the actual teaching of Jesus and what it means to live it out in life. Today, in our country there is little active hostility to the Church, but the indifference of people can easily drain the life out of it.
Lastly, ‘doing nothing’. The confession we are using on Sundays says, we have sinned against you, through our own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in what we have left undone. Chorazin and Bethsaida failed , or sinned, by doing nothing. ‘I didn’t do anything’, is the defence of the child, but maybe there are times when we need to do something.
All the time we are faced with the choice of how to respond. Do we chose the easy route and find ourselves going down a path that leads to hades, death. It was the choice Isaiah was holding up to king Ahaz, whether to be on the right side of history, or to go for the short term.
It was a long time ago but the same decision is faces politicians today. And for all of us. Every day we find ourselves making compromises. They are the stuff of life. But we need to know where the boundaries are, what to hold on to, what values and beliefs keep us on the way that leads to life.
May God open our eyes to his presence, may we see all that is good and life enhancing and help us when there are difficult choices. Amen
In the gospel we hear a familiar parable. Jesus compares the word of God to a seed falling into the ground – A seed which can make our lives fruitful.
Prayer: God of the heavens, God of the earth, all creation awaits your gift of new life. Prepare our hearts to receive the word of your Son, that his gospel may grow within us and yield a harvest that is a hundredfold. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen
Address: The parable of the Sower.
I’m not an enthusiastic gardener! I do enjoy well-kept and beautiful gardens. I find grass doesn’t want to grow on the lawn, but loves to in the borders. I have a crop of potatoes, I didn’t plant them but must have left some in the ground last year and they have grown and produced a good crop. I find the results of gardening are rather like life – we can’t force what we want to happen and sometimes good results spring from unlikely beginnings.
Seeds are marvellous. They appear small, vulnerable and weak, yet can may barren ground fruitful and can grow in unlikely places. It all depends on the soil. If the soil is lacking, the seed will come to nothing; if the soil is good, it will produce a great harvest.
The same is true for words. ( I sat through 7 years’ worth of assemblies at grammar school. The head was a classicist and chose to read from the classics – I can safely say that not a lot took root in my head)
Words can be powerful. They can comfort, inspire, teach, correct, challenge, change lives ….. or they can come to nothing. It all depends on the attitude of those who hear them. In Jesus’ parable, some seed fell on a hard path where it could not put down roots. Being exposed it was eaten up by the birds. So it is for people whose minds are closed. Maybe it’s prejudice, maybe it’s pride, someone who thinks they know it all or all they need to know. Fear can stop us hearing as well, fear of new truth, or fear of hearing a truth that is disturbing or requires action. Others just won’t hear ( like in my school assembles)
Some fell on stony ground. It took root quickly, but soon withered away because of lack of soil and moisture.
Some people hear God’s words and receive it with enthusiasm, but when acting on it becomes difficult, their enthusiasm wanes and they soon abandon it. I imagine we all have things we started but never finished.
Some seed fell into ground where weeds and thorns lay. It got off to a good start. But then the weeds appeared, and the seed got smothered.
Some people hear God’s word, but then there are so many others things that get in the way that the important thing gets crowded out. Some people find they have this commitment and that commitment and this club and that task that they don’t have time to pray – so busy in the career that there is no time or energy left for the things of the spirit.
Finally some seed fell on good soil, where it put down deep roots, found nourishment and produced a harvest. So there are people who hear God’s word, understand it, and then act on it. Their lives become enriched by it.
This parable was remembered by the early church. For them life in the everyday world was hard. The secular state was turning against them. They were being made to suffer simply because they were Christians. Why, they wondered, is life still a struggle ? They remembered Jesus teaching and applied it to this situation.
God’s word comforts, guides, inspires and challenges us. It is like a precious seed.
The sower scatters the seed abundantly – some may think wastefully – it is scattered on the rocks, among the thorns, and on good ground. The sower wanted to give every place in the field a chance to produce something. God keeps sowing his word in our hearts. He knows that much of what is sown will come to little – eaten by birds, fall on the rocks, or among thorns. Yet God’s word can spring to life at any stage in our lives.
We can ask ourselves – what sort of soil are we – do we enable the message to take root and grow. We can also ask, what sort of sower are we? Do we nurture our knowledge of the Bible so we can grow in confidence in speaking to others? Or do we leave it to the ‘professionals’? Let’s not keep the seeds for ourselves but spread them and plant them – there are people who are good soil and ready to receive it.
God’s word does not die. God’s kingdom will grow – goodness and healing will prevail.
Services will be at 10 am, a said Eucharist and 5.30 pm evensong, both broadcast on Facebook as our services have been for the last 3 months. the Order of Service for the Eucharist is the same as last week and a link is below. https://www.facebook.com/AllSaintsPeterborough/ For now there will be no 8 am service. Please do feel free to say hello if you join either service. All Saints’ Church is also open for private prayer on Sunday from 3 to 5 pm
Fourth Sunday after Trinity
All Saints’ Church will return to worship in the building from 10 am on Sunday 5th July. The service will be a said Eucharist and will follow the guidance issued by the government for churches. Hand sanitizer will be available, seating will ensure physical distancing and communion will be in one kind. The toilets and children’s area will be out of action for now. The service will continue to be broadcast on Facebook as our services have been for the last 3 months. https://www.facebook.com/AllSaintsPeterborough/ For now there will be no 8 am service and Evensong will be broadcast at 5.30 pm. Please do feel free to say hello if you join either service.
All Saints’ is also open for private prayer on Sundays from 3 to 5 pm. During the week there will continue to be on,
Tuesday 11 am a Eucharist via Zoom which is later uploaded to Facebook
Thursday 7 pm a the Prayer Group meets on Zoom
Saturday 11 am there is Pop-in, cuppa and company, also on Zoom.
Joining details can be sent by email ( contact TheRevdGregRoberts@Outlook.com ), or by joining our email distribution list,
Third Sunday after Trinity
All Saints’ is open for private prayer on Sundays from 3 to 5 pm. Plans are being made to return to worship in the building but no date is set until further guidance from government and diocese has been received, assimilated and incorporated into our risk assessment. For now worship continues online and on Facebook at 10.30 and 5.50 pm on, please do say hello if you join us.
Second Sunday after Trinity
First Sunday after Trinity
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