Coronavirus Blog

Welcome Mother Patricia

Outside St Paul’s Cathedral – left to right, Mthr Anna, Mthr Patricia and Bishop Rob.

On Sunday 4 July 2021 we welcomed Mother Patricia Brown as our new curate, after her ordination on Saturday 3 July at St Paul’s Cathedral. We are delighted to have her with us and look forward to worshipping God with her.

Read Mthr Patricia’s reflection on her ordination and joining us here.

Sunday 27 June 2021 – Trinity 4

One day soon we will be able to pick up a cup of tea or a coffee at the back of church. Sadly not yet – but our creative social committee have put together a magnificent set of snack packs for our workshop after church tomorrow.

Join us for a Eucharist service at 10am and then afterwards join us for a workshop – with snack packs – on engaging with our local community.

Welcoming our new curate

Mother Anna and Patricia

On Saturday 3 July, God willing, Patricia Brown will be ordained Deacon at St Paul’s Cathedral and the day after, Sunday 4 July, she joins us at 10am for her first service as our curate at St Aldhelm’s. Please pray for her as she goes on retreat and prepares for her ordination and join us on Sunday to welcome her here.

Sunday 6 June 2021 – Trinity 1

Today, Mother Anna asks us to look for God at work in the world. So here’s a picture of a beautiful sky above our church a couple of weeks ago, to get us into the habit of watching God at work.
Join us on our facebook page live at 10am for our service this morning, or later on our YouTube channel.

Sunday 9 May 2021 – Easter 6

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

In her sermon today Mother Anna talks about selfless, sacrificial love. But don’t worry – she thinks we might be better at it than we realise.

Join us on our facebook page from 10am as we livestream today’s service.

Sunday 2 May – Easter 5

Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch from the Menologion of Basil II, an 11th-century illuminated manuscript (Wikimedia Commons)

In one of our readings today we hear the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch and Mthr Anna asks what we can learn from Philip’s response to the unusual stranger he encounters in the middle of nowhere. Join us at 10am for our livestreamed service on our facebook page or later on our YouTube channel.

You can read our latest newsletter and find details of our main services this month here.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 1921 – 2021

It is with great sadness that we heard of the death of Prince Philip, who passed away peacefully on Friday 9 April at Windsor Castle.

Please join us as we pray:
God of our lives, we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
for his love of our country, and for his devotion to duty.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy,
through our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Amen.

You are welcome to come into the church to light a candle or to tie a ribbon onto the railings to mark his passing. You can also send a message of condolence and light a virtual candle on the Church of England website.

We pray for the Queen and all the royal family as they grieve.

Sunday 4 April 2021 – Easter Day

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

If you weren’t able to join us in church on Sunday you can catch up with our service online on our YouTube channel.

Exciting News

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a generous grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, as part of the Here For Culture campaign.

This grant will help us to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery, after months of closures to contain the virus and save lives. We have exciting plans for the future and this grant will help us get there.

Our beautiful listed church is one of the very few public spaces in this part of Edmonton and we can’t wait to throw open our doors and welcome you.

Giving to St Aldhelm’s

Photo by Anjo Antony on Unsplash

This past year has been punishing for all of us, and St Aldhelm’s is no different. With our church closed for most of the year we have not received the gifts we rely on to keep going.

If you are able to give to help us as we reopen, please click here to visit our online donations page.

Alternatively, you can give to us by text on your mobile phone – simply text ALDHELMS 5 to 70085 to donate £5. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message.

To donate £10 text ALDHELMS 10, or to donate £20 text ALDHELMS 20.

Thank you. Every gift makes a difference to the work we can do supporting the people of this parish.

Keep in touch

Please keep an eye on this website and the St Aldhelm’s facebook page for the latest information about what we are up to and if you would like to receive updates and reflections by email, please contact vicar@aldhelms.co.uk and ask to be added to the mailing list.

You can also contact Mother Anna on 07845 137233 and leave a message.

Saturday 3 April 2021 – Holy Saturday

Did you know that in church we start our Sunday worship and major feasts at sunset the day before? So join us tonight as we celebrate the Easter Vigil, a service which takes us from darkness into light, from the Hebrew Scriptures into the good news of the risen Christ. In person in church or online on our facebook page at 8pm.

Friday 2 April 2021 – Good Friday

Photo by Francesco Alberti on Unsplash

Today our Saviour hangs on the cross, dying for us. We meet online at 12 noon to worship and to pray.

Thursday 1 April 2021 – Maundy Thursday

Today at last we will meet in church to worship God together, in a service at 8pm which will be livestreamed on www.facebook.com/aldhelms

On this night, Jesus asked his friends to sit watch with him while he prayed. They failed. Tonight we invite you to watch and pray for an hour and to remember Jesus, suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane while his friends slept. Join us in as we pray by candlelight in front of the Blessed Sacrament on our altar of repose, from 9pm.
https://youtu.be/W-1q4rfFkQ0

Exciting news

From July of this year, God willing, we will have a curate serving at St Aldhelm’s, Patricia Brown. Please pray for Patricia as she comes to the end of her studies and prepares for her ordination.

Sunday 28 March 2021, Palm Sunday

In church today we begin with the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as crowds cheered and later in the service we hear the story of Jesus’ Passion – the Last Supper, Gethsemane, betrayal, trial and torture, crucifixion and death. Join us online from 10am on our facebook page and YouTube, and read Mother Anna’s letter, with a prayer for your palm cross, here.

Sunday 21 March 2021

Today Mother Anna looks closely at the painting behind our altar and asks us to think about the ways in which we make Jesus in our own image. You can watch her sermon here on our YouTube channel or read it here.

Sunday 14 March – Lent 4 and Mothering Sunday

Today is Mothering Sunday and we pray for mothers and children and family life in all its different forms.

Loving God,
Thank you for mums and children
and for all the joy of family life.
Be with those who are grieving because they have no mother;
Be close to those who are struggling because they have no children;
Be near to those who are sad because they are far apart from those they love.
Let your love be present in every home,
And help your church to have eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of all who come.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

If you’re on our mailing list, you should have received a tiny posy, like the one in the picture. And if you’re not on our mailing list, do get in touch.

Sunday 7 March – Lent 3

Join us for a service of the Eucharist live at 10am on our facebook page or later on YouTube. Today, Mother Anna points out that we may be getting our priorities wrong when we read about Jesus overturning tables in the Temple.

 

Sunday 28 February 2021 – Lent 2

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

It is the second Sunday in Lent and Mother Anna asks us to lament, to make sacrifices and to be generous.

Read more here…

Watch the service here.

Sunday 21 February – Lent 1

Photo by Benjamin Grull on Unsplash

Our first Sunday in Lent finds us in the wilderness. A place of hardship and challenge – but will it also be a place where we find God? Read more…

Watch today’s service on our facebook page or YouTube channel.

Children’s Gospel and Prayer 
During Lent we will be joined by Mother Anna’s daughter Matilda, who will be sharing a Gospel reading with us and showing us different ways to pray. Today’s reading and prayer video goes live here at 10am – big thanks to Holy Innocents N8 for letting us borrow Matilda.

Sunday 14 February – Last before Lent

Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

Watch our service live on our facebook page at 10 am on Sunday and later on our YouTube channel.

Today Mother Anna reminds us of the many times in the Bible when people encounter God on a mountain and asks us to think about how we might encounter God this Lent.

Read more…

Sunday 7 February 2021 – Second before Lent

Opening page of Mark’s Gospel, in the Lindisfarne Gospels, c700

It might feel like life is on hold at the moment, and it certainly feels like the days are dragging, but the year is already racing by – in just 10 days we start Lent. This year we will be reading the whole of the Gospel of Mark together at home. Read more and get in touch if you would like to join us.

Sunday 31 January 2021 – Candlemas

Today we remember Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the Temple and Mother Anna is thinking about churches as a place where we encounter God. What does St Aldhelm’s mean to you?

Read more here…

 

 

Sunday 24 January 2021 – Epiphany 3

Photo by Vlad Gurea on Unsplash

Today’s Gospel reading tells of God’s abundant generosity to us, as Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast. A tricky message to hear when we are running on empty – but in our sermon today the Rev Nigel Taylor reminds us that it is when we are most depleted that God’s abundance is most needed.

Watch today’s service on our YouTube channel.

Sunday 17 January 2021 – Epiphany 2

Stained-glass window, St Aldhelm’s Church

Today’s readings speak to us about the way in which God calls us all – and Mthr Anna admits she hasn’t always been quick to answer God’s call…

Read more here, or watch today’s service here

Exciting news

From July of this year, God willing, we will have a curate serving at St Aldhelm’s, Patricia Brown.

Being a curate is the first stage in ordained ministry and we have been asked to welcome Patricia into our parish and to be part of her formation as she begins her ordained ministry. It is a privilege and an honour to be a training parish, and a sign of the bishop’s trust in us that he would offer us this opportunity.

If you were at Mother Anna’s licensing service back in March you will have seen Patricia, as she was one of the servers – Mother Anna knows her very well as she attends Hornsey Parish Church, where Mother Anna served her curacy. “I am absolutely delighted that Patricia will be coming to St Aldhelm’s as a curate”, says Mother Anna. “She is a very skilled chaplain and community organiser who is full of energy and joy and I know she will bring many gifts to this parish.”

Assuming everything goes to plan, Patricia will be ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral in late June or early July and will begin her three year post at St Aldhelm’s after her ordination, working part-time.

Patricia is a foster parent and works in the chaplaincy team at the YMCA hostel for homeless young people in Crouch End and is currently training at St Mellitus theological college. There will be opportunities to get to know more about Patricia over the coming months, but for now please pray for Patricia as she comes to the end of her studies and prepares for her ordination.

Sunday 10 January 2021- Baptism of Christ

Readings: Genesis 1:1-5Mark 1:4-11

Today’s sermon comes from the Archdeacon, Fr John Hawkins, who asks: Can you imagine what it would be like to hear God saying to you, “I am so very pleased with you”?

Baptism of our Lord – 10th January 2021 from LDF Contributer on Vimeo.

 Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We are sure like most of us you will be happy to see the back of 2020 and to welcome 2021 with hope for a better year ahead. Please join us in this prayer for the new year.

Sadly, as we are in Tier 4, there will be no services in church for the time being. Instead, you can join us for worship online as we start to trial internet worship in church.

  • Keep an eye on our Facebook page and YouTube channel
  • Morning Prayer – most days on Zoom at 8am – contact Mother Anna for details of how to join.

Sunday 3 January 2021

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, the arrival of the wise men to worship Jesus. You can watch the video of today’s Eucharist on our Facebook page or here on YouTube.

Sunday 27 December

“Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart”

Today Mother Anna encourages us all to do a bit of pondering. Read more…

Sunday 8 November 2020 – Remembrance Sunday

Today is Remembrance Sunday, and Mother Anna leads us in an Act of Remembrance.

You can watch the video by clicking on the link below.

https://youtu.be/amL-Ryv_T2A

 

Sunday 25 October – Trinity 20

Today’s Collect urges us to “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” Scripture – but what does that even mean?

Read more...

Sunday 18 October, Trinity 19

With permission: Rasiel at the English Wikipedia, GFDL

The challenges we face may be different to those of 2000 years ago, but the answer is still the same – Mother Anna reminds us to give to God the things that are God’s.
 
Which is pretty much everything.

Annual Parochial Church Meeting

Our annual church meetings took place in church on Sunday 11 October 2020, and we re-elected our two Churchwardens Helen and Julie, elected four people to the PCC and two people to represent St Aldhelm’s on the Deanery Synod.

Our governance is in good shape and we are very thankful for the service of our churchwardens and everyone on our PCC and Standing Committee.

Sunday 11 October 2020 – Trinity 18

Photo by Anton Mislawsky on Unsplash

As our readings warn us of the destructive power of God, Mother Anna asks us to consider what God might be remaking in our lives. Read more here.

Sunday 4 October 2020 – Trinity 17 and Harvest

Photo by Stefano Zocca on Unsplash

All-age worship in church today, when Mthr Anna will be brandishing sticks of rhubarb and getting us to think about whether we are bearing good fruit. And at home, some craft activities to help us think about the same question.

Read more here.

Sunday 17 September 2020, Trinity 16

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32; Matthew 21:23-32

Today we are thinking about turning to God – as our reading from Ezekiel puts it, Turn – and live.

Read more here.

Sunday 20 September 2020, Trinity 15

Photo by Lasseter Winery on Unsplash

Today Mother Anna reflects on the parable of the Vineyard Owner and how God gathers in not just the grapes but each and every one of us.

Sunday 13 September, Trinity 14

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Imagine a debt so huge you could never pay it off. Imagine having that debt cancelled.
In today’s sermon Mother Anna reminds us of the endless forgiveness we find in God. Read more here. 

Keeping safe in church

Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash

Things are a little different in church, as we work hard to keep everyone safe as we worship. You can find a letter from Mother Anna and the PCC here, but the headline points are

  • facemask
  • hand gel
  • social distancing
  • leave your name and contact details

With no singing and shorter services worship certainly feels different – but it is good to be back and worshiping God together. Thank God that we are able to meet in God’s name again.

 

Sunday 26 July – Trinity 7

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Five parables in today’s Gospel reading – what do you make of them? Read more

Prayer for today

Generous God, you give us gifts and make them grow: though our faith is small as mustard seed, make it grow to your glory and the flourishing of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday 19 July – Trinity 6

“This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven”.

As we get ready to re-open our church on 6 September, Mother Anna reflects on the importance of sacred spaces. Read more…

Prayer for today
Creator God, you made us all in your image: may we discern you in all that we see, and serve you in all that we do; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

 

Sunday 12 July – Trinity 5

Today, an all-age look at the parable of the sower – with before and after pics of Mother Anna’s garden! Read more…

Prayer for today

Almighty God, send down upon your Church the riches of your Spirit, and kindle in all who minister the gospel your countless gifts of grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday 5 July – Trinity 4

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Mother Anna prompts us to take our daily prayer and Bible readings seriously, by way of today’s readings and the Book of Common Prayer. Read more…

Prayer for today
Gracious Father, by the obedience of Jesus you brought salvation to our wayward world: draw us into harmony with your will, that we may find all things restored in him, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Sunday 28 June 2020 – Trinity 3

In our Gospel reading Jesus talks about welcome, and today Mthr Anna reflects on why God’s welcome is still important, even if our church door remains closed. Click here to read more.

Prayer for today

God our Saviour, look on this wounded world in pity and in power; hold us fast to your promises of peace won for us by your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday 21 June – Trinity 2

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

On this Fathers’ Day Mother Anna reminds us that God is faithful, no matter how messy our lives and families may be. Read more…

 

Sunday 14 June 2020 – Trinity 1

Last week was Trinity Sunday and we thought about what it means to be Christians in relationship with God the Trinity. And this week we are back with the Trinity – but via the Old Testament. This year, unusually, just one week after Trinity Sunday we are given a story in Genesis sometimes called “The Old Testament Trinity”.

Read more…

Prayer for today
God of truth, help us to keep your law of love and to walk in ways of wisdom, that we may find true life in Jesus Christ your Son. Amen

 

Sunday 7 June – Trinity Sunday

It’s Trinity Sunday – always a tricky preach, so Mother Anna lets St Augustine and former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams lead the way in her reflection today. Read more here…

Prayer for today

Holy God, faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Sunday 31 May – Pentecost

It’s Pentecost and Mother Anna invites people of all ages to imagine that day of fire and wind and the Holy Spirit. What do you think it was like?

Read more here and find all-age resources and notices here.

Prayer for today

God of all, you sent your Spirit to be with the disciples, filling them with joy, peace and courage. May we also be filled with your Spirit and have the courage to share your peace in our world. Amen

Sunday 24 May – Easter 7 and Ascension

God has gone up!

Today Mother Anna finds something very familiar in the apostles’ inability to make sense of Christ’s ascension into heaven and invites us all to wonder what God is up to right now. Read more… 

And though we can’t meet at the moment, we can still pray together, plan together and work together – the community put together this St Aldhelm’s Ascension Day video. Watch to the very end and look out for all the people and places you know!

Prayer for today

Risen, ascended Lord, as we rejoice at your triumph, fill your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin may find forgiveness and know your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Sunday 17 May

Mother Anna writes:

Here we are again, with readings that ask us to reconcile the impossible, to exist in a place where opposites exist side by side and where God offers us complexity where we might, if we are honest, prefer simplicity.

Read more…

Resources for your faith journey

Church Online – the weekly service from the Church of England, livestreamed from 9am every Sunday and then available to watch later.

Music – a beautiful choral classic first, If Ye Love Me, by Thomas Tallis, a setting of Jesus’s words in the gospel today, and a Taizé chant to join in with, The Lord is My Light.

Prayer for today

God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

A Prayer for VE Day, 8 May

8 May 2020 is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when we remember victory in Europe at the end of the Second World War. Here is a prayer from Church of England service commemorating the event, from the Act of Commitment for Peace.

Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.
Amen.

Happy Easter!

It may seem like Easter is over, but for the church things are only just beginning – we have weeks of celebrating Easter ahead of us. It takes a while to celebrate the Resurrection!

Sunday 3 May

Photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash

Two of our readings today show two very different churches, leading Mother Anna to reflect on joy in times of suffering and the ways in which our lives hold good and bad things side by side. Read more.

Prayer for today

Risen shepherd of your Father’s sheep: teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen.

Resources for your faith journey

  • Worship by phone – There are lots of resources online but for people without internet access or who don’t like to use the internet, a free phoneline from the Church of England, that allows you to call up and listen to hymns, reflections, services and prayers. Called Daily Hope, it is on 0800 804 8044.
  • Church Online– a weekly service from the Church of England, streamed online, and then available to watch or listen to later.

Sunday 26 April

Our readings today take place in a crowd and on a long walk – both forbidden at the moment. Mother Anna asks, where will you see God today? Read more.

Prayer for today

Risen Christ, you filled your disciples with boldness and fresh hope: strengthen us to proclaim your risen life and fill us with your peace, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Sunday 19 April

Happy Easter!

It may seem like Easter is over, but for the church things are only just beginning – we have weeks of celebrating Easter ahead of us. It takes a while to celebrate the Resurrection!

Today Mother Anna thinks about Peter’s development as a disciple and asks if we might follow his example.

Today’s Bible readings: John 20.19-31,  Acts 2.14, 22-321 Peter 1.3-9

If we were in church today, these are the readings we would hear. Not in this order, but at home we don’t have to follow the rules, so I suggest that you read them in the order I’ve listed them. In chronological order, the order in which things happened.

And if we do that, what we get is the extraordinary journey of one man, Peter. I’ve always had a soft spot for Peter, mostly because we see him messing up so many times. He walks on water – but then doubts and nearly drowns. He completely misses the point about foot washing. And then, in one terrible night, he fails to stay awake when Jesus asks him to, slashes off a servant’s ear in a brawl and then betrays the man he loves by denying he even knows him.

The Peter whom we assume is hiding behind locked doors after the crucifixion is the Peter who has failed Jesus. Failed Jesus repeatedly. He is at rock bottom.

But then, then comes Jesus. Into that room with locked doors. And Jesus brings peace and joy; he breathes on them and they are filled with the Holy Spirit and he sends them out. And what we see next, in the reading from Acts, is Peter preaching. Bishop Stephen Cottrell points out that here Peter preaches the first ever Christian sermon. And that in fact no other sermon is necessary, because Peter preaches the only important thing – Christ crucified. And at his words thousands of people are converted.

And then the final reading from 1 Peter, a letter presumed to be written by Peter himself – although admittedly modern scholarship is divided on this. But assuming he did write it, what we see is another extraordinary message – not as raw as the sermon in Acts, more thought-out in its theology, still preaching Christ crucified, but with a joyous, hope-filled, inspirational and comforting message to Christians who are suffering. It is a message of love, belief, faith and salvation, for a people who need to be reminded that they are protected by the power of God, that they have a living hope and an inheritance which cannot be tarnished or taken away. A message which is exactly what I needed to hear today.

If you saw my sermon on video on Easter morning you will know that I pointed out how similar our current situation is to the situation of the disciples that first Easter – locked away behind closed doors, afraid to go out into the street. What if we too could go on the same journey as Peter, from behind these closed doors? What if when we go out again we were to find ourselves filled with the Holy Spirit, encouraging other people to come to faith? What if the love of Jesus were to fill us so completely that our joy and hope and confident faith would shine through to everyone, uplifting and encouraging other Christians in their own faith?

My friends, we may be behind closed doors, but Jesus has breathed his Holy Spirit into us. Let’s be like Peter and move away from defeat and denial into a confident proclamation of the risen Christ. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Prayer for today

Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred: open the doors of our hearts, that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace, to the praise of God the Father, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.   Amen.

Resources for your faith life

Daily prayer – each day the Church of England publishes audio and text of the day’s prayer.

You can also find personal prayers to help during this crisis and liturgy and Bible readings for daily prayer.

Music – two links, as usual, one traditional one more contemporary. Two songs about God’s grace for our Easter prayers, one from Stormzy and this beautiful version of Amazing Grace sung by Andrea Bocelli in an empty square in Milan on Easter Day.

Radio and TV – Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 8.10am, Songs of Praise on BBC 1, Sunday at 1.15pm, Choral Evensong on Radio 3 on Wednesday at 3.30pm.

Prayer for today

Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred: open the doors of our hearts, that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace, to the praise of God the Father, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.  Amen.

Sunday 12 April

Happy Easter!

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

This maybe an Easter Day like no other, but one thing stays the same – Christ is risen! So celebrate and enjoy. Break your Lenten fast, eat your Easter eggs, Skype the family, enjoy the day. And praise God, for Christ is risen.

Want to know how I celebrated this morning? Here’s a short video, a five-minute reflection from me –

Happy Easter!

With my prayers for you all –

Mthr Anna

————————————————————————————————–

More resources to help you celebrate Easter.

Listen to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter message – Radio 4 at 8am, or later on the BBC Sounds website and app

On television, BBC1 has Sunday Worship at 11.25am and Songs of Praise at 1.15pm

And lastly an Easter hymn recorded by a virtual choir put together by a friend of mine. Enjoy!

Prayer for today

ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: We humbly beseech thee, that as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Holy Saturday

The church is empty. There is not even the usual busyness of the Holy Saturday clean-up. Empty. Cold. Silent.

Like the tomb.

Today in our liturgy we live in the emptiness of a world without Jesus. Let us stay there for a while, let’s not rush too quickly into what is coming next, the joy of the resurrection, but experience the darkness. Safely, knowing that tomorrow the joy will return, for now let us stay in the emptiness, the cold and the silence of a world from which Jesus has departed.

It is finished.

————————————————————————————————-

Take part in our Holy Saturday reflections today –

Read and pray with our Holy Week at Home booklet

Some music for this Holy Week. First a worship song, This We Know.
And a hymn from King’s College Cambridge a few years ago.

A classic film on BBC2 today at 12 – Charlton Heston in The Greatest Story Ever Told.

The Collect for today

Grant, Lord,
that we who are baptized into the death
of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
may continually put to death our evil desires
and be buried with him;
and that through the grave and gate of death
we may pass to our joyful resurrection;
through his merits,
who died and was buried and rose again for us,
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Good Friday

“O my people, what have I done to thee, or wherein have I wearied thee? Answer me. Because I brought thee out of the land of Egypt, you have prepared a Cross for thy Saviour”.

These haunting words are from an ancient prayer, The Reproaches, which have been said or sung on Good Friday for a thousand years or more. In the prayer, God reproaches us, God’s people, for rejecting all the good things which he offers us, for rejecting the love God shows us, the salvation God offers us. For rejecting even God’s own son.

“O my people, what have I done to thee, or wherein have I wearied thee? Answer me. Because I brought thee out of the land of Egypt, you have prepared a Cross for thy Saviour”.

God rescues us over and over. We reject him over and over. Eventually, God sends us a Saviour and we reject the Saviour too. And so here we stand on Good Friday. At the foot of the cross, worshipping the Saviour God sent, the Saviour we crucified.

Lord have mercy on us all.

Resources for our worship today

Read and pray with our Holy Week at Home booklet

Listen here to the Reproaches sung by Ely Cathedral

Or reflect on the crucifixion of our Servant King here

Join me in prayer as I say the Eucharist at home at 12, or at 2pm watch a livestream of the Good Friday liturgy at St Mark’s church in Wood Green. You don’t need to have a facebook account to watch.

The annual staging of the Passion Story in Trafalgar Square won’t be taking place, but the team will be livestreaming here at 12 and then at 3 here.

Maundy Thursday

‘I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’

Mother Anna writes:

Today marks the start of the Triduum, the most intense period of the Christian year, when we enter deeply into the passion of Jesus, remembering and re-enacting the events of his final days of earthly life.

Normally, Maundy Thursday is a time of service for clergy. In London we start by gathering together at St Paul’s Cathedral, a great flock of clergy, hundreds of us, gathered to renew our vows of ordination, the promises we made to serve God, proclaim the Gospel and work for the kingdom of God. We remember that we are called to serve God and to serve God’s people.

And then we go to our churches, to the people we serve, and wash their feet. On our hands and knees we demonstrate our service and our love of God and of the people of God by tying a towel round our waist and washing feet.

But not today. Imagine what a scandal it would cause if I were to wash someone’s feet in these days of self isolating and social distancing… But if I can’t serve you by washing your feet I can at least serve in two important ways – by saying the Eucharist for you and by praying for you.

Tonight I pray alone, say the Eucharist alone, and keep the vigil watch until midnight alone. And that is enough. Because as our Gospel reading today reminds us, the only important service is that we love one another, as Jesus loves us.

With my prayers. Amen.

Resources for our worship today

Sometimes a dramatisation of a familiar story helps us see it with new eyes, so here is a video showing Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.

And if you want to pray in silence this evening, as we normally would at church, Radio 3  Worship from the Monasteries 10.45pm might help.

The Collect for today

God our Father, you have invited us
to share in the supper
which your Son gave to his Church
to proclaim his death until he comes:
may he nourish us by his presence,
and unite us in his love;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen

Tuesday 7 April

The news that the Prime Minister was in intensive care came as quite a shock last night. For most of us, this will have been the first time that someone familiar has been affected so seriously by the corona virus. The virus seems somehow closer, more dangerous now.

And there has been death in our community too. People we know and love, our neighbours and friends, have lost loved ones this week. Not to this virus necessarily, but the burden of grief is deep whatever the cause.

In my prayers today, I have been reflecting on this. I’ve been praying for the Prime Minister, of course, for his recovery – but I haven’t been praying for him because he is more important than the rest of us. No – I’ve been praying precisely because we are all as important as he is. Every single one of us is equally important in the eyes of God. So today my prayers have been for Boris Johnson and for everyone in this church and this parish who is ill, with this virus or with something else – all loved, all cherished, all in need of God’s healing.

And I’ve been praying for the people I know who have lost loved ones, praying that they will feel God’s presence with them as they grieve. Praying too for the people I don’t know who mourn and for all those who watch and wait as someone they love struggles for life.

‘The light is with you’, Jesus says to us in our Gospel reading for today. ‘While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.’ My friends, I pray that we may all walk in the light of Jesus. Amen.

Holy Week
During Holy Week Mother Anna will be saying the Mass from home, praying with and for the community and parish of St Aldhelm’s. Please join her in prayer at 8pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, from 8pm to midnight on Thursday and from 12 noon to 3pm on Friday.

Mother Anna will be saying the Easter Vigil at dawn on Easter Day, from 5.45am, followed by the first Eucharist of Easter.

Palm Sunday, 5 April

Mother Anna writes:

Earlier this week a friend sent me a copy of a little booklet called Holy Week at Home. I liked it so much I emailed the person who wrote it to get her permission to copy it and on Wednesday I mailed it out to everyone on the electoral roll. Hopefully by now you have received your copy but, if not, you can find it online here.

It’s a prayer resource, aimed at encouraging all of us to take time each day this week to read the Bible, pray, think about God, our loved ones and the world around us – and to draw closer to God by keeping this Holy Week as holy as possible.

I hope you find it helpful, but I will be the first to admit that I’m not looking forward to this strange, lonely Holy Week. It is going to be hard – I want Holy Week to be prayerful, calm, sombre, a time to reflect on the horrors of the cross and then the unfathomable joy of the resurrection. But instead of spending time at church, with you, I will be spending it at home, surrounded by the noise and distractions of family life. And I fear that I will find it really hard to stay focussed, to stay prayerful, to motivate myself to spend time with God when I could be watching Netflix with my family. I’m probably not alone in that.

Let’s face it, we disciples have always found it hard to stay focussed on prayer, right from the earliest times. In Sunday’s telling of the Passion narrative we hear about Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. But even though this was a holy season for them as well, even though they had just shared what must have been a deeply moving, if puzzling, Passover meal with Jesus, even though the mood on the streets of Jerusalem must have been really tense – even so, they still couldn’t stay awake and pray.

And while we may not be on the tense streets of Jerusalem, still the worries and stress of this present crisis make it hard for us to concentrate. If you are finding it hard to focus – so is everyone else. If your children are running around like mad things instead of doing their school work – all children are. If you’re just too tired or too worried or too fidgety to concentrate – we all are.

It is OK. These are strange times and God is with us. We are trying and God loves us for that. And if we sometimes fail, God loves us anyway. But nonetheless, let’s try. Let’s try to keep this Holy Week holy, let’s try to stay awake and watch with Jesus as he suffers. Knowing that, like Peter, James and John, we are forgiven if we fail.

I leave you with a piece of music which has been in my mind all week, as I have been getting ready for Holy Week, a reflection from The Crucifixion by the late-nineteenth century composer John Stainer. In it Jesus finds the disciples asleep and asks, “Could you not watch with me one brief hour?”, and the chorus, like you and me, prays, “teach us how to love Thee for Thy love. Help us to pray, and watch, and mourn with Thee.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ_T7J_O0v4

I pray that God may help us all to pray and watch and mourn this Holy Week.

Wednesday 1 April

From Mother Anna: this is quite long, so here are the key points:

  • I am celebrating the Eucharist on your behalf in my house at the usual times – 10am on Thursday and Sunday
  • Next week I’m going to see if I can work out how to live-stream services. Not making any promises!
  • I will make some decisions about Holy Week services soon and let you know

Now read on.

Did you know that the law of the Church of England says that priests cannot celebrate the Eucharist alone? I knew this, of course – training to be a priest covers this sort of thing. But what to do in these days when the churches are closed and no one can come to church?

Believe me, this has been the subject of a lot of debate among clergy over the last couple of weeks. A lot of debate. People have argued back and forth, guidance has been issued, and amended, and amended back again. But now, finally, I think we have clarity. So here is a quick summary, for those who are interested.

We take our guidance from the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), which says very clearly that, “there shall be no celebration of the Lord’s Supper except there be a convenient number to communicate,” and then says that the convenient number is at least three. The BCP is also very strict about publicising the services of Communion – they must be publicised in advance so that people know when they will take place.

Why? Well, because the Eucharist is not a private affair, it is something in which the whole Body of Christ – you, me, all Christians – take part. It’s meant to nourish all of us, so that we can “feed on the banquet of that most heavenly food”, as the BCP puts it, and strengthen our faith.

That’s not to say that there is no benefit in being at a Eucharist unless you take the bread and wine – of course there is. The Eucharist is a spiritual event, not just a physical one, and sometimes we can’t take communion but we are nonetheless spiritually blessed by it, our faith and love strengthened by seeing the bread and wine which signify the Body and Blood. This has always been understood – it’s why we take communion to people who are too poorly to receive it.

So put these things together – the fact that we are supposed to have at least three people present and the fact that just looking and watching and praying is sufficient participation – and what you get is a lot of clergy live-streaming their solo Eucharist services. But there has been a lot of debate about whether that is actually allowed – do people watching on the internet count as “a convenient number”?

As of today, we have agreement and instructions from our bishops. Combined with the rules about publicising services of Holy Communion we are now advised that clergy can celebrate the Eucharist alone from their homes, but ideally it should be live-streamed on the internet so that people can take part. If that’s not feasible, then we can still celebrate the Eucharist, but need to let people know when it will take place so that people can join in prayer if they wish.

Because so few people look at our website and we have so few followers on facebook, I had taken the decision that live-streaming wasn’t helpful. I have been saying the Eucharist as usual, at home with my family, and praying it on behalf of you, the people of the parish – but now I will see if I can make the technology work and livestream. I’m not making any promises! I think I can figure out the technology, but I’m more concerned about whether my phone is up to it. We shall see.

I can at least publicise the services – I say the Eucharist at 10am every Thursday and Sunday and will continue to do so. I will plan Holy Week liturgy soon and will let you know the additional times when I will be celebrating the Eucharist.

So there we go. Keep checking the website and facebook page to see if I master the technology and go live. And whether I do or not, please know that you are in my prayers and in my heart and that I am faithfully worshipping and celebrating the Eucharist on your behalf.

Sunday 29 March

Mother Anna writes:

This morning I celebrated the Eucharist, as I usually do on Sunday. Except, of course, that it was very, very far from the usual.

For one thing, I celebrated in my front room at home. For another, it was just me and my daughter, with two other family members joining in on Skype. Plus it was all very home-made – I put a blanket (purple, because it’s Lent) on a foldaway table we usually use for decorating, added a couple of candlesticks, the cookbook stand and a cross that was a gift from my former boss. Put the laptop on an armchair so the people Skype-ing in could see. Stood behind it in front of the window and, feeling slightly ridiculous, started.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…”

And that’s when it got real. That’s when all the unusual fell away. That’s when it became exactly what is always is, the Eucharist, God made present among us, our endless, eternal memorial of thanksgiving to God.

It wasn’t easy. I felt everyone’s absence very strongly. I wish – deeply wish, wish from the soul up – that I could be with you, the people of St Aldhelm’s, sharing the Eucharist with you, praying with you, walking together through all that life is throwing at us. But of course I can’t, and I felt the sadness of that profoundly.

But nonetheless, this morning I knew that even if we are not together, God is with us, with all of us, in this crisis. Holding us as we struggle, looking at us with love. And in that strange celebration of the Eucharist, in the weird transformation of my sitting room into a chapel, I knew that as we wait for COVID-19 to pass, this can be a time of faith, a time when we learn more than ever to put our trust in God.

The psalm set for this morning was psalm 130. I leave you with a short section.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchman waits for the morning,
More than the watchmen wait for the morning.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
For with the Lord is unfailing love”

Amen

Wednesday 25 March

Today we heard that more than 400,000 people have signed up to volunteer to help others during the crisis. As Christians we are told by Jesus to act to help others – feed the poor, shelter the stranger, clothe the naked. What can you do in this crisis to help other people?

Here is the Red Cross advice – be kind!

 Keep in touch regularly with family, friends and neighbours – a quick chat on the phone or a message on social media will raise their spirits and yours.

– If you can, be the eyes and ears of your community (but keep that social distance!) by checking on people who may be vulnerable or isolated and finding out what they might need – can you pick up shopping or medicines safely and leave them where they can access them?

– No one needs trolley loads of toilet roll! Only buy what you need so that there is enough for everyone, especially for those who can’t afford to buy ahead.

– Do look after yourself – eating, sleeping and exercising safely (even indoors) will help keep you well and more able to support others.

The Red Cross is actively helping communities in the UK. Find out more from them about how you can help.

Say a prayer

Join us today in this prayer for the world, which is good to pray with children as well as for your personal prayers.

God of love and hope,
you made the world and care for all creation,
but the world feels strange right now.
The news is full of stories about Coronavirus.
Some people are worried that they might get ill.
Others are anxious for their family and friends.
Be with them and help them to find peace.
We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists,
and all who are working to discover the right medicines
to help those who are ill.
Thank you that even in these anxious times,
you are with us.
Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe.
Amen.

Tuesday 24 March

Global prayer on Wednesday

On Wednesday 25 March, join the Archbishop of Canterbury and millions of Christians worldwide in responding to Pope Francis’s invitation to pray together. At 12 noon, stop what you are doing and pray the Lord’s Prayer – as the Archbishop says; “Please join us wherever you are. Prayer unites us in testing times.”

Say a prayer

As we get used to staying home our prayer life continues. You can find the prayer for the day on the Church of England website, or join us today in this prayer:

Gracious God,
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Monday 23 March

Tune in and worship

The BBC has a range of daily worship opportunities – why not tune in and spend time with God via your television or radio?

Television programmes

  • Songs of Praise Sundays at 1.15pm on BBC 1

Radio programmes
• Prayer for the Day daily at 5.43am on Radio 4
• Sunday Worship Sundays at 8.10am on Radio 4
• Daily Service Monday to Friday at 9.45am on Radio 4
• Lent Talks Wednesdays at 8.45pm on Radio 4
• Choral Evensong- Wednesdays at 3.30pm and the same service is
repeated Sundays at 3pm on BBC Radio 3