Sunday, 11 April 2021

The Queen

 I usually watch the press preview at 10.30pm or 11.30pm on the BBC news channel. It like to see how the papers plan to cover the different stories the next day.

 
On the day Prince Philip died, there was one story that dominated every front page. Of all the many striking front pages, the one I liked most was the Daily Mirror's.
 
What I most like about their front page, in addition to the beautiful picture, is the way that they focus in on what is surely the heart of the story: an extraordinary loving partnership of more than 73 years that has now come to an end.
 
Constitutional monarchy brings the events of family life that matter to us all, births, deaths, and marriages, into the very heart of our common life as a nation. 
 
A nation mourns. A world even mourns. But at Windsor, a wife mourns, and she steps out on the next stage of her life's journey without the man who has walked beside her (or was it two paces behind?) unfailingly and reliably for so long.
 
So, yes, God save the Queen, but also God bless the Queen, and, most of all,  God comfort the Queen.

Today's service

Our service for the Second Sunday of Easter, including special prayers to mark the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

In memory

The bells of St James's Church are tolled ninety-nine times, one for each of the years of Prince Philip's life:

Midday prayers for the Queen and Royal Family took place at 12 noon today:

 


 

Friday, 9 April 2021

A prayer for the Queen

 

 

O Lord, our heavenly Father, high and mighty, King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Ruler of princes, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth: Most heartily we beseech thee with thy favour to behold our most gracious Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH; and so replenish her with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that she may alway incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue her plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant her in health and wealth long to live; strengthen her that she may vanquish and overcome all her enemies; and finally after this life she may attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 


 

Monday, 5 April 2021

Easter joy

 

With the Covid regulations now allowing outdoor singing in churchyards, we were able to conclude our Easter Day communion services in both churches by going out to sing 'Thine be the glory' and 'the greatest day in history.'

It was a wonderful moment singing at the tops of our voices: 

THE GREATEST DAY IN HISTORY
Death is beaten, You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty cross, the empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out, Jesus is alive




Saturday, 3 April 2021

Resting, waiting

The body lay in the grave. It was Saturday, the sabbath, the seventh day of the week, the day of rest.

He rested.

In the first chapter of the Bible the Lord begins the act of creation on the first day of the week. 

On the sixth day he completes his work; 'the heavens and the earth were completed in their vast array.'

On the seventh day he rests: 'God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.'

In the same way, on the sixth day,  the Friday, the Son of God completed his work: 'It is finished' he cried from the cross

Then on the seventh day, like his Father, he rested.

Holy Saturday: This is the day of resting and waiting. 

Tomorrow is the first day of  the week, and it was on the first day that the Lord Jesus Christ emerged from the tomb alive. The New Creation had begun (on a Sunday, just as before).

Friday, 2 April 2021

Good Friday

 


Good Friday and we had our open air service in St James's Churchyard and, for the first time since Christmas: we could sing! It was so good to be there.


Our concluding hymn was that classic, I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, with its repeated refrain

How marvellous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvellous! How wonderful!
Is my Saviour’s love for me!

Here from Celtic Worship is a wonderful version of that hymn:


Good Friday message

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Maundy Thursday

 

We do not presume
to come to this your table, merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in your manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy
so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table.
But you are the same Lord,
whose nature is always to have mercy.
Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ
and to drink his blood,
that we may evermore dwell in him
and he in us. Amen.

 

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Singing returns

Until this week the Government Covid guidelines have prevented congregations from singing during acts of worship, but the good news is that from this week congregational singing is allowed at outdoor events.

This means that on Good Friday at our open air service in St James’s Churchyard at 11am we will all be able to sing the lovely hymns and songs we have prepared for this occasion. Do come and join in as we celebrate the good news of God’s love and make a joyful noise in the churchyard.

Then on Easter Sunday, in both churches, we will move outside after communion so that we can all sing together our concluding Easter songs of joy and praise.

 As the psalmist says: ‘O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

 

The last time outdoor singing was allowed was for Christmas

 

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Day of reflection


Today, the anniversary of the first national lockdown, us being observed as a national Day of Reflection to commemorate those who have died of Covid-19, to remember all who have suffered, and to give thanks for all who have worked to alleviate the terible effects of this disease.

Here  are some prayers for the day produced by Church Society:

For those grieving in isolation for the death of loved ones
Gracious Heavenly Father,
who knows our grief is the price we pay for love:
give gospel comfort and consolation
to those who feel the pain of bereavement
and the anguish of separation at this time of global crisis;
and reminded as we are of the fleeting frailty of this life,
teach each one of us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
For we ask in the name of your Son,
who was cut off from the land of the living
to rescue us from the present evil age,
Amen.

For those dying alone during this time
Sovereign Lord, our rock and our salvation,
who has promised never to leave or forsake those who put their trust in you:
hear the feeble sighs and groaning
of those now fighting their final battle without their loved ones by their side;
by your Spirit, grant them grace and strength to endure what they must,
and having put their faith in Christ,
may their eyes see at last the Redeemer
for whom our hearts have always yearned,
so that along with all those who love the Lord Jesus with an undying love, they may receive the crown of righteousness from him
on the day we meet again,
Amen.

For those diagnosed with COVID-19
Lord Jesus,
who offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears
to the one who could save him from death,
and was heard because of his reverent submission:
have mercy on ____________(insert names)
(and) all those who live in the shadow of this terrible virus,
that they may have strength for the struggle and hope for the future;
And in the midst of the heat and urgency of their condition
grant their thirsty souls true repentance for their sins,
that they may know forgiveness and eternal life in you,
Amen.

Collect for the present time
Heavenly Father,
our ever-present help in trouble,
our fortress and our God:
calm the anxious fears of all who turn to you;
give strength and healing to those who are sick,
and courage and skill to those who care for them;
grant wisdom and clarity to those in authority;
and humble us all to call upon you
that we may be saved not only in this life,
but also for that which is to come,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

23rd March is also the anniversary of our first Bermondsey Daily Message. Since then there have been a further 230 BDMs, but here is the first one:

Sunday, 14 March 2021

On Clapham Common

 

When I was a child, Clapham Common was where you went to see the circus. I well remember the circus procession, clowns, marching bands and an elephant (was I just imagining the elephant?) passing down Battersea Rise at the end of our road on its way to the Common.

But, now there are darker associations with that glorious expanse of common land so beloved of south Londoners: an act of horrific violence that has shocked a nation.
 
We tell ourselves, rightly, that such crimes are astonishingly rare but, here is the terrible truth: acts of violence or sexual harassment against women are not rare, and overwhelming they are carried out by men.
 
Today is Mother's Day and I am so thankful for my own mother, and my marvellous wife, the mother of our two wonderul daughters, but it is precisely as we think of the women we love that we realise the awfulness of what has happened to Sarah Everard and to many, many other women in so many ways.
 
It shouldn't be like this.
 
We have a problem and by 'we' I mean us men. We have a problem about how we educate our boys, the images they see, the attitudes and behaviours that are modelled to them that they then emulate. We have a problem about how fathers father and how boyfriends and husbands treat their partners. Its about love. Its about respect. Its about faithfulness, sacrifice, and self-forgetfulness.
 
It's a deeper problem than something education alone can deal with. That's why Christians believe in the radical inner change in our hearts that can be effected by the Holy Spirit alone.
 
The horrible crime that has occurred this week is part of a long term problem that isn't just going to go away. 
 
What we really mustn't do now is to put our heads in the sand and move on to the next item that grabs the headlines.
 
This is one of those moments when as a nation we need to pray: Lord, have mercy upon us.

Gift for mums


 Thank you Pat for making up the posies with the flowers donated by Nancy and Jeff, soon to be married at St James, and adding a tag to each posy with this verse from 1 Corinthians: 'And now these three remain; faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.' 

 A lovely gift for mums on Mothering Sunday.


Saturday, 6 March 2021

Upgraded, repainted



 You can see what a great job Danny and Jack have done with the church doors. Along with the railings and the lampstands.the doors have all been repainted, just in time for St James's to re-open for worship this Sunday.

Work in progress
 

Thank you Danny & Jack from all of us. 


Job done


Friday, 26 February 2021

Interpreting the joyslide

 

Great news. The interpretation boards of the new joyslide were installed today. They tell the story of how Arthur Carr of Peak Freans saw local kids sliding on the granite slope by the church steps and had the brilliant idea of providing the JOYSLIDE that has delighted generations of Bermondsey youngsters.
 
The new slide, designed by Arthur's great great grandson, Fergus, is part of the existing playground for young children and as such is on a smaller scale than Arthur's creation but his great gift to Bermondsey is remembered and celebrated and, come the re-opening, there will be joy in the churchyard amongst the little ones who use the playground, and their parents who watch them play - and passers-by and other churchyard users can find out about this unique piece of Bermondsey heritage.
 

 

Bermondsey Daily Message 221

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Let us love one another

 Sonal, who with her husband, David, read the Bible reading from 1 John 4 in our online Valentine's Day Service, has produced this beautiful, representation of 1 John 4.7: 'Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God.'

 


You can watch the whole service here: 


Tuesday, 16 February 2021

St James view

Panoramic view from the roof of Davoll Court in Old Jamaica Rd, showing St James's Church and  beyond


 

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Bermondsey Valentines

Watch our special Valentine's Day Service featuring 3 special guest couples, a beautiful solo of Amazing Grace, a message about love, and a peek at what we keep in our bomb proof church safe, all topped off with a gallery of photos from the many weddings that have taken place at St James and St Anne's over the years

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Accession Day

 

 

 Today the Queen has been reigning for 69 years. 

6th February 1952 is the day her father died and she acceded to the throne. The picture shows the coronation which took place the following year.

Here, from the Book of Common Prayer, is the Prayer for Accession Day. God save the Queen!

Almighty God, who rulest over all the kingdoms of the world, and dost order them according to thy good pleasure: We yield thee unfeigned thanks, for that thou wast pleased, as on this day, to set thy Servant our Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH, upon the Throne of this Realm. Let thy wisdom be her guide, and let thine arm strengthen her; let truth and justice, holiness and righteousness, peace and charity, abound in her days; direct all her counsels and endeavours to thy glory, and the welfare of her subjects; give us grace to obey her cheerfully for conscience sake, and let her always possess the hearts of her people; let her reign be long and prosperous, and crown her with everlasting life in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Monday, 11 January 2021

Remembering Peter


Today I heard that my beloved friend and training vicar, Peter Ronayne, has died at his home in Lymington. 

He touched so many lives with his warmth, his love for people, those outrageous comments made in his famous stage whisper at numerous meetings, his sheer love of the Lord and zest for the Gospel, his unruly dogs, his sense of humour, the church's he built and encouraged. 
 
It can truly be said of him that he 'fought the good fight', he 'finished the race', and he ' kept the faith.'
 
As for me, this afternoon I am humming to myself his favourite hymn - which was also his testimony:
 
Lord, I was blind; I could not see
In Thy marred visage any grace,
But now the beauty of Thy face
In radiant vision dawns on me.
 
Lord, I was deaf; I could not hear
The thrilling music of Thy voice;
But now I hear Thee and rejoice,
And all Thine uttered words are dear!
 
Lord, I was dumb; I could not speak
The grace and glory of Thy name;
But now, as touched with living flame,
My lips Thine eager praises wake.
 
Lord, I was dead; I could not stir
My lifeless soul to come to Thee;
But now, since Thou hast quickened me,
I rise from sin's dark sepulchre
 
For Thou hast made the blind to see,
The deaf to hear, the dumb to speak,
The dead to live; and, lo, I break
The chains of my captivity.