During the Covid-19 pandemic Tony will be sharing prayers and thoughts on YouTube.
For each Sunday and key days in the Christian calendar, we open by giving the scheduled bible readings.
31 May - Pentecost
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 2 verses 1-21
The coming of the Holy Ghost; the disciples speak in tongues
The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: Chapter 12 verses 3-13
The Gospel according to St. John: Chapter 20 verses 19-23, Chapter 7, verses 37-39
I do hope that as things progress you are feeling that we are moving in the right direction. We are having to take more responsibility for what happens. Some of us find that liberating, some find it a burden. It is really important that we respect and encourage one another as we try to find our way in this difficult time. No doubt we will upset and offend some and we need to be gracious and understanding of one another, as perhaps we arrive at different conclusions about how we should act.
For the first time since the crisis began I found myself dealing with loss this week. Others of course have had to deal with it in their thousands and in much more difficult circumstances than me. That of course only puts things in perspective, it does nothing to soften the sense of loss one feels.
I know that many in our communities are having to cope with similar feelings and I hope that support and concern are at hand for you at this time. If not do get in touch.
As usual I have posted a thought on YouTube
And I hope some of you will join us for our Pentecost Zoom service on Sunday at 10.30 .
24 May - Seventh
Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 1 v 6-14
Christ's Ascension into Heaven
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 4 verses 12-14, , Chapter 5 verses 6-11
The Gospel according to St. John: Chapter 17 verses 1-1
As we all get used to the new rules about lock down I hope that it has given people hope for the future. It is hard to keep within the boundaries. Obvious anomalies crop up and certain things seem rather odd or foolish; indeed many have sought to push the boundaries a bit while trying to keep to the spirit of the regulations.
The message of being alert is vital however and we must do our best to make sure that we are alert to possible dangers as we begin to meet with others; not just for our sakes, but theirs as well.
I hope that a sense of normality whatever that might mean for you is either returning or establishing itself in ways that mean your physical and mental wellbeing is being nourished.
Do remember to seek help or support if you need it. There is plenty around and available.
I wish you all well.
God bless you all,
21 May - Ascension
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 1 verses 1-11
Christ’s Ascension into Heaven
The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians: Chapter 1 verses 15-23
The Gospel according to St. Luke: Chapter 24 verses 44-53
17 May - Sixth Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 17 verses 22-31
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 3 verses 13-22
The Gospel according to St. John: Chapter 14 verses 15-21
‘If you love me, keep my commandments’
‘I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you'
Well things have moved a little this week. I hope this will have improved life for some of you and given others hope that things will change at some point.
For me it has meant that I can go back into church, although I have to lock the church door behind me!
It does mean that I can remember you all when I am in there, and hopefully I can ring the bells and live steam a service from there too.
So this Sunday the 17th at 10.30 I will attempt to do just that from Christ Church. Early indications are that it might just work!!! So look at our YouTube channel [ St James and Christ Church, profile icon green circle with a white S in the middle] at 10.30 and hopefully I will be saying Morning Prayer. Sorry if it doesn’t work but I will have done my best, and I will upload the recording if the streaming fails.
Webmaster's note: The YouTube streaming did work and the recording of the service is below.
Do remember to ask for help or support if you need to. It would be very easy for us to assume all is well now we have got used to lockdown, and things are being loosened a little;but if it isn’t, do get in touch.
Continue to stay safe, and with my very best wishes,
God bless you all,
And here is the recording of Morning Service in Christ Church which Tony streamed live.
10 May - Fifth Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 7 verses 55-60
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 2 verses 2-10
The Gospel according to St. John: Chapter 14 verses 1-14
‘I am the way, the truth and the life’
I hope you have been able to make the most of the Bank holiday weekend in the circumstances.
It has been an interesting couple of days with bunting going up and flags flying. Pictures of VE day itself from around the country. These all summon up a sense of belonging not just to our nation but to the past and to the future.
Countless men and women gave their lives for the future we now experience. We owe it to them to make the most of it, especially in the present crisis.
Who would have thought some months ago that an unknown ex army officer in his late nineties would have made such an impact by his next birthday. And I wonder, if seventy five years ago as he celebrated the end of the war in Europe alongside his friends, that fighting for freedom was not the only impact he was to make on the nation.
We may not raise 30 million pounds, but we can have ideas that will make a difference. It may only make a difference to one person, but for that person that may be all that matters.
So keep on looking out for one another. We look as though we are in this for the long haul, let’s try to make it as bearable as we can for one another. In that way we can continue to celebrate the past, present and future.
God bless you all
3 May 2020
Fourth Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 2, verses 42-47
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 2 verses 19-25
The Gospel according to St. John: Chapter 10 verses 1-10
The parable of the shepherd and the sheep
Hopefully there will be some light cast on the future by the end of the week. This might mean that some things can change, at least for some. I continue to hold you all in my prayers and although I know that might not mean much to many, I hope it is of some comfort to a few.
Being a Parish priest is about “being there” for everyone in the community whether they attend church or not. What I have found so hard to work out is exactly what “being there” means in these rather strange and difficult times.
Many have now found a rhythm for life under lockdown. Things that were helpful in the early days, now are not as necessary, priorities shift, other things become more annoying and frustrating. But life goes on and I hope that no one is struggling or feeling unsupported.
If there is something you think I can do to help then do please get in touch, equally there are plenty of others who are only too willing so do make use of them if you need help.
I will be saying Morning Prayer Live on the You Tube St James and Christ Church channel at 10.30 on Sunday 3rd of May. If you put “St James and Christ Church” into YouTube’s search box you should find it.
In addition to his weekly short YouTube message, Tony also streamed a Morning Prayer service.
Sunday 26 April
Third Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 2 verses 14, 36-41
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 1 verses 17-23
The Gospel according to St. Luke: Chapter 24, verses 13-35
- The walk to Emmaus. Christ appears to His disciples.
Another week has passed, and I trust that most of you are doing ok. I realise how hard it is for some. Choosing to be isolated is one thing, but to have it imposed is quite a different thing.
I guess like me you wonder how long will all this last? What steps are needed to start returning to something like everyday life? Or is this it?
Patience is not an easy quality to find in situations like this. We often link patience to time, and we have plenty of that at the moment, Either things happen too quickly for us, or we find it hard to wait for something. But when we have no control over matters it is sometimes better to surrender to it and find something positive to focus on.
We often elevate patience to a high place, “ they have the patience of a saint” we say. But the thing to remember is that Bible uses the word saint to refer to everyday people, not those with extraordinary qualities that we can never aspire to.
So if you possibly can try and wait with quiet, but practical patience as we await some change, because it will come, we just don’t know the what and the when.
The YouTube Video is based on this Sunday’s Bible reading of Luke ch 24 v13-35
Do remember to ask for support if you need it, even if it just that you’d like to chat to someone.
My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Sunday 19 April
Second Sunday of Easter
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 2, verses 14, 22-32
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 1 verses 3 - 9
The Gospel according to St. John: Chapter 20 verses 19-31
- Christ appears to His disciples; Thomas doubts that they have seen Him.
Well I hope you have survived another week in lockdown. I guess it is more of the same for most of us. I do hope your friends and family are all safe, though perhaps some of you are concerned for loved ones who are facing difficulties of one sort or another. And of course our hearts continue to go out to all those suffering from the virus and those seeking to care for them.
We are perhaps rediscovering what perseverance means. In many parts of the world this characteristic is a way of life, but our good fortune up to this point has meant that many of us have not had to really persevere about much. We have not had restrictions on our lives and most things have been readily available. Not so now. The “keep calm and carry on” motif on so many fridge magnets and posters and mugs was an amusing throwback to 70 years , but now has a new resonance to us all.
Saint Paul wrote that “tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance, proven character”. So perhaps we will find something good may come from all this after all.
As always my thoughts and prayers are with you all. If you need support or help please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
May God bless you all.
Easter Day - 12 April
The Acts of the Apostles: Chapter 10 verses 34-43
The Gospel according to St. John: Mary Magdalene meets Jesus - Chapter 20 verses 1-18
Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia!
The Roberts Family
A very happy Easter to you all!
I realise this is not the way you would wish to celebrate. The usual gathering of friends and family, holidays away, trips to the coast seem almost distant memories.
But perhaps that is even more reason for us to count our blessings. Amidst our fears and concerns for those whom we love, as well as for ourselves we can still find cause to be thankful.
The response on Thursday evenings, the reaching out to support those who need it, the sympathy we feel for those so horribly facing pain and loss, are signs of our humanity.
Thankfulness and humanity are great things to celebrate whether we have faith or not.
For me of course Easter brings those two things together. Christ’s humanity, so willingly laid down on Good Friday for the sin of the world, is transformed by the power of God as he is raised from the dead. And the thankfulness that we can feel as we recognise that God is more powerful than death, and promises us, through faith, eternal life beyond our grave.
I have also done a very simple thought for Easter on our YouTube Channel
May you find joy somehow this Easter.
God bless you all
Holy Saturday - 11 April
The Lamentations of Jeremiah: Chapter 3 verses 1-8 and 19 – 24
The First Epistle of Peter: Chapter 4 verses 1-8
The Gospel according to St. Matthew: Jesus is buried - Chapter 27 verses 57 to the end.
To mark Good Friday, the Roberts family have recorded 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross'
Maundy Thursday - 9 April
Palm Sunday - 5 April
The Bible readings are:
- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Philippians: Chapter 2, verses 5 to 11
- The Gospel according to St. Matthew: Jesus rides into Jerusalem - Chapter 21, verses 1 to 11:
Another week has passed and we have several, maybe many to go. Reality has begun to bite and many are experiencing difficulties, and if that includes you my thoughts and prayers are with you. Notwithstanding all those difficulties, it is wonderful to see the support given to those who keep the nation going, and those who are in the front line of fighting the effects of the virus as so many fall sick. The public display the other evening is a mark of people's determination and solidarity.
I was listening to a song of my youth the other day. It was Canned Heat singing “Let’s work together”. If ever there was an anthem for our times that lifts the spirits [ well it did mine] this is it.
Those of you who remember the heady late sixties early seventies may recall the song, [not to be confused with the Brian Ferry version]. Those of you who are of a different generation might care to see if it lifts your spirits too! If it doesn’t, I do apologise!
As always my prayers and thoughts are with you all. Sadly, even I cannot use the church for prayer, but God is not restricted to one particular place to hear our prayers and I draw comfort from the knowledge that wherever we are God is very near.
This Sunday is Palm Sunday and I have recorded a thought for it.
Do remember to get in touch if you are in need. The church website also has details of where you can get support.
God bless you all,
Passion Sunday - 29 March
The Bible readings are:
- The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, Chapter 8, verses 6 to 11
- The Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 11, verses 1 to 45: The Raising of Lazarus from the Dead
So much has happened in a week! I hope are you managing in these difficult circumstances, and those who are completely self-isolating have the support they need. If not, do please get in touch. To those of you who are not feeling well and are concerned about what it is you are suffering from I hope you have had advice from health professionals. Remember our church website has a dedicated page regarding the present crisis, which you would find helpful I am sure. The webmasters review the content regularly.
Last week I was able to say prayers and ring the bells. Today that cannot happen, but my thoughts and prayers are with you none the less. I have stepped into the 21st century and recorded some prayers and a thought for Passion Sunday on YouTube.
Do please let people know about the pages about help etc on our church website.
Stay safe. May God bless you all.