Category Archives: News

News from and about St Mary’s, Aberfoyle

New Dean of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane

Bishop Ian writes:

I am very pleased to announce the appointment today of the Very Revd Graham Taylor as Dean of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, in succession to the Very Revd Kenny Rathband, who retired on 31st August 2021.Graham continues to serve as Rector of St John the Baptist, Princes Street, Perth, where he has been since 2014, becoming a Canon of St Ninian’s Cathedral in 2019. Before coming to this Diocese, Graham served in several charges in the Diocese of Aberdeen and Orkney, where he was ordained in 2001.The role of Dean is one of the most important in the life of any diocese. It includes support for the Bishop’s ministry; sharing in leadership of the Diocese with the Bishop and others; encouraging the clergy, lay ministers and vestries of the Diocese; and fulfilling the other duties specified in the Code of Canons. Graham brings to this ministry his love of the Scottish Episcopal Church, his long experience of congregational ministry, his priority of pastoral care, and his warm sense of humour!I am very glad that Graham accepted my invitation to become Dean, and I am looking forward very much to welcoming him as a colleague and adviser, and to helping him as he settles into this new ministry.Graham will be Licensed as Dean at a short and simple service at St John the Baptist, Perth, today, 1st September 2021, with members of St John’s Vestry present. But he will also be Installed and welcomed, in the presence of many more people, at the full Diocesan service we intend to have at the Cathedral before Advent. At that service other Canons, appointed during lockdown, will also be installed, and we will be able to thank Kenny Rathband as retiring Dean.Please welcome Graham and pray for him as he becomes Dean of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane.

Dean Kenny Raithband Retires 31st August 2021

Bishop Ian writes:

 Dear sisters and brothers, Thank you for all the patient understanding and care many of you have given to our Dean, the Very Revd Kenny Rathband and to Ruth in the months since Kenny had to step back from active ministry because of a serious health issue. They, and all of us, have had to come to terms with his early retirement from full-time ministry which Kenny’s doctors advised. As Kenny wrote to us about making this difficult decision: “This has not been an easy decision to make and follows on from my recent heart attack. I have greatly enjoyed working with both congregations, and the privilege of being Dean for a number of years. I continue to hold everyone in my prayers.” Kenny and Ruth have had to wait until now to set the date of Kenny’s retirement, and this decision has now been taken, with my agreement. Kenny’s last day as Dean of the Diocese, and as Rector of Dunfermline and Priest at Rosyth, will be 31st August, and he will retire from 1st September.  It is good that Kenny and Ruth can be with his congregations on Sunday 12th September to say farewell. We will also be having a significant Diocesan service – before Advent, I hope – at which we will give thanks for and celebrate Kenny’s 14 years as Dean of the Diocese. Congregations and individuals may wish to contribute to the Diocese’s gift which we will be presenting to Kenny and Ruth as a sign of our appreciation and love. Details of where to send contributions will be announced shortly. Please continue to hold Kenny and Ruth in your prayers as they prepare to move into a new chapter of life for them. Please also pray for Holy Trinity and St Margaret’s as they begin to seek a new Rector and a new Priest-in-Charge. And for me, as I appoint a new Dean of the Diocese. I will be announcing that appointment soon. Thank you, and everyone in your congregation, for all your faithfulness and hope for the future, as well as all your compassion and care in the present. With warmest good wishes,
Bishop Ian

Concert 19th September

Music in Aberfoyle is re-starting its concerts!
We are delighted to announce that, after what seems an age, our Third Sunday at Three concert series is getting under way, with our good friend Alastair Savage and his Friends getting us off to a flying start.

Click on the link https://sites.google.com/view/musicstmary/alastair-savage to see more details, including, for the first time, Charlotte Ashton, Principle Flute with the BBC SSO.
Alastair will once again entertain us with his eclectic mix of traditional and new fiddle tunes.
Tickets may be booked by contacting secreatry@stmarysaberfoyle.org.uk.  Whilst under the present restrictions distancing is not required it will be necessary for masks to be worn and we shall try and keep space between people where possible.

As usual, the concert will start at 3 o’clock on Sunday 19th September in St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Aberfoyle, and last an hour. Further details of our 2021/22 concert programme will be announced shortly.

Trinity Sunday 30th May

The Linkage 

                        The Scottish Episcopal Church

St Mary’s Aberfoyle,

St Andrew’s Callander

The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Peden – Interim Pastor

01877 330448

Trinity Sunday  30th May 2021

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One who spoke in the beginning

and brought the world into being.

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One who came to dwell among us

to set us free.

Let us worship the Triune God.

Let us worship the One whose Spirit rests continually upon us,

calling us to new beginnings.

This hymn draws on the awe that Isaiah felt – see the first reading.  It is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntdcY8q7a9E

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Holy, holy, holy! All saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the sinful human eye thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity.

Collect:   Father, we praise you: through your Word and Holy Spirit you created all things.  You reveal your salvation in all the world by sending to us Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  Through your Holy Spirit you give us a share in your life and love.  Fill us with the vision of your glory, that we may always serve and praise you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Reading:   Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’

Gospel:  John 3:1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Reflection:  
It is said that when the great St Augustine was walking on the beach, he saw a little boy who had dug a little hole in the sand.
He trotted off to the sea and brought back a cup of water to put into the hole. What are you doing?  said St Augustine Trying to pour the ocean into this little hole, said the boy. You’ll never manage that, said Augustine, the ocean is too great, and the hole is too small. That’s like God, said the boy, he’s too big to fit into our minds.

Augustine wrote a lot about the Trinity, as have many other theologians – often with ‘deadly confidence’.  But Augustine wrote as a pastor: his views grew out of the attempts he and his flock made to pray, worship and love the God they followed.  

I find it helpful to think of the Trinity as three paths to approach the mysterious God who is beyond our sight and understanding.  Sometimes, I need to seek the One who holds us firm in the midst of change and trouble, the One who will not let us go nor let us grow into anything less than the fullness of life.

At other times I am drawn towards the Child born for us, the Son given to us, who takes the government and cares and sin of this world onto his own shoulders.  His purity, openness, honesty, wondrous love, tenacious humility and undaunted joy call me back time and time again. 

And from time to time I sense a Voice calling on the way: a prompt, an alert, a song, or maybe a chuckle.  I don’t usually recognise the Voice until afterwards, when I realise that it’s the Spirit of truth that we’ve been reading about in John’s gospel.

At least – that’s how it seems to me today.  Like all who try to draw close to God, my understanding of ‘Trinity’ is a work in progress that will never be anything like completed this side of eternity …

Prayers of intercession:   (adapted from Sacredise)
When powers struggle for dominance, and war, oppression and abuse result; when groups of people oppose one another
because of ideology, religion or culture: we need a God who is bigger than ourselves, and our personal interests.
So we pray for the troubled parts of the world, especially for Israel and Gaza, and Belarus.  God of the nations, bring peace and freedom to those who are frightened and oppressed.

When people are disregarded and devalued because of poverty, geography or disease; when compassion and justice is withheld to some because of sexuality, race or gender: we need a Saviour who is more compassionate than we are who includes even those we would exclude.
So we pray for those whom we tend to forget:  loving Christ, comfort with your presence those with little healthcare or vaccines;  those in prisons, care homes, or sub-standard housing;  those who will be neglected or abused this day.

When resources are mismanaged and abused, and the world and its creatures are destroyed; when motivation is scarce and creativity is in short supply to address the challenges that we face; we need a Spirit who is more powerful and more creative
than we could ever be.
So we pray for those whose inspiration can renew the world:  Spirit of truth, guide the scientists and engineers who seek solutions to our problems, and fill artists, writers and all creative souls with the power to change our hearts.

Lord God, loving Saviour, empowering Spirit, we offer you these prayers because we need you so desperately. Captivate us, call us and fill us, that we may be carriers of your eternal life
to this world that you love so dearly. Amen.

We affirm our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.   Amen.

Closing prayer:  God the Holy Trinity make us strong in faith and love, defend us on every side, and guide us in truth and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with us always.  Amen

Here is a verse from the glorious ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH4ToVxtn9A&t=1sI bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

The Linkage Pentecost 2 6th June 2021

The Linkage 

                        The Scottish Episcopal Church

St Mary’s Aberfoyle,

St Andrew’s Callander

The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Peden – Interim Pastor

01877 330448

Pentecost 2   6th June 2021

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Based on Psalm 138:
We come to give thanks to you, O Lord, 
with all our heart.
We will sing your praises before all creation, 
and rejoice in Your steadfast love.
You have created us O Lord, and made us for yourself, 
In you we become everything You have made us to be.

Collect:  O God, you have assured the human family of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Deliver us from the death of sin and raise us to new life in him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Reading:  Genesis. 3:8-15
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ He said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’ The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent tricked me, and I ate.’ The Lord God said to the serpent,  ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’

Prayer of confession based on Genesis 3
Our God, you created the world and called it good.

You created man and woman in your image and called them very good. But we have been deceived by half-truths and false promises.

We have tasted temptation and it is bitter in our mouths.

We thought our desire for forbidden fruit would bring us wisdom,

but it brought us only the curse of pain and death.

Redeem us in your love. Take away our sin.

Restore our relationship with you, our God.

1 Corinthians 15 tells us:  For since death came through a man, 

the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. Thanks be to God

who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!   Amen!

Gospel   Mark 3:20-35
The crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, ‘He has gone out of his mind.’ And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.’ 
And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.
‘Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— for they had said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’
Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

Reflection:  
John Bunyan in Pilgrim’s Progress describes a man slumped in an Iron cage, sighing in despair.  It turns out that the man had given into temptations and thought that he had forfeited God’s promises and mercy; all that remained for him was judgement and punishment. ‘Nor can all the men in the world let me out.  O Eternity!  How shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet in Eternity?’ he says.

Whilst it is a lot less common now to find those who worry about the fate of their eternal soul, people do find themselves locked into mental prisons, caused by ‘inner demons’ such as anger, guilt or a sense of futility.  

Jesus came to challenge the destructive power of demons and restore people to physical and spiritual health. The demons had shouted ‘You are the Son of God!’ just before today’s episode, and so it was unsurprising that the authorities challenged his authority, claiming that he used demonic power to cast out demons.

Jesus responded by saying that calling ‘demonic’ what is good (healing, forgiveness, new life) amounts to blasphemy against the Spirit, which cannot be forgiven.  It’s a very hard saying and has troubled many a tender conscience.

If we lock ourselves up in an iron cage and refuse to see things clearly, then it is indeed hard for God to reach us in love and forgiveness. If we take a position that is hard a steel – about ourselves, or other people, or the world – then it’s going to be difficult to perceive the work of the Spirit blowing through and around us.

As we enter this post-Pentecost season of growing in faith, of building God’s kingdom here on earth in the power of the Spirit, let us commit ourselves to being open and free and confident in the power of Christ to transform evil into the splendour of light. And let us try with God gently to prise open the cages that lock people in.  

Prayers of intercession:
Holy God, guide your people and to inspire us with the desire to put aside our differences as we seek to serve you. Help us to reach out to all who feel despair, especially those who feel unworthy or too sinful to enjoy life. Give us through your grace opportunities to befriend them and assure them of your love.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

C
reator God, may those who lead us and the other nations of the world will always try to solve issues in a just and caring way, and deal with the world’s problems with forethought and common-sense. We hold before you the governments in Westminster and Holyrood.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Loving God, help us to be gentle with our families and friends. Give us, we pray, the calm that makes for consideration and the respect for others that makes us courteous. Take from us hard words and the cynical look. Let us be to others as we would wish them to be to us.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Gracious God, we pray for all who cry out to you today, those who long for the morning, those who are waiting for the long night to end. We pray that our ears will be attentive to their cry, that we will stand with them, steadfast together in your love, bringing life before death. 
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Merciful God, your love reaches beyond the grave and so we bring before you those whose earthly life is now at an end. Receive their souls into your kingdom, we pray, that redeemed by grace they may rest in peace and rise in glory.
Lord in your Mercy: Hear our prayer

Bless Bishop Ian and the congregations of this diocese, that we may proclaim by our lives as well as our words the joy of your kingdom and the hope of its fulfilment. And
 wherever nature’s beauty or the daily wonders around help us to see your hand at work we thank you for the grace to live and enjoy it to the full.
Merciful Father: Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen

 Closing Prayer:  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ rest upon us and and inspire us;  the love of God, creator and giver of life, embrace us and challenge us; and the presence of the Holy Spirit encourage and surprise us, this day and all our days.   Amen

This hymn of God’s providence is sung at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBkorDtz1nU

Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy,
the praises of my God shall still my heart and tongue employ.

O magnify the Lord with me, with me exalt his Name;
when in distress to him I called, he to my rescue came.
The hosts of God encamp around the dwellings of the just;
deliverance he affords to all who on his succour trust.

Fear him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear;
make you his service your delight; your wants shall be his care.




Easter Vigil Saturday 3rd April 2021

A new candle ready to be lit
The New Candle is Lit and prayed over

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, on this most holy night, in which our Lord Jesus Christ passed over from death to life, the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in vigil and prayer. For this is the passover of the Lord, in which through word and sarcament we share in the victory over death.

The Light of Christ Thanks be to God

New Rector Announcement

We are delighted to announce that the Reverend Jonathan (Jon) Connell has been appointed to serve as Rector of St Mary’s, Aberfoyle and St Andrew’s, Callander, from July 2021.

Jon has been Priest-in-Charge of the Pembroke Family of Churches in Bermuda since 2017. He and his family will be very welcome as they join us here in the Linkage.

Linkage Service Sunday 21st March

01877 330448

Lent 5   21st March 2021   “We wish to see Jesus.”

As we enter Passiontide, the stark reality of the Cross faces all who seek to encounter Jesus; but it is the only life-giving way.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all Your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

       Lord, have mercy.   Christ have mercy.    Lord have mercy.

Collect:   Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death.  Breathe upon us with the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ and serve you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen

Reading:  Jeremiah 31:27-34
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. 
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Gospel:   John 12:20-36
Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 
Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say – ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 
Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. 

Reflection:   
The ‘Greeks’ in today’s gospel wanted to see Jesus. They were not asking to join the disciples; they were not challenging claims about Jesus; they just wanted to meet him, experience what it was like to be in his presence.  They were curious about spiritual things and open to an encounter with the divine mystery.

Quite a lot of people today are like them and might describe themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’.  We need to ask ourselves whether our church services would help them to encounter Jesus. How can we create opportunities to do so?  We also need to ask whether we ourselves truly have this hunger to meet Jesus, to enter the mystery of his presence and be changed by it.

Jesus immediately faces the spiritual seekers and his disciples with the reality of who he is.  This is no soft guru promising a comforting ride into bliss.  His mission is to give himself so fully in love that he loses his life but opens the door to a whole new dimension of life lived in the presence of God. 

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”  If anyone wishes to see Jesus, they must allow themselves to be lifted to the Cross, to the self-giving love of others that is the road to life. Such love has to be the starting point of our encounter with God.  When it fills the world, as the Lord in Jeremiah says, “they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest”.  

Prayers of intercession:

Loving and gracious God, we lift our prayers to you, knowing that you hear all our prayers, whether spoken or unspoken, for you know all that is on our hearts and minds. 

We hold before you the world and its anguish:  the peoples of Myanmar, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, remembering those in refugee camps, those in prison, those ill and hungry without hope of a better future.

God of all justice, bring the nations to work better together for the good of all.  May the Covid vaccine be distributed fairly;  may help be given where it is needed;  may we learn to respect and honour one another.

Sustain those who devote themselves to the wellbeing of others, and protect all in healthcare and social services, defence and security, education and community service.

Holy God, renew your Church as we follow your Son to the Cross and beyond.  Uphold Christians persecuted for their faith, especially in the Middle East, and those who feel disconnected from their congregations by current restrictions. May their closeness to Jesus sustain them.

O God, whose will it is that all should find salvation and come to know the truth: receive the prayers and petitions which we offer in faith and love; through him who gave proof of your purpose, and who sacrificed himself to win freedom for all the world, Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.

Confession:
God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first. 
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.   We are truly sorry.  
Forgive us our sins, and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 
      God, who is both power and love, forgive us
      and free us from our sins, heal and strengthen us by his Spirit 
      and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving

Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Worship and praise belong to you, maker of light and darkness. 
Your wisdom draws beauty from chaos, brings a harvest out of sorrow and leads the exiles home. In Christ your Son enemies are reconciled, debts forgiven, and strangers made welcome.

Your Spirit frees us to live as sons and daughters in our Father’s house.

We who by Christ’s power follow the way of the Cross,

sharing the joy of his obedience, now offer you our praise,

with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven 
singing the hymn of your unending glory: 

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. 
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for Christ in whom the world is reconciled. Lifted on the Cross, his suffering and forgiveness spanned the gulf our sins had made.  Through that dark struggle death was swallowed up in victory, that life and light might reign.

Before he was given up to suffering and death, recalling the night of Israel’s release, the night in which the sons of Egypt died, your Chosen One, himself the First-Born, freely offered his life.

At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying:  “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”
We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages, 
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

Jesus, Lamb of God, have mercy on us.        
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, grant us peace.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you.                                

Closing prayer: Christ crucified draw us to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be with us all, this day and for evermore.  Amen

In 1886, a young American singer called Peter Bilhorn asked his minister for words to set to music.  This hymn was the result, and Bilhorn invented a portable pump organ to use in the evangelism he undertook on the streets and in prisons.
Hear the hymn sung at 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-EZ_JpHFf0

I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me;
how he left the realms of glory for the cross on Calvary:
Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me,
sing it with his saints in glory, gathered by the crystal sea.

I was lost, but Jesus found me, found the sheep that went astray,
raised me up and gently led me back into the narrow way.  
Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me,
sing it with his saints in glory, gathered by the crystal sea.

He will keep me till the river rolls its waters at my feet;
then He’ll bear me safely over, where the loved ones I shall meet.
Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me,
sing it with his saints in glory, gathered by the crystal sea.

Closing prayer: 
May the Lord who brought us all to birth, strengthen us for daily life.  May the Lord who provides for all our needs sustain us day by day.  May the Lord whose steadfast love is for all, send us out to live and work for others. 

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us and remain with us always.    Amen.

As we return to churches on Palm Sunday we give very grateful thanks to Revd Canon Alison Peden for providing us with services over the last months and for guiding and supporting us through these difficult times.