Barham Downs Churches

  • The Rectory
  • The Street, Barham
  • Canterbury
  • Kent
  • CT4 6PA

01227 668190
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Biblical thought, Spiritual Reflection & Pastoral Care 

Trinity 4 Sunday 5th July 2020
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St John by Anya 1

A lovely wide-angle view by Anya one of our young ladies in Barham
with her kind permission   @anyakrasniqi04 

Trinity 4 Evening Prayer Podcast can be listened to on this podcast.

If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go
directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the 
home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner
'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile
device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading
the podbean app for free for future podcasts.

The Collect

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

Thomas, the Aposle  Friday 3rd July 2020

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Morning Prayer from the Cathedral on a day for many of my colleagues when we were ordained on this day ten years ago by Archbishop Rowan Williams. We must keep in mind for those ordinands and deacons who have had their ordination services postponed until the end of September.


Almighty and eternal God,
who, for the firmer foundation of our faith, 
allowed your holy apostle Thomas to doubt the resurrection of your Son
till word and sight convinced him:
grant to us, who have not seen, that we also may believe
and to confess Christ as our Lord and our God;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

 to doubt the Eve of St Peter & St Paul Sunday 28th June 2020

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SS Peter & Paul

Collect (Prayer for of the day)

Almighty God,
whose blessed apostles Peter and Paul
glorified you in their death as in their life:
grant that your Church,
inspired by their teaching and example,
and made one by your Spirit,
may ever stand firm upon the one foundation,
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.

Trinity 3 Sunday 28th June 2020

+ Rose's Monthly Sermon following the readings of
Geneses 22:1-14
Matthew 10:40-42


St John the Baptist Wednesday 24th June 2020
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Today is the patronal fest for the church of
St John the Baptist Barham

Barham Church

The Collect of the day 

Almighty God,
by whose providence your servant John the Baptist
was wonderfully born,
and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour
by the preaching of repentance:
lead us to repent according to his preaching
and, after his example,
constantly to speak the truth, boldly to rebuke vice,
and patiently to suffer for the truth's sake;
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.

Trinity 2 Sunday 21st June 2020
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Trinity 2 Image

"If Christ has been given us, if we are called to his discipleship we are given all things, literally all things. He will see to it that they are added unto us. If we follow Jesus and look only to his righteousness, we are in his hands and under the protection of him and his Father...God will help us in the hour of need, and he knows our needs."
(The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

The Homily for Trinity 2 can be listened to on this podcast.

If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go
directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the 
home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner
'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile
device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading
the podbean app for free for future podcasts.

The Collect of the day 

Faithful Creator, whose mercy never fails:
deepen our faithfulness to you and to your living Word,
Jesus Christ our Lord.


Trinity 1 Sunday 14th June 2020
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The Collect of the day 

O God,
the strength of all those who put their trust in you,
mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed;
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.


Corpus Christi Thursday 11th June 2020
Thanksgiving of the Holy Communion
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Corpus Christi 2020

I am the living bread that came down from heaven.
Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh
. [John 6:51]

This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
[1 Corinthians 11:24b]

Collect (Prayer of the Day)

Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament
you have given us the memorial of your passion:
grant to us so to reverence the sacred mysteries
of your body and your blood that we may know
within ourselves and show forth in our lives
the fruits of your redemption;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.


Trinity Sunday  7th June 2020

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Holy Trinity 2

Collect (prayer for the day)
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 forever. Amen


St Boniface Friday 05/06/20
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St Boniface

A new Podcast Meditation for St Boniface commemoration with 
music, prayers and reading now available.

If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go
directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the 
home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner
'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile
device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading
the podbean app for free for future podcasts. 

Collect (Prayer for of the day)

God our redeemer,
who called your servant Boniface to preach the gospel among the German people and to build up your Church in holiness:
grant that we may preserve in our hearts that faith which he taught with his words and sealed with his blood, and profess it in lives dedicated to your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.


Pentecost (Whitsun) Sunday 31/05/20
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Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to Paradise, our ascension to the kingdom of heaven, our adoption of God's children, our freedom to call God our Father, our becoming partakers of the grace of Christ, being called children of the light, sharing in an eternal glory, and in a word, our inheritance of the fullness of blessing, both in this world and the world to come.

Even while we wait for the full enjoyment of the good things in store for us, by the Holy Spirit we are able to rejoice through faith in the promise of the graces to come. If the promise itself is so glorious, what must its fulfilment be like?

St Basil the Great (329-379), Bishop of Caesarea 
On the Holy Spirit  


Eve of Pentecost, Saturday 30/05/20
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A new Podcast Meditation for Eve of Pentecost, with 
music, prayers and reading now available. Click the link:

If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go
directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the 
home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner
'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile
device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading
the podbean app for free for future podcasts. 

Eve of Pentecost 2020

Collect (Prayer for of the day)

Come, O Spirit of God,

and make within us your dwelling place and home.
May our darkness be dispelled by your light,
and our troubles calmed by your peace;
may all evil be redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed through the suffering of Christ,
and all dying glorified in his risen life.


Ascensiontide 22-31/05/20
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Check out for prayer resources

The Novena period are the nine days between Ascension Day and 
Pentecost (Whitsun) where we are committed to prayer with fellow 
Christians around the world as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit.


Today’s theme is silence. Find the quietest place in your house or garden and spend a few minutes in silence. It can help to stay still too. Feel what happens as everything in and around you slows down.

Look at today’s image in the Novena Booklet and be curious …
I wonder what this person is experiencing?
I wonder where this person could be?
In the silence, find your pulse by putting two fingers on your wrist just above your thumb joint. Say these words over and over, in time with the rhythm of your heartbeat: ‘Holy Spirit, you are welcome.’
He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Gather up all the various things you’ve heard God say during this 9 days of prayer. If you’ve been writing or drawing them, set them out in front of you.
Is there a theme to what you’ve been hearing?
Once Elijah had heard God, he knew what he had to do next. Thinking about what you’ve heard God say this week, what do you think you need to do next?
Once you’ve decided, make a plan for how you’re going to get started.
Pray for those who are living in the silence of grief because someone close to them has died.
A prayer
Oh God of the mountain top,
how often we think it is you hurling rocks and scorching earth.
How often we misunderstand you.
May we not fear the silent place,
but come out of the darkness to meet you
and stand in the face of your question to us, ‘
What are you doing here?’
Tell us what you’re hearing
Our theme for Thy Kingdom Come this year is ‘Listening on the Way’, so we would love to know what you are hearing God say. When you’ve finished this prayer time, take a moment to write or draw your thoughts, take a photo and share it with us. 


Sunday after Ascension Day
24th May 2020
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God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet   
Psalm 47:5

Collect (prayer for the day)
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.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my the ends of the earth."


Ascension Day 21/05/20
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Ascension 2020

Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia,
to his throne above the skies; Alleluia,
grant our hearts may thither rise, Alleluia,
seeking thee above the skies. Alleluia.

Today's worship comes through a podcast service and I have added a short Padre's message film for the Kent Army Cadets but significant for us all this day.

A new Podcast Meditation for Ascension Day, with 
music, prayers and reading now available.

If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go
directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the 
home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner
'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile
device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading
the podbean app for free for future podcasts. 

Collect (Prayer for of the day)

Risen Christ,
you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:
help us to see and serve you, that we may join you at the Father's side,
where you reign with the Spirit in glory,
now and for ever. Amen.


Easter 6 Rogation Sunday 17/05/20
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Rogation Sunday 2020

Collect (Prayer for of the day)

Almighty God,
whose will it is that the earth and the sea should bear fruit in due season: bless the labours of those who work on land and sea,
grant us a good harvest and the grace always to rejoice in your fatherly care; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 



Thursday 14/05/20
Matthias the Apostle

A new Podcast Meditation for Matthias the Apostle, with
music, prayers and reading now available.

If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go
directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the
home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner
'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile
device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading
the podbean app for free for future podcasts. 

Matthias the Apostle

Almighty God,
who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias
to be of the number of the the Twelve:
preserve your church from false apostles and, by the ministry of faithful
pastors and teachers, keep us steadfast in your truth;
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.

How do we see ourselves in Matthias?
What have we waited for in our faith journey?
how will we rejoice again when we come back into into physical presence
in our churches?



Sunday 10/05/20
Easter 5 Eucharist

Jesus the Way to the Father

Bible readings, prayers, a song and sermon text can be found by clicking:

“the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and,
in fact, will do greater works than these!” 

Collect (Prayer for of the day)
Risen Christ,
your wounds declare your love for the world
 and the wonder of your risen life:
give us compassion and courage
to risk ourselves for those we serve,
to the glory of God the Father.


Friday 08/05/20
VE Day 75 Commemoration

A new Podcast Service for May 8th, VE Day 75 , with music, hymns, prayers and reading now available. If using a desktop computer or a laptop then it should go directly to the podcast. It might also take you to the home page then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it will also work. If using a mobile device like an iphone or ipad it would be worth downloading the podbean app for free for future podcasts.

VE Day 75

Collect for Peace 

Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed: kindle in the hearts of all people the true love of peace; and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility your kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

O Lord our God, as we remember, teach us the ways of peace. As we treasure memories, teach us to hope. As we give thanks for the sacrifices of the past, help us to make your future in this world, until your kingdom come.  Amen.


Monday 04/05/20
English Saints & Martyrs of the Reformation Era

A strange commemoration perhaps in these politically correct days but important to realise that through this dark period people of opposing denominations stood strong in their faith and suffered terribly. We read the history and recoil as we pray that no religious destruction or such dark shards should ever penetrate our devotion at all.


The Gathered Glories

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards

Each shard still shines with Christ's reflected light,

It glances from the eyes, kindles the words

Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright

With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,

The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.

Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing

He weaves them with us in the web of being

They stand beside us even as we grieve,

The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,

Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above

The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,

To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of His wounded love.

(Malcolm Guite - Priest & Poet)


Easter 4 Sunday 03/05/20

Jesus the Good Shepherd

Bible readings, an extract from the Sermon and a short film of a shepherd boy showing how sheep hear his voice and not another.  click the link

"He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice....

Risen Christ,
faithful 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.


Saturday 02/05/20
Athanasius, bishop d.373


We may know the Apostles and Nicene Creed which we declare during our Sunday services but do you know of the Athanasian Creed sometimes recited on high days?

Athanasius was combating the Arian Heresy of his time which claimed that the nature of Jesus was distinct or apart from God. This theological argument was tackled in the Council of Nicaea (325) and concluded at the Council of Constantine (381)

Athanasius ensured that all the t's were crossed the i's dotted (theologically speaking) so that in a Creed of belief there was no doubting the co-eternal nature of God as three in one. 
Part of it reads below.

That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

Neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance.

For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost.

But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one: the Glory equal,
the Majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son: and such is the Holy Ghost....

...So the Father is God, the Son is God: and the Holy Ghost is God.

And yet they are not three Gods: but one God.

So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord: and the Holy Ghost Lord.

And yet not three Lords: but one Lord...


Friday 01/05/20
St. Philip & St. James (Apostles)

Philip & James

Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."
Jesus said to him, "have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me" Whoever has seen me has seen the Father."
[John 14:8-9a]

And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles...and James son of Alphaeus.[Luke 6:13,15]

Almighty Father,
whom truly to know is eternal life:
teach us to know your Son Jesus Christ
as the way, the truth, and the life;
that we may follow the steps of your
holy apostles Philip and James,
and walk steadfastly in the way that leads to your glory:
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.

Thursday 30/04/20

Eve of Philip & James (Apostles)

A new Podcast episode: Apr 30, On the Eve of St Philip & St James (Apostles) Evening Prayer with music, readings and prayers, now available. If it does not go directly then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it should work.


Wednesday 29/04/20
Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
Catherine of Siena

Catherine is commemorated as a Dominican lay volunteer who cared for the sick, both lay and ordained having gone against her parents wishes. This pastoral group she worked for were ahead of their time and even in the 14th Century wanted to see reforms in the Church. Catherine was a prolific correspondent by dictation and her main work 'Dialogue' can still be read today. 

Her devotion to Christ is evident throughout her ‘Dialogue’:

'The soul begins to lose fear, knowing that fear alone is not sufficient to give eternal life.And so the soul proceeds, with love, to know itself and God’s goodness within, and begins to take hope in God’s mercy in which the heart feels joy. Sorrow for grief, mingled with the joy of hope in mercy, causes the eye to weep, and these tears issue from the very fountain of the heart.'


God of compassion,
who gave your servant Catherine of Siena
A wondrous love for the passion of Christ:
grant that your people may be united to him in his majesty
and rejoice for ever in the revelation of his glory;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

Easter 3 Sunday 26/04/20

The Text for the Homily, Bible readings and a short film of The Road to Emmaus can be found on Pew Sheet tab - click the link

Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’...
‘The Lord has risen indeed!"


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.


Saturday 25/04/20
Mark the Evangelist (St.Mark)


Today the Church celebrates St Mark the author of the Gospel proclaiming the Good News (Euangelion) of Jesus Christ; and written before the other three. He is briefly mentioned in the Bible on his travels with St Paul and was also mentioned by an Early Church Bishop, Papias (AD60-130), in recording the testimony of St Peter:

"Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord.”

St Mark

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful upon the mountains
   are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
   who announces salvation,
   who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’

Mark 1:1 

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Acts 12:25

Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark.


Almighty God,
who enlightened your holy Church through the 
inspired witness of your evangelist Saint Mark:
grant that we, being firmly grounded in the truth of the gospel,
may be faithful to its teaching both in word and deed;
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.

Friday 24/04/20

A new Podcast episode: Apr 24, Easter Season Reflective Evening Prayer with music on 'doors', now available. If it does not go directly then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it should work.


Thursday 23/04/20
St George's Day


The legends of St George vary but he is believed to have been an officer in the Roman Army who died in the persecution of the Early Church in ca. 304 for refusing to worship the emperor Diocletian. Other legends have him him saving a village in Libya from a dragon on the proviso that they turned to Christianity. He is of course immortalised by Shakespeare in slipping his name into the legendary speech before the battle of Agincourt (1415):-

Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry, 'God for Harry, England and Saint George!' 
[Henry V, Act III, Scene i]

One of our more colourful stained-glass windows in the
benefice by 
the north door of St John the Baptist ChurchSt George

Revelation 12:7-9
And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great Dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent...

Follow the BBC Daily Service: Meditation on St George (15 mins)


God of hosts,
who so kindled the flame of love
in the heart of your servant George
that he bore witness to the risen Lord by
by his life and by his death;
give us the same faith and power of love
that we who rejoice in his triumphs
may come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection;
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 forever. Amen

Wednesday 22/04/20

The invitation of Easter

And across our beautiful,

evolving world

Another Easter dawns,

tenderly inviting us

to ponder upon

wider truths

and alternative visions.

Truths of both heart and mind

that find their roots

in the mystery and practicality

of God.

Basic truths 


our often uncertain journeys -

allowing us

to reconnect with the

energies of Christ:

That life does come from death; 

that hate is not the final word;

that the broken continue to sing with joy:

that the trees and the mountains clap their hands;

that forgiveness resides in the heart of the human condition;

that love, with its multiple faces, remains our companion.

So Christ is risen!

Risen again

in the midst of it all - 

that in some amazing way

we too

May be a people of hope

who walk in the light,

imbued with the Spirit.         Peter Millar

Easter 2 Sunday 19/04/20

The Text for the Homily can be found on Pew Sheet tab

We bear witness to resurrection hope in the midst of great suffering and death. We do not have a set of glib or easy answers. Instead, we have the assurance that Christ and his apostles have walked this way before us, and found in it the way to life eternal.
We are to be a "pilgrim Church" that "sings the songs of freedom in the midst of bondage....As we move into the heart of the storm we will sing but we will keep on walking.
(The Eye of the Storm)

Easter 2 2020


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.

Easter Friday 17/04/20

Apr 17th Compline (Night) Prayer Podcast is available. If it does not go directly then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it should work.

Easter Friday 2020

Collect for today
Lord of all life and power,

who through the mighty resurrection of your Son

overcame the old order of sin and death

to make all things new in him:

grant that we, being dead to sin

and alive to you in Jesus Christ,

may reign with him in glory;

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit

be praise and honour, glory and might,

now and in all eternity.


Easter Thurs 16/04/20


Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only light,
Sun of righteousness, arise,
triumph o'er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.           
(Charles Wesley)

Easter Weds 15/04/20


White cloth draped.
Carelessly discarded.
The cross abandoned.
Christ elsewhere.

Empty tomb.
Linen cloths crumpled.
Left behind, the trappings of death.

He moves in gardens, on dusty roads
and picnics on pebbly shores;
sits at table with us.

And yet... eyes and spirits blind,
we haunt familiar places.
Lost pilgrims, we sanctify shells,
make shrines of empty tombs
and pray for his return,
angels' messages blocked by our litanies of death.

He is risen!

He lives.

And ever patient, smiling at our foibles,
he waits,
till, eyes and hearts open, the light dawns,
and like Peter, we run,
shedding the cloak of old illusions,
into his warm and welcoming embrace. 
         Mary Hanrahan

Easter Monday 13/04/20

The Easter Monday Eve Prayer podcast is available, please check it out. If it does not go directly then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it should work.

Easter Monday 2020

Easter Haiku

White cherries bloom
through all the world. To them too:
"Hail, He is risen."

Lilies trumpeting,
For Solomon shall be arrayed
Like one of these.

No rose yet,
But between the thorns,
The rosebud.

The old apple seed
Dies in the earth. Up springs
The Tree in blossom.

Winter passes,
Steadfast in the snow
Stands the Evergreen.
             R.A. Loft

Easter Sunday 12/04/20

‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead (Matt 28:5-7)

Happy Easter! Alleluia He is Risen!!

Easter Sunday 2020

Collect for Easter Saturday

God of glory,
by the raising of your Son
you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope:
for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open
in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Holy Saturday 11/04/20

The Holy Saturday Prayer podcast is available, please check it out.  If it does not go directly then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it should work.

Holy Saturday 2020

I like to think of this local picture as the 'day after' or the 'deconstruction of the cross'. The cross has served it's tragic purpose and we wait, waiting for something to change or something new. Holy Saturday reminds us all of those who we grieve for and the memories that it brings.


In the depths of our isolation
we cry to you, Lord God:
give light in our darkness
and bring us out of the prison of our despair:
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Good Friday 10/04/20

The Good Friday Reflective Service podcast is available, please check it out. If it does not go directly then at the site click bottom right hand corner 'Try as guest" and it should work.

Good Friday 2020

The Agony of the Passion
He shuts his eyes. He is occupied by elemental things, life and death.
His body hangs heavily from the extended arms and the metal spikes at the ends of them. Whenever he moves, his bones make grinding sounds and the pain descends into his pelvis and he loses control of all his physical functions. He groans in human filthiness.

Jesus opens his eyes again. His mother and John are gone.
The day is dark with a thick darkness.

Thunder rumbles deep in heaven. There is a pause of preternatural calm. Then lightning forks the belly of the clouds. The crash follows immediately, and all at once the wind is shrieking down the Jewish tombs. Trees bow and rise again, the leaves torn forward like women's hair. The road to
Jerusalem clears swiftly of people.
The soldiers huddle on the lee side of the hill.

It is noon. And now, when the flashes of lightning themselves are extinguished, the earth is utterly black. Darkness an hour - while the fierce wind makes the rain sting like sand on the skin and no one, no one exists in all the world but Jesus and his wretched body. If he should call out, who would hear? The wind pulls and snaps his hair like a banner. All his wounds have tongues. They are screaming in pitches higher than hearing.

Darkness another hour - darkness, coiled and thick, itself a power entoiling him, binding his chest and his heart and his mind. Jesus can neither think nor breathe. He is sunk down in 
, the
great engulfing flood of the dead, the deeps that boil beneath creation.
He has been swallowed by chaos.
This is the place: it is here that he is dying.

[Extract from The Book of God by Walter Wangerin, Lion Publishing 1996]

Maundy Thursday 09/04/20

The Maundy Thursday Podcast is available

check it out.

The Nailbourne reminds us of the preciousness of water and
this evening the feet of those attending Church services 
would have been washed...

Maundy Thursday Washing

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.
He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for you are with me:
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;
you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


5.15pm Hot of the podcast, do follow the link if you would like to hear Reflective Evening Prayer for Holy Wednesday

check it out.

Prepping the Easter Garden at the Rectory on Holy Wednesday - and with wonderful weather!

Holy Weds Cross Making 2020

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Holy God,
holy and strong,
holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

We glory in your cross, O Lord
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection:
for by virtue of the cross
joy has come to the whole world.

from the Liturgy for Good Friday


Holy Tuesday

Palm Crosses on St Giles Kingston west door - courtesy of George Ward

This evening's Holy Tuesday Podcast service is based on the idea of the Resurrection.
Glory Be to Jesus,
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Matthew 22:23-33
The Lord is my Light
Nun Ruhen alle Waelde

Do click and follow....



Holy Monday Eve 2020

Dear Parishioners,

I have added a Holy Monday Evening Prayer Podcast 
if you click the li

Theme: The Temple
All Glory Laud & Honour
My Song is Love Unknown
Wait for the Lord
Jeremiah 7:1-11
Matthew 21:12-17

Holy Monday!
In the clearing out of the Temple what are we called to clear out, 
re-order and change?

Holy Monday 2020 larger


Cartoon courtesy Dave Walker, Church Times

Palm Sunday 2020 Cartoon

Palm Sunday 2020

Matthew 21:1-11 Palm Sunday Homily 

Who do we cheer? 

Jerusalem at Passover is a bustling city of expectation and celebration.
Jesus times his entry at the right moment in fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy (9:9) and the expectant crowd lining the streets are already buzzing about an expectant Messiah because that seems to be the growing expectation. Why? Passover is a celebration of deliverance from oppression and slavery from the time of Moses.  As Jesus approaches the city the people are again under the yoke of powerful overlords - the Romans. 

I think ‘word’ would have quickly gone round about this holy wanderer, this prophet of Nazareth, and some may have known that he was born in Bethlehem hence why they cheer-on the Son of David!

This is the beginning of the end of Jesus’ ministry to bring his Father’s Kingdom right into the heart of the holy city, to replace the Great Temple with his body and his blood - an offering for all eternity.


Now instead, imagine the city streets being empty of commerce and traffic, imagine a contagion forcing people to look from their windows, balconies and roof-tops at the now lonely procession to the Temple.

Instead of immediate jubilation there is a hushed sense of awe as people crane their necks to get a good view and see perhaps just one of the disciples at a social distance leading the colt and a donkey on which Jesus rides. Now imagine the residents become much bolder and start to wave; the waves of hands and garments give way to a loud cheer and clapping as this Son of Man comes to his people to save them from their sins - our sins! 

Fortunately no imagination is required for ourselves for the last consecutive Thursday evenings as we cheered and clapped for our heroic health professionals, care workers and all who keep this country going whether from: law to logistics or, from farmers to food shelves including our own village shop and for the dedicated team that keep it going. As a nation we have always valued our health service but now in these days so much more for those who help to contain, heal, restore and cure us. 

This Easter coming shall we also give thanks to Him who comes to restore us in heart, body mind and spirit? 



H&W Anointing Prayer


Acts 14:17

'yet he has not left himself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.’

We, in turn are called to not just be witnesses of the creation's goodness but to be outward stewards so that others may have a share of that which sustains us.
A reminder that we have a Pastoral Relief Fund to assist those in need during this current crisis. Click link.


On this Rock I will build my Church


Thought for the week

We may seem bereft of our worshiping places – our church buildings that have stood the test of time - but in the here and now what temple are we building in our hearts and minds and bringing them into our homes?


Zechariah 6:15

Those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord; and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. This will happen if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.


Not in a temple made with hands
God the Almighty is dwelling;
high in the heav'ns His temple stands,
all earthly temples excelling.
Yet He who dwells in heaven above
chooses to live with us in love,
making our body His temple.


Ephesians 2:21-22

In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

We are God's house of living stones,
built for His own habitation;
He fills our hearts, His humble thrones,
granting us life and salvation.
Yet to the place, an earthly frame,
we come with thanks to praise His name;
God grants His people true blessing.

N. F. S. Grundtvig  (1783-1872)


Passiontide Message

Transforming kingdom

One of the more powerful moments of Jesus' ministry where he stands between the accused and the accusers. This is where he clearly demonstrates that loving God for the sake of God and not solely the laws of Moses is far more purposeful and needed. Remember, Jesus did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them - to transform everything we cling to. The woman is also transformed knowing that she must change. The coming weeks will transform us all, and pray that we in our communities transform for the better so that we see the signs of the kingdom of heaven within around us.  RevT



Passion Sunday 2020

Homily for Passion Sunday 29/03/20

Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. Ezekiel 37:5

Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’   John 11:23

Today marks a moment of change in our Lenten journey as the Bible readings* focus on the victory to come - ‘life over death’ and so poignant with our current health crisis. Today is the start of Passiontide and where some churches choose to cover their crosses and religious imagery until the Easter Vigil.

 In an unforeseen way we have already done this in the closing of our churches for what will be until Easter at the very earliest. We enter a solemn period knowing that Jesus is gradually being drawn to his crucifixion and our way of life has also become more saddened with the social restrictions imposed upon us. Nevertheless, we know how the narrative plays out with Christ triumphant bursting forth from the tomb; death can no longer restrain him nor us - ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even thou they die, will live’ (John 11:25). 

Whether in the image of The Valley full of dry bones or in the stench of a burial tomb, our souls, our divine patterns, are not just restored but utterly transformed. In the heroic work of our frontline medical practitioners their faith in their training help to restore our bodies and minds. They are resuscitating near-to-death patients as if they are near-death-Lazarus’ and yet like Lazarus even those who survive like the rest of us must still one day enter ‘through the valley of the shadow of death, (Psalm 23:4). 

I think up to this present moment the reality of death has often been hidden, sanitised, and surely not acceptable in a society of fulfilled consumer desires. Surely death can be air-brushed out like other undesirables that we face in life? This may suggest that we would rather race to Easter Sunday with its imagery of vibrant and verdant Spring growth, lambs and rabbits, oh... not forgetting the inconceivable moment of the Resurrection of course! Doing Good Friday this year means having to reflect upon our existential selves more so than previous years and in isolation rather than looking for a Bank holiday bargain in the shops. 

In light of what we are experiencing and in our sojourn to the foot of the cross how will we recognise what might seem to be dead and dry in our own spiritual practices and beliefs?

When the stone of doubt and sorrow is rolled away at Eastertide may we be given grace  to breathe healing into the relationships of our families and communities and to come through the pandemic - restored and risen.


* readings can be found in the Benefice Pew Sheet tab under Welcome

Should your wish to be on our group emailing list please ‘email us’ with your permission to hold your data for church purposes only as per GDPR compliance. 


Psalm 35 - The Lord hears

17  The righteous cry and the Lord hears them •

   and delivers them out of all their troubles.

18  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted •

   and will save those who are crushed in spirit.

19  Many are the troubles of the righteous; •

   from them all will the Lord deliver them.

Last night’s national applause for our wonderful NHS was justly deserved and should not remain a one-off act of public recognition.  At the sharp end of care in receiving COVID-19 patients our medics ‘tread where angels fear to tread.’ They are treating the ‘crushed’ and ‘broken hearted’. The psalmist is all to aware of despair and death and how it afflicts all people.

Delivering the physical self out of trouble will also restore our mental states and in time reduce anxiety and stress. God remains constant throughout as our deliverer; as he was for the Hebrews out of Egypt; as he promises in Psalm 23 to be our rod and staff through the darkest vale; and as he fulfills prophetic expectation in Christ where death has lost its sting.  Prayer, no matter its form, can offer hope for our despondent souls. Jesus assures is that even in secret (or the in the quietness  of our isolation) God, our Father and Mother, hears us.

Loving God,

before we even pray you are constantly in our presence,

Like the Father of the prodigal son always ready 

to embrace us on our journey.  

As we pray for our NHS workers and their families, hear also of our troubles and bring us comfort and grace with your love. 

We give thanks for those who are healed, 

and we ask your blessing upon those 

who enter your kingdom where there is no more pain, dying or death, as we pray for comfort for their families. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ who made all things new.



Check out:

A meaningful reflection by Rev'd Dr Sam Wells (St Martins-in-the-Fields) in today's Daily Service on BBC Radio 4LW.
The prophet Jeremiah suffered immensely when Jerusalem was over run by foreign forces. We may be fearing the force of a global coronavirus but we pray that our "balm in Gilead' will be found in our NHS medics and healers, in our families and neighbours for all recovering from all illnesses.  

The Prophet Mourns for the People - Jeremiah 8

18 My joy is gone, grief is upon me,
   my heart is sick.
19 Hark, the cry of my poor people
   from far and wide in the land:
‘Is the Lord not in Zion?
   Is her King not in her?’
(‘Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,
   with their foreign idols?’)
20 ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
   and we are not saved.’
21 For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,
   I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
   Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people
   not been restored?

 Healing God,
may your energy and power flow
through those who can heal,
giving skills to hands,
compassion to hearts,
clarity and judgement in mind.
Give us all strength to minister
to those who suffer and are in pain,
in the name of Jesus who suffered and rose again.


Mary surprised by a strange announcement (Annunciation)
Short reading from the Gospel of Luke 1: 26b-27, 30-32

the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  

The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High...

How are we to be startled and challenged by God today? 
As life in our communities suddenly changes and the pace of life starts to slow - how can we hear God asking us to be more than we are and to cross the threshold into the uncomfortable zone?

Blessed are you sovereign God,
creator of heaven and earth,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
as your living Word, eternal in heaven,
assumed the frailty of our mortal flesh,
may the light of your love be born in us
to fill our hearts with joy as we sing:
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.


Is this not the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of it not to share your bread with the hungry.....  Isaiah 58:6,7

The Night Reading is very much in line with the Church's commemoration of Archbishop Oscar Romero who realised in his ministry that to defend the weak, the disempowered, to campaign against the injustices and the gross violation of human rights in El Salvador was far more in keeping with Christ's message than adhering to the blind politics of the Church. To challenge the fascist government of his time was no different to Jesus challenging the religious institution of his time. Romero was martyred on this day in 1980. 

Merciful Lord,
you know our struggle to serve you:
when sin spoils our lives
and overshadows our hearts,
come to our aid
and turn us back to you again:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Temporary Church Closures

Following on from the PM's broadcast on the evening of the 23rd March we are required to close our churches for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a sad decision as we normally and willingly keep our churches open to all whether of faith or no faith, but these are extraordinary times.

I pray that this will be for the shortest time possible but we pray that the Holy Spirit guides our medical and political leaders in their discernment and decision-making for the benefit of all our communities.

For the time being our buildings may be inaccessible but Christ never is as we are his hands and feet, his mouthpiece and remains within us in our prayers.


Night Prayer (Compline)

Night Prayer


Visit this place, O Lord, we pray,
 and drive far from it the snares
of the enemy:
may your holy angels dwell with
us and guard us in peace,
and may your blessing be always upon us:
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

After midday prayer on Tues 24th March 'Prayers' will still be offered at St John's everyday at 12pm and Compline at 7pm on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I'm hoping that I will be able to pray at the other churches in our benefice but awaiting latest government advice on restricted movements.

Almighty God,
may we, by the prayer and discipline of Lent,
enter into the mystery of Christ's sufferings;
that by following in the Way,
we may come to share in the glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you have a mobile phone operating on Android or Apple this is a good App to download which covers 'Prayer During The Day' and 'Night Prayer'  (Compline)

Time To Pray App


Knitted 'Rose' Hat for Mothering Sunday

My thanks to Jean Cave in continuing her knitting of liturgical colour-linked hats which will be worn today (Mothering Sunday) for Office Prayers at St John's
12pm & 7pm


Mothering Sunday Homily - John 19.25b-27

And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.   When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’  Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

What a stark short reading for Mothering Sunday! 

A mother stands hapless at the foot of the cross as her beloved son, whose life is gradually ebbing away, thinks only for those he loves, and in particular, his mother, Mary.   This for the Great Shepherd is in keeping with his divine ministry in looking out for his flock wherever they are so that they know his voice and that not one of his sheep should go astray. He is also the one who continues to serve to the end and to fulfil the mission that God entrusted him with, without riches or position, “but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to server, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-35).

The last moments on this wooden and blood-soaked execution-device reserved for the lowest of all criminals in the Roman era is the complete anathema of a device that now represents love and hope, forgiveness and life-eternal. Yet It is only in the dawn of the next day and ‘in the waiting’ that the ‘cross’ but more so the ‘empty cross’, the ‘victorious cross,’ becomes that universal icon of hope over adversity, love triumphing over evil, and life conquering death. 

In these uncertain days when Mothering Sunday meals and outings are cancelled we are reminded daily of the deadliness the global virus in terms of statistics and heart wrenching testimonies. Those  who ‘mother’ us professionally in front line services or in our homes so need our support and our prayers and in particular the vulnerable around us. No one can truly foresee the consequences of the pandemic but may we be given the strength of Christ to be unconditional and accommodating in our love for our family members also.

God of love,

passionate and strong,

tender and careful:

watch over us and hold us

all the days of our life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen


Commemorating author of the BCP

Father of all mercies,

who through the work of your servant Thomas Cranmer

renewed the worship of your Church

and through his death revealed your strength in human weakness: by your grace strengthen us to worship you...

the Collect for today as we commemorate the @CommonPrayerBCP

The language of the Book of Common Prayer May seem antiquated and out of place to many but I have often been amazed how in faith the power and eloquence of the words have stirrred the heart and minds of so many, both young and old. 


Love your neighbour - Timely #gospel today. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:28-34) @churchofengland #barhamdownschurches_

If your neighbour was not just your next door neighbours but anyone who was in your sphere of influence then surely no neighbour would ever be in need or lonely on our planet. RevT

the St Joseph being close to Mothering Sunday reminds me that Joseph ‘mothered’ Jesus in a different way from the moment of his birth to when learning a carpenter’s trade. With COVID-19 we are being challenged to 'Mother' for each other and unconditionally. Note that from the beginning of the angel's message Joseph learns top adapt and to accept the Word of God - read Matthew.1:18-25

 ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’

During Passion Week we see how Jesus' face is set in the direction of Jerusalem as the culmination of his mission. Joseph before set his face to Bethlehem to witness the Word made Flesh.

Collect (Prayer of the Day)

God our Father, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph the carpenter to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary: give us grace to follow him in faithful obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.