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Inaugural meeting of the Anglo-Catholic Children, Youth and Family Workers Network

Posted on the 21st Feb 2024 in the Category - Sermons



For more details about this new and exciting free initiative, email Clare Williams who will send you more details, including the Zoom link for the meeting.



Looking back at Bishop Stephen's Consecration

Posted on the 2nd Dec 2022 in the Category - Sermons



Gallery of Photos

Video of the Service

Order of Service

 

Isaiah 52.7-10

Psalm 19

Romans 10.12-18

Matthew 4.18-22

 

 

Sermon by The Rt Revd Dr Martin Warner SSC, Bishop of Chichester

 

Let’s take a bit of time to think about feet. 

 

The wife of one of my colleagues has recently given birth and tells me she is delighted to see her feet again.  And a predecessor of mine in Chichester was unable to move away from the city in retirement because the one person who mattered to him above all others, even his wife, was his podiatrist.     

 

Feet are the limbs furthest from our attention, until they hurt.  On the whole we don’t expose them in polite society, preferring to keep them covered, sometimes at considerable expense.  Yes, Gucci can look great but be bad for your pocket; it can also be damaging to your spiritual health.   

 

The state of our feet, especially in the grimy streets of our industrial towns and cities, grieved the 19thcentury Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins.  He reflected on how human labour seemed to disconnect us from nature and to damage the environment, noting that ‘All is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil…the soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.’  

 

This might seem at odds with Isaiah’s description of the beautiful feet upon the mountains, quoted by St Paul in his letter to the Romans.  St Paul seems to be quoting from memory and, as is often the case, there is a slight difference between the New Testament quotation and the Old Testament original.   

 

Isaiah uses a Hebrew word, tov, that describes the feet as ‘good’: good feet bringing good news.  It might not sound as lyrical as St Paul’s version, but it is, perhaps, more powerful in its significance.  

 

The Hebrew word for ‘good’ describes what God sees with delight, when God calls creation into existence.  Again and again we hear that God sees what God has made and it is ‘good’.  

 

In the Hebrew Scriptures, the good news of justice and hope and peace is drawn from the experience of being in the presence of God, and most especially through the worship of God in the Temple in Jerusalem.  ‘I was glad when they said unto me: we will go into the house of the Lord.  Our feet shall stand in thy gates, O Jerusalem…Yea, because of the house of the Lord our God: I will seek to do thee good.’ (Ps 122.1,9) 

 

Stephen, a significant aspect of the ministry that lies ahead of you will demand that you become an apostolic traveller, like St Andrew, bringing Jesus to people and people to Jesus; going into the house of the Lord, wherever it is located, in communities across the north of England in order to strengthen and encourage the people of God in their vocation to be missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.  

 

The liturgical worship of God is a treasured aspect of our identity in the Church of England and it will be your task to ensure that this inheritance retains its imaginative intelligence and life-giving quality in a secularised culture that can often be hostile and suspicious of the practice of faith.   

 

Central to our identity as Anglicans is a commitment to open churches offering public worship. This is drawn from the very meaning of the word, ‘liturgical’.  It is a public work, not merely an activity for the like-minded, nervously guarded behind closed doors, fearing challenge and engagement with the unbelieving world for which, let us remember, out of love, Jesus Christ gave his life that all might live.   

 

The mandate for our worship has already been clearly stated: it is to ensure that with confidence and joy, the Church in each place and time is united with the Church in every place and time.  The social consensus of the day does not determine the convictions and identity of the assembly of the Church in its worship and doctrine, but it does present the context with which we are called to proclaim the gospel afresh, attuned to the language, preoccupations, questions and anxiety of our time.  We should cherish the obligations of compassion and humility that ensure our words will be intelligible and authentic as good news for those, both within and outside the Church, who hear them. 

 

The oath of canonical obedience, now etched into my memory in a way that I would never have expected, speaks of the use in public worship of what is authorised or allowed by Canon.  It is a phrase that some might regard as a limiting legalism.  That should not be so.  In the Orthodox tradition, the serving together in a common liturgy is an emblem of communion.  But it is more: the words of the liturgy, shaped by holy Scripture that the living tradition, are also a source from which the Orthodox draw much of their doctrine.   

 

We are not so different.  The sacred texts we use in our worship of God give us words with which to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.  These authorised words also define the freedom and the limits of theological conviction that belong within the spectrum of the Church of England’s theological identity, while at the same time they commit us to a pattern of behaviour and service that put words into action. 

 

‘Because of the house of the Lord, I will seek to do thee good.’  This phrase sums up the close relationship between worship and social outreach, love of God and love of neighbour.  

 

Stephen, many of the parishes entrusted to your pastoral and sacramental care will present the stark challenges of inequality in the life of our nation today – a reality with which you are already familiar.  

 

The sense of dislocation in Hopkins’ poem lurks beneath the surface of our technological age.  These parishes you will serve are the treasure that is now entrusted to you.  They are the places and people who are our teachers because they speak to us of the essential pattern of God’s self-revealing in need and vulnerability. 

 

Wherever, and in whatever way, you kneel to wash the feet of those you serve, you will reveal the sacramental life of the Lord himself, who, with the power of the Holy Spirit, marks out these women, men and children to be his friends, his ambassadors, and his agents of the gospel among those whose life those people share. 

 

Foot washing is itself more than a symbol.  It directs us to the issue of our carbon footprint, in a way that Gerard Manley Hopkins would have understood, and it takes us right back to God’s vision of good in creation.   

 

Good feet bringing good news will not only engage with the global issues of power, greed, inequality and damage to the environment: they will also be instrumental in recovering joy and laughter, subversive gifts that challenge human pride.  Good laughter, godly laughter, is the vindication of God’s promises.  

 

Both Abraham and Sara (Genesis 17, 18) knew this laugher to be a sign of the transformative power of God, and the Psalmist sees it reflected in the good ordering of creation: sowing in tears but reaping in joy (Ps 126), as the valleys themselves stand so thick with corn that they shall laugh and sing. (Ps 65.14).  

 

This good laughter echoes through the pages of the Scriptures and breaks into song in the Church’s daily worship.  Mary is the traveller who carries this good laughter and shares it with Elizabeth in the Magnificat, good feet bringing good news, celebrated by God’s women in good laughter.   

 

Let these women, and especially the companionship of Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, and our Mother too, be a source of joy and hope  for us all, and especially for you, Stephen, as you set out with good feet to bring the transformative power of the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of this Province, living always in the joyful, confident expectation of the dawn and resurrection, which is where Hopkins directs us in conclusion to his poem on God’s Grandeur: 

 

And for all this, nature is never spent;  

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 

And though the last lights off the black West went 

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs –  

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent  

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. 

 

 

Photo credit: Duncan Lomax



Chrism Masses 2022

Posted on the 9th Feb 2022 in the Category - Sermons


 

Bishop Tony Robinson is planning to celebrated the following Chrism Masses:

 

Sunday 10th April 6.00pm at S. Peter, Horbury, Wakefield

Tuesday 12th April 7.00pm at S. Aidan, Sunderland

Wednesday 13th April at 12noon at Ss. John the Evangelist & Mary Magdalene, Goldthorpe

 

Bishop Philip North is planning to celebrate the following Chrism Masses:

 

Sunday 10th April 6.00pm at S. Catherine, Burnley

Tuesday 12th April 11.30am at Manchester Cathedral

 

Concelebrants

Priests of the Society are invited to concelebrate. Please bring a white chasuble. Any priest who would like to concelebrate please contact:

 

Louise Hunter (louise.hunter@blackburn.anglican.org) for Burnley on 10th April;

Fr Chris Johnson SSC (fr.c.johnson@icloud.com) for Horbury on 10th April;

Fr Paul Hutchins SSC (fr.hutchins@btinternet.com) for Manchester on 12th April;

Fr David Raine SSC (farvad@sky.com) for Sunderland on 12th April;

Fr Carl Schaefer SSC (vicar@parishofgoldthorpeandhickleton.co.uk) for Goldthorpe on 13th April

 

 

Poster for Bishop Philip's Chrism Masses 

Poster for Bishop Tony's Chrism Masses

 

Chrism Masses celebrated by the other Bishops of The Society can be found here.



Bishop of Jarrow's Sermon at the Ordination of Fr Alistair Hodkinson

Posted on the 15th Jul 2017 in the Category - Sermons



Bishop Glyn is grateful to the Bishop of Jarrow for his permission to publish the sermon which he preached at the very recent Ordination of Fr Alistair Hodkinson.   He hopes that readers will appreciate being able to read what Bishop Mark had to say.  The clergy and people present with Fr Alistair certainly found the Bishop Mark’s sermon helpful.

 

On her Majesty the Queen’s official birthday this year, she very unusually issued a statement in which he she said

 

“Today is traditionally a day of celebration.  This year, however, it is difficult to escape a very sombre national mood.  In recent months the country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies.”

 

The Queen took this unusual step in the light of the two terror attacks in London and Manchester and the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower.  It is perhaps the Grenfell Tower tragedy which for me at least sticks most in the mind.  For me, perhaps the defining moment to that tragedy was the man standing in front of the television cameras pointing out the Tower and saying this happened to these people because they were poor.  In recent weeks, Grenfell Tower has come to symbolise an enormous disparity of wealth, an enormous unfairness in so much of our national life.

 

And that has led me to ask what does it mean to be the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ post Grenfell Tower?  And it causes me to ask myself: what does it mean for me to be a priest, and what will it mean for Father Alistair to be a priest after Grenfell Tower?

 

I want to suggest to you tonight that the priest is first of all called to be a person of light in the darkness.

 

As some of you will know on August 14th 1941 at the very height of the terror of Nazi Germany, one of the heroic priests of the 21st Century, Maximillian Corby, went to his death in the place of a young Polish man in the concentration camp at Auschwitz.  Those who survived Auschwitz after the war spoke of the extraordinary effect that his martyrdom has on many in the camp and somebody wrote: We were stunned by this act, which became for us a mighty explosion of light in the dark camp night.”

 

In difficult times, the priest needs to be the one who comes as light and he comes as light because in a very particular way, he represents the light of Christ which comes in to the world when Jesus is born.

 

You may perhaps on Christmas cards have seen those pictures of the first Christmas where the stable is in darkness and the Christ child is bathed in light.  The priest is the one who brings light in to the darkness.

 

I know that for Father Alistair it is very important that his life as a priest runs alongside his life as a Deacon.

 

Those of you who came to Father Alistair’s ordination as a Deacon in the Cathedral last year will have heard me say that the role of the Deacon is to search out the poor and the weak; the sick and the lonely; those who are repressed and powerless.  And then it goes on: reaching in to the forgotten corners of the world; that the love of God may be made visible.  The job of the Deacon is to look for those who are forgotten; who are oppressed and powerless.

 

But today, Father Alistair becomes a priest and it is the special joy and privilege of the priest to pray for those who are forgotten; for those who are oppressed; for those who are powerless, as he presides at Mass, as he will for the first time tomorrow.

 

And Father Alistair will discover over the years the extraordinary joy of praying and holding up before Jesus those who perhaps are forgotten by everyone else and who may never ever have been prayed for before in their lives.  Many years ago I found somebody writing in a way that said this far more beautifully than I will ever manage, and they talked about the way in which the priest as he holds before God in the Eucharist those who are forgotten and powerless. The priest

 

“Spreads out over an ever widening field the enfolding web of the love of God, and receives in his own person the anguish of the world’s sorrow, it’s helplessness, it’s confusion, it’s sin.  He meets the world’s foulness with the purity of Jesus; he meets the world’s rebellioun with the obedience of Jesus; he meets the world’s hatred with the love of the sacred heart of Jesus, and so takes his part in reversing the sin of the world.” (1)

 

The priest is called to play his part in reversing the sin of the world.

 

And the sad fact is that there is much sin in the world.  The world is far from being the place that God longs for it to be as the Nigerian poet Ben Okri has recently written: “If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.” (2)  And we know that much closer to home there will be landlords who rent out woefully sub-standard accommodation. We will know that there are workers who are exploited and even closer to home,

we know our own failure to always treat other people in the way that Jesus would want us to do.

 

So the job of the priest is to help us to see where our lives are not yet the sort of lives that Jesus would want us to live and the great joy of the priest is to help us to live more like Jesus.

 

I hope that this sermon has not sounded to gloomy on this evening of great celebration but there is much sadness and darkness in our world and there is an immense responsibility on the ordained priesthood of our Church to shine that light of Christ in our world and to reverse the sin of the world.

 

And tonight the wonderful news is that we are thanking God that we are about to have another priest who will play his part in lighting up the world with the light and the love of Jesus in places where it is most needed and where it may not have been seen before.

 

And of course we are celebrating the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the light in our darkness.  The one who has already conquered sin and death and who longs for the world to become the sort of place that he longs for it to be.

 

Let me just end, if I may, with a few words to those of you who are part of the local congregation here at St Helen’s.  You need to understand that every new priest comes with a very big health warning.

 

Your new priest comes to shine the light of Jesus in the world and part of his responsibility is to make sure that you do that as well.  Part of the task of the new priest is to help you as the congregation in this place to become the light of our Lord Jesus Christ in those places where that light most needs to be seen and shone.  So it is not a case that you can sit back and leave it all to Father Alistair or indeed to Father McTeer.  There is a call to you today to shine that light of Jesus where it most needs to be seen – and our new priest is I am certain longing to help you to become the lights of Jesus in a world that needs that light so much.

 

(1) Hayman E. Disciplines of the Spiritual Life.1957 p58

(2) Okri B. Grenfell Tower, June, 2017 Financial Times June 23 2017

 

Photo by Keith Blundy



Three days to change the world

Posted on the 8th Apr 2017 in the Category - Sermons



The Easter edition of Together is out now and can be found here.   Amongst the many excellent articles is one where Bishop Glyn explains the significance of the coming days for Christians.

 


Three days to change the world

 

One of the great joys of getting older, so I have been encouragingly told, is the wisdom of years that you gain, and all those marvellous experiences through which we pass which add to the compendium of our knowledge.

 

While that may be true, I have to admit that one of the downsides of growing older is that aches and pains can also multiply and trips to the doctor increase! It is just one of the realities of my own life that I have always had a certain amount of trouble with my eyes, particularly my right eye. And over the last year or so it had become obvious that my sight was deteriorating dramatically, and I was having increasing trouble, for example, in reading the various books and pieces of paper I was presented with at the Altar.

 

Fortunately, a familiarity with the various texts for the Eucharist (and larger screen TVs!) made this not too great a burden for me, but eventually in November last and in January this year I had to have a couple of operations on my eyes to remove the cataracts that had formed with age. The lenses in the eyes tend to harden with the years, so focussing becomes limited, and the lenses themselves become opaque, no longer letting light through in the way they should. These days, of course, with the wonders of modern science and medicine, the lenses can be replaced and sight stabilised and restored remarkably easily and with little risk.

 

But it is only after such an operation that you realise quite how blurred your vision had become and how, with surgery, the clarity of the world in which we live and work has been restored.

 

We are entering into one of the holiest seasons of the year, one of the most meaningful, and indeed one of my favourite seasons – Lent, which leads up to the wondrous celebration of the Easter Mystery over those Great Three Days which conclude Holy Week. It can be a most wonderful time of renewal and growth on our pilgrim journey towards the Kingdom, if we have eyes to see and hearts open to what God wants to grant us. But familiarity with the worship of this season, no matter how well done, sometimes dulls us to what it is we should be experiencing – perhaps a bit like those wretched cataracts that dulled my own sight.

 

Having had my sight restored these last months, I would love all of us to have our spiritual sight restored this Lent and Eastertide, and I venture to suggest that if we all enter into the great acts of worship of this season with eyes wide-open then as a community we would find our lives enriched, and we would become like yeast or leaven within the life of the wider Church. Is that too much to hope?

 

For a bishop the Triduum is prefaced by the annual Chrism Mass at which his priests, gathered in the presence of God’s Holy People and their bishop, renew their promises to be faithful in their ministry in imitation of Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church, by teaching the Christian Faith without self-regard, solely for the well-bring of the people they are sent to serve. And then the bishop blesses the three Holy Oils which are used in ministry throughout the Church’s life from womb to tomb, oils used for strengthening, healing, and the bestowal of the Spirit’s gifts. The oils are sent out from this Liturgy to all the parishes as the sign and effectual symbol of their sharing the bishop’s ministry in imitation of Christ the Great High Priest. If you possibly can, please make every effort to join your bishops at this wonderful Service before you launch into your parish’s celebration of the Triduum. And if you have never been, then go!

 

Though we most often regard the three significant liturgies of the Triduum as separate events – Last Supper, Calvary, and Empty Tomb – in reality they are one great liturgy, drawing us over the three days from one location and part of the drama to the next, as with Christ we ‘pass over’ from the death of sin to life eternal. These are wonderful dramas in which we take our place not as spectators but participants; we are invited to be part of the ‘action’ of the play, not just those who sit on the side-lines and watch. And as with Christ we pass from the ancient ritual of the Jewish supper table (where we temper our pride as feet are washed, and decide whose side we will take) to mount Calvary’s Altar-Tree, our willingness to bear a share in the Lord’s death can, God willing, lead us inexorably through the darkness of the stone-cold tomb to the bright newness of undying life. And we will find ourselves as those who live as people of the Risen King inhabiting the light of Easter, rather than those who still reside in death’s ‘gloomy portal’.

 

+Glyn Beverley


The Easter edition of Together is out now and can be found here.   Amongst the many excellent articles is one by Dr Colin Podmore, the Secretary of the Council of Bishops, which explains the process of Parishes affiliating to The Society.  This is now happening accross the See of Beverley and indeed accross the country.  As well as the article which we've kindly been given permission to produce below, further information can also be found here. - See more at: http://www.seeofbeverley.org.uk/fullposts.php?id=145#sthash.9XCZhqzx.dpuf
The Easter edition of Together is out now and can be found here.   Amongst the many excellent articles is one by Dr Colin Podmore, the Secretary of the Council of Bishops, which explains the process of Parishes affiliating to The Society.  This is now happening accross the See of Beverley and indeed accross the country.  As well as the article which we've kindly been given permission to produce below, further information can also be found here. - See more at: http://www.seeofbeverley.org.uk/fullposts.php?id=145#sthash.9XCZhqzx.dpuf



 

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