St Stephen's Blog

June 14, 2020

Gospel - Matthew 9: 35 -10:8

Once again, a personal reflection, which I share with you.

In our Gospel this week, we are told that Jesus had compassion on the crowds (Matt 9:36), because the people were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Friday this coming week sees the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with its emphasis on the Divine Compassion.

Actually, the Gospel words ‘had compassion’ don’t quite convey the full message. Closer to a c...

Today I share with you what is most definitely a personal reflection. Please read it in that light!

When I was a school chaplain I remember walking with the Head through the school during holiday time. He paused for a moment and said “Aren't schools wonderful without the children!“ He didn’t mean it of course, he was one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever known, - but we all know what he meant.

I count myself so fortunate. Unlike almost all of you I...

June 8, 2020

Dear friends,

Each week as I have published this ‘though for the week’ I have included one or more images, usually photographs taken of windows or other objects taken inside St. Stephen’s church. I have done this to both illustrate a point for example the Cross on Good Friday, and to (re)connect people, especially members of the congregation to our building, worship and community.

For this Trinity Sunday, in one respect I have failed in this endeavour. In...

May 17, 2020

A different ‘Thought for the week’ this time.

Our Mass at S. Stephen’s this Sunday was celebrated at the Actors’ Chapel, near our Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. The Regina Coeli was sung at the shrine.

The reason for this is that this week 75 years ago, close to VE Day something rather special happened at the Catholic Shrine in Walsingham. Some of the very many American forces personnel based in the area decided that they wanted to give special spiritual...

May 11, 2020

Dear Family of S. Stephen’s

I waited until after the Prime Minister’s broadcast last evening before writing to you this week.

I think in a little corner of my heart there was a vain hope the PM might signal some early end to our present situation.

Of course in my mind I knew that this was not going to happen – that it is not right for it to happen. I, like most of you think that it is right to put up with our present difficulties a little longer to ensure sa...

May 11, 2020

I was struck by a picture that was included with the lovely letter from Nigel Davies that was reproduced by Father Andrew the other day. In that picture it was noted that in January 1931 the parish had a debt of £13,000.

In today’s money that is the best part of £1million. It’s been a good few weeks now since the nation entered lockdown and I’m sure you’re feeling like I am that many aspects of this new way of life are becoming strangely normal, but of cour...

May 3, 2020

Thought for the week. 3rd May 2020. ‘Good Shepherd Sunday.’
Gospel John 10: 1-10. Psalm 23.

Few people say the Apostles Creed regularly these days unless they attend Evening Prayer on a Sunday evening. It is in that Creed that we use the important phrase, that statement of belief, that “He (Jesus) descended into hell.” Sometimes people are shocked about Jesus’ descent into hell. Hell is believed to be the eternal abode of sinners and evil doers. In his parab...

April 30, 2020

A few days ago Fr Andrew received a lovely email from an ‘old boy’ of St.Stephen’s. He thought you might like to read it, so with Nigel’s permission...
 

Dear Canon Sage


Some weeks a go, coinciding with Storm Ciara, I visited St Stephen's for the 10.30 Solemn Mass. It fulfilled a long-standing ambition to attend a service at the church where I was Assistant Organist to John Askew in 1967.

I grew up in Blackpool; my father was vicar of neighbouring St Paul's...

April 1, 2020

Well things have changed and are changing so rapidly aren’t they*. Only a few hours after I posted my last letter to you the ‘Lockdown’ was announced and our churches closed completely, except for the Priest to enter alone and to pray and offer Mass alone, on behalf of the whole community. This I have done regularly each day.
 
Holy Week and Easter will certainly be very different than anything I have ever experienced. To be absent from the worshipping comm...

September 11, 2019

Dear Friends,

A little while ago I was having a discussion about spending money on church buildings. It is a common discussion because it is a thorny question.

When there is so much need in the world, should we as Christians be spending money on a building? Didn’t Jesus tell us this was wrong? Did he not tell us to sell all we have to give to the poor?

Well, yes and no.

He did challenge people to give up their possessions – but he did so as a challenge to se...

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