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...

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 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 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...

August 26, 2019

I have the picture above as a postcard. A friend sent it to me a few years ago during a visit to Paris.

In the painting we see two French peasants pause in their work during the potato harvest. In the distance we see a church bell tower which presumably is sounding the Angelus bell.

The peasants pause to recite the Angelus as they hear the bell sound.

At 8.30am each Sunday, and after 10.30 am Sunday Mass at St Stephen’s and each day just before the Morning a...

March 30, 2019

Holy Week is most definitely a very sacred time of the year, for that is when we will commemorate and remember the last week of Jesus' life on this earth.

These are the days leading up to the great Easter Feast. The Lenten season of sacrifice and self-denial is about to come to an end, but this Holy Week is extremely important for all Christians.

The greatest focus of the week is the Passion (suffering) and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that l...

February 28, 2019

Dear Friends,

As Christians prepare for Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent on 6th March, I hope and pray that each of you will take the opportunities seriously. At the very least, see Lent as an opportunity to strengthen simple habits of faith.

Pray in the morning and evening, and set aside five minutes every day to be quiet in the Lord’s presence. Go to confession and receive the Holy Communion frequently.

Lent is a penitential season leading up to...

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