St Stephen's Blog

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...

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...

January 27, 2019

The Anglo-Catholic tradition at St. Stephen’s has been there since the earliest days.

The article below shows how difficult such a tradition could be in the late 19th to early 20th Centuries.

Fr Tooth was still alive and in ministry when the foundation of our present church was laid, with Fr Freshwater wearing cope and biretta and the Bishop in cope and mitre!

It is easy these days for us to forget how unusual St Stephen’s was – and hopefully is! We should...

May 29, 2018

On Sunday 3 June we are keeping the lovely Feast of Corpus Christi, sometimes called Corpus et Sanguis Christi, Body and Blood of Christ, or Feast of Thanksgiving for the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Liturgically, at this celebration, the Mass is celebrated in the normal way until after Communion. Normally at that point the consecrated Bread of Holy Communion is returned to the Lady Chapel (I’ll explain this later!) On this occasion however, t...

March 28, 2018

It will be all over the place at the moment as we are celebrating both secular and Holy Easter. I used to ‘go on’ about such things, but I don’t any more. It may be a certain softening as I approach ‘bus-pass’ age, or maybe even weariness at pushing against the inevitable. Or perhaps it’s something more. Anyway, alongside all of the above there is another element this year.

Foolishness. This year Easter and April Fool’s Day 1st April, coincide. Once this wo...

March 4, 2018

Dear friends in Christ,


Not a letter as such this month. I hope you won’t mind. Rather I share a couple of prayers I have written and used these last few weeks. 

We give thanks for our church building. For the walls soaked with prayer, for all the beauty and artifice they contain and which lift our hearts to God. 
May this be a thin place where a world beyond this world can be glimpsed.

May this is be a place big enough and robust enough to contain our doubts...

January 23, 2018

Today as I write this I am sitting amongst a very mixed group of people.

They are young and old, fat, thin, some well educated and some who seem to have problems following very simple instructions. Some are arriving early, others arrive puffing and late. Some are well dressed, others look like they have slept all night in their clothes.

This is a group of people who are dealing with complex issues. They are talking about sex, theft, violence, fraud and bene...

December 2, 2017

Dear Friends in Christ,

We all know that the Season of Advent is not an easy one for Christians to observe.

I’ve moaned about it often enough I know!. But we all often join in. We all complain that Christmas trees are up and decorations in the shops far too early. But we all fall foul of it.  it is not just Advent that gets lost though. The Church has a whole Christmastide Season that so easily completely disappears.

Just as Christmas trees are often ou...

October 27, 2017

At the end of the November we begin the Season of Advent.

The Posada is an old Mexican tradition where young people dressed as Mary and Joseph travelled from house to house asking for a room for the night and telling people about the imminent arrival of Jesus in the weeks leading up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve they would visit the local church to re-enact the nativity and place figures of Mary and Joseph in a crib.

Modern day Posada uses nativity figures o...

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