The Woman at The Well – Worship Resources

Nov 20

Last night at the Rock Mass we were looking at the interaction between Jesus and the Woman at the Well.  I know someone who works for Yorkshire Water so we had an installation of a stand pipe in the centre of church.  This linked in with the use of the well known “to be known is to be loved” monologue.

For the confession we used Holy Water by Inglorious.  As the God’s forgiveness was pronounced, the priest sprinkled the congregation with the holy water from underneath the standpipe.  After exploring what it means for God to welcome in the outsider, the stranger and the alien, we wrote our prayers on the giant blue paper cross with chalk whilst Metanoia played Where the Street’s Have No Name.

Alternative Hymnal – Holy Water, Inglorious

Oct 26

I’ve realised we’ve added a few regular songs to our hymnody at Rock Mass with Metanoia. I really should put together a playlist so that everyone can listen in between services.

This is Holy Water from Inglorious’ debut album.  We discovered Inglorious last year supporting the Winery Dogs before they had released their first album.  They were jaw droppingly amazing!  We preordered the album as we were leaving!  Proper rock with amazing vocals.  We’ve ended up playing Holy Water in Silverthorn too!

We’ve only tweeked the words slightly for services.

Help me, I’m in trouble I’ve fallen to my knees, yeah

I pray you’ll give me something, my soul it is in need.

 

Oh, I don’t stand proud, as my Lord He washes me

I drown, Your water’s holy, my soul it is diseased.

 

Holy water, take my soul take me

No, love ain’t where it’s at, but it’s all, all I need

 

Been tried and tested, the world it comes for me

It put me in the gutter, I long to be free

 

Holy water, take my soul take me

No, love ain’t where it’s at, but it’s all, all I need

The Book of Common Prayer

Oct 12

Last week I discovered the work of Michael Leunig, cartoonist, poet and writer.  I quickly fell down the rabbit hole and became hooked.  FuelledByTea pointed me towards Leunig’s prayers.  The rabbit hole deepened.  At Harvest Festival at Holy Nativity on Sunday we used this one during the service:

Dear God,

We rejoice and give thanks for earthworms,
bees, ladybirds and broody hens;
for humans tending their gardens, talking to animals,
cleaning their homes and singing to themselves;
for rising of the sap, the fragrance of growth,
the invention of the wheelbarrow and the existence of the teapot,
we give thanks. We celebrate and give thanks.

Amen.

After I had discovered the prayers, Jon Birch fell into the rabbit hole with me on Facebook and the whole thing escalated.  Dave Walker joined in and mentioned Leunig’s books.  Well here we are.  The post is arriving and I have replaced the Book of Common Prayer with Leunig’s A Common Prayer.  Spiritually uplifting.  A tonic for the soul.

Neolithic Persuits

Sep 29

We have spent an inordinate amount of our adult lives travelling around Northern Europe in search of Neolithic artefacts. We’ve done most of that on the back of a Harley. We’ve been all over Shetland, Orkney, The Outer Hebrides and various sites in mainland Britain. Two years ago when we toured around northern Spain and up through France we stopped at Carnac to see the alinement with field after field of standing stones. Of all the places we have visited, Stonehenge was the least entertaining experience.

So far we have spent a week in Brittany riding from monument to monument. They are so frequent here we’re deciding which ones we have time to visit. We’ve yet to see a monument used as a fence post like we did in Shetland but we have seen at least one in someone’s back garden.

This afternoon we visited Les Mégalithes de Monteneuf. We sat in the midst of the six thousand year old stones and The Bassplayer™ turned to me and said:

Stonehenge is rubbish. Here we are in the midst of this enormous stone structure, it was free to enter and we are the only two people here! I’m not having to look over someone’s shoulder whilst they take photos of it from behind a fence.

I tend to agree with her.

The Communion Meal

Sep 19

The communion meal is a service we have held at Holy Nativity for the last three years.  It is a communion service in reverse.  It is a place for all ages to gather together around God’s table, to share bread and wine together, to eat together, to explore the bible together and to pray together.  It is a place to participate in a family meal with the body of Christ.

The main thing to get right with the communion meal is the setting and the ambiance.  The table is set for dinner with a table cloth, placemats and cutlery.  We often have bible readings printed and put into plastic menu holders.  We begin with the Eucharistic prayer and pass the consecrated bread and wine around the table from one to another.  Then food is served.  We talk about our lives and our journeys as Christians.  A bible reading is shared.  There is no teaching as such, more a guided conversation where people explore the scriptures in relation to the modern world, their experiences and lives.

This is the most fascinating part.  Young children and pensioners and everyone in between discussing faith together.  Eight year old’s asking profound questions of adults and stretching them to think.  Adults learning from children and children learning from adults.  The dinner table puts everyone on an even footing.

Sometimes there are other activities to do during the meal.  Perhaps something that relates to the prayers.  Confession and prayer often come from the discussion.  Sometimes led by me, the priest.  Sometimes led by others around the table.  It is an environment that allows people to explore spirituality.

We’ve been holding monthly services like this for over three months.  Various people who come cook food.  We have had as many as forty (and the food stretched that far) but a core group of about 15.  The month that we had forty we had 15 asylum seekers come along unexpectedly.  The conversations across culture were fantastic as people learned from each other’s lives.  A medical doctor fleeing from Iran sharing with us how he couldn’t use his medical skills in the UK and was living on next to nothing.

For three years, I’ve had people ask for the resources we use.  I keep meaning to put them up here but run out of time.  There is a placemat which we have laminated.  It has all of the essential bits of the liturgy for people around the table.  I also have a word document of the key pieces of the liturgy for the priest.  I run it off a tablet but you could easily print it off.

A big thanks to Revd Jonnie Parkin who helped me think through some of the issues the Communion Meal raises.  I visited the Luminous Community in Lincoln where we both started holding services like this at the same time.  His wisdom enabled our community to develop a wonderful sense of community and I value his shared good practice.

PDF Placemats No Logo

Document Communion Meal Placemats Wording

Communion Meal Liturgy Priest

Sanctum 2017: Book Now

Jul 3

It’s that time of year again where we are preparing for Sanctum.  It is a great place to discuss alternative worship in a sacramental tradition.  There are some really great contributors this year and there are a few places left to book as well!  The programme includes a blessing of the waters down at the river, exposition, eucharist and Rock Mass Unplugged.

The monastery at Mirfield is an idyllic location for a few days of contemplation and quiet if you would like to engage with the worship whilst having space for private reflection.

Oh yeah.  There’s also gin tasting.

The Hinge

Jun 30

Just a quick thought about the shift in paradigm we are living through as we move from modernity to postmodernity. We are all using social media as a way of thinking our thoughts. It pops into your head and you tweet it. Then the discussion ensues. This is good and healthy. But as a public figure I often put the brakes on before I even tweet it. We live in a world of media storm. The Daily Mail, Express and The Sun are constantly looking for a headline. “Vicar says ‘bum’ shocker”. 

Are the trad media just perpetuating the ways of modernity and applying them to postmodern times?

[I may have been reading a lot of books about the transition between modernity and postmodernity. Sue me]

Abbey Royale Fontevraud

Jun 22

I went on a residential course a few weeks ago and one of my fellow inmates recommended Fontevraud as a place to visit. Once again the vicar is on holiday visiting ABC (another bloody church). Ruth likes to listen to the audio guide whilst I just take in the ambience. When you work in churches it can be a bit too much of a busman’s holiday to think about buttresses and gargoyles in your spare time.


I love how some ancient art incorporates the hierarchy of the institution into the scene.  That said, I hate it when the local landed gentry paid to have their face painted onto the infant Christ.  My favourite icon is in the Louvre as Christ puts his arm around St Menas.  I digress.


In the chapter room at the Abbey there are large pictures depicting aspects of the life of Christ. In many, a kneeling Benedictine Abbess is present looking on.  In the crucifixion scene, Christ is between two likely looking lads and everyone has a six pack.


Once again, Mother Superior watches on as Christ’s body is prepared for the tomb.
And when Jesus is betrayed with a kiss it isn’t much of a peck on the cheek.


Last but not least a picture of the ascension because feet disappearing into clouds never cease to amuse me.


Sorry about the dodgy exposure. Sun in the doorway.