Closure of the church
The Prime Minister and the Bishop of Rochester have announced the full lock down of all church buildings with effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020 until further notice. Although all churches remain locked, from 10 May 2020 they may be used by clergy and their household for daily prayer, and the streaming and filming of worship for social media.
We continue to be the Church: a people of prayer and action.
The Rector will continue to say Morning and Evening Prayer at 8.30 and 4.30 respectively. Please join him from your home.
He will post readings and prayers, together with a pre-recorded service, on this page for each Sunday and the main Church festivals.
The Sunday after Ascension: Sunday 24th May
The service this week was pre-recorded at St Giles’ Church, Shipbourne and can be viewed at
Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
ﬁll your Church on earth with power and compassion, that all who are estranged by sin
may ﬁnd forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves.
God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.
God is king over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted.
New Testament Reading:
So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’ (Acts of the Apostles 1:6-11)
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. (John 17:1-11)
from Rt. Rev James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester:
Crown him with many crowns
The lamb upon his throne
Hark, how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for me
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity
Crown him the Lord of peace,
Whose power a sceptre sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round his piercèd feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance, ever sweet.
Ascension Day: Thursday 21st May
Today we were to have met as a Deanery for the celebration of this Principal Feast of the Church’s year. As we cannot do that all together, please do remember the parishes of our Deanery in prayer: Eynsford, Farningham and Lullingstone, Shoreham, Otford, Kemsing and Woodlands, West Kingsdown, Vigo with Stansted & Fairseat, Borough Green, Platt, Wrotham, Ightham, & Shipbourne with Plaxtol.
The Deanery is the ‘middle layer’ between parish and Diocese. PCCs elect representatives of each parish to be members of Deanery Synod, which meets three or four times per year. Members of Deanery Synod are, in turn, the electorate for the Diocesan Synod and General Synod, and it is quite possible for a matter of concern that has been started as a discussion at PCC level to ‘travel’ all the way ‘up’ through Deanery and Diocesan Synod all the way to General Synod.
But this system needs participants! Based on the size of our electoral rolls, Shipbourne and Plaxtol are both allowed to send two representatives to Deanery Synod. At present Shipbourne only sends one and Plaxtol sends none! That’s a fairly poor show by any reckoning. If you feel you could do this job, please be ready to fill in a nomination and self-declaration form in the run-up to our APCM – for which we will set a date as soon as it makes sense to do so.
And now for some music:
Ascension Day always brings me happy memories of my high-school years, when we had a service in St Peter’s Church in Nottingham city centre, and then the rest of the day off as a ‘Governor’s Occasional Holiday’. It is in this context that I learnt a very special anthem, and I’d like to share it with you today.
The words are in Latin, because that way they rhyme and become verse, but I provide the sense of the words with a translation into English here. The piece is set for two choirs, one on each side of the church, One proclaims to the other, and the other replies with an exultant ‘Alleluia!’ Then the order is reversed. Towards the end, the Alleluia paints a magnificent ‘rainbow’ phrase, going right over the top before the most spectacular ‘Amen!’ in which a rising scale of ten notes depicts the Lord Jesus ascending to heaven and, coming back down two notes to the tonic, being seated at the right hand of the Father. Alleluia!
The music is by Charles Villiers Stanford.
Coelos ascendit hodie Alleluia
Jesus Christus Rex Gloriae: Alleluia
Sedet ad Patris dexteram, Alleluia
Gubernat coelum et terram. Alleluia
Iam finem habent omnia Alleluia
Patris Davidis carmina. Alleluia
Iam Dominus cum Domino Alleluia
Sedet in Dei solio: Alleluia
In hoc triumpho maximo Alleluia
Benedicamus Domino. Alleluia
Laudatur Sancta Trinitas, Alleluia
Deo dicamus gratias, Alleluia
Today into the heavens has ascended
Jesus Christ, the King of Glory. Alleluia!
He sits at the Father's right hand,
and rules heaven and earth. Alleluia!
Now have been fulfilled
all of Father David's songs.
Now God is with God. Alleluia!
He sits upon the royal throne of God,
in this his greatest triumph. Alleluia!
Let us bless the Lord:
Let the Holy Trinity be praised,
let us give thanks to the Lord. Alleluia! Amen.
You can listen here:
you have raised our human nature to the throne of heaven:
help us to seek and serve you,
that we may join you at the Father’s side,
where you reign with the Spirit in glory,
now and for ever. Amen.
Sixth Sunday of Easter: 17th May 2020
A link to a recorded service for this day, together with readings, reflections and prayers may be found at:
A Collect, Gospel reading, Homily and Prayer for the Fifth Sunday of Easter: 10th May 2020
Prayers for the 75th Anniversary of VE Day: Friday 8th May 2020
A Collect, Gospel reading, a homily on video, a Prayer, a personal note from the Rector and a Song for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, 3rd May 2020, ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’
A Collect, Gospel reading, a video, Song Lyrics and a Prayer for the Third Sunday of Easter, 26th April 2020
A Collect, Readings, A Gospel reading, a Homily and Prayers for the second Sunday of Easter, 19 April 2020
The Rector's messages for Easter
The Rector's has recorded two video messages for Easter and these can be viewed here
A Collect, a Gospel reading, Easter Anthems, a Homily and a Hymn for Easter Day, 12 April 2020
A Collect, Gospel, Homily and Hymn for Good Friday, 10 April 2020
The Rector's message for Maundy Thursday
The Rector has recorded a message for Maundy Thursday, which you can see at:
or, paste this link into your browser to see the Rector's message
A Collect, Epistle and Gospel for Maundy Thursday, 9th April 2020
The ten stations of the Cross
The Rector has recorded a short video: Palm Sunday eucharistic intention
A Collect, Reading, Prayers and a Hymn for Palm Sunday, 5 April 2020
Our normal pattern of services
Normally we hold services each month in the two churches in our benefice, in Shipbourne or Plaxtol, as set out below, although as explained above, all services have been suspended for the foreseeable future. There are also special services for Christmas and Easter and the other festivals of the church.
|1st Sunday of month||Holy Communion
|2nd Sunday of month||Holy Communion
|3rd Sunday of month||Holy Communion
|4th Sunday of month||Holy Communion
(when there is one)
Every weekday at 8.00am Morning Prayer will be said at Plaxtol and every weekday evening (except Friday and Saturday) at 4.30pm Evening Prayer will be said at St Giles Shipbourne.