We have decided regretfully that there should be no further services in Shipbourne Church after the morning service on Sunday 10 January.

On Thursday 14th January the PCC resolved to petition the Bishop of Rochester for dispensation, effectively closing down public corporate worship for the next few weeks. The decision will be reviewed in time to mark Ash Wednesday, if we consider it is safe to do so. You will be able to find out on this web page when we resume services again.

While services in church are suspended, readings and prayers will be posted on this page for each Sunday from 17th January, together with pre-recorded worship from Sunday 24th January.

The building remains open for individual private prayer every day except Monday, between 9am and 3pm

  • When you visit the church, please be ready to observe social distancing and hand sanitising, both on the way in and as you leave the building (hand gel is provided)
  • Face coverings must be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.

The Rector will continue to say Morning and Evening Prayer at 8.30 and 4.30 respectively. Please join him from your home.

Thanks to all those who have worked hard to make this possible.

We continue to be the Church: a people of prayer and action. 

Sunday 17th January is the 
Second Sunday after Epiphany.

Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new:
Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.

This is one of my favourite collects and seems to have even more power in our current pandemic situation.
We should pray it every day – copy and paste!

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 3:1-20Please take time to read and reflect upon this well-known and beautiful story of God calling Samuel 

Gospel: John 1:43-end
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

Things to ponder:

Today’s readings are very clearly about God’s calling. Can God really be calling during a pandemic? 

Please read and reflect upon the words of the following traditional hymn:

Jesus calls us o’er the tumult
of our life’s wild, restless sea;
day by day his sweet voice soundeth,
saying “Christian, follow me.”

As, of old, Saint Andrew heard it
by the Galilean lake,
turned from home and toil and kindred,
leaving all for his dear sake.

Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world’s golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying “Christian, love me more.”

In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of toil and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
“Christian, love me more than these.”

Jesus calls us; by thy mercies,
Saviour, may we hear thy call,
give our hearts to thine obedience,
serve and love thee best of all.

Because of the second verse, this hymn is listed for St Andrew’s day (Nov 30th), but the message is more universal. Jesus calls us to love and follow him every day.

As you read and reflect upon the Gospel, you might like to see if you can write an alternative second verse

                  As, of old, Nathanael heard it…

Answers on a postcard (or e-mail). There is a prize for the best entry.

Things to pray about: 

Pray for our church in lockdown again.

Give thanks for the roll-out of the vaccine and remember all those administering and receiving it.

Pray for those who find being stuck at home ever more challenging, especially during the winter months.

We give thanks for the life of Michael Rogers (Lindsay Miles’ uncle) – to be buried this week.

We give thanks for the life of Robin Nalder who died this week, prayer for Janet and the family as they mourn his loss.

Christ the Son of God perfect in you the image of his glory and gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and all those you love and miss, this day and always. Amen.

As well as our Christmas services in church, we recorded a special ‘Festival of Readings and Music’ so everyone can join in, to celebrate the birth of Christ. This can be found at

Our normal pattern of services

We  normally hold services each month in the two churches in our benefice, in Shipbourne or Plaxtol, as set out below . There are also special services for Christmas  and Easter and the other festivals of the church.

1st Sunday of monthHoly Communion
Parish Communion
Family Service
2nd Sunday of monthHoly Communion
Parish Communion
3rd Sunday of monthHoly Communion
Parish Communion
Family Communion
4th Sunday of monthHoly Communion
Family Service
Parish Communion
5th Sunday
(when there is one)
Holy Communion
Parish Communion

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.

During previous lockdowns, the Rector recorded services each week. You will find links to some of these services below, together with prayers and readings. 

Sunday 29th November: Advent Sunday

The Rector recorded a service for Advent Sunday which may be found at:

At the lighting of the first advent candle:

Blessed are you, sovereign Lord, God of our ancestors: to you be praise and glory for ever.

You called the patriarchs to live by the light of faith and to journey in the hope of your promised fulfilment. May we be obedient to your call

and be ready and watchful to receive your Christ,

a lamp to our feet and a light to our path,

for you are our light and our salvation.

Blessed be God for ever.

O come, O come, Emmanuel

and ransom captive Israel

that mourns in lonely exile here

until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel

shall come to thee, O Israel.


Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and to put on the armour of light,

now in the time of this mortal life, in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty,

to judge the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake!

(Mark 13:24 to the end)

Sunday 22nd November:
Sunday next before Advent, also called ‘Christ the King’.

The Rector recorded a service in Shipbourne Church for the Sunday next before Advent, which may be found at



As well as our Christmas services in church, we recorded a special ‘Festival of Readings and Music’ so everyone can join in, to celebrate the birth of Christ. This can be found at




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