Circuit Worship: 14 February 2021

Prof. David R. Matthews

The service this week is integrated into a single video. This is the only way to view the service this week – to play this click below or go to:

Resources for the service:

(with many thanks to Clare)


Psalm 139: 1-12

1 John 1:1-5

T.S. Eliot – from ‘The Rock’

“O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!
Too bright for mortal vision.

O Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less;
The eastern light our spires touch at morning,
The light that slants upon our western doors at evening,
The twilight over stagnant pools at batflight,
Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,
Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.
O Light Invisible, we worship Thee!

We thank Thee for the light that we have kindled,
The light of altar and of sanctuary;
Small lights of those who meditate at midnight
And lights directed through the coloured panes of windows
And light reflected from the polished stone,
The gilded carven wood, the coloured fresco.

Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.
We see the light but see not whence it comes.
O Light Invisible, we glorify Thee!”

Prayer of intercession (Clare Matthews)

Almighty God, creator of light, may your light shine into the dark places of the world

  • Wherever innocent lives are blighted by conflict and war, bless all patient efforts to build peace
  • Wherever people are oppressed by brutal and corrupt regimes, bless all who bravely take a stand for justice
  • Wherever poverty squeezes the joy out of life, bless all who are committed to a fairer sharing of the earth’s resources 

Lord Jesus, bringer of light, may your light shine into darkened lives

  • Where there is now sickness, bless all who are working to restore health
  • Where there is now anxiety and fear, bless all who are seeking to bring relief
  • Where there is now the sorrow of loss, bless all who are trying to offer comfort

Holy Spirit, renewer of light, may your light shine in our own lives

  • Bless our efforts to be your small lamps in a restless and troubled world 
  • Refresh our strength when we feel weak and our hope when we feel despondent 
  • May we help each other on with kindness and with laughter 
  • …and may we keep trusting in your light to guide us every step of our way.




Longing for light

In Christ is our salvation

(To God be the Glory will be available as a stand-alone video shortly)

Organ Voluntary

Sortie in B flat (Louis-James-Alfred Lefébure-Wély)
Jonathan Scott plays the Cavaillé-Coll organ of Manchester Town Hall

Circuit Worship: 7th February 2021

Peter Powers

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on YouTube by following the link below:

Welcome & call to worship

Lift your eyes to gaze on God.
Hear God’s Word and receive God’s peace.
With all that you have been, all that you are, and all that you hope to be, offer yourself now to God in worship and praise.

Hymn/song: StF 689 Summoned by the God who made us

Introduction to theme

Theme: Jesus heals and preaches in Galilee

In our Bible story today, Jesus shows us his priorities. He knows what he must do and demonstrates this by healing and proclaiming the good news. However, Jesus also takes time out to get away from the crowds and be alone in prayer – he knows what he must do to care for himself and stay true to his mission.


O God, we come to you out of the week just gone –
with its successes and disappointments,
its joys and its struggles.
By your Holy Spirit,
help us to focus on you now,
to listen as you speak to our hearts,
so that we may be better prepared
to serve you in the week to come.
We gather to sing praises to our God.
How pleasant and fitting to praise him.
Let us sing to the Lord with thanksgiving
and make music to our God.
Let our worship rise high on the wings of praise.
Everlasting God, creator of heaven and earth,
your love causes our hearts to soar.
You know the number of stars in the universe
– just as you know the number of hairs on our head.
Mighty God: We love you.

You call each star by name
– just as you call us each by name.
Mighty God: We love you.

You supply the earth with rain to make the grass grow;
and provide food for the animals and birds
– just as you provide all we need to sustain us.
Mighty God: We love you.

You care about the details, seeing every tiny part of the bigger picture
– just as you care about the tiniest detail in our lives;
for you know the person you created each of us to be.
Mighty God: We love you.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


Hymn/song: StF 53 How shall I sing that majesty

Mark 1.29-39

It all began with a visit to Simon and Andrew’s house. Simon took James, John and Jesus with him. They had been in the synagogue as it was the sabbath, and now they were ready for a rest. But when they arrived, Simon’s mother-in-law was ill in bed with a fever. Jesus didn’t hesitate. He walked over to her, took her by the hand, and lifted her up. At once the fever was gone. So she got up, and began to serve her guests. For a little while, Jesus and his friends were able to rest. But not for long. At sunset, when the sabbath was over, a crowd of people appeared outside Simon and Andrew’s house. 

Word had got out that Jesus was in town. So everyone who was sick in the whole city came to the door! Jesus came out to meet them. He spoke with all of them and cured many people. Eventually, when everyone had left, Jesus and his disciples rested. It was still dark the next morning when Jesus got up. He needed to be alone, so he went out to a deserted place to pray. But when Simon woke up he was worried. Where could Jesus be? He woke some of the others and they set out to search for Jesus. They soon found him, alone, and praying. ‘Everyone’s searching for you!’ they said. Jesus stood up, turned to them and said, ‘Let us go to the next town.’ So off they went; no time to rest. In the next town, Jesus and his friends told people the good news about God. And then they went to the next town, and the next; telling people the good news about God, and healing people. As they were walking along, Jesus turned to Simon and said, ‘This is what I came to do.’ 


We are still very much in the first 100 days of a new American president. Ever since Roosevelt first coined the term in 1933, the end of the ‘first 100 days’ has been seen by the US establishment as the point at which to assess the effectiveness and likely success of a new president. 

Mark chapter 1 is something like the equivalent of the ‘first 100 days’ in Jesus’ ministry. Mark seems to present it like that. Or, rather, it has in it a little bit of everything that will be revealed and explored in a little more detail in the rest of Mark’s Gospel account. In short order, it tells almost all you need to know about Jesus. By the end of the chapter, you know who Jesus is and what he is about. You have enough information to make a ‘first 100 days’ type of assessment. 

In this week’s section, after a successful start to his ministry in Capernaum, and with his fame already beginning to spread, Jesus heals one more person – Peter’s mother-in-law. Interestingly, this happened on the sabbath. Later, healing on the sabbath would get Jesus into hot water – but here it seems to go unnoticed, perhaps because it was not a public event. The next day, the disciples try to get him to return to Capernaum for more of the same, but Jesus is adamant that it is already time to move on. The message and the work must be taken to other places. 

Right at the beginning of his earthly ministry Jesus moves on and he calls his disciples, then and now, to follow him. This may not be a simple matter of a geographical journey. After all the places furthest apart in Jesus’ ministry, Sidon in the North to Jerusalem in the South, are around 200 miles apart and most of his ministry took place around Galilee in an area of about 180 square miles. I am sure that Jesus also calls his followers to a spiritual journey, a journey that calls us beyond ourselves and our own selfish desires, into a new world where we not only think of others but put others ahead of us. It is a journey of self-discovery. One that often asks great things of us. In some ways, this journey within our own hearts and minds is the smallest and yet greatest of journeys we will ever make.

In this chapter of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus moves between public spaces and private ones, and we learn how he uses each to sustain himself and others. From the synagogue, he comes to the house of his first disciples, perhaps seeking to retreat from the crowds. Throughout this Gospel, Mark makes it clear that healing has a noticeable impact on Jesus (e.g. 5.30), and a house is often a safe space for him (7.24). However, even in a private home, Jesus’ healing power is still needed. The woman’s healing makes it possible to re-establish the order of the whole household – the story is a small-scale reflection of Jesus’ impact on society at large.

After dark, when the sabbath is over, people are able to travel and carry their sick to see Jesus. The door of the house becomes a meeting-place and Mark vividly suggests the chaos of a desperate crowd. People needed healing – alongside the pain and trauma of illness, it created economic problems where workers were unable to earn their living. Jesus wields complete authority over a range of illnesses and, as in the synagogue, shows his power over the demons by forbidding them to speak. For the first time, Mark shows us the extent of Jesus’ power, verifying the big claims he made for Jesus in his opening verses.

Then, in the stillness before dawn, Jesus retreats again to a deserted place. For the Israelites, the desert was the place to meet God, and Jesus too uses this safe space to pray. But his disciples find this hard to handle – they ‘hunt him down’ and demand that he returns to the scene of his triumph. After his time of prayer, Jesus has other ideas. He is ready to expand his mission, and they embark on their first journey together, in which preaching and exorcism go hand in hand, each reinforcing the other as proof of Jesus’ real identity. Immediately after this episode, Jesus leaves that place and makes his way out of Capernaum on to the next part of his journey.

How many of us would have walked away from a project that had only recently started and was flourishing? How many of us prefer to stick with what we know, and what we know works? God had other plans for Jesus. Perhaps his early morning prayer time in a deserted place had something to do with it. Perhaps if we spend enough time with God, and truly listen, we will learn what God really wants us to do – and not make assumptions that it is what we are already doing. Amen.

Prayers: Thanksgiving and for others

Our eyes feast on the beauty of the sky and the scenery around us.
Words are not enough to express our heartfelt wonder of the beauty of creation.
But, thankfully, you know our hearts and our motives.
We don’t always understand your motives, Lord, but then you are God and who are we to question you when you see the bigger picture?

We thank you, Lord, for the bit we do see and understand.
That we can come to you in order to recharge our batteries.
And that we can come alongside others in your strength and serve our community. We do so now as we pray;

We remember the parts of the world where people are being killed, oppressed and displaced.
We pray especially for the people of Tigray in Ethiopia, for the people of Dafur in the Sudan,
for the Uighur peoples in China.
May those in power leave behind violence and follow your call to peace.
Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for all young people caught up in and trapped by gang violence,
for those who have been stabbed or shot and for their families,
for those who live in fear of being attacked,
for those who have been imprisoned, who have committed murder – and for their families,
for all those who carry weapons.
Help them to leave behind despair and to follow your call to hope.
Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for the people of America as Joe Biden begins his term as President,
and for Kamala Harris and all those entrusted with the responsibility
of re-shaping and re-uniting the states that make up that vast nation,
so divided by race and politics and so ravaged by Covid.
Help them to leave behind ambition and to follow your call to serve.
Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We pray for one another,
for our church families, our communities, and our loved ones,
for those who feel overwhelmed by the challenges of each day,
for those adapting to new ways of living,
for those who are ill,
for those close to death,
for those who are grieving.
Help us all to leave behind all that separates us from you and from one another
and to follow your call to trust and to love in Jesus’ name.

Hymn/song: StF 134 Christ whose glory fills the skies


Jesus, help us to know you more deeply, to understand your love for us.
We know that you knew and did what God wanted.
Speak to us about what God wants from us, and lead us in your ways.

And may the blessing of God, Maker, Son and Spirit be with us.

Organ voluntary

Sonata no 2 in C minor (Felix Mendelssohn)

Daniel Ficarri plays the organ of St Paul Cathedral, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

A performance from memory of the complete sonata, lasting just under 12 minutes, chosen to mark Mendelssohn’s 212th birthday last week

Circuit Worship: 31st January 2021

Sizwe Mkwanazi

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on YouTube by following the link below:

Welcome and call to worship – Psalm 111

Sizwe Mkwanazi

Be Still and Know that I am God – STF 18

Prayers – Thanksgiving

O God

Early in the morning

when the world was young

you made life in all its beauty and terror;

you gave birth to all we know.

Hallowed be your name

Early in the morning

when the world least expected it

a new-born child crying in a cradle

announced that you had come among us,

that you were one of us.

Hallowed be your name

Early in the morning

surrounded by self-interested religious leaders,

anxious statesmen who preferred lies to truth,

and silent friends,

you accepted the penalty for doing good

for being God.

Hallowed be your name

Early in the morning

a voice in a guarded graveyard and footsteps in the dew

proved that you had risen,

that you had come back

to those and for those who had forgotten, denied and destroyed you.

O God, bring new life, where we are worn and tired;

New love, where we have turned hard-hearted;

New truth, where we have preferred not to notice;

Forgiveness, where we have wounded

And the joy and freedom of your Holy Spirit

where we are the prisoners of our selves.



Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord – STF 186


Freda Carmack Deuteronomy 18: 15- 20

Wendy Spray Mark 1: 21 – 28


Sizwe Mkwanazi


My Jesus, My Saviour – STF 363

Prayers of Intercession

Kate Dobson

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray

Merciful and loving God,

We bring our prayers of Intercession today.

Lord, hear us

Lord, graciously hear us

O LORD, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day; Defend us in the same with thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings, being ordered by thy governance, may be righteous in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We pray for the world and ask that we can better care for and share its riches, so that all people and all nature can flourish.

We pray for all who are suffering at this time, through illness or grief.

We pray for health workers, carers and everyone providing the vital goods and services on which we depend

We pray for all who feel alone or isolated; for all who struggle to cover their daily needs and those of their family; and for all whose businesses and livelihoods are threatened by the current crisis.

We pray for all homeless people and all who fear that they may become homeless.

We pray for all who are confused and alarmed by false reports and misleading rumours. Help them to discern the truth.

We pray for world leaders and our own government, that they may have care for lives and livelihoods, so that everyone is valued

We pray for the Church that it may have the boldness to speak and act for peace and justice.

We offer these prayers through Jesus Christ our Saviour and our Friend. who taught us to say

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial,

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


Organ voluntary: Fugue in C, BWV 547, ii (J.S. Bach)

Phoebe Tak Man Chow plays the organ of All Saints’ Church, Orpington

Circuit Worship: 24 January 2021

A service of scripture, prayer, song & silence for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2021
Led by Revd Peter Powers

Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit (John 15:5-9)

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on YouTube by following the link below, or simply pressing play on the first video:

YouTube playlist for 24 January 2021

Organ Voluntary: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 (J.S. Bach)

Clare Balding introduces a composite performance by 54 cathedral organists, in support of the Cathedral Music Trust

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