All the latest happenings at All Saints.
Monday, 17 August 2015
I have just been taking part in a Council initiative, “Beat the Street”, a fun way to get folks walking and cycling in the fresh air. - So now may I suggest, “Pray the Streets”. By the time you read this, there should be, near the church door, Prayer Diaries, with all the streets in our parish listed, so that each day you pray for a different group of roads. Pray for the people who live in that road, for the businesses that operate there, for the schools and other groups that meet there. Picture the people tending their gardens, walking to school, playing on any green areas, parking their cars, - - - . Of course, you could even walk there and pray at the same time!
“Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws." -Psalm 119:164
All Saints church building is used for more than worship on Sunday’s, members of the ministry team and of the congregation pray in the church Monday to Friday. This pattern of daily prayer goes back to the earliest Christian communities who would recite the Psalms together. The Book of Common Prayer simplified the many services of monastic communities into ‘Matins’ and ‘Evensong’, the intention being that they would be said in every Parish Church, not just by the clergy but by all.At 9am we say Morning Prayer in the Lady Chapel, with readings, psalms and prayers for the coming day. At 5pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and 6.45pm Wednesday (before our weekday Eucharist) we say Evening Prayer in the chancel. Everyone is very welcome to these services.
Not everyone can make these services in church, but many Christians still pray in the morning, evening or night. On our Website in the ‘Find Out about’ navigation bar there is a link to the Church of England’s Daily Prayer page where the days ‘offices’ as they are called are available in both modern and traditional language. As we pray we join together in unity with countless Christians all over the world of different communions, Roman, Orthodox and Reformed who keep a similar patterns of prayer.
“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
During July & August a number of us have had the opportunity to join in worship with other churches in Watford. Both as part as the churches together pattern, and as members of the ministry team cover holidays. It was a particular joy to preach at St. Lukes (for over 30 minutes!) at their evening service and worship at St. Helens for their evening Mass. The Church of England was established as a Church that is both fully Catholic and Reformed and as Anglicans I believe we have a continued prophetic role ecumenically.
Relations with the Roman Catholic Church continue to be strong, especially since Vatican II and the liturgical and charismatic renewal of the C20th. Through the work of ecumenical committees Anglican and Roman Catholics have reached substantial agreement on the role of Mary and understanding the Eucharist, as well as sharing very similar liturgies and a close understanding of the ministry of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. The Alpha Course, from Holy Trinity Brompton has been embraced by the Roman Catholic Church, and Justin, our Archbishop has a Roman Catholic spiritual director and meets with Pope Francis. Where Canterbury and Rome differ most is over the question of authority, especially that of the Vatican! In the Church of England we have exercised our ‘Reformed’ authority to ordain women as Bishops, Priests and Deacons, and just as our use of English rather than Latin was prophetic in the C16th I believe full inclusion is prophetic to the world wide church today.
On the Reformed side of ecumenism we have a covenant with the Methodist church, although steps towards full unity may still stumble over questions of authority – especially the order of Bishop. However from my personal engagement with local churches there is much interest in the Catholic & Sacramental aspect of our identity. That is one of the reasons why at All Saints we receive so many placements from more Evangelical Anglican churches! From the more Reformed and Evangelical tradition we can learn a great deal about commitment to mission and growth of the church, and before we become too smug about ordaining women we should remember that the Wesleyan (Methodist) tradition did so long before us!
In the creed we proclaim that we are a branch of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Let us pray that we may continue to be drawn together in unity with other Christians, and I encourage you to take the opportunity to worship with other Christians across Watford.
P.S. Thank you so much for all my wonderful birthday presents, and all the help offered around the BBQ and party.