Services, Sermon and Prayer

Services schedule

6th ShobdonHC 11.00
13thStauntonHC 11.00
13thMoorcourtHarvest 3.00
20thMoorcourt HC BCP JR
27thPilgrimage Lyonshall-Staunton-Byton10.30 HC
4thLyonshall HarvestHC 11.00
11thStaunton HarvestHC 11.00
18thShobdon HarvestHC 11.00
18thByton Harvest3.00
24thPembridge HarvestHC 11.00

Dial a sermon:
Call 01584 701985 to hear the weeks sermon read by Anna 

Morning Prayer

Monday: Lyonshall church 9.00
Tuesday: Zoom Silent prayer 9.00 (let Anna know if you’re interested)
Wednesday: At the Rectory – please send any prayer request to Anna
Thursday: Shobdon church 9.00
Friday: Pembridge School 9.00

If you would like to join in on the Zoom services please let Anna know (This is for security purposes) and you will be sent an invitation. It is very easy to join a Zoom session.

Readings and Sermon

Readings and Sermon for 20th September 2020

God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit
upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:
grant that your people may be fervent
in the fellowship of the gospel
that, always abiding in you,
they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Psalm 145.1–8
1  I will exalt you, O God my King, ♦︎
   and bless your name for ever and ever.
2  Every day will I bless you ♦︎
   and praise your name for ever and ever.
3  Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; ♦︎
   his greatness is beyond all searching out.
4  One generation shall praise your works to another ♦︎
   and declare your mighty acts.
5  They shall speak of the majesty of your glory, ♦︎
   and I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
6  They shall speak of the might of your marvellous acts, ♦︎
   and I will also tell of your greatness.
7  They shall pour forth the story of your abundant kindness ♦︎
   and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8  The Lord is gracious and merciful, ♦︎
   long-suffering and of great goodness.

Philippians 1.21–30
21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labour for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better;24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Matthew 20.1–16
20‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; 4and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same.6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” 7They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage.10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage.11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”13But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’ 

Sermon for the 15th Sunday after Trinity 2020

Many of us will have been taught when we were young that a parable is “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.” There is a contrary but complementary theory that parables don’t make sense and aren’t meant to make sense. This approach is justified in part because on several occasions the disciples asked Jesus for an interpretation of what he had actually said.
There is a further complication which arises because of translation. Jesus would have spoken his parables in Aramaic and these were eventually written down in Greek, later translated into Latin, and much later into most, if not all the different languages of the world. The Greeks, from the time of Plato, believed that a human being consisted of a body and a soul. This was developed through thought and translation into Latin as body, mind and spirit. But these are not separate compartments of the human being, rather it is a way of trying to understand the complicated nature of our species. An example which may help to illustrate this is shown in the newspaper report in 1912 of the loss of the Titanic with “1200 souls”. The report could have said, “people”, or “men and women” but everyone knew what that meant.
In the Gospel of a couple of weeks ago Matthew quoted Jesus referring to the “church”. But this wasn’t a reference to what was to become the early church. The Greek word ekklesia, which is translated as church, was in use well before the time of our Lord and simply meant an assembly of citizens or a meeting, as does the word synod. It is therefore important to bear in mind all of these complexities and the potential confusion that can occur when looking at any of the parables.
For example, today’s account is one that could easily enrage a member of a militant trade union. It simply seems to be grossly unfair. But it was a parable not a true story. It would however be possible to make a reasonable explanation by suggesting that if a storm was on the way, rather like haymaking, it would be all hands on deck to get the harvest in before it was spoiled. But Jesus didn’t say that. Therefore, we have to look at the parable as it was told and later written down rather than trying to completely re-invent it.
And quite frankly, this parable simply tells us the truth that sometimes life just doesn’t seem to be fair. When I was young, I wanted to play cricket for England. The truth is, I wasn’t good enough. But there was no point in my going on my knees in church and asking God to give me the ability I didn’t have. Nor would grumbling have made any difference other than making me miserable.
I have seen plenty of examples of “unfairness” in my life. When I was in Cumbria a shepherd finally managed to buy his own farm and then died less than a year later leaving a widow and a son aged twelve. The neighbours helped them out so that the son might have the chance of taking over the farm when the time came. He got to sixteen and was managing well but dropped dead on the eve of his eighteenth birthday of the same complaint his father had. Not long after his mother got MS. Life isn’t always fair.
We are now living through difficult times, and while I wouldn’t want to make light of it, bombs aren’t falling on our cities and in 1349 46% of the clergy of the Diocese of Hereford succumbed to the Black Death.
We didn’t ask to be born, but we have been given the most important gift there is – the gift of life. It is up to us to make the most of it by following our Lord’s teaching, loving our neighbours and thanking God for what we have got rather than what we haven’t. Life isn’t a competition to see who is the most holy or virtuous, and those who think it is may be surprised or even disappointed. Last week’s parable was about forgiveness and judgment, today’s is about God’s generosity. Go out into the world on a clear day during any of the seasons and look around you and remember the words that Louis Armstrong sang, “What a wonderful world”, for we are just the workers in God’s vineyard.

John Repath 2020

Worship and prayer resources to use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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If there is any way I can help even if you just want a chat call me on 07777692458. If the line is busy do leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can. You can also email me on Anna
Rev’d Anna Branston Rector of the Arrowvale Group of Parishes

Worship at home

The Archbishops of the Church of England have taken the step of suspending public worship until further notice owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.

As they wrote in their letter to the church on March 17th:

“We urge you sisters and brothers to become a different sort of church in these coming months: hopeful and rooted in the offering of prayer and praise and overflowing in service to the world.”

We want to ensure that prayer and worship continues, even though churches have had to suspend their services and activities.

Many of us already pray and study our Bibles at home, but it is hard to keep doing this without meeting with other Christians – especially without Sunday worship.

There are many ways in which we can continue to share in worship together, even if we are not in the same room.

This section contains a range of resources to help you pray and worship at home:

Places to find worship and prayer while at home
Prayers written especially for this outbreak
Prayers for children
Helpful Bible passages

You might find it helpful to set aside specific times of the day and week to pray and worship. Find a quiet place in your home and enable other members of your household to join you. You might want to light a candle to create a prayerful atmosphere and to use as a focus for your prayers.

You could also try praying with others while still physically distant – for example, over the phone, text messaging, or using video calls.

Updates are posted regularly by

Places to find prayer and worship while at home

There is a daily service on Radio 4 every morning at 9.45am.

Premier Christian Radio broadcasts Bible studies at intervals throughout the day.

At noon and at 2.30pm they have “worship hours” which include worship songs, prayer and Bible readings.

BBC One broadcasts Songs of Praise every Sunday at 1.15pm.

If you have access to the internet, there are many churches that are broadcasting their services, either on their website or using Facebook Live.

Some clergy are also sharing daily prayer in this way too.

Online, there are countless resources that provide daily prayer & Bible readings.

Church of England Daily Prayer:

Pray As You Go

24-7 Prayer

Prayers about the outbreak

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love,

for your name’s sake. Amen.

God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For those who are ill

Merciful God, we entrust to your tender care those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe. Comfort and heal them, and restore them to health and strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For hospital staff and medical researchers

Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.

Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From one who is ill or isolated

O God, help me to trust you, help me to know that you are with me,
help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Christian community

We are not people of fear: we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:

we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.

We are not people of greed: we are people of generosity.
We are your people God, giving and loving, wherever we are, whatever it costs
For as long as it takes wherever you call us.

Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to God, who alone makes us dwell in safety:

For all who are affected by coronavirus, through illness or isolation or anxiety,
that they may find relief and recovery:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies,
that they may make wise decisions:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers, that through their skill and insights
many will be restored to health:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

For the vulnerable and the fearful, for the gravely ill and the dying,
that they may know your comfort and peace:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, 

to the mercy and protection of God.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers…


Let us pray to the Lord, who is our refuge and stronghold. 

For the health and well-being of our nation,

that all who are fearful and anxious
may be at peace and free from worry:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

For the isolated and housebound, that we may be alert to their needs,
and care for them in their vulnerability:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

For our homes and families, our schools and young people,
and all in any kind of need or distress:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

For a blessing on our local community,
that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship,
where all are known and cared for:
Lord, hear us, Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, 

to the mercy and protection of God.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers…

Prayers with Children

A prayer for when a friend is ill

Dear God, (name of friend) is ill.

They are not allowed to go to school or come over to play.

I’m sad because I miss them.
They must be feeling miserable and lonely as well. Please be close to them.
Please be with the people who are looking after them.
Please help them to get better and to know that you love them.

A prayer for the world

God of love and hope, you made the world and care for all creation,
but the world feels strange right now.
The news is full of stories about Coronavirus.

Some people are worried that they might get ill.
Others are anxious for their family and friends.

Be with them and help them to find peace.
We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists, and all who are working to discover the right medicines to help those who are ill.
Thank you that even in these anxious times, you are with us.
Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe.

A prayer at bedtime

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray
That you, with steadfast love, would keep Your watch around us while we sleep.

Tonight we pray especially for (names family or friends who are affected by Coronavirus) and the people of (country or place which is affected by Coronavirus).
Please give skill and wisdom to all who are caring for them.

A prayer remembering God is with us

Lord God, you are always with me. You are with me in the day and in the night.
You are with me when I’m happy and when I’m sad.
You are with me when I’m healthy and when I am ill.
You are with me when I am peaceful and when I am worried.
Today I am feeling (name how you are feeling) 

because (reasons you are feeling this way).
Help me to remember that you love me and are with me in everything today.

Bible Passages

(Extracts are given where readings are longer.)

Psalm 23

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

(Verse 4)

Psalm 91

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

(Verses 1-2)

Psalm 139

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”

(Verse 23)

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

John 14

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

(Verse 27)

Luke 12:22-34

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 

Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

(Verses 25-26)

Philippians 4:4-9

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

(Verses 6-7)

May the peace of God give you renewed hope and wisdom,

May you find the strength you already carry within you to be enough,

May the grace of God be sufficient,

May you find a deep breath when the air around you is thin,

May you grow in compassion in these days,

May you love well, not in spite of these anxious times,

But because of them.

  • Sarah Bessey