Services, Sermon and Prayer

Services schedule

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 25th October 2020


Eternal God,
you crown the year with your goodness
and you give us the fruits of the earth in their season:
grant that we may use them to your glory,
for the relief of those in need and for our own well-being;
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.

New Testament Reading 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9As it is written,
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
   his righteousness* endures for ever.’
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.* 11You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. 13Through the testing of this ministry you glorify God by your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ and by the generosity of your sharing with them and with all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God that he has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Gospel Luke 12:16-30

16Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” 18Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” 20But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

22 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?* 26If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;* yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. 30For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.


When we moved to Cumbria in January 1983, we had weeks of gales followed by heavy snow which, to the delight of our young sons, blocked us in for three days. Spring was almost non-existent, summer arrived in June and lasted well into September. During 1984 we basked in glorious summer weather from the beginning of May right through to September. 1985 was the worst summer anyone had ever known in the North of England. In the rectory garden the potatoes rotted in the ground and the rabbits ate the lettuce so we ate the rabbits. Presumably because I was living in a very rural part of Cumbria, I not only had to take two harvest festivals and two school services in my own parishes, I was also invited to preach at four other churches. (I can assure you that if you have ever had to sing “We plough the fields and scatter…” eight times in a row you really never want to hear that hymn again.)

Some of the farmers didn’t go to church that year because there had been no harvest to give thanks for, so I began my sermon by saying that it hadn’t been a bad year at all – England had won the Ashes and I had caught more sea trout that summer than ever before. The farmers who were there smiled. They knew that the land in Bewcastle was wet, while the land a few miles away in Lanercost was dry. 

In 1984 Bewcastle farmers had a bumper crop of first class hay, while those in Lanercost were having to feed their cattle through the summer on the silage they had made in May which was meant to see them through the winter. In 1985 Bewcastle farmers suffered, their ground was sodden and many cattle were being fed indoors while in Lanercost the cattle were out in the fields grazing. Everyone there knew that there are good years and bad years in farming and what suits one farm or locality may not suit another.

Looking at the parable in today’s Gospel one can imagine that a farmer who had just had a huge harvest of grain in an exceptionally good year might be tempted to sell the grain, and even the farm, and enjoy life rather than having to carry on with the daily grind while putting up with the fickle nature of the weather and the possibility of crop failure and diseases. 

Unfortunately, the three verses which lead into the parable have been omitted in the reading in the lectionary. They read, “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 

According to the law in Deuteronomy the first son would have received two thirds of the estate and the second would have received just one third. The assumption is that it is the younger one who is complaining and he thinks that the estate should have been shared equally between them in spite of the law. Whether this was the case, or the Pharisees had set him up to ask the question in order to try to trap Jesus we don’t know. But the actual setting for this exchange is found at the beginning of the chapter where we find that Jesus was addressing a crowd of thousands and warning his listeners against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and as so often, Jesus replied to the younger brother and his audience with a parable. 

In it the younger brother is the one who is interested only in material goods, not the law of God as it was understood. He wasn’t content with what he had inherited he wanted more and he wanted it for himself, just as the prodigal son had. Rather like the Pharisees he wanted in effect to have his cake and eat it.

Instead Jesus offered a contrast between the sometimes-grasping and devious nature of humanity, the “I want” syndrome, compared with the lilies of the field and the wondrous beauties around us. Looked at as a whole we begin to see that while men and women may reap the different harvests of the world they are only able to do so because of creation itself. That is why we give thanks to our Creator in our services of Harvest Thanksgiving.   

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