Category Archives: Prayer

Liturgical comment and prayer diary

Prayers and Reflections

I imagine that, like me, you are feeling a little anxious at the prospect of a winter filled with potential new restrictions as the 3 tier system kicks in across the country, and Londoners begins to learn how to live within Tier 2 restrictions from this weekend. The end we had all hoped for earlier in the summer – that ‘new normal’ we still long for – seems to be receding further from our grasp. At a time like this, how do we hold on to that sense of hope when the news is bleak and the future uncertain? Sometimes I find it helpful to re-visit the story of God’s ancient people, going back to a time when they too were struggling with a sense of unrest and uncertainty. When we consider the stories in the book of Exodus we hear about the Israelites packing up their old lives and travelling on in trust to an unknown future, a future which incidentally didn’t arrive for 40 years! But all through that long journey, as they learned to live through those wilderness years, they discovered how much they needed to depend on each other, they had to learn to trust and to be patient; sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they failed. The biggest lesson they learned was that the more they trusted God and the more faithfully they lived in his presence, the brighter the light at the end of their tunnel shone. Thinking about those ancient Israelites and the journey they made into the unknown prompts me to think about the experiences of the early Church too, probably because we have been reading the Acts of the Apostles at Morning Prayer for quite some weeks now. Those early disciples of Jesus, after the resurrection, left all they knew and stepped bravely into the unknown. Of course Luke tells his story in a way which smooths over the passage of time when in reality years passed by before the next great event happened. St Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus was a momentous life-changing event, but years passed before his ministry actually began.

We may feel that we are living through unprecedented times, but our current situation is nothing new for humankind. The Israelites, the early Church, and every generation since, has had to learn to live with the unknown, unable to be confident in any future planning. Life as it is today is more ‘normal’ than we think. Living with this current uncertainty, this unknown, is a great challenge for those of us who have lived all our lives with people telling us to make goals, map out mission, take control and live life to the full because the future is what you make it. Sadly, we now realise that we are not in control, the future is no longer mapped out in a way we thought it would be.

God gave some wise life-enhancing guidelines to those ancient people long ago, guidelines which Jesus reinforced and which shaped the early Church. Those very same guidelines give meaning, purpose and hope to the human race today: our first calling is to love God with our whole heart, and the second is to love our neighbour as we would like to be loved ourselves. In loving God we have nothing to fear as we shelter under the shadow of his mighty protective wings. St Paul reminds us that nothing can separate us from God’s love, not even death, and that gives us confidence to face the future with hope. In loving our neighbour we place ourselves and those God loves under that same shelter and that same promise. God journeys on with us through thick and thin, the light shining in our darkness and showing us the way, as we learn to care for one another and support and encourage one another. We do not live for ourselves, but for God and for each other. This is our normal, and it’s a very hopeful way to live, especially now.

Rev Anne Crawford

Click here to read previous meditations and reflections.

Online Christian Meditation Group

An invitation is extended to anyone from this parish who would like to join an online group of people practising Christian meditation. No previous experience is necessary. The group initially formed from members of the St Anne’s Church in Kew, but since the practice has been offered online it now includes Christians from across the country and others seeking a nourishing and contemplative practice which leads to inner peace and a sense of calm and well-being. It is led by David Boddy, an experienced Meditator and member of the St Anne’s, Kew community. The group meets online at 7am on Friday mornings and concludes around 7.50am.

If you would like to try a session, please email the group administrator Suzie Oweiss at, copying in David at You would be most welcome.

Learning from Lockdown Reflections from St Mary, Barnes

The  “Learning from Lockdown” series of reflections are from a variety of people,  connected with St Mary, Barnes, on how they experienced lockdown in their context and any lessons that might be learned for us locally and further afield in the future.

Reflection from Julie Smith

At the beginning of 2020, I was very excited to become more heavily involved with the Youth Ministry at St Mary’s and our plans were all in place to relaunch the teen youth club and several other new initiatives. Then Covid-19 struck and lockdown followed. With almost no warning our lives were very different. As I was promptly furloughed, I had little time to contact the young people in the church at a time when their lives have been severely disrupted. I sent them the following advice and settled in to follow it myself!

“L.O.C.K.D.O.W.N.” is a time to:
“L”isten to God’s voice and reflect.
“O”bey his word and his teachings.
“C”all on Jesus’ name and be calmed.
“K”now what is the purpose of all this.
“D”well in his presence. Do not panic.
“O”ffer a prayer for everyone’s safety.
“W”ait and be patient. This too shall pass over.
“N”urture our personal relationship with God.

As we begin to come out of lockdown and I am once more able to make contact, however, I am impressed by the resilience and positive mindsets of these young people. Many had their last days at school interrupted and have been robbed of the rites of passage of carefully planned and long anticipated final assemblies and leavers’ balls. There was just no chance to properly say goodbye. They have had public exams cancelled. “Lucky them” is the response of many but rarely the teens themselves. Those exams were worked hard for, over many years, and would have provided an opportunity to our young people to prove themselves to the outside world, and indeed to themselves. Hopefully, the predicted grades provided to them by teachers and exam boards will do them justice and allow them all to proceed on their chosen paths of study. Some, however, will still feel cheated and many too will feel some doubt moving forward. Do I really deserve this grade? Could I really have achieved this on my own, on that one crucial day, under exam conditions? For those with exams still ahead of them, there are worries too. Will so many months of missed classes and homeschooling impact their final grades next summer, even if things return to normal in September, which must surely be a big if?! There will, no doubt, be mental health implications moving forward. Many young people have been ill with the coronavirus themselves or seen family members or friends suffer. Lots have been parted from grandparents and other family members who have been sorely missed. Sadly, in a country where the death toll has been higher than we hoped, there have been young people touched by bereavement and grief at a time when mourning has been especially difficult. Yet, despite all this, there is also a lot of positive feedback coming from our young people.

For many, lockdown has provided a welcome moment to step back from frenetic lives and really consider what is important. There has been an opportunity to spend quality time with parents and siblings. Many have challenged themselves with new interests and will be heading off to university with newly acquired cooking and cleaning skills. Many have really helped in the community with shopping for elderly or shielded neighbours, or making masks and PPE for the NHS. The environment really matters to this generation so the cleaner air and reduced pollution of early lockdown provided hope that their message was finally being heard, although the number of discarded facemasks currently being fished out of the ocean suggests there is still much work to be done. Our young people have led the way in keeping communication going throughout lockdown with the use of zoom and teams, alien terms to many only a year ago. We can be very proud of the way they have coped and be inspired by their enthusiasm to move forward to our new normality.

As I look back at the words of advice I sent out in March, I realise that understanding why God has permitted the global suffering and devastation of Covid-19 remains far beyond our understanding. For many, however, the knowledge that we can turn to God with our worries and anxieties and that he will carry our burdens has helped in the past months. We thank God that in any situation we can trust in him to be our strength, that he will always be there for us, to give us hope, to encourage us and to lighten our load. We have just started up our latest Confirmation preparation classes and, inevitably, there will be many questions concerning the events of the last few months. I believe that the very fact that we have an enthusiastic group of young people contemplating taking this positive step forwards in their faith, especially at such a difficult time, is surely a sign of hope for us all.

Julie Smith, Youth Worker, St Mary Barnes

Lockdown Poems from Bishop Richard Harries

Ascension to Pentecost

Between Ascension and Pentecost, let us pray for God’s Kingdom to come in our everyday lives and in the lives of people we know.  Click here for daily prayers.

Novena of Prayer from St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

During the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost you are asked to pray daily for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the world and specifically for the recovery of our world and nation from corona virus.Friday 22nd May: Medical staff in hospitals and in the local community.
Saturday 23rd May: Nursing home residents and staff, home carers.
Sunday 24th May: Those sick with corona virus and the bereaved.
Monday 25th May: Government both local and national.
Tuesday 26th May: Schoolchildren, teachers, university students and staff.
Wednesday 27th May: The unemployed and key workers at risk.
Thursday 28th May: The elderly and the vulnerable.
Friday 29th May: The anxious, isolated and fearful.
Saturday 30th May: The Church’s ministry at this time.

The children have invited to to write a prayer or a Bible verse and attach this to the railings of the cloister or on the gates at the entrance to church by Pentecost.

Compline from St Mary, Barnes

In addition to the usual service of Morning Prayer fom St Mary, Barnes, there will be a daily service of Compline (Night Prayer) each evening  from Ascension Day to Pentecost (available from 6pm) on their Facebook page.

Call to prayer from Holy Trinity, Richmond

Image may contain: text that says "Pray at Midday! #PRAYATMIDDAY"
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, say the Lord’s Prayer at 12 noon every day from Ascension Day to Pentecost.

Daily Reflections from The Revd Sister Margaret Anne ASSP

For 39 days up until 2nd May, the Revd Sister Margaret Anne ASSP wrote daily reflections giving us hope and inspiration during the early days of the Coronavirus crisis. Her last reflection is below and click here to read her previous reflections.

Please visit Reflections and Meditations for more thoughts from our deanery PTOs.

Reflection for Saturday 2nd May by the Revd Sister Margaret Anne ASSP

Today is the feast day of Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria and Doctor of the Church, who lived from the late third century into the fourth century. He was a notable defender of Christian orthodoxy against heresy, proclaiming both the full divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. He lived a long time in exile, often misunderstood and opposed by his antagonists. Despite this Athanasius wrote prolifically. A number of his works were dedicated to monks, at a time when forms of monasticism were emerging in the deserts of Egypt. Athanasius wrote a biography of St Antony, often described as the founder of Western monasticism. This work describes in vivid detail the spiritual battles of the hermit against the powers of evil amid the fires of temptation. The Life of St Antony became a classic and was widely influential. Antony was the foremost early representative of the desert fathers and mothers, who lived in the desert in remote caves or huts. They lived a profoundly ascetic life, often alone, seeking God through a life of prayer and austerity.

Many of the sayings of the desert fathers and mothers have been handed down to us, and reveal the combination of wisdom, humour and astute assessment of character that is associated with them. Here is one such story that I particularly like:

A monk held between his outstretched arms a piece of string. He said to a child,

“This piece of string is like my relationship with God. I am one end of the string, and God is the other end. Now”, the monk continued, “ I want you to think of all the things you have done wrong over the last week. Every time that you think of something you have done wrong and then been sorry afterwards, I want you to cut the string and then tie a knot in it”.

The monk handed the child a pair of scissors and held out the string between his outstretched arms. The child became thoughtful for a few moments, frowned – and then cut the string and tied it with a knot. This happened three or four times. Then the monk, still holding the string with outstretched hands, asked the child,

“Now, what do you notice about the two ends of the string?”

The child looked puzzled for a moment. Then his eyes lit up with understanding.

“Oh”, he replied, “they are closer together”.

The Revd Sister Margaret Anne ASSP

Call for Prayer as the London Bridge and Borough Market Inquest proceeds

As the inquest into the London Bridge attack continues, Bishop Christopher requests that you should continue to hold all those who were drawn into the attack and its aftermath in prayer.

A prayer as the London Bridge and Borough Market Inquest proceeds written by the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark

‘Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses ….’ (Hebrews 12.1)

Lord Jesus, your scars bore witness to your suffering
as you stood before your friends.
Bless those whose scars have been reopened,
whose memories have been stirred,
whose pain has been revealed,
whose selfless acts recalled,
whose heroic actions told,
whose stories have been shared,
whose tears have been shed,
as testimonies are heard
in the London Bridge Inquest.
Hold us with your wounded hands
and bring us your peace.

November 2018 Prayer Diary

1st –    St Mary Barnes [Vacant], Geoffrey Barnett, Christabel Gairdner (Readers), Fiona Barnett (SPA) and the people of St Mary Barnes.

2nd –   Holy Trinity Barnes David Cooke (Team Vicar), Will Jackson (Worship Pastor) and the people of Holy Trinity Barnes.

3rd –    St Michael and All Angels Barnes  Stephen Stavrou (Team Vicar), Judith Roberts (Asst P) and the people of St Michael and All Angels Barnes.

4th –    St Mary Mortlake  Ann Nickson (Team Rector), Mel Le Vesconte (SPA) and the people of St Mary Mortlake.

5th –    All Saints East Sheen  Alex Barrow (Team Vicar), Peter King (Asst P), William Arnold (Reader), and the people of All Saints East Sheen.

6th –    Christ Church East Sheen  David Guest (Team Vicar), Olwen Williamson (PTO), Paul Russenberger (Reader), Deirdre Munro (SPA) and the people of Christ Church East Sheen.

7th –    St Anne’s Kew Nigel Worn (Vicar), Nicholas Darby (PTO) and the people of St Anne’s Kew.

8th –    Marian Mollett (Lay Chair) and the Deanery Synod; Sr Margaret Anne McAlister, Nicholas Roberts and Elisabeth Morse (PTO), Matthew Knox, Chaplain at St Paul’s School, Barnes.

9th –    St Philip & All Saints (Barn Church) w. St Luke, Kew  Peter Hart (Vicar), Richard Austen & Michael Tonkin (Readers) and the people of St Philip & All Saints (Barn Church) w. St Luke, Kew.

10thHoly Trinity and Christ Church Richmond  Dan Wells (Vicar), Kate Patterson (Licenced Lay Worker), Mark Anderson (Ordinand), Erin Gilmour (Youth Pastor), Sue Jackson (Children’s Worker), Nico Marais (Worship Pastor), Sheena Marx (Pastoral Co-ordinator), Hugh Dunlop and Keith Nurse (Readers) and the people of Holy Trinity and Christ Church Richmond.

11th –   St Mary Magdalene Richmond  Wilma Roest (Team Rector), Ruth Martin (Reader), Sue Easthaugh (SPA), and the people of St Mary Magdalene Richmond

12thSt John the Divine, Richmond  Neil Summers (Team Vicar), Andrew Williams (Chaplain at Roehampton University) and the people of St John the Divine, Richmond.

13thSt Matthias Richmond  Anne Crawford (Team Vicar), Gill Doling (Reader) and the people of St Matthias Richmond.

14thSt Richard’s Ham Riverside  Simon Coupland (Vicar), Donna Turner (SPA) and the people of St Richard’s Ham Riverside.

15thSt Peter’s Petersham  Tim Marwood (Vicar), Frances Forward (PTO) and the people of St Peter’s Petersham.

16thRichmond Charities Almshouses Stuart Lee (Chaplain), and the residents of Richmond Charities Almshouses.

17th – Richmond Inter Faith Forum

18th – The Vineyard Community Centre, and Richmond Foodbank.

19th –  The Chaplain, the Head and the students, staff and governors of Christ’s School.

20th – The Head, students, staff and governors of Holy Trinity CE Primary School

21st – The Head, students, staff and governors of The Queen’s CE Primary School

22nd – The Head, students, staff and governors of St Richard & St Andrew CE Primary School.

23rd – Richmond Street Pastors; Alcoholics Anonymous.

24th – The patients and staff of Barnes Hospital, and the Richmond Royal Hospital (inc. the Recovery College) [and the Community Mental Health Chaplaincy].

25th – The residents and staff of supported, sheltered, residential and nursing homes in the Deanery.

26th – Staff, volunteers and clients of Richmond Welcare, and Cruse Bereavement Care.

27th – The Chaplaincy, staff and patients of Kingston Hospital.

28th – SPEAR, and services for homeless people.

29th –   Refugees Welcome in Richmond and services for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants

30th – The members and staff of the London Borough of Richmond

May 2014 Prayer Diary

May is traditionally the month to remember Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. The national Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, is one of the most beautiful power houses of prayer in our land.May 2014 Prayer Diary

Saints’ days in May

1 Philip and James, Apostles

2 Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher of the Faith, 373

4 English Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era

8 Julian of Norwich, Spiritual Writer, c.1417

14 Matthias the Apostle

16 Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877

19 Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, Restorer of Monastic Life, 988

20 Alcuin of York, Deacon, Abbot of Tours, 804

21 Helena, Protector of the Holy Places, 330

24 John and Charles Wesley, Evangelists, Hymn Writers, 1791 and 1788

25 The Venerable Bede, Monk at Jarrow, Scholar, Historian, 735

25 Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, 709

26 Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, 605

26 John Calvin, Reformer, 1564

26 Philip Neri, Founder of the Oratorians, Spiritual Guide, 1595

28 Lanfranc, Prior of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Scholar, 1089

30 Josephine Butler, Social Reformer,1906

30 Joan of Arc, Visionary, 1431

30 Apolo Kivebulaya, Priest, Evangelist in Central Africa, 1933

31 The Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

March 2014 Prayer Diary

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Season of Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

Why we receive the ashes?

Following the example of the Ninevites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

Lenten Resources

In 2012 the Church of Scotland General Assembly received the report of the Special Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity – A right relationship with money.

For Lent 2014, a small writers group has produced a six-session study resource based upon this report. The group was chaired by Professor Charles Munn, who was Chair of the Special Commission.

Saints’ days in March

1 David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c.601

2 Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672

7 Perpetua, Felicity and their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203

8 Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, 1910

8 Felix, Bishop, Apostle to the East Angles, 647 8 Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929

17 Patrick, Bishop, Missionary, Patron of Ireland, c.460

18 Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, Teacher of the Faith, 386

19 Joseph of Nazareth

20 Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, Missionary, 687

21 Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, Reformation Martyr,1556

24 Walter Hilton of Thurgarton, Augustinian Canon, Mystic, 1396

24 Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, Martyr, 1980

25 The Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary

26 Harriet Monsell, Founder of the Community of St John the Baptist, 1883

31 John Donne, Priest, Poet, 1631