Category Archives: Prayer

Liturgical comment and prayer diary

Prayers and Reflections

I have to confess I don’t really know a great deal about gardening. I’m allergic to most things in a garden so that has been a big barrier to me learning how to grow things. I certainly don’t have an innate ability to look after plants. I don’t know what the opposite of green fingers is, but I have it. I can even kill a cactus!

Even with my lack of knowledge and ability, there is one thing I know about plants. Fruit plants are supposed to produce fruit. Apple trees should produce apples; blackberry bushes should produce blackberries and so on.

Well, the same is true of the Christian life. Christians are supposed to produce Christian fruit in our lives. If we are a Christian and we are not producing gospel fruit then that could be sign that something is wrong.

To help us see this, Jesus uses a particular fruiting plant – the vine – to show us how things should be:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1–2)

Christians are supposed to bear fruit. Just as a vine is supposed to produce grapes, so we are supposed to produce fruit – a transformed life, transformed relationships and transformed desires.

It’s a very simple picture isn’t it? A fruit bearing vine is good. A vine which bears no fruit is bad, not really useful for anything other than firewood.

Imagine if you went to the supermarket and bought some grapes. When you got home and opened the packet, all you found were stalks and no grapes. You wouldn’t be very happy would you? That’s not what you wanted.

Being a Christian should produce fruit in our lives. Being a Christian is supposed to have a transformative effect on the way we act, think, desire, plan, live. It is meant to make a difference.

So how are you feeling today? Are you feeling fruity? Are you feeling productive? Or are you feeling a bit woody, a bit stalky, a bit like a vine with little fruit?

Jesus’ aim is not to make us feel guilty for being less fruitful that we might like. Instead it is to point us in the right direction to bear fruit.

The danger with a passage like this is that I can read it and think I need to be more fruitful. So I get into action and do all the things I think make up Christian fruit. I work hard and try to do it all in my own effort.

Trouble is, that’s a bit like taking the empty stalk in my grape packet and thinking there should be fruit on it. So I get some grapes and starting sticking them on with sellotape. It’s the right idea, but utterly the wrong way to go about it. That’s not how fruit grows!

Instead, that stalk needs to be connected to the vine in order to produce fruit. Only when it is getting its nutrients, strength and life from the vine that it can grow juicy delicious fruit again.

So it is with us. If we hear this passage and try to produce fruit in our own effort and our own strength, it will fail. It’s like stapling apples onto an apple tree.

Instead we need to be connected to the vine, and that vine is Jesus. Only when we are connected to him, to his power, his Spirit, his life, are we able to produce fruit as Christians.

So, are you feeling fruitful as a Christian today? If not, don’t feel guilty. Instead, come back in connection with the vine once more. Is there a way in which you can reconnect with Jesus, the true vine, today?

Rev Dan Wells from his Keeping the Heart Blog

Click here to read previous meditations and reflections.

Faith and Climate Change

Following a Lent group at St Anne’s, Kew, participants were keen to maintain awareness of how these issues relating to the topics of climate change and climate justice link to our faith. Each week they are sharing a fact, prayer, reference, or reflection relating to climate change.

Here is this week’s:
Prayer
Loving Creator God, we give You thanks for the wonders of Your Creation. We ask for grace to see, as You do, the beauty and the suffering of our Planet Earth, and the grace to examine how our life choices impact on creation and on our fellow human beings throughout the world. Help us to recognise the urgency with which we need to act in relation to climate change. We pray in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

National Day of Reflection 23 March

The Church of England are supporting the National Day of Reflection on 23 March, the first anniversary of the UK lockdown, to commemorate this tragic loss of life and to stand together with everyone who’s grieving.

Organised by Marie Curie, the National Day of Reflection looks to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.

Pray…

Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end,
Alpha and Omega, all time belongs to him, and all ages.
From the Easter Vigil, Common Worship

God of all that has been, that is, that is to come
as we reflect on the year that has past,
those we have lost,
those we have missed,
the contact not made,
the hopes dashed,
new things discovered,
new opportunities seized,
new love embraced,
we thank you that you have been with us
and brought us to this day.
Stay with us
as we step into your future
with faith and hope and love
and in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
Dean Andrew Nunn

Light a candle…

Click here to light a virtual candle.

Support the bereaved

Phone someone or send a prayer postcard

Be silent…

Lent Across the Deanery

Ash Wednesday Services, 17th February

St Michael and All Angels, Barnes
12 noon Mass with Imposition of Ashes (in person).
8pm Sung Mass with Imposition of Ashes (in person).

St Mary, Barnes
Online Service. Click here.

All Saints, East Sheen
8pm Eucharist with Ashing (in person and live-streamed).

St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake
8pm Live-streamed service (click here).

Richmond Team Ministry
8pm Zoom service. Please have a blank piece of paper with you (A5 or similar size). Email admin@richmondteamministry.org for meeting details.

St Mary Magdalene, Richmond
10am Service with the sprinkling of ashes (in person).
5pm Service with the sprinkling of ashes (in person).

St John the Divine, Richmond
6pm Said Eucharist, including the sprinkling of ashes (in person and live-streamed).

St Anne’s, Kew
8pm Sung mass (in person and live-streamed). Booking essential to attend in person, email saintannekew@gmail.com by 11am Tuesday 16th February.

Lent Course from St George’s College, Jerusalem

St Mary’s, Barnes, Richmond Team Ministry and St Luke’s and the Barn Church, Kew, are following a Lent course from St George’s College in Jerusalem.  The course consists of six sessions  exploring the geography of the Holy Land, following Jesus from Galilee to Golgotha. Each session will reflect on the theme with questions for exploration and comes with links to short films from the Holy Land. You can follow the course individually by emailing resources@sgcjerusalem.org or by taking part in the virtual discussion groups (see below). Click here for more details.

St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

SMA-Lent-Childrens-Leaflet-2021

St Mary’s Barnes

‘A River Through the Desert’ discussion group. Monday evenings via Zoom. Lent course from St George’s College, Jerusalem. See above. Email revdjames@stmarybarnes.org if you would like to join.

Mortlake and East Sheen Team Ministry

All Saints, East Sheen are running a Lent course via Zoom at 6:30pm on Sundays 21st, 28th February, 7th, 14th, and 21st March. They will be looking at the themes salvation, justice, consolation and desolation, sacrifice and grace and mercy with the aim of helping people develop and clarify their thinking and understanding of these words and ideas that we frequently use in church. Email alexbarrow1@gmail.com if you would like to join.

Christ Church, East Sheen will be running a Zoom discussion group on Mondays from 2:30-4pm for five weeks starting Monday 22nd February. They will be following a series that explores the relationship with God and neighbour through the metaphors of landscapes: Barren Land, Wilderness, Gardens, Wasteland and Re-Wilding. Contact russenbergerjudith@gmail.com to join.

Christ Church, East Sheen will also be posting daily Lent reflections on Facebook.

During Lent, Canon Ann Nickson will be running a Lent course on the Psalms via Zoom 6pm on Sundays, starting Sunday 21st February. They will be using the York Course study guide (www.yorkcourses.co.uk/product/the-psalms/) with some poems by Malcolm Guite on the Psalms. Email AnnNickson@aol.com if you would like to join.

Richmond Team Ministry

Recommended books for Lent

Candles in the Dark – Faith, hope and love in a time of pandemic by Rowan Williams (SPCK, 2021). From March to September 2020 Rowan Williams wrote weekly meditations for the congregation of his parish church. They offer light in these dark times and challenge the reader, but always give hope!

Thy Will be done The 2021 Lent Book by Stephen Cherry (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2021). At a time of change, uncertainly and widespread anxiety, we go back to familiar spiritual resources, such as the Lord’s Prayer. Thy will be done presents the comforts and challenges of the prayer in 36 short chapters, one for almost every day in Lent (excluding Sundays).

David’s Crown – Sounding the Psalms by Malcolm Guite (Canterbury Press, 2021). Poems of each of the 150 psalms, to reflect on, go back to and read alongside the biblical psalms.

At home in Lent – An exploration of Lent through 46 objects by Gordon Giles (BRF, 2019). Here is an original way of approaching Lent, one that will encourage you to consider your own faith journey in the light of the Easter story. Inspired by Ian McGregor’s Radio 4 programme, ‘The History of the World in 100 Objects’, Gordon Giles spends each week in a different room gleaning spiritual lessons from everyday household objects, such as a mobile phone, keys, shoes, kettle.

My sour-sweet days – George Herbert and the journey of the soul by Mark Oakley (SPCK, 2020). Forty poems by George Herbert each followed by a short meditation – poetry bringing comfort, refreshment and renewed energy.

Lent Courses and Services

‘Holy Habits’ – 10:30-11:30am Thursdays via Zoom.
‘A River Through the Desert’ discussion group
. 6:30-7pm Sundays via Zoom. Lent course from St George’s College, Jerusalem. See above. Material must have been read in advance.
Lenten Meditations and Compline – Wednesdays in Lent, 7.30pm till 8.00pm, via Zoom.
Stations of the Cross – 4pm Wednesdays (from 24 February) via Zoom.

Email admin@richmondteamministry.org for links to zoom meetings.

Holy Trinity, Richmond

Click here to subscribe to Holy Trinity’s daily Lent devotions which will take you through the whole of Mark’s Gospel.

St Anne’s, Kew

5pm SundaysStations of the Cross live-streamed here.

Faith in the time of Coronavirus. 6:30-7:45pm Sundays via Zoom – A series of informal discussions reflecting from five different theological perspectives on our experience of living through the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on our faith, our fellowship and our hopes for the future. Starts Sunday 21st February. Click here for more details and to register.

For such a time as this. 2:30-3:30pm Mondays via Zoom – USPG Lent Course – a five week series of informal study and discussion on the Christian response to Climate Change. Starts Monday 22nd February. Contact Claudine McCreadie (dandcmcc@gmail.com, 020 8241 7627) if you would like to join.

During Lent, St Anne’s will be sharing a weekly conversation with a different member of our congregation, talking about life, church, wider interests and how faith has made a difference to them. Click here to listen.

St Phillip and All Saints and St Luke’s, Kew

‘A River Through the Desert’ discussion group. 8pm, Monday evenings via Zoom. Lent course from St George’s College, Jerusalem. See above. Email office@kewparishes.plus.com if you would like to join.

#LiveLent: God’s Story, Our Story

Click here to download the free app from the Church of England or to sign up to receive emails, with daily reading, reflection and a prayer as well as some action. Each day also has a family action, which can be done by everyone, young and old! 

Prayer for the Nation

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are encouraging us to pray for the nation as we continue to struggle with the effects of the pandemic on our lives, and mourn the loss of over 100,000 lives. They are suggesting that we put aside some time every day at 6pm to pause, pray and remember those who have died, and those who mourn and support the bereaved. Click here to read their letter and find more information.


Gracious God,
as we remember before you the thousands who have died,
surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion.
Be gentle with us in our grief,
protect us from despair,
and give us grace to persevere
and face the future with hope
in Jesus Christ our risen Lord.
Amen.

Advent Talks, Discussion Groups and Trails around the Deanery

Liturgy of the Ordinary from St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

This year, St Michael and All Angels has an Advent theme of prayer and spirituality at home, inspired by the amount of time we have all had to spend at home this year.
Rev Stephen Stavrou writes:
“Our sermons, books and discussion groups seek to help us connect our faith with the daily practice of living. To see the sacred in the secular and secular in the sacred.”

They recommend two books for Advent reading (see below) and will be holding Advent book groups via Zoom. Please email admin@stmichaelbarnes.org if your are interested in joining.

Christmas Tree Festival at St Michael and All Angels, Barnes

Come and see the sparkling trees and visit the Nativity Stable. Click here to see some pictures.

Advent Journey from Christ Church, East Sheen

Each day during Advent receive by email a daily reflection based on an image poem or text, following the themes of change, uncertainty, light and hope. Each day there will be a simple activity or craft. Please email russenbergerjudith@gmail.com if you wish to take part.

Follow Burrito’s Advent Journey daily on Facebook

Advent Talks from All Saints, East Sheen

This year All Saints, East Sheen are looking at the Nativity and Person of Jesus – what the Gospels say about his birth, what Jesus says about himself, and why these things matter to our faith. There will be a bit of preparatory thinking for each session.
The talks will be at 8.00 p.m. on Tuesdays 24th November and 1st, 8th, and 15th December. Please email alexbarrow1@gmail.com for the link to the Zoom meeting.

Advent Meditations from Richmond Team Ministry

Each Wednesday during Advent clergy from Richmond Team Ministry will each lead a short reflection on the theme of Advent, which is
concluded by saying Compline together. Click here for the order of service for Compline.

The reflections will be at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesdays 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd December. Click here to contact Richmond Team Ministry for the meeting link..

Advent Book List from Richmond Team Ministry

The Richmond Team Ministry clergy have put together a short recommended Advent booklist.
Prayer, Where to Start and How to Keep Going by Stephen Cottrell
No one ever becomes an expert in prayer, but this little book sets out to help become more open to God’s presence, which is the heart of prayer.
Let it Slow, an Advent Calendar with a Difference by Stephen Cottrell
Christmas can be one of the most joyful but stressful times of year. This guide offers another way to approach December.
Heaven in Ordinary, a Poet’s Corner Collection by Malcolm Guite Everyday events and encounters, landscapes and poetry, stories, memory and a sense of the sacred: the musings of a poet’s mind
Frequencies of God, Walking through Advent with R.S. Thomas by Carys Walsh
28 reflections on Thomas’s poetry as a guide for this season, exploring themes of waiting, accepting, journeying and birthing.

Christmas Trails

Look our for Christmas windows and displays in homes around Richmond, Mortlake and Ham as Churches encourage us to display the joy of Christmas. Holy Trinity, Richmond are even having a competition (click here)! Click here for a trail map around Mortlake and visit St Michael and All Angels, Barnes or click here to pick up trail maps around Barnes. Click here to see more pictures.

Mission Advent Calendar from Holy Trinity, Richmond

During Advent Holy Trinity, Richmond are highlighting the various aspects of mission they support. Every day they will highlight a person or organisation they are connected with, and a new one will be revealed each day. Click here daily to find encouragements for your faith and ways to pray for mission during Advent.

Online Advent Calendar

Online Advent Calendar produced by a group of clergy gives a daily
reflection, a reading, pieces of art and music for each day during Advent, starting Sunday 29th November. Good for the soul and easier on the waistline!
https://adventonline.faith/advent-calendar/

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 soweiss@tutordoctor.co.uk, copying in David at dj.boddy@gmail.com. You would be most welcome.