Category Archives: Prayer

Liturgical comment and prayer diary

Prayers and Reflections

6th January is the Christian celebration of Epiphany. Yet unlike its more popular cousin, Christmas, Epiphany is often not noticed and celebrated by many. Which is a shame, because Epiphany tells us who the gift of Christmas is for.

If you are given a gift which is wrapped, it’s often fun to try and guess what the gift might be. You can shake it, poke it, listen to it or squeeze it in an attempt to discern the gift under the wrapping paper. But there is only one sure way to know what the gift truly it. You need to unwrap the present and reveal the gift underneath.

That’s what the word ‘Epiphany’ means: to reveal, to unwrap and discover what something is. As Christians, Epiphany is all about revealing who Jesus is. Just as we unwrap presents at Christmas, we can open up the Bible and see who Jesus is. He is Immanuel, God with us.

But Epiphany tells us something else as well. It tells us who this gift is for. If you have a present, it can be simple to see who it’s for – you look at the gift tag. By reading the tag attached to the gift you can see who it is addressed to.

The other way you can see who a present is for, however, is to see who comes to receive it.

Epiphany in the point in the church’s calendar when we remember the visit of the wise men, or magi (or kings) to visit Jesus. We often think of there being three of them, because they brought three kinds of presents, but we don’t really know how many there were.

What is more important, however, is where they came from. Matthew tells us that the magi came “from the east” (Matthew 2:1). That could be a country just to the east of Israel, or it could be much further away, perhaps even China.

Wherever they started their journey, the crucial fact is that they came from another country. This is important, because up to this point God had worked through one set of people – the people of Isaiah. But now people from another land come to find Jesus and worship him. They came to receive God’s amazing gift.

The visit of the magi at Epiphany tells us that God’s gift of Jesus is for everyone everywhere. It’s not just for one group or nationality or people from a certain place. It’s for anyone!

That’s good news, because it means that God’s amazing gift of Jesus is for you and me. There is nothing stopping anyone from receiving God’s gift. Not your age, or your nationality, or your education, or your background, or anything at all. God’s amazing gift is for everyone.

So let’s celebrate Epiphany this year, because it reminds us that the amazing gift of life and love that God gives through Jesus is for anyone who could come and receive it.

Rev Dan Wells from his Keeping the Heart blog

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.


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.
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 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 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 or by taking part in the virtual discussion groups (see below). Click here for more details.

St Michael and All Angels, Barnes


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 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 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 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 ( with some poems by Malcolm Guite on the Psalms. Email 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 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 (, 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 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.

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 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 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 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!

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