Lent & Easter 2017

Corporate Preparation for Mass

During Lent and the first part of Holy Week our worship begins with silence. The presiding priest, servers and, at the Parish Mass, choir, enter informally at the start of Mass for a five-minute period of corporate silence and prayer. The purpose of this time is not to expose those who habitually arrive just in time, or later, but to focus our attention on the saving events of the season, and prepare ourselves in heart and mind to enter more fully into our worship. Please do your best to be in your seat and settled before the advertised time.

Sunday Next Before Lent - 26 February

A Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Season of Lent will be held on the Sunday Next before Lent, 26 February, at 6.30pm. The service takes the form of an evening Office with a homily and opportunity for self examination. Please do come if you possibly can.

Ash Wednesday - 1 March

Lent this year begins on 1 March. There are two Masses with Imposition of Ashes on this day: said in the parish centre at 9.30am, sung in church at 7.30pm. Ash Wednesday is named from the tradition of marking the faithful with a cross of ashes as a sign of mourning for their sins and of repentance. The ash is prepared by burning the palms left over from the previous year and mixing them with a little holy oil or water. This marking was originally made on the tonsure of monks or on the forehead of the faithful, but modern practice allows marking the palms of the hands instead. The people kneel before the priest, who marks them with the words, ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ’.

The service of the imposition of ashes is known as ‘ashing' and has its basis in the Old Testament practice, common in the ancient Middle East, of putting ashes on one's head and wearing sackcloth to signify repentance. ‘O my poor people, put on sackcloth, and roll in ashes; make mourning as for an only child, most bitter lamentation’ (Jeremiah 6:26). The use of ashes was abolished as part of the Protestant reforms of 1548 but reinstated by later monarchs. The service is now widely observed in the Church of England. Ash Wednesday is observed by almost all Christian denominations as a solemn day of repentance to mark the beginning of an important season, whether ashing is practised or not. For us Ash Wednesday is a so-called ‘Holy Day of Obligation’, when all should make a particular effort to participate in the worship of the day and begin the Season of Lent as they mean to go on – faithfully!

Download the Ash Wednesday poster here.

Resolutions for Lent

Faithfully and sincerely living the Christian life means a continual effort to live up to the ideals Christ has set us. Because we so regularly fall short we are constantly picking ourselves up and making a new effort, a new beginning.

Lent is a terrific opportunity to make such a fresh start. This in effect means making resolutions. They should be few, practical and reasonable. A little self-knowledge should be brought to bear. It is quite pointless making great promises if you know yourself well enough to know that you will not keep them up.

Stations of the Cross - Fridays in Lent

Stations take place on Fridays throughout Lent beginning at 7.30pm. As in previous years, we will be sharing these devotional and reflective occasions with our Christian brothers and sisters from St Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church, as indicated below. If you have not been before, this is one precious way of ‘keeping’ Lent.

Friday 3 March
Friday 10 March
Friday 17 March
Friday 24 March
Friday 31 March
Friday 7 April

St Gregory’s
St Matthew’s
St Gregory’s
St Matthew’s
St Gregory’s
St Matthew’s

The Stations of the Cross are an invaluable enrichment to our spiritual observance of Lent, as well as a wonderful teaching resource which exposes us to the central beliefs of our faith. Download the poster here as a handy reminder of the dates and please do come if you possibly can.

Lent Course 2017 - The Story of Holy Week

This year’s Lent Course, entitled The Story of Holy Week, takes place in church on the following, mostly Wednesday, evenings at 7.30pm. These will be shared with our Christian brothers and sisters from Kingsley Parish Methodist Church. Further details soon.


Wednesday 8 March
Wednesday 15 March
Wednesday 22 March
Thursday 30 March
Wednesday 5 April


He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey
He overturned the money changers’ tables

He ate with tax collectors and sinners
He washed his disciples’ feet
He broke bread and shared wine

Download the poster here as a handy reminder of the dates and please do come if you possibly can.

Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday is 26 March, the Fourth or ‘Mid’ Sunday of Lent. Sometimes it is known also as Refreshment Sunday where the rigours of Lent, in particular fasting, are relaxed. At 9.00am a Mass of the day (for the Fourth Sunday of Lent) is followed at 10.15am with our All Age Mass on the themes suggested by Mothering Sunday.

A little background: As the Roman Empire and Europe converted to Christianity, the pagan celebration of the mother goddess Cybele became part of the liturgical calendar for the fourth Sunday of Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and the mother Church. This was based on the Epistle for the fourth Sunday in Lent, as later set out in the Book of Common Prayer, which gives a special place to the theme of maternal love: ‘Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother’ (Galatians 4:26).

During the sixteenth century, people returned to their mother church – either a large local church or, more often, the nearest cathedral – for a service to offer thanks for the 'mother Church' and to give honour to the Virgin Mary. This emphasis seems to have died out in modern times.

In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, as it might be the only day in the year that they were allowed off. The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts.

Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into the Mothering Sunday secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers. For non-churchgoers, Mother’s Day has completely eclipsed this religious significance. Most denominations hold a special service on this Sunday to give thanks for all three aspects of motherhood: mother Church, the Virgin Mary and our own mothers. It has become traditional for the church to provide and bless small gifts, usually flowers, for children at the service to give to their mothers. Mothering Sunday is also known as Refreshment Sunday, from the appointed Gospel reading of the feeding of the 5000.

Few Christian festivals can have undergone as many changes in recent years as Mothering Sunday. Its original emphasis on motherhood and 'mother church' eventually broadened into a celebration of Christian families, but family life today is quite different even from fifty years ago. Working mothers, single parents and restructured families are almost becoming the norm, while traditional patterns of family life have largely disintegrated under the weight of information technology, media influence and ease of travel. The Church has always championed the family as part of God's created order, but many people experience family life as anything but positive or joyful. Inevitably they feel uncomfortable or even offended if the liturgy rejoices in what they have found to be painful, or if it seems to exclude them because they cannot share the happy experiences of others. Any Christian celebration of the family, whether on Mothering Sunday or at some other time, must therefore be very sensitive to those who have suffered through family or marital breakdown, abusive treatment, inadequate parenting, or bereavement – and not least those who, to their great sadness, are unable to have children.

Download the Mothering Sunday poster here.

British Summer Time

The clocks are put FORWARD one hour (officially at 2.00am) on Sunday 26 March. Please remember to alter your alarm clocks etc before you go to bed on Saturday 25th, or risk being late for church!

Passion Sunday – 2 April at 6.30pm

Meditations on Stations of the Cross – A Service of Music and Readings for Passiontide

St Matthew's is home to many wonderful works of art, including David Thomas' Stations of the Cross, which can be found around the perimeter of the nave. The fourteen reliefs were modelled in clay by the sculptor, his first major religious work. They were subsequently cast by Mr D C Giles of the British Museum. Each relief is of a resin-based composition to simulate the colour and texture of terracotta.

To mark the 30th anniversary of their installation in 1987, we have invited acclaimed improviser, John Pryer, to improvise meditations on the final journey of Christ from trial before Pilate to burial. The service will also include Gregorian chant sung by members of the choir. Fr Nicholas will give a brief introductory talk at 6:15pm, introducing the service and the Stations.

Download the poster here.

Holy Week

We have long taken great care in the keeping of Holy Week. Our worshipping community, and friends from afar, make a particular effort to lay aside other things and centre ourselves on Christ and the final climactic events of his earthly life. We do this because we believe that these events, recalled in catholic liturgy, contain the meaning of life, how it is to be lived, and where we are destined. Please do all you can to join us.

Posters for Holy Week and Easter can be downloaded from the ‘Special services Coming Up’ page.

Worship this Holy Week

Palm Sunday 9 April
9.30am The Palm Liturgy (in the Parish Centre),
Procession of Palms,
Combined Parish Mass of the Passion

6.30pm Service of Penitence and Forgiveness
Preacher: Fr Glen Brooks
Assistant Curate at Holy Trinity Church

Monday 10 April
6.00pm The Sacrament of Reconciliation (in the Lady Chapel)
7.30pm Mass with homily

Tuesday 11 April
7.30pm Mass with homily

Wednesday 12 April
9.30am Mass with homily
10.30am The Sacrament of Reconciliation (in the Lady Chapel)
7.30pm The Vigil Office of Tenebrae


7.30pm The Liturgy of the Last Supper
(including the Washing of Disciples’ Feet, Stripping of the Church, and All-Night Watch at the Garden of Gethsemane)

9.00am Morning Prayer and Prayers at the Foot of the Cross
10.30am Stations of the Cross for All Ages
2.00pm The Solemn Liturgy
(including the Proclamation of the Passion, the Veneration of the Cross, and Communion)

8.00pm The Easter Vigil and First Mass

9.00am Mass of the Resurrection
10.15am Procession and Parish Mass of the Resurrection
followed by refreshments in church
12.30pm Holy Baptism
6.00pm Easter Organ Recital
6.30pm Solemn Choral Evensong

Server Rehearsals for the Triduum

Following our customary pattern rehearsal will be held as follows:

Monday 10 April
c. 8.15pm For Maundy Thursday – The Liturgy of the Last Supper
Tuesday 11 April
c. 8.15pm For Good Friday – The Solemn Liturgy
Saturday 15 April
2.00pm For the Easter Vigil

Pre Easter Confession Times

Please note that Fr Nicholas will be available in the Lady Chapel on Monday 10 April from 6.00pm, and on Wednesday 12 April from 10.30am. Penitents are asked to come and go quietly via the north door (facing Collingwood Road), and wait their turn in the body of the nave, well away from the Chapel).

Church Spring Clean

On Holy Saturday (15 April) we will be preparing our spiritual home for the coming festival. We begin cleaning etc after Morning Prayer at 9.30am. Many hands really do make light work, so do please join us.


You are invited to bring hand bells to church in order that these may be rung at the end of the Easter Vigil and during the refrain of the Lourdes Gloria.

Easter Bonnets and Ties
While the ladies show off their Easter bonnets, the gentlemen are encouraged to participate too with their own splash of yellow…

Easter Day Baptism

Please remember in your prayers Frankie-Jai Murdoch who is to be baptised on Easter Day, his parents Daniel and Holly and the godparents, that they will be faithful to the vows they make for Frankie and themselves. (Please note that the baptism takes place at the later time of 12.30pm in order to allow sufficient time for our festivities after the 10.15am service.)

Easter Bank Holiday

Please note that, as is our custom, Mass on Monday 17 April will be at 9.30am.


Please note that after Easter Day Fr Nicholas will be off duty during Easter Week. Details of Easter Week services will be advertised in the weekly notices when clerical cover has been confirmed.


  Times of Services  

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  Worship Calendar  

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Special Services


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Music Lists



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Weekday Scripture Readings



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Healing Ministry


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Walsingham Cell


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    Walsingham Cell Gallery

View photos relating to the Walsingham Cell.

  Baptisms & Weddings  

Learn about Baptisms & Weddings at St Matthew's church and the Initial Enquiries Evenings that take place.


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