Lent & Easter 2018

Last year's Palm Crosses

Please would you return your palm crosses in order that they may be consumed by fire and the resulting ash used in our worship on Ash Wednesday, 14 February. A receptacle has been left out for this purpose in church and in the foyer of the parish centre.

Ash Wednesday

Lent 2018 begins on 14 February. There are two Eucharists with Imposition of Ashes: said in the parish centre at 9.30am, and sung in church at 7.30pm. Please make every effort to present yourself at God's altar on this 'Holy Day of Obligation', and begin Lent as you mean to go on - faithfully.

First Sunday of Lent

The Parish Mass this day will include an extended penitential rite, featuring the Litany sung in procession.

Stations of the Cross

As in previous years, we will be combining with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters for Stations of the Cross. These take place as follows on Fridays at 7.30pm. There are few better ways to observe Lent than to reflect on the final hours of our Saviour's early life.

16 February
23 February
2 March
9 March
16 March
23 March

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

Lent Course 2018

This year's Lent Course is entitled 'The Joy of the Gospel', and is written by Paula Gooder. The Course arises out of a document of the same name written by Pope Francis. Paula Gooder, a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, was invited by the committee to produce a study course that would help Anglicans and Christians of other traditions, as well as Catholics, engage with the rich themes of the text. Paul's work opens up Pope Francis' words, which have been welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for a whole range of christians.

There are five sessions in church on Wednesdays at 7.30pm of approximately one hour's duration:


21 February
28 February
7 March
14 March
21 March


The joy of the Gospel
Going forth
Saying yes and saying no
Proclaiming the Gospel
Making the Kingdom present in our world

The cost of the book 'The Joy of the Gospel' is £7.99, and contains a sixth session, Filled with the Spirit. Please sign the sheet provided in church and in the parish centre to obtain your copy.

Mothering Sunday (11 March)

Please note that the 9.00am Mass with homily will be for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. At 10.15am, children attending the All Age Mass for Mothering Sunday will be given a posy of flowers to present to their mothers. The service will be followed by Cafe Guides' refreshments in the Parish Centre. Evensong is at 5.30pm in Quire.

Passion Sunday

On Passion Sunday, 18 March 2018 at 5.30pm, the choir will lead a devotional performance of John Stainer’s beloved oratorio, The Crucifixion: A Meditation on the Sacred Passion of the Holy Redeemer. This work is no stranger to St Matthew’s; it has been sung on numerous occasions since its premiere in 1887.

The Crucifixion is scored for tenor and baritone soloists, choir and organ. It was dedicated to Stainer’s pupil and friend William Hodge, Organist & Choirmaster at Marylebone Parish Church in London, where the cantata was first performed. In composing The Crucifixion, Stainer’s intention was to provide a Passiontide cantata written in a musical language and on a scale that would put it within the scope of most parish church choirs. Its structure is modelled on the scheme of choruses, chorales, recitatives and arias of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The Rev William Sparrow-Simpson, Succentor & Librarian of St Paul’s Cathedral, compiled the libretto, drawing on the Gospel accounts for the narrative elements of the story and writing the texts of the choruses, arias and hymns himself.

Our soloists will be Ronan Busfield (tenor) and Dan D’Souza (baritone), both accomplished opera and oratorio singers in their own right. As is custom, the congregation will be invited to take part in the five memorable hymns. If you would like to sing the choruses with the choir, please email Don Kennedy at Donkennedy@f2s.com for details. All are welcome.

A retiring collection will be taken to defer the costs of the service.

Four books titles for Lent published by SPCK

"SPCK was delighted to publish four very different Lent books, which offer four inspirational and reflective ways to prepare for this distinctive season of the church's year. However you like to engage with God on your journey, we hope we've got a book for you for Lent 2018.

Our little selection of Lent books contains something for everyone - with Lent Talks being a particularly exciting partnership with BBC Radio 4. Gathering talks from the best of Lenten broadcasting, this short book contains contributions from Alexander McCall Smith, Ann Widdecombe, Bonnie Greer, Giles Fraser, James Runcie and Nick Baines. As Christian Morgan, Head of Radio, BBC Religion and Ethics, writes in her foreword; "The words of these Lent talks offer a kind of nourishment. This book is a feast for the contemporary soul." We hope that this book will be of particular interest to those on the edges of faith, or looking for a fresh way to approach Easter.

From Sister Wendy Beckett, author with SPCK of Sister Wendy's Bible Treasury, comes The Art of Lent. Suitable for individual or group use, this book explores the season of the Cross with an artistic spirituality. Each day features a different painting, beautifully presented, and with a daily reflection by Sister Wendy.

The Reverend Doctor Megan Daffern, Chaplain at Jesus College, Oxford, has written a beautiful book focused on the Psalms. Songs of the Spirit is a readable, accessible and wise guide to the season, featuring a psalm a day for Lent and Easter. John Pritchard calls this book 'Illuminating and spiritually rich'. For those looking to dig deeper into the Bible, this is the perfect book.

Our final Lent book for 2018 is James McCaffrey's The Way of the Carmelites. This prayer journey through Lent represents a distinctly Catholic view of the Lenten experience. Sarah Maitland, author of A Book of Silence, called this 'useful and beautiful'. For those wanting a traditional and prayerful way toward the Easter weekend, this is the perfect book."

If you would like any or all of these books, ranging between £5 - £10 depending on the number required, they may be ordered via the Parish Office using the sign-up sheet provided in church and in the parish centre.

Also recommended:

The Little Book Of Lent is an indispensable collection of readings from some of the most celebrated modern-day spiritual writers with passages specially selected for each of the forty days of Lent. These carefully chosen insights come from men and women, lay and ordained, across the denominational spectrum, and their wisdom is combined with both a suggested scripture passage, and a prayer to make your own. The book is published by Collins and is priced £4.99.

Preparing for Easter - Fifty Devotional Readings from C S Lewis: A selection of classic works from the beloved and bestselling author C S Lewis, brought together in one special devotional for readers to contemplate the grand miracle of Jesus' resurrection. "I find I am constantly realising that I owe many of my most basic convictions about the Christian faith to Lewis' imagination." Rowan Williams

Weekday Worship

In time for Holy Week, all weekday services will revert to church from Wednesday 21 March. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have made our winter arrangements in the Parish Centre work, those who have taken on additional tasks, and coped with inevitable, and sometimes unworshipful, disruption. Your efforts and forbearance are much appreciated.

Holy Week

Holy Week is the most important time of the Christian year. The way in which we keep these days has long been a strength within our parish. The liturgical provision expresses not only the most fundamental Christian memories and the climactic events of our Saviour's passion, death and resurrection, but also lays out the treasures and rich insights of a catholic Anglican understanding and expression. This is a time not to be missed when we recall who and what we are as the baptised people of God. This is our opportunity to do all we can to ensure that our Easter joy is genuine. For posters showing details of all Holy Week and Easter Services, please go to our Special Services Coming Up page.

Pre-Easter confessions

Please note that Fr Nicholas will be available in the Lady Chapel at the following times:

Monday of Holy Week (26 March)           from 6.00pm
Wednesday of Holy Week (28 March)      from 10.30am

Penitents are asked to come and go quietly via the north door facing Collingwood Road, and wait in the middle of the nave, well away from the Chapel, until the coast is clear. All others are respectfully asked

Foot Washing

As ever, we need twelve willing participants to submit to having a foot washed during the Maundy Thursday evening liturgy. This re-enactment of what Jesus did is an example of humble service. It would be great to have some new faces, or more accurately, feet in the mix. Please sign the sheet provided in church.

All-Night Watch (29-30 March)

The Watch with Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane begins directly after the Liturgy of the Last Supper at c.9.00pm and continues until Morning Prayer at 9.00am on Good Friday. We aim to have at least two people keeping the Watch at all times, and entry will be via the north door. During the 'small' hours of the night, and for reasons of security, the door will be secured and it will be necessary to knock. Please sign the sheet provided in church.

Stations of the Cross for All Ages

This service takes place on Good Friday, 30 March, at 10.30am. There will be a series of readings and activities based on the Stations culminating in a visit to the Calvary cross in the garden outside. Our time together will be followed by refreshments in the parish centre. Further details in due course.

Church cleaning

On Holy Saturday, 31 March, following Morning Prayer at 9.00am, we invite you to help us make ready our spiritual home for the coming festival. Please wear old clothes and come ready to give us your best until approximately midday, or for as long as you are able.



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