Sunday 6th September 2020 – Trinity XIII – the Vicar
On Sunday I read a sermon that was preached in St Mark’s on Sunday 7 July 1940 and published in the August 1940 parish magazine, just one month before the church was all but destroyed. Continue Reading
Sunday 16 August 202 – Trinity X – Ros Miskin, Reader
In Psalm 34, a Psalm of David, which gives praise to God for deliverance from troubles, we read the sentence: ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good’. Continue Reading
Sunday 2 August 2020 – Trinity VIII – Ros Miskin, Reader
What I have observed during my preparation of sermons to preach here at St. Mark’s is that the Bible narratives are full of threads that are woven to form various patterns that make up the great tapestry of the Bible story. Continue reading
Sunday 19 July 2020 – Trinity VI Proper 11 – William Gulliford
Jesus’s remarkable style as a teacher was to use pictures to capture his audience’s attention. Last week’s Gospel was the Parable of the Sower, which anyone in an agricultural society would have grasped immediately. And I thought in that vein I might use some pictures too, which while not of wheat and tares, are of furnaces of fire! Continue reading
Sunday 27 June 2020 – Trinity III Proper 8 – Zoom Sermon – William Gulliford
Next week we shall return to church, but before we do, here we are gathered in this virtual way, safely distanced, but together. We are worshipping as perhaps three months ago we might never have imagined. And we are poised on the threshold of our beloved St Mark’s. Continue Reading…
Trinity I, 14 June 2020 – Ros Miskin, Reader
One of the charities that I support is the Children’s Society. When reading their most recent magazine I was struck by the depiction in it of colourful postcards sent by supporters of the Society sharing messages of hope for young refugees. One such read: ‘Welcome to England. We hope that you feel welcome and enjoy being here’. Another wrote: ‘Welcome! You are valued! Continue Reading
Sunday after Ascension, 24 May 2020 – Ros Miskin, Reader
The theme of my sermon today is ‘glory’. I have chosen this theme to reflect today’s reading from the Gospel of John. The focus of John’s Gospel is on the ‘hour’ of Jesus’ glorification which was to return to the Father at the Crucifixion. Continue Reading
Mothering Sunday, 22 March 2020 – Ros Miskin, Reader
Today is Mothering Sunday. In spite of the face to face contact that has been curtailed by the Corona Virus I am sure that many people today will be on the phone to their mothers in gratitude for their love for them and all they have done for them.Continue Reading
Transfiguration, 23 February 2020 – William Gulliford
We are fortunate in this church that there is so much to look at, which tells a story. Continue Reading
Septuagesima, 9 February 2020 – William Gulliford
The Sunday School at this moment is in the crypt learning how to pronounce the word Septuagesima so they are word perfect by the time they come back again. Continue Reading
Candlemas, 2nd February – Ros Miskin, Reader
As we come together today to celebrate Candlemas, I have chosen for my sermon the theme of light and darkness. Continue Reading
The rejected cornerstone, 22 December – Ros Miskin, Reader
Be careful what you throw away’ my grandmother used to say, ‘you never know when you might need it’. This accords well with the saying: ‘don’t buy new when old will do’. It is fun and refreshing to buy new things but to my mind there is a gentle warning here to be careful when we contemplate discarding that which might be of great value.Continue Reading
Truth Tellers: The Prophets, 8th December 2019 (Advent II) – Revd Matt Harbage
On this Second Sunday of Advent, we celebrate the prophets of God. These are the holy men and women who, yes, predict the future, but more importantly and more powerfully, the prophets are those who speak the truth.
Truth to those in power. Exactly as John the Baptist cries to the religious authorities, “Repent!” and cease manipulating others. They speak Truth about who God is, his character and loving nature. And they point out God’s action in the world. Continue reading…
The Persecuted Church, 17th November 2019 – Revd Matt Harbage
This morning, as we reflect on today’s Gospel where Jesus predicts that his disciples would face persecution and, like him, be betrayed and even face death; I want to focus on the persecuted Church of today and their witness to the Cross of Christ. Continue Reading…
Remembrance Sunday 2019, 10th November 2019 – Revd Matt Harbage
In the UK today, we live in a political culture of division and blame. It will not have escaped any of us that the language used in parliament over the last couple of months has been lamentable; stoking the fires of division. The Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly spoken out about this, and calls for action to heal divisions not just in parliament but “at almost every level of society”. What is our role as Christian people amidst the divisions and tense uncertainty? Continue Reading…
Nature in the Bible and Saving of the Lost Sheep, 3 November 2019 – Ros Miskin, Reader
Recently I watched a television programme about children who were evacuated from town to countryside during the second War. Continue Reading…
God and Wealth, 22 September 2019 – Ros Miskin, Reader
In the final sentence of today’s Gospel reading we are told clearly and simply: ‘You cannot serve God and wealth’. Continue Reading…
The Good Samaritan (Christian Ethics sermon part 2), 14th July 2019 – Revd Matt Harbage
I want to explore Virtue Ethics and the calling of Jesus toward imitation. Continue Reading…
Jesus’ radical calling to be Peacemakers (Christian Ethics sermon part 1), 7th July 2019 – Revd Matt Harbage
Today I want to speak about war. Perhaps more so, about peacemaking, but also about war. Continue Reading…
The Gerasene Man Freed, 23 June 2019 – Ros Miskin
In today’s Gospel reading we learn of a man in the country of the Gerasenes who is trapped by demons within himself that cause him to live outside the city in the tombs. The demons have left him as an outcast without even the capacity to wear clothes. Attempts have been made to imprison him in shackles but his inner demons drive him so distracted that he breaks free and goes into the wilds. Continue Reading…
Ros Miskin, 26 May
Today is Rogation Sunday. It is a time of asking God’s blessing on the fruits of the earth. It is observed by some Christians in the form of a walk around their parish, stopping off on the journey to sing hymns and pray. The aim is to unite the rite and ritual of services in church with the activity of the outside world. Continue Reading…
The Core Christian Commandmant, 19th May 2019 – Revd Matt Harbage
I want to share with you a story about Martha. When I was living in Cambridge I was part of a small community which offered hospitality to people with learning disabilties. They didn’t usually stay with us, but we would have them round for dinner and films and gardening and so on.
Well, Martha had learning disabilities and we had her stay with us for a weekend. A week before the weekend began, I went for a run and mightily sprained my ankle… Continue Reading…
Patronal Festival of St. Mark 2019 – Revd Dr Ayla Lepine
The Song of Solomon, a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, concludes with the protagonist’s realisation that ‘If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.’ In the context of the narrative, which is a story of cycles of trauma and hardship not unlike the intensity of suffering and bewilderment we hear in St Mark’s Gospel this morning, this insight about riding the air, yielding to it, is closely linked to liberation and the possibility of truly, authentically, finding one’s own voice. Continue reading…
Ros Miskin, 10 March 2019
Let us look at today’s Gospel reading in the context of the Lord’s Prayer.
When we recite the Lord’s Prayer we say to God: ‘lead us not into temptation’. It is our humble petition to God for us to overcome temptation when he allows us to experience the allurements of evil. I am sure we have all, at one time or another, given in to temptation. As Oscar Wilde wittily wrote: ‘I can resist anything except temptation’. Continue reading
Ros Miskin, 24 February 2019
How easy is it, I wonder, to have faith in times of trouble? On a personal level, when I have found myself in a difficult situation or have felt particularly anxious about something, often as not and instinctively I have said the Lord’s Prayer, quietly and in no more than a whisper. At this moment, then, I am asking God, so to speak, to ‘see me through’. So far so good, as God may not answer immediately or in the way I was hoping for but at least my prayer was a sign of faith in Divine purpose in times of trouble. Continue reading…
“Little Easter”, 17th February 2019 – Revd Matt Harbage
Today we begin a bit of a countdown. Septuagesima Sunday: derived from the Latin for 70, followed by next Sunday, Sexagesima – 60, next Sunday 50 – We are counting down to Easter.
Lent has not yet begun, beginning as it does on Ash Wednesday on the 6th March, so this pre-Lent period offers us time to ponder how we might keep the coming Lent.
So what might we give up, or take on, over the coming 40 days? How will you keep Lent? Continue reading…
Advent I, 2nd December 2018 – Revd Matt Harbage
It is a real privilege to be welcomed into this community especially at the very start of this liturgical new year. Advent is such a rich season: A time of reflection and preparation, of expectancy and joyful hope.
Over lunch this week, a friend remarked, “We often think that love is the most important virtue in the Christian tradition, and indeed it is,” he said. He continued, “However, perhaps hope is even more foundational to our faith.” Continue reading…
Ros Miskin, 4 November 2018
My theme today is ‘welcome’. Some time ago I attended a gathering of representatives of churches at St. Olave’s church in the City of London which was called ‘Open Presence’. The aim of this gathering was to encourage us to keep our churches open as much as possible and to make visitors feel welcome. Suggestions were made on how this can be achieved such as good, welcoming signage and warmly greeting those who enter, offering information if requested or being the listening ear. Continuing reading
Ros Miskin, 21 October 2018
I recently attended an event in aid of the Christian Blind Mission. I attended as a supporter of the CBM which is an overseas disability charity that works in some of the world’s poorest places to restore sight to children living with preventable blindness. The CBM resources go under the title ‘Let there be light’. Continuing reading
Dedication Festival, 7 October 2018 – William Gulliford
How dreadful is this place?
Well, I hope not.
How lovely are thy dwellings, O Lord of Hosts, perhaps we would rather say.
That sense of dread though, we should not lose sight of, as we commemorate, and give thanks for construction of this church, and its rededication almost exactly 61 years ago.
It took a long time after the end of the war and longer of course after the fateful bombings on the 21 and 26 September 1940. The first destroyed much of the nave, the second, a high explosive bomb, fell in the chancel and as the history says, the ruin was complete. Many newly built churches adopted a modernist style. However, Father Stuckey, who may been slightly Stuckey by name and Stuckey in the muddy by nature held out for a renewed Gothic approach. As we know, Comper came out of retirement. He incorporated the solemnity of late medieaval colour-scapes, and wove into the overall design aspects very early Byzantine thoughts on church architecture. It is a stunning achievement. In 1957, the church was re-consecrated, and in 1962 the last of the post commissions was installed, the St Mark’s window, near the kitchen. A fine piece of art work. Continuing reading
Reverend Marjorie Brown 19th August 2018
A few days ago I watched an excellent film called Apostasy, telling the story of a mother and her young adult daughters who are devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. It was written and directed by a man who grew up in that faith. In the film, the older daughter strays from the path and is disfellowshipped by the community; this requires her mother and sister to cut off contact with her as well. The younger daughter meanwhile has her faith tested in a profound way around the issue of refusing blood transfusions. I won’t tell you what happens in the story because I would really encourage you to see it yourselves. It’s a truly thoughtful and compassionate account of what it means to be formed as a human being by the teachings of one’s faith – in this case, a faith that is ultimately destructive of family relationships and personal flourishing. Continuing reading
Ros Miskin, 5 August 2018
How often have we heard the words ‘seeing is believing’? It implies that we need tangible proof in order to believe that someone or something exists.
Examples of such a need are found throughout the Gospel of John. John writes that near the time of the Jewish Festival of Booths the unbelief of Jesus’ brothers prompt them to say to him: ‘Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples may see the works that you are doing, for no-one who wants to be widely known acts in secret’. Then there is doubting Thomas who says of Jesus ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side I will not believe’. In Matthew’s Gospel the disciples are seeking the sign of the Second Coming and the end of the age. In today’s world we too look for signs continuously to reassure us and to help us find a way forward. It can be emotional, such as looking for a sign of life in a badly injured person or practical in driving along a road and looking for road signs to get us to our destination. It may also be spiritual in looking for a sign of God’s presence in a shrine or on a landscape.” Continuing reading
Pentecost 2018 St Mark’s – William Gulliford 20 May 2018
Yesterday, Lady Jane Fellowes, sister of the late Diana, Princess of Wales read at the wedding of her nephew, Prince Harry, from King Solomon’s Song of Songs:
Set me as a seal upon your heart, a seal upon your arm, love is as strong as death, passion as strong as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame…” Continuing reading
A letter from Revd William Gulliford to the new Bishop of London:
“Dear Bishop Sarah, My Lord Bishop,
I think we still address you formally as Lord, but it is significant that we can greet you personally and by your name. I don’t know how many Bishop Sarahs there have been in the life of the Church, but certainly you are the first for London. Alleluia! …”Continuing the reading
The Theology of the Land with a focus on Reconciliation
A keynote address by Dr. Clare Amos at the conference: ‘Homeland? Exploring the heritage of the Balfour Declaration’, 21st October 2017
There is a wonderful saying of Archbishop Michael Ramsey that I often find myself drawing on when I want to encourage lay people to believe that they, or should I say ‘we’ – as well as clergy – have the right and duty to reflect on questions of theology. Continuing the reading
Ros Miskin, Christian Unity, January 2017
“The theme of my sermon today is unity. I have chosen this theme as we are now in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which seeks to reconcile the pain of deep divisions affecting the unity of the church, following the many divisions in the history of the church.” Continuing the reading
Revd Dr Matthias Grebe, Remembrance Day, November 2016
“The Battle of the Somme raged for 141 days. More than a million men were killed or wounded, making it one of the bloodiest battles in history. And this year marks the centenary of what has been seen as the beginning of modern all-arms warfare.
As a German working as a priest in the Church of England, ‘Remembrance Day’ always arrives with rather mixed feelings..” Continue the reading
Revd William Gulliford 16 October 2016 Trinity XXI
“I’d like you to hold in your mind three fight- related images which are presented to us in today’s readings. First from today’s Old Testament reading the night time wrestling even between Jacob and the un-named man. Second, the picture from this morning’s Gospel reading of the importunate widow addressing the unjust judge, and then her punching him in the eye. And third that picture which this morning’s Old Testament reading gives us of Jacob, newly named Israel, holding his hip in pain, limping away from the scene at Penuel”. Continue the reading
Revd William Gulliford, 22 May 2016, TheSunday after the Ascension
“And behold, I come quickly.” Rev 22: 12 . This Sunday after the Ascension is the opportunity to look back at the moment of Our Lord’s departure from the sight of his Disciples and the sending of His Spirit, on the Feast of Pentecost, which we mark next week, and which concludes the Easter season.
And so this is something of an in-between moment, a pause, a time of waiting. Continue the reading
Revd William Gulliford, 05 May 2016, The Feast of the Ascension St Mary’s Primrose Hill
“And he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven” . Ascension Day is a magnificent and triumphant celebration of Christ’s Kingship and enthronement in his proper place at the right hand of God the Father. Continue the reading
Revd William Gulliford, 23 January 2016, Sermon for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Christchurch Eldon Road SW7
“Un membre du corps souffre-t-il? Tous les membres souffrent avec lui. Un membre est-il a l’honneur ? tous les membres se réjouissent avec lui. » Continue the reading
Revd William Gulliford, 20 December 2015 Advent IV Year C
Words repeated in chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel, our Gospel of this year: “But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Sermon Fr Matthias, 25 October 2015
I always think that preaching on the Bible is a little bit like building a sand castle in front of the Tower of London. The best you can ever hope to do is to catch the eyes of those who are looking down instead of up, and in doing so, point them towards the real deal. Continue the reading 2015-10-25 Sermon Fr Matthias
Good Friday 10 April 2015
Jesus before his Jewish and Roman judges is both judged and judge, condemned and the one who himself condemns.I want to reflect with you on one person in particular with whom Jesus has to do in these final hours. Spare me one or two moments of improbable exploration on this journey, just so as to excavate these familiar yet dense narratives. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters next week, will not have a liturgy of this kind. They wait until the Evening of their GoodFriday and then instead of pondering the nature and significance of Our Lord’s death, as is customary in the West, instead using the burial rite of the dead, they adorn an ornamental shroud with as many flowers as it can bear and process it around the church,before as it were burying it on the altar.
The person of the High Priest, Caiaphas, and connected with him his father in law Annas holds a particular fascination for me. Perhaps it is because I spend part of my life interviewing potential priests that the character of the High Priest who tried Jesus intrigues me. Continue the reading 2015-03-03 Good Friday – Caiaphas
01 March 2015 – Sermon for Lent II Readings: Genesis 17.1-7, 15, 16 Romans 4.13-25 Mark 8.31-38 by William Levanway
“Righteousness comes by faith not by the law. The law brings God’s wrath, but faith brings righteousness, justification, the promises of God made real in our lives. What are these words: ‘faith’, ‘righteousness’, ‘justification’, ‘wrath’? What do they mean? What do we mean when we say them? What does Christ mean when he gives his blunt judgement: ‘Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.’ (Mark 8.34b-35)? “Read entire LentIISermon