A short service for 24th May the Sunday after Ascension Day

CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast; not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. 5v7

On Lent 3, 15th March, the last time we held public worship in St James’, I promised that whatever transpired I would celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday morning at 10am. If we couldn’t come to church people could gather round their kitchen/ dining room table either then or, at some other time in the day, to pray and break bread with those in their household who wished to join them. It would be an opportunity to share with the village in offering up prayers for themselves, their family, this village and the world.

Today, the Sunday after Ascension Day or the 7th Sunday of Easter, we hear the story of Jesus ascending into heaven and his disciples returning to Jerusalem, to the upper room. Jesus had told them that everything would be alright and his Father would send the Holy Spirit. From this passage in Acts you could think that they must have been very confused, maybe frightened. When Luke tells the story of the Ascension in his Gospel he says they went back to Jerusalem rejoicing. What is clear is that they went back to pray. Prayer is at the centre of Jesus’ life, his disciples’ life and so it must be for us. Prayer appears to come easy for some; is hard for others; and a mystery to many. Prayer is something we need to work at. This period between Ascension Day and Pentecost (Whit Sunday) we are encouraged to focus on our daily prayer so that when the Holy Spirit comes we are ready to go out into the world like a mighty wind. If you have not already done so you can download special material produced to help us during this period at


I offer this short service for your use. Thanks to the continuing support from a friend who has supported me over the years with producing and recording public events and all those from the village who have been prepared to share their inner most thoughts. For those not on social media if you have a SMART TV you can watch YouTube on it!

The link is: https://youtu.be/JLZj2TsUTSU

Throughout the Easter Season we begin our service by saying

Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed Alleluia

If you have a candle you might like to place it on the table and light it.

Spend some time in silence reflecting on your hopes and fears for the future as we begin to move from lock down to a more normal life and what it means to “Be Alert”. We are all experiencing more bird song, more wildlife and a clearer sky—what it is God is saying to you in all this?

Offer to God the things you are sorry for, the things you wished you hadn’t  done and the things you have failed to do.

You could then all say together the Collect for Easter 7:

God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ, with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to the place where our Savior Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading for today

Acts 1 v6 –14

Jesus is Taken Up to Heaven

When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?”

Jesus said to them, “The times and occasions are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”

Then the apostles went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is about a kilometre away from the city. They entered the city and went up to the room where they were staying: Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Patriot, and Judas son of James. They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers.

The Sharing of Bread

We now know it will possibly be many more weeks before we can gather together in St James’ and share bread and wine. The church has no provision for the vicar celebrating the Eucharist with his own family whilst the rest of the congregation are in their own homes with their family breaking bread together; so as with so many things in this crisis we have invented one. This is not a Eucharist as we know it Sunday by Sunday. This is simply an opportunity to share together with loved ones and remember Jesus’ command to follow him as disciples of the crucified, risen and ascended Lord.

On the night Jesus was betrayed he had a very special meal with his family and friends where he broke bread and shared it with his friends. Since then in every conceivable human circumstance, people have found no better thing than this. For kings at their crowning and for of criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for a good crop of wheat; or for a sick old woman afraid to die. Today we break this bread in thanksgiving for all we have; for those suffering during this Covid-19 pandemic, and for wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help each of us make the world a better place in the future for all God’s people.

As you take the Bread, and break it say “Every time we break this bread we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us and that through his resurrection that he brings life and light to the world”

As you break bread this morning think about your own prayer life and what prayer means to you. Pray for yourself and your family. Pray for those you know who are sick. Pray for the soul of Tony Hindle the motorcyclist killed on Hollins Lane, and for his family and friends. Pray also for the driver of the JCB and his family. Pray for the mission of the church here in Shireshead and Forton.

Share with each other what is in your heart, and your soul.

Say together the Lord’s Prayer in which ever version you prefer/are used to.

Our Father,who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer in Zulu

Baba wethu osezulwini Maliphathwe ngobungcwele igama lakho. Umbuso wakho mawufike. Intando yakho mayenziwe emhlabeni njengasezulwini. Awusiphe namhla isinkwa sethu semihla ngemihla. Usithethelele izono zethu njengoba nathi sibathethelela abasonayo. Ungasingenisi ekulingweni kodwa usisindise kokubi. Amen.

A Concluding Prayer

God our Father, whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life: may we thirst for you, the spring of life and source of goodness, through him who is alive and reigns, now and for ever..Amen

The Grace—hold hands and say the grace together

The Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all now and for evermore. Amen.

If you would like a copy of this service sheet emailed to you every Saturday please send your email address to vicar@stjameschurchforton.org.

There are several people in the village offering help and support. St James’ has a number of people who are able to help with shopping, collecting of medication and in any other way should you need it. We are also aware that there will be some in the village who are experiencing severe financial difficulties due to not being able to work. Whilst we don’t have limitless funds we may be able to help in a small way.

If you need help in any way please contact Peter our Vicar:

Contact details

Email vicar@stjameschurchforton.org Tel; 07970 923 141

If you would like the sheet to include the names of friends or relatives who are sick or any who have passed away please email them to Peter on the above email

There will be a service sheet for every week whilst we are unable to have public worship

Date for your diary:

The first Sunday we are able to hold public worship FOR ALL there will be a Champagne Reception at 9.45am followed by a huge service of celebration in church. Watch this space!

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