DAILY UPDATE FROM REV JO


Rev Jo Richards

MONDAY 6 DECEMBER 2021

Good Morning to you all on this December morning, and I hope this finds you all well - as we are here. Yesterday was a full day and it was lovely to welcome so many to our Messy Church in the afternoon in St Dunstan's Hall - 38 in all, including 17 children, and many of them from our Toddler Group. Our focus was the nativity and we had a lot of fun spending the first half being creative, making wreaths, calendars, and colouring pictures, followed by the children and I re-telling the Christmas story, singing Away in a Manger, and  then some wonderful prayers led by the children, and finished with a tea - the whole afternoon was a real joy! Messy church takes place the first Sunday of the month, 3.00 - 5.00 in St Dunstan's Hall and is supported by the Mother's Union in terms of helping (thank you everyone). It's a wonderful gathering and very much a congregation in its own right.

Doris Taylor: I have had a message from Doris' niece Liz who would like to thank everyone involved for making Fr. Iain's funeral  service so uplifting and the occasion that it was. Liz has said that several of you have asked about visiting Doris, who is now in a home. I have all the details including booking and requirement to take a Lateral Flow Test. If you would like to visit Doris or send her a Christmas Card please do let me know and I can forward all the details.

St. Nicolas: Today in Morning Prayer we have been asked to remember St. Nicolas. Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (southern Turkey). His reputation as a worker of wonders was enhanced by a ninth-century author of his hagiography and he is now best known through these stories. Many of them concern his love and care for children, how he fed the hungry, healed the sick and cared for the oppressed. He saved three girls from a life of prostitution by providing them with dowries and so developed the tradition of bearing gifts to children on his feast day, a practice appropriated by the Christmas celebrations. Nicholas is also one of the patron saints of Russia. Reference

Coming up:

Advent through the senses: this will take place 2.00 Tuesday 7th in St Dunstan's Hall and then repeated again in the evening at 7.30 in St Mildred's church room. This week our focus will be on hearing - so please bring along something that we can listen to eg music/reading/something that engages with sound.

Advent reflections: these are once again proving to be very popular so please do listen when the link is sent through in the evenings, and thank you to all those who have contributed.

Benefice lunch: will be on Thu, 9 Dec at Cote, 2, Long Market, Parade, Canterbury CT1 2JS at 12.00pm. If you’d like to come, please phone Philippa on 01227 462706.

Amos Trust Christmas Service: on Monday, 13 Dec at 7.30pm at St Paul’s. The Trust challenges injustice and seeks to build hope, notably in the Holy Land. All welcome.

The Friends of St. Mildred's: present a Christmas Concert on Fri, 17 Dec at 7.30pm. A joyous presentation of singers and instrumentalists for a mere £10 on the door.

Christmas Drinks at the Rectory: Please do join Jim & Jo for Christmas drinks and nibbles on Sat, 18 Dec from 2.00 - 4.00. Look forward to welcoming you all to the Rectory then.

Church Family Homecoming Lunch: on 19 Dec at 12.30 in St Dunstan's Hall - if you would like to come or can help, please email Melissa Divine melissadevine2013@icloud.com.

Benefice Nine Lessons and Carols: This will take place in St Dunstan’s on Sun, 19 Dec at 4.00pm - this is for all across the Benefice. If you would like to sing in a choir or at least give it a go, please do contact either David Clark or John Bailey.

Morning prayer

Words from today's psalm: Psalm 22 "Will not God search it out? For he knows the secrets of the heart."

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 29 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all and I do hope this finds you well as we are here at the Rectory. Both Jenny and I were delighted to be back with you all yesterday to worship with you - a busy day which included a baptism in the afternoon of two young boys who have attended our Messy Church, and then in the evening candlelit Contemplating Advent - thank you to John Bailey for his singing last night in plain chant of the Advent O antiphons - just beautiful and certainly set the tone as we begin our Advent Journey together.

Millie Holland: It is with sadness to let you know that Millie Holland, known to many at St Dunstan's died on Saturday, 28th November. Our thoughts and prayers are with Millie and the family at this sad time. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Catching Lives Winter Night Shelter Scheme cancelled: we learnt from Catching Lives on Saturday that due to the increased risk of Covid, and with this new variant, that hosting the Winter Night Shelter Scheme in our church halls has been cancelled, and alternative accommodation will be sought for the homeless during the cold winter months. Catching Lives however want to thank everyone for their offers of hosting the scheme. Thank you to everyone who had offered to be a welcomer and hopefully next year we will be able to host those less fortunate than ourselves overnight in St Dunstan's hall.

St Dunstan's Christmas Fair: Huge thank you to all who supported and helped at the St Dunstan's Christmas Fair that took place on Saturday - £680.11 was raised for church funds, which is a wonderful amount, and thank you to you all.

Eco Advent Calendar: Please find attached an Advent Eco-Calendar. This is a wonderful initiative compiled by Caroline Blamey (thank you, Caroline) - please do have a look, some excellent resources and tips for an eco-advent - caring for God's creation through Advent and beyond.

Advent Course: Advent through the senses. This begins tomorrow (30th November) at 2.00 in St Dunstan's Hall and repeats again tomorrow evening, 7.30 at St Mildred's in the church room. It is looking at Advent through the senses and tomorrow we are focusing on Seeing - so please bring something that reflects this eg a picture that speaks to you of Advent.

Advent Reflections: at 6.00pm Mon to Fri. These take place Monday to Friday throughout Advent, on Facebook Live at 6.00 and then circulated to you all or accessed via our YouTube link (found on the website).

Benefice Bring & Share Christmas lunch: on 19th Dec 12.30 in St Dunstan's Hall - if you would like to come please do email Melissa Divine who is organising this. 

Christmas Drinks at the Rectory: Please do join Jim & I for Christmas drinks and nibbles on Saturday, 18th December from 2.00 - 4.00 - look forward to welcoming you all to the Rectory then.

Morning prayer 

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all, and I do hope you remain well this morning. All well here, and only 3 days to go until 'freedom day' on Thursday! Taste and smell are beginning to come back gradually, and thankfully still feel ok.

A huge thank you to all those involved who led our Service of Light in the Darkness yesterday at St Peter's - this was very well attended by a number of families who have lost loved ones over the last couple of years, and a service that is now embedded in our calendar.

Today in Morning Prayer, led by Rev Jenny (lovely to see you Jenny) we have been asked to remember St Ceilia: Cecilia was one of the most revered martyrs of the Roman Church, but the only thing we know for certain is that at some point in the second or third century, a woman called Cecilia allowed the Church to meet in her house in Trastevere in the city of Rome and that subsequently the church erected on that site bore her name. She was remembered as a brave woman who risked giving hospitality to the Christian Church when to do so was to court censure and possibly death. According to a tradition that can be dated no earlier than the fifth century, she converted her pagan husband and his brother to the faith, both of whom were martyred before her. She is honoured as the patron saint of musician. Reference 

Coming up this Advent

Contemplating Advent: 6.30 on Sunday 26 November 2021 at St Peter's Church.

A candlelit evening of Gregorian Chants (by John Bailey), readings, reflections and silence, followed by mulled wine. Please do join us as we begin our Advent Journey together.

Advent Course: Advent through the senses

This begins on Tuesday 30th November: 2.00 in St Dunstan's Hall, and 7.30 in St Mildred's church Room. A four week course looking at Advent through the senses, and we will begin with seeing. Please do bring a picture/piece of artwork, or something visual that speaks to you of Advent; we will then share our thoughts with the group. Do don't have to attend every week - any queries please do speak to Rev Jo

Advent Reflections: 

These pre-recorded recordings will be broadcast every night at 6.00 (instead of Compline) - and Please do encourage you to email John Morrison, if you would like to do a recording, based on the gospel passage  of the day

Posada 

With Covid still very present, we have decided against the Posada this year - a tradition in which small olive wood Mary & Joseph travel around the Benefice, spending a night in different homes on the way - but let's hope next year!

Painted Pebbles & Crib

After the huge success last year of painted pebbles and Crib Corner outside St Dunstan's we will do the same again this year. Although we still have a number of pebbles left from last year, which once again will be hidden around the city with instructions to place in the crib, I still have plenty of pebbles which can be painted with a nativity character - please let me know if you would like some.

Winter Night Shelter Scheme: December to February

St Dunstan's will be hosting Catching Lives Winter Night Shelter Scheme, every Sunday evening from December - February. This is a hugely appreciated initiative for those who often through no fault of their own find themselves homeless. If you would like to Volunteer with welcome and hospitality on Sunday evenings - welcoming the clients, giving tea, coffee etc please contact Chris Todd on 01227 453496 or email: christinemtodd@btinternet.com If you would like some training from Catching Lives (not essential) hey are offering Thursday 25th November 6.30 - 8.30 at their Day Centre, Station Road East. Also Terry from Catching Lives is talking to the MU on Friday 26th in St Dunstan's Hall at 2.30 this is open to everyone interested to know more.

Church Family Homecoming Lunch: The congregation of all three churches are welcome to attend a Bring and Share Christmas lunch on Sun, 19 Dec at 12.30pm in St Dunstan’s Church Hall. Sign-up sheet will be in churches from 13 Nov. Volunteers and any questions please contact Melissa on melissa_hales63@yahoo.co.uk. Thank you. This will be a buffet lunch, and all are very welcome.

Benefice Nine Lessons and Carols

This will take place on Sunday 19 December at 4.00pm  - this is for all across the Benefice; if you would like to sing in a choir, or at least give it a go,  please do contact either David Clark on  davidclarkeuk@aol.com or John Bailey jb267@hotmail.co.uk

Jenny has sent around Morning Prayer separately...lovely to see you Jenny!

There is a lot going on, and thank you for all your support and prayers.

God Bless,

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious autumnal morning. I hope this continues to find you all well. I continue to feel fine, except for a complete loss of taste & smell - this is the strangest of things, and I know Rev Jenny is also feeling brighter - so thankyou for your prayers.

Morning prayer 

Services for Sunday 21 November

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

10.00 Sung Eucharist at St Dunstan's 

4.00 Service of Light in the Darkness - if you have lost a loved one over the last couple of years and would like to attend please do - all are welcome; and it you would like to attend to support those bereaved families present, helping with tea & coffee etc that would be much appreciated. 

God Bless and have a good weekend - please keep well - and I really do encourage you to wear face coverings in our church buildings, especially when singing, always sanitise and mindful of social distancing.

Rev Jo


THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious autumnal morning - it really is beautiful out there. I had a potter around the garden and the fresh air was lovely. Thankfully I continue to feel ok - though yesterday I lost all taste and smell, which is really weird, and a slight dry tickly cough. Otherwise I feel fine.

Having time to reflect here isolated in the annex has really made me think of the inequality of this all and how wrong it feels. Here I am so very fortunate to have been vaccinated twice (my booster call-up was for next week!), I live somewhere where I have the space to self-isolate (annex), and family able to provide; as I am thinking of the millions around the world who have yet to receive just one vaccine. Meanwhile "100 million COVID-19 vaccines stockpiled in rich countries in the northern hemisphere would expire by December without being used." It all feels so very wrong. Rant over, but it has made me really think.

I was asymptomatic - I had absolutely no idea I had Covid, so please do be careful. Again made me realise how important taking regular lateral flow tests are, mask wearing is, sanitising and social distancing - they are there for a reason, and I think society has become somewhat complacent.

I know Rev Jenny is also recovering, and sends her best wishes to you all. This has certainly made us both think.

Today in Morning Prayer we were asked to remember Elizabeth of Hungary: Elizabeth was born in 1207, the daughter of a king of Hungary, and was given in marriage to Louis IV, Landgrave of Thuringia, with whom she had three children. Theirs was a happy, if short, marriage but her husband of four years died of the plague. Elizabeth was driven from the court and she settled in Marburg. There she had a confessor, Conrad of Marburg, whose domineering and almost sadistic ways exemplified one who had himself been a successful inquisitor of heretics. She suffered mental and physical abuse from him, in the name of religious austerity, but bore it all humbly. Elizabeth became a member of the Franciscan Third Order, which reflected her life of caring for the poor, even cooking and cleaning for them. Due to the severe regime under which she lived, her weakened body gave way under the pressure and she died on this day, just twenty-four years old, in the year 1231. Reference 

Fr. Iain's flowers in St Peter's

Please see a photo attached that Rachel sent through of the flowers yesterday in St Peter's - the family brought back to church the coffin spray, and it just all looks beautiful. The church is open on Saturday for the market, so please do pop in and have a look. 

Bulletin

We are just reviewing what we need to print and what is read online. Please could you give some indication if you read the bulletin online, or wait until you get to church or both.

Help needed to move chairs back to St Mildred's from St Peter's: On Sunday afternoon I took 36 wooden collapsible chairs from St Mildred's to St Peter's for the funeral, and obviously I can't take them back. Tessa needs them back at St Mildred's for Saturday afternoon. In my Mini it was two carloads. Is there anyone who might be able to take them back please? St Peter's is open Saturday morning for the vegan market and the side gate will be open, etc. Please can you let me know if you can help - thanks.

Advent Reflections:

As per my email last week, if you would like to take part in covering an Advent reflection for us - as Advent is soon approaching (Advent Sunday 28th November) 

Please email John Morrison who will send you details. This is something we can all do, so please don't feel shy.

Looking ahead: Mulled wine & Mince pies at The Rectory

This year we are proposing mulled wine & mince pies etc at The Rectory on Saturday, 18th December from 2.00 - 4.00pm

Services for Sunday, 21st November

I have managed to get cover for Sunday's services:

8.00 at St Dunstan's: Said Eucharist led by Rev'd Stephen Carter, from SMB - thank you, Stephen.

10.00 at St Dunstan's: Sung Eucharist led by Rev'd Lindsay Collins, Chaplain at King's School - thank you, Lindsay.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and please do keep well.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this autumnal day - there is much to fill you in on this morning.

Covid: Yesterday we learnt that Rev'd Jenny received a positive PCR Covid test; having seen Jenny Thursday evening, I took a PCR test yesterday evening; although I had had a negative Lateral Flow test on Saturday, which I take routinely for work,  I learnt this morning that I too have a positive PCR result. Although I am asymptomatic and feel fine (at the moment). I am very aware that I was at St Dunstan's at 8.00, St Peter's at 9.30 and St Mildred's at 11.00 and do hope and pray that you keep well; you may want to take a lateral flow test, especially if you are going to the funeral tomorrow.

A reminder that Covid is still very present in our community. I am now isolated for 10 days - and am very sorry to be missing Iain's funeral, which Brian is taking (thank you, Brian) and am working on getting cover for Sunday's services.

Advent course 2021: Advent through the senses. This is a four week course, beginning on Tuesday 30th November, looking at Advent through the senses: seeing, hearing, touch and through taste/smell. This is open to everyone and participants are encouraged to bring something along that relates to that particular sense that speaks of Advent. Tuesday afternoons at St Dunstan's Hall 2.00 - 3.30 (nb Wed 15th not 14th), and Tuesday evenings in St Mildred's church room: 7.30 - 9.00. All are very welcome to attend and speak to Rev Jo to find out more.

Advent, Christmas & Epiphany Services:

Sunday, 28th November:  Contemplating Advent 6.30pm at St Peter

Sunday, 19th December: Benefice Nine Lessons & Carols at 4pm at St Dunstan 

Christmas Eve, 24th December                                           

4pm Crib Service at St Dunstan                                

6.30pm Christmas Eucharist at St Peter                       

11.30pm Midnight Mass at St Mildred                                                    

11.30pm Midnight Mass at St Dunstan

Christmas Day, 25th December

8.00am Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

10.00am Christmas Day Eucharist at St Dunstan's

Sunday, 26th December (St Stephen’s Day)                                                 

9.30am Sung Eucharist at St Peter

Sunday, 2nd January 2022

4.00pm Epiphany Carol Service at St Mildred

Morning prayer 

God Bless and keep well.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all.

Just to update you on a few things:

Bishop Jonathan Gledhill's funeral: A memorial service will take place at St Mary Bredin led by Barney & I  at 2.30pm on Friday, 26th November - all are very welcome to attend. SMB is where Bishop Johnathan was formally the vicar.

Advent reflections: Over the last year we have done Advent & Lent reflections online which have been very well received by you all, so we are going to do the same again this year. If you would like to do a reflection, please contact John Morrison by email who is coordinating this. Attached are the readings for which the reflections are based on, which are the gospel for the day. A case of doing a voice recording of the reading and your reflection, and then sending it through to me, as a file, at least the day before. The reflection is 3-4 mins long, and will go out at 6.00pm Mon - Fri during Advent, instead of Compline.  Please do give this some consideration - even if you haven't done anything like this before - if you need help with how to record, Ana is available to support you in this. 

Advent Course 2021: Advent through the senses. This is a four week course looking at Advent through the senses: seeing, hearing, touch and through taste/smell. This is open to everyone and participants are encouraged to bring something each week along that relates to that particular sense that speaks of Advent, eg for hearing a hymn/piece of music that speaks of Advent. Tuesday afternoons at St Dunstan's Hall 2.00 - 3.30 (nb Wed 15th not 14th in the church), and Tuesday evenings in St Mildred's church room: 7.30 - 9.00. All are very welcome to attend and speak to me if you want to find out more.

St Dunstan's: if you are passing by St Dunstan's over the next few days I encourage you to go in and admire the flower arrangements. We had a funeral there during the week, and a friend of the deceased had made some lovely arrangements which filled the church.

Services for Sunday 14 November: Remembrance Sunday

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan

9.30 Sung Eucharist at St Peter's

10.00 Sung Eucharist at St Dunstan, followed by 11.00 Act of Remembrance at War memorial  - please not this is an 'extra' service and thanks to Rev Brian for leading

10.50 Sung Eucharist at St Mildred's - please note the earlier start of this service

Please access Morning Prayer and Night Prayer today via YouTube this morning, which is led by John (thank you).

Have a lovely weekend.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious autumnal morning - just perfect for walking! I am back after a week's leave in which we celebrated our daughter's 18th birthday, and then last week I was on a training week with the diocese at Ashburnham in Sussex. It was very poignant as this was where Iain was heading to for his respite & retreat. So it was certainly an opportunity of prayer and reflection, and felt more like a retreat - it is such beautiful grounds, away from it all, a lake to walk around and woods to walk in. God's presence felt so tangible, and in particular to the focus of the week, the embodiment of God's mission, focusing on scripture, ministry & mission - probably one of the most moving and powerful courses we have done - that feeling of the spirit working within us all.

Today in Morning Prayer we have been asked to remember the Saints and Martyrs of England. The date when Christianity first came to England is not known, but there were British bishops at the Council of Arles in the year 314, indicating a Church with order and worship. Since those days, Christians from England have shared the message of the good news at home and around the world. As the world-wide fellowship of the Anglican Communion developed, incorporating peoples of many nations and cultures, individual Christian men and women have shone as beacons, heroically bearing witness to their Lord, some through a simple life of holiness, others by giving their lives for the sake of Christ. Reference 

Bishop Johnathan: Do read Bishop Rose's tribute to Jonathan.

Please keep Jane and the family in your prayers, and when we know the date for his funeral, I will let you all know. 

Do keep an eye on the bulletin, as there is lots coming up over the next few weeks and after my meeting with the ministry team tomorrow, we will be putting out our dates for Advent & Christmas. 

Morning prayer

God Bless.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 22 OCTOBER 2021

Good morning to you all, and I hope this finds you all well at the end of another week. This weekend the clocks go back, so we have an extra hour on Sunday morning!

Fr. Iain's funeral: We now have a date for Fr. Iain's funeral, for which he has given very detailed instructions (thank you, Iain!). It will be a Said Requiem with Hymns, to take place at St Peter's Church, on Tuesday, 16th November at 11.00am. Please can you let Rachel Cameron (St Peter's churchwarden) know if you will be attending - although we are not operating a booking system, the family and us would like to have some idea on numbers, as we think a large number will want to attend. Please note that face coverings will be mandatory, as we are expecting a very full church; if we exceed capacity we will use the hall as well. Email Rachel.

Service for All Souls': 2nd November 2021, 11.00am at St Peter's Church. This service will be led by Rev'd Brian McHenry. Names to be read out will be taken on the door, so if you are coming and you would like names read, please bring on a piece of paper and clearly written. Thank you.

Deanery Eco-Fayre: Please do join us on Saturday for our Deanery Eco-fayre, 10.00 - 3.00 at St Peter's, it will be opened by Archdeacon Jo, an opportunity to say goodbye to her before she leaves. We have 16 stall holders with a diverse range of stalls, so it promises to be a good day.

Services for this Sunday 24th October: Bible Sunday

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - this service also live-streamed, and accessed via our website

9.30 Sung Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00 Sung Eucharist at St Mildred's

Services for Sunday 31st October: All Saints 

This is our 5th Sunday Joint Benefice Eucharist at St Peter's at 9.30; it also coincides with our Deanery Pulpit Swap, and Rev'd Hannah Thomson from St Martins & St Pauls is will be leading and preaching both at 8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's, and 9.30 Sung Eucharist at St Peter's. Please do join us for these services. I will be at St Martin & St Paul's, and Rev Mark from there is going to Harbledown.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 18 OCTOBER 2021

Good morning to you all from the Rectory on this autumnal morning. All is well here, and I hope it is with you all.

Today we remembered in Morning Prayer St Luke the Evangelist. So we particularly remember those we know who work in medicine, especially at this very difficult and challenging time . 

To know more about St Luke: St. Luke, also called Saint Luke the Evangelist, (flourished 1st century CE; feast day October 18), in Christian tradition, the author of the Gospel According to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, a companion of St. Paul the Apostle, and the most literary of the New Testament writers. Information about his life is scanty. Tradition based on references in the Pauline Letters has regarded him as a physician and a Gentile. He probably accompanied Paul on several missionary journeys. He is a patron saint of physicians and artists. Reference 

Coming up this week: There is a lot going on at the moment.

Wednesday 20th October: Women of Faith - this is open to women of all faith and none, and an opportunity to informally chat about things that matter in the context of our faith. 6.30 in St Dunstan's Hall, and please bring a small dish of vegetarian food to share. If you want to know more speak to Rev Jo.

Thursday 21st October: Walk with Amal: Little Amal is coming to Canterbury and we can join her walk 12.00 from Buttermarket, 12.25 at Westgate Towers, 12.35 at St Dunstan's and then she will walk up to the university.

Saturday 23 October: Deanery Eco Fayre at St Peter's Church 10.00 - 3.00 with 16 stall holders present including Fairtrade, Canterbury City Council, Tree of Pledge, and lots more, Archdeacon Jo will be opening this for us, so also an opportunity to say goodbye from the Deanery.

Reminder: Sunday 31st October is 5th Sunday Joint Benefice Eucharist at St Peter's at 9.30; it is also the Deanery Pulpit swap day and so Rev Hannah Thomson from St Martin and St Paul's is coming here and I am going there, and Rev Mark going up to Harbledown.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a lovely day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 15 OCTOBER 2021

Good morning to you all, on this cooler chilly morning. Hope you are all well as we are here at The Rectory. Last night we went to the Marlowe - we are so fortunate to have this on our doorstep - and saw another excellent show, Everybody is talking about Jamie, an excellent musical which raises issues around prejudice, inclusion and bullies. Absolutely brilliant and so thought provoking. I am not sure if there are any tickets left, but certainly worth seeing, if there are.

Today in Morning Prayer we have been asked to remember Teresa of Avila: Teresa of Avila was born Teresa Ali Fatim Corella Sanchez de Capeda y Ahumada in Avila, Spain. Less than twenty years before Teresa was born in 1515, Columbus opened up the Western Hemisphere to European colonization. Two years after she was born, Luther started the Protestant Reformation. Out of all of this change came Teresa pointing the way from outer turmoil to inner peace. Reference 

Teresa's prayer (one of my favourites), really talks about the incarnation, and is so powerful. 

"Christ has no body now but yours No hands, no feet on earth but yours Yours are the eyes through which He looks Compassion on this world Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world Yours are the hands Yours are the feet Yours are the eyes You are His body Christ has no body now on earth but yours"   

Services for Sunday 17 October

8.00 at St Dunstan's Said Eucharist

10.00 at St Dunstan's Sung Eucharist

Both of these services are also live-streamed and accessed via our website.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a lovely day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 11 OCTOBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this bright autumnal morning. Today we have been asked to remember in our Morning Prayer: Ethelberga, Abbess of Barking. A little bit about her below. I always find it interesting to learn of these characters, who we wouldn't otherwise know much about.

St Æthelburh (or Ethelburga), whose feast is 11 October, is one of a significant number of female religious leaders who played an important role in the first century of the Anglo-Saxon church. She was the first abbess of Barking Abbey in Essex, which was founded for her by her brother, St Earconwald, in the late 660s or early 670s. Earconwald also founded Chertsey Abbey in Surrey, and later became bishop of London. Reference 

Coming up this week:

Tuesday, 12th October: Refuge and Asylum Talk and Discussion led by Domenica Pecoraro Kent Refugee Projects Officer at St Paul's Parish Centre: 7pm for Coffee & Cake. 7.30pm for Talk and Discussion. Please book  via email or phone 768072  This will be a very interesting talk.

Wednesday, 13th October: 3.00 at St Dunstan's: Mothers' Union service - all are welcome.

Saturday, 16th October: Medieval Pageant - all three of our churches are involved with this activity.

Further ahead:

21st October 2021: “From Balfour to Banksy” This film, which looks at a wide range of views from occupied Palestine today, will be shown at St Paul’s church on 21st October at 730pm. Free entry. More information from Brian McHenry, chair of the East Kent Justice for Palestinians group, 07780 308220.

Morning prayer

Have a good day, God Bless.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 8 OCTOBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this slightly misty autumn morning, though I think it will warm up later today.

Sitters needed at St Dunstan's: for Medieval Pageant, Saturday 16th October 2021. If you are able to help please contact Sue Palmer.

Melissa's confirmation: Tomorrow (9th October) Melissa Devine will be confirmed at St Paul's church  at 5.30 pm church by Bishop Rose; all are very welcome to attend to support Melissa on her next step on her journey of faith. 

5th Sunday joint Benefice Eucharist: Sunday, 31st October (All Saints) at St Peter's. From the Deanery Mission Plan, one of the initiatives was to have a Pulpit Swap across the deanery. So all the clergy are moving around to different churches, on 31st October, and Rev Hannah Thomson will be preaching and presiding at St Dunstan's at 8.00 and then at the joint Benefice Eucharist at 9.30 at St Peter's.

Coming up

Tuesday 12th October: Refuge and Asylum Talk and Discussion led by Domenica Pecoraro Kent Refugee Projects Officer at St Paul's Parish Centre: 7 pm for Coffee and Cake. 7.30 for Talk and Discussion PLEASE BOOK  via email or phone 768072. This will be a very interesting talk.

Sunday's services:

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - also live streamed

9.30 Sung Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00 Sung Eucharist at St Mildred's

Morning Prayer 

Night Prayer tonight will be led by John, and accessed via our website/YouTube - I am off this afternoon, as working tomorrow afternoon.

Have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 4 OCTOBER 2021

Today, 4th October we are asked to remember St Francis of Assisi: a wonderful saint, and patron saint of Ecology - to find out more: Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone; Italian: Francesco d'Assisi; Latin: Franciscus Assisiensis; 1181 or 1182 – 3 October 1226), venerated as Saint Francis of Assisi, also known in his ministry as Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon, mystic, and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women's Order of St. Clare, the Third Order of St. Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in Christianity. Reference 

Coming up this week:

Tuesday, 5th October: Benefice Lunch Club - at Coates Restaurant 12,30 - to book via Phillipa on 462706 (by today)

Wednesday 6th October: St Dunstan's lunch club: 11.30 St Dunstan's Church Hall Soup Lunch, 

Saturday 9th October: Melissa is getting confirmed at St Paul's church, Canterbury at 5.30pm, please do join us, as all our welcome to support Melissa on the next step of her faith journey. 

Morning Prayer

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all, and not raining this morning, although our gardens certainly needed the rain. Hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory.

Just to update you on a few things:

Living in Love and Faith (LLF) update: The deadline for all dioceses to have their meetings to explore the Living in Love & Faith material and feedback to the CofE  has been extended to the end of April 2022. Therefore as a deanery we will be undertaking the 5 week course in early January for 5 weeks. These will be groups across the diocese either morning/afternoon/evening, predominantly in-person, though there will be options for zoom (similar to Lent groups last year).  Further information will be out towards the end of the year so that you can book onto a course, which will be run by local LLF trained facilitators. If you want to undertake some background reading, or listen to podcasts please access the resources here, or you can listen to the podcasts via Spotify - I did this on my walk on Friday, and found them all very accessible. There are also some short videos to watch as well.

Church Giving & Stewardship: First of all a huge thank you to all those who have given and continue to give so generously to our churches, particularly over the last 18 months when we have still had to pay all our bills, despite our buildings including halls having been shut for so long.  If you are a regular worshipper at our churches, and would like to give, or you already give but not via  Standing Order, then you might perhaps consider doing so. It does save on our administration and helps our treasurers to manage our budget over the year. Also, if you are a UK taxpayer, please do consider gift aiding your donation as that makes a significant difference to how much the church gets at no extra cost to you at all.  I attach the Standing Order forms for all three churches, (download the form that is applicable to you) or if you would like a Standing Order Form there are some available at the back of our churches. All the instructions are on the forms.  A huge Thank you from us all.

Harvest Donations: A huge thank you to all of you for your harvest donations this year. Yesterday Jenny and I filled my Mini with all your generous donations, and took them to Catching Lives, where they were very much appreciated (I know they will be writing). The donations they receive from schools and churches at this time of year really do help keep going. I know that working with the homeless, how much they are really valued. Thank you.

Canterbury Deanery Eco-Fayre: Saturday, 23 October 10.00 - 3.00 in St Peter's church, this will be opened by Archdeacon Jo, and an opportunity for us to say farewell. Further details to follow.

Archdeacon Jo's leaving service and farewell collection: 

Farewell collection note from the diocese: We are holding a collection for Archdeacon Jo. You can send a cheque made out to Canterbury DBF and post it to Diocesan House or if you wish to pay electronically then please email the Diocese for the details.

Saying farewell to Archdeacon Jo: 17 Oct, 5:30pm All are welcome to join Evensong at the Cathedral to celebrate the work that Archdeacon Jo Kelly-Moore has contributed to this diocese as she prepares to take up her new role as Dean of St Albans. Refreshments will be served after the service - please register for catering purposes. 

Morning Prayer

Words from today's psalm: 73:23 "Yet I am always with you, you hold me by my right hand"

Have a good day and God bless,

Rev Jo


THURSDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious day, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory - enjoying the sun!

Saints and Martyrs talks: Last night I attended the talk at St Mildred's which was excellent, and a good turn out - several folk not having been inside before and delighted in it. Tonight we are at St Dunstan's at 7.30pm (this will also be live-streamed so you can tune in at 7.30pm) and then tomorrow at St Peter's. The poster I sent on Monday has the details of the talks, so do come along. 

A message from St Augustine's college:

St Augustine’s is delighted to announce another series of audio retreats this year.  For further information here is a short introductory video here. 

Seasons of the Spirit: exploring how God is active within the changing seasons of our lives (starting 26 September for 4 weeks) please log in or register here.  

Note from Catching Lives re donations for Harvest: Please see the flyer attached, which Catching Lives have put together with respect for their request for  Harvest donations:

Services for Sunday 26th celebrating Harvest at St Peter & St Mildred

8.00 at St Dunstan's: Said Eucharist - this is also live streamed and accessed via our website

9.30 at St Peter's: Sung Eucharist

11.00 at St Mildred's: Sung Eucharist

6.00 at St Peters: Contemplating Michaelmas - a quiet reflective candlelit service with readings and music: Gregorian chants sung by John Bailey, followed by a glass of wine

I am not around tomorrow, I feel a walk is on the cards with this glorious weather - (except in the evening at St Peter's) as I am working on Saturday (memorial service at St Dunstan's in the afternoon). We look forward to welcoming Jenny back on Sunday, after her two weeks leave. 

Morning Prayer  

Tomorrow's Morning & Night prayer (led by John) can be accessed directly via our YouTube channel, or on our website hit the YouTube symbol.

Have a lovely weekend and God Bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all, on a slightly damp morning - but the garden certainly needs the rain. I hope this finds you all well, as we are here - back into the rhythm of things. Another lovely weekend across the Benefice: the vegan market at St Peter's being a huge success, and a joy to bless it, at their request. An opportunity for so many folk to come into the church off the street, where they were warmly welcomed. This is now in the diary for every third Saturday of the month. Also a delightful, and very emotional wedding at St Dunstan's, of Alex and Violet, again on Saturday, then we had Harvest Festival at St Dunstan's with the church looking beautiful - thank you to all involved. 

Servers required: Across our Benefice, in all three churches, we are looking to recruit serving teams. This entails helping during the service, either at the altar, or with carrying candles (acolites). Training will be provided. If you would like to know more please do speak to Rev Jo or the churchwardens. 

New appointment of a Mission Priest at Thanington: Please see attached announcement which was made public yesterday.

Archdeacon Jo Kelly-Moore - Jo's farewell service: before she heads up to St Albans where she will be Dean, there will be evensong in the Cathedral on Sunday, 17th October. More details to follow (NB there was some confusion yesterday at St Dunstan's when Sue announced this - this is Jo Kelly-Moore leaving - not me!)

Receiving of communion: Thank you to all those who gave feedback about how you would prefer to receive communion. The majority said that they would prefer it if the Priest intinted (dipped) the consecrated wafer into the wine and then administered it, into outstretched hand. We will trail this across the Benefice from October for those who would like to receive in this way; again feedback is always valued.

Coming up this week:

Saints and Martyrs: This is happening this week across the churches in our city, led by Christchurch University. Please come along to these talks in our Churches: all at 7.30pm Wednesday at St Mildred's, Thursday at St Dunstan's, and Friday at St Peter's. See poster attached.

Contemplating Michaelmas Sunday 26th September: This contemplative candlelit service will take place in St Peters at 6.00pm, on Sunday, 26th September. John will sing Gregorian chants with a focus on Michaelmas, there will be readings and opportunity for silent reflection. All very welcome, followed by a glass of wine.

Looking ahead:

Canterbury Deanery Eco-Fayre: This will take place on Saturday, 23 October 10.00am - 3.00pm in St Peter's with a number of churches and community groups involved, which should be really interesting. The market will be opened by Archdeacon Jo More, details to follow.

God Bless and have a good day

Morning Prayer

Rev Jo


THURSDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on this lovely autumnal morning, and I hope all is well.

It has certainly picked up a pace, with the easing of restrictions, it feels like a lid has come off and life has stepped up a gear - all those I speak to in different sectors say exactly the same - so we must be mindful of this, and look after ourselves!

Visitation: Yesterday evening in the Cathedral we had the Episcopal Visitation which is the service in which our churchwardens are formally admitted for the year. An opportunity for prayers for our wardens, and thanks from Bishop Rose. A huge thank you to Mary (St Mildred's) Rachel (St Peter's,) Jayne & Sue (St Dunstan's) for the huge amount of work that you all do - so much of it goes on behind the scenes, but they work so incredibly hard - thank you for all your support.

Saints and Martyrs talks: These are taking place across Canterbury next week, and in our three churches, at 7.30pm Weds at St Mildred's, Thursday at St Dunstan's and Friday at St Peter's.

Contemplating Michaelmas Sunday 26 September 6.00pm in St Peter's:  Please do join us for this Candlelit reflective service with John Bailey singing Gregorian chants, readings and silence.

Coming up this weekend:

Kent Vegan Market will be taking place in St Peter's on Saturday from 10.30 - 4.00. We are delighted that this is happening, in our beautiful church building, and hopefully an opportunity for those who attend to sense something of the numinousness, of God's presence whilst in there.

Wedding at St Dunstan's at 1.00 - please keep Alex and Violet in your prayers, as they will be getting married on Saturday (I love this wedding season!)

Services for Sunday 19 September Harvest at St Dunstan's.  Both services are live-streamed and in-person.

8.00 Said Eucharist - 

10.00 Sung Eucharist, followed by Harvest Lunch.

Harvest produce - please bring your harvest donations including toiletries etc which will be donated to Catching Lives 

Morning Prayer 

Please note that as I am working Saturday, I am off tomorrow (Friday) - so please access Morning & Night Prayer via YouTube on our website (or directly).

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 13 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on the beautiful September morning, and hope this finds you all well after what has been a busy weekend here in the Benefice.

This included The Ride and Stride - and thanks to all those who were able to sit in our churches, I know a number of visitors passed through. We also had Roy's very interesting talk at St Dunstan's in the afternoon, which went well - and again thank you to all those who went. We then had the delightful wedding of Hannah and Sam in St Dunstan's. It was so good to be able to have a full church and sing hymns - neither of which we have been able to do throughout lockdown with the Covid restrictions. So we wish them every blessing on their special day. 

It was also Canterbury Pride, which Jenny and I joined the gathering first thing in the Westgate Gardens, and then later in the day I joined the folk in Dane John Gardens - and it was quite a festival atmosphere, and again a good opportunity to catch up with a number of folk I know from across the city, then stayed up to watch the tennis. It was a late night!

Coming up:

Coffee morning at St Mildred's: on Friday 17th September. The Friday morning coffee club at St Mildred's is resuming from this Friday 17th September, from 10.00 - 12.00, thank you to Viv, Vie and Doris. So if you are passing by do drop in and say hello. To give us more space, it will be held in the body of the church. It will be  an opportunity either for some quiet time, or catching up with one another. All from across the Benefice, and beyond are very welcome to drop by.

Kent Vegan Association: We are delighted to announce that Kent Vegan Association will be holding their monthly market in St Peter's Church on the third Sunday of the month, beginning Saturday, 18 Sep. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to engage with the local community, especially as we are looking to develop St Peter's as a Community Hub, in addition to a place of worship. An Oasis on the High Street for all.

Benefice Autumn Newsletter: If anybody has any articles, pictures or reflections for the Autumn Newsletter, please send them to Samuel  and we will do our very best to include them. The deadline for sending them in is 21 September.

Saints & Martyrs 600-1600: All talks begin at 7.30pm. We have on Wed, 22 Sep in St Mildred's a talk on the Anglo-Saxon female saints, on Thu, 23 Sep Martyrs of the 16th Century in St Dunstan's, and In Becket's Shadow on Fri, 24 Sep in St Peter's. Please come along and support these events held in our churches, with excellent speakers.

Children's Society - message from Rita: St Peter's & St Mildred's: it's time to collect in The Children's Society Boxes that many of you have been carefully looking after since 2019! Please can you contact Rita Pavely on 01227 905372 to arrange collection of your boxes for emptying. Please do leave a message (especially your name and contact number) on the answerphone if Rita is not in. NB: Will clarify who the collector is for St Dunstan's and will let you know.

Morning Prayer

Have a good day.

Rev Jo


THURSDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on another glorious day, and hope this finds you all well - as we are at the Rectory.

Life in the Benefice has certainly picked up a pace - with two church funerals, and two at Barham in the last couple of weeks, two further funerals booked and two weddings in the next couple of weeks, and then a further one in October...all a privilege to take, and Jenny now available to take funerals at Barham, and together in church. 

Bishop Rose's Day in the Deanery - please do join us at Christchurch University Chapel 7.30 this evening as this is your opportunity for Q&A particularly with respect to the Deanery Mission Plan that we compiled earlier this year. All are very welcome.

Archdeacon Jo has been named as the next Dean of St Albans. Message from Bishop Rose:

While we will miss her greatly, please join with us in celebrating with her this next exciting stage in her ministry. Throughout her time in Canterbury Diocese, Jo has become known for her generous and pragmatic approach to ministry, as well as her great determination to bring positive change to our communities through life-changing faith in Christ. A special message for our diocese from Jo can be watched here.

I would like to echo Bishop Rose's comments - Archdeacon Jo has been so supportive of all that we do in our Benefice and the plans that we have, and will be hugely missed by many; in due course I will let you know of the plans to say farewell when we receive them.

Busy Saturday 11 September:

Ride & Stride - volunteers at St Peter's much appreciated please - contact Rachel

Wedding at St Dunstan's - please keep Hannah and Sam in your prayers

Friends of St Dunstan's meeting - 2.30pm in hall talk followed by cream tea

Pride Canterbury all day

Sunday's services 12 September:

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - this will also be live-streamed

9.30 Sung Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00 Sung Eucharist at St Mildred's 

Worship in our church buildings

Please adhere to the following Covid precautions:

Here is Morning Prayer.

God Bless and have a good day - it looks like another lovely day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2021

Good morning to you all on what promises to be a glorious day.

It was so good to see so many of you yesterday at St Dunstan's and again an opportunity to welcome a number of new folk as well. What a lovely service it was, and to be singing again. Likewise I know a number of you enjoyed the resumption of Saturday Morning Coffee at St Dunstan's - it is good to be back. Though I feel we do appreciate these things so much more having had an enforced pause in so much of our activities that perhaps we took for granted before. Appreciating what we do have but also so mindful of those who have so little, both locally and globally.

Today we have been asked to remember in Morning Prayer Allen Gardiner, founder of the Church Mission Society: 6 September is Allen Gardiner Day in the Anglican calendar in honour of the man who founded what became the South American Mission Society (SAMS) and who sacrificed his life as one of its first missionaries. From a Christian upbringing in Berkshire, his embarking on a naval career and the death of his mother led him to turn away from his faith. But on a voyage to Cape Town, Ceylon, India, Malaysia and China, a spiritual crisis resulted in his emphatic conversion to Jesus Christ. Find out more here. 

September is often considered a 'new year' and in academic terms it certainly is - certainly here at The Rectory! So lots seems to be going on.

This is an excellent course, which I would thoroughly recommend for those who want to explore their faith a bit more, I have the course details if you want to know more, but please do give it some consideration:

Online Deepening Discipleship Course – Autumn 2021

From the diocese: We are delighted to be offering an online (via Zoom) Deepening Discipleship course commencing on 30 September 2021.  Over the course of the eight (1.5 hour) sessions participants will explore their personal journey of calling and discipleship.  Particular emphasis is placed on how God calls us individually to serve him in our everyday lives of work, family and community life. 

Coming up: From our Bulletin and looking ahead

Bishop Rose's Day in the Deanery 9 Sept: 7.30 at Christchurch University. Bishop Rose is spending Thursday 9 Sept in the deanery, and in the evening we all have the chance to meet her and are invited to an open meeting in the Chapel of Canterbury Christchurch University (North Holmes Road CT1 1QN) at 7:30pm at which she will be answering questions from participants about the life of the Diocese and Deanery. Please come along if you can, all are very welcome to attend.

Request for volunteers: to sit in St Peter's Church on Saturday, 11 September when the Church will be open between 10am and 6pm for Heritage Open Day and Ride & Stride. Please contact Rachel on 07480306499 or email racameron28@gmail.com Many thanks.

The Ride and Stride: the Friends of Kent Churches’ annual fund raising event will take place on Saturday 11 September. Please sponsor Philippa Trewby who plans to either cycle or walk with half the money raised going to St Dunstan and the other half to other Churches for specific projects. A Sponsorship form will be available to complete after Sunday Services. Please contact Philippa if you’d like to participate by cycling or walking.

Friends of St Dunstan’s Talk: by Roy Henderson on his travels through Far East on Saturday, 11 Sep at 2.30pm in St Dunstan's Church Hall. Tea and scones afterwards. Voluntary donation £6. Tickets available from Cost Cutters, St. Dunstan's or on the door.

Harvest 2021: Will be on 19 September in St Dunstan and 26 September in St Peter & St Mildred: This year across the Benefice we are receiving dry food, tins and toiletries for Catching Lives. If you bring donations to the services then we will take directly to Catching Lives. Message for St Dunstan's: This year we will be holding a Harvest Lunch, but we will not hold the usual auction, instead donations of dry foods & toiletries please. It wouldn’t be harvest without a display of fresh produce in the church, so if you would like to bring flowers, fruit or vegetables to decorate the church these could be taken home after the service or given to other members of the congregation.

Kent Vegan Association: We are delighted to announce that Kent Vegan Association will be holding their monthly market in St Peter's Church on the third Sunday of the month, beginning Saturday Sept 16th. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to engage with the local community, especially as we are looking to develop St Peter's as a Community Hub, in addition to a place of worship. An Oasis on the High Street for all.

DAC Visit to St Peter's Thursday 9th September:  Please keep in your prayers the DAC's preliminary visit to St Peter's as the initial step to the development of St Peter's.

Saints & Martyrs 600-1600: All talks begin at 7.30 We have on Sept 22 In St Mildred's a talk on the Anglo-Saxon female saints, Thursday 23 Martyrs of the 16th Century, in St Dunstan's and In Becket's Shadow 24 Sept in St Peter's. See poster attached.

Morning Prayer 

God bless.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 27 AUGUST 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope all is well. With September fast approaching, there is quite a lot to let you know about.

Bishop Rose's Day in the Deanery 9th September: Bishop Rose is spending Thursday 9th Sept in the deanery, and in the evening we all have the chance to meet her and are invited to an open meeting in the Chapel of Canterbury Christchurch University (North Holmes Road CT1 1QN) at 7:30pm at which she will be answering questions from participants about the life of the Diocese and Deanery. Please come along if you can, all are very welcome to attend.

Confirmation Saturday 9th October, 5.30 at St Paul's: I have mentioned this before but if anyone is interested in exploring confirmation, please get in touch as soon as possible, as classes will be starting in September. I have expressions of interest already  from adults and children, so please do let me know.

What to expect at our church services: having had discussions with our churchwardens the following Covid precautions will now be in place across our Benefice:

*when we do eventually reintroduce the chalice (this is at our discretion, as legally we can now), I would really value your thoughts on the following three options - please note that the the practice of the communicant inticting (dipping) the consecrated wafer into the wine is no longer permitted, and therefore not an option

  1. Continue with receiving just consecrated wafer only (host)
  2. Receive consecrated wafer, that has been intincted by Priest and then administered (Intinction is the Eucharistic practice of partly dipping the consecrated bread, or host, into the consecrated wine before consumption by the communicant.)
  3. Receive directly from the chalice 

We must remain vigilant, as Covid is still very present in our community; if you are shielding or do not feel ready to attend our services please do let me know, and we could possibly make alternative arrangements. 

Services for Sunday 29th August: 

5th Sunday United Benefice Service 11.00 at St Mildred's. Rev Jo Richards will preside with guest preacher Samuel Keeler-Walker (Reader). The service will be followed by drinks to celebrate John Vosper's significant birthday. Happy Birthday John!

Thank you from Geoff & Liz Parsons: "Geoff and I were very touched with all the greetings we have received from the parish and particularly the beautiful flowers. They are spectacular. It was lovely to be able to share the occasion with our church family and to be able to gather in the hall once again. A day we shall remember."

Zoom Coffee: 10.00 (Note time change) to enable folk to attend coffee and then head off to St Mildred's

This is the last Zoom coffee led by John Morrison. A huge thank you to John for this ministry which he has led throughout lockdown and much appreciated by so many. We now look forward to seeing you John in person.

Reminders:

Wednesday 1st September Lunch Club at St Dunstan's: all from across the Benefice are welcome to attend, and Rev Jenny will be the speaker this month 

Saturday 4th September: Saturday morning coffee club resumes 10.00 in St Dunstan's hall, all are very welcome to attend

Saturday 11th September: Friends of St Dunstan's talk in the hall given by Roy Henderson, 2.30pm

Help with refreshments at St Dunstan's: if you are able to help with Sat morning coffees and Sunday after service coffee please can you let Chris Todd/churchwardens know. Thank you.

In September following pattern of worship will resume:

St Dunstan's: 1st and third Sunday 10.00 Sung Eucharist, with 8.00 Said Eucharist every Sunday 

St Peter & St Mildred: 2nd and 4th Sunday 9.30 Sung Eucharist at St Peter's, and 11.00 Sung Eucharist at St Mildred's, with 10.00 midweek Eucharist at St Mildred's every Weds.

Coffee/Tea will be resumed after our services, across the Benefice.

Online Morning Prayer & Night Prayer: This is proving to be very popular, and it is lovely having so many of you join us, along with those from further afield. This will continue daily at 9.00 MP and 6.00 NP on Facebook live, and then uploaded to YouTube and circulated to you all via email. 

In conjunction with this, we will be offering an in person Morning Prayer on Wednesday Mornings, 9.00 at St Peter's, which will be led by Rev. Jenny, with John continuing with his online Weds ministry. More details to follow

Morning Prayer on this day that we remember St Monica.

Annual leave: Please note that Rev Jenny is on leave, this Sunday 29th August, Rev Jo is on leave Tues 31st August, and we welcome Ana back from leave on Tues 31st August.

God bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 23 AUGUST 2021

Good morning to you all. Well, it is at least dry this morning, after a wet afternoon yesterday. Though it was so lovely to welcome so many of you yesterday afternoon for our 'indoor garden party'; an opportunity to catch up and despite the weather we had Pimm's and cream teas, and won't be too long before we will be having mulled wine and mince pies!

Thank you on behalf of Pilgrims Hospices: Jim & I received a letter from Pilgrims Hospices on Saturday to thank you all for your donations when we did the sponsored walk. We raised £2066 in total so a massive thank you to you all, and yesterday Jim completed the 120km bike ride, again in support of the hospice. The Hospice got in touch, and and wanted to know what inspired us and here is the story. 

Help for Afghan Refugees: There has been a lot on local social media & press about how to best support the Afghan refugees that will be temporarily homed in a local hotel. We have been asked by Churches Together in Canterbury local coordinator Llyndall Bywater, to await for updates as they have been inundated with donations. So as and when we get informed I will let you all know.

This week:

Weds 25th 10.00 midweek Eucharist at St Mildred's

MU Service: Thursday 26th 3.15 in St Dunstan's: please do join us for this service, you don't have to be a mother or female to come along.

Sunday's service, 29th August at 110.00: 5th Sunday Eucharist at St Mildred's with Samuel Keeler-Walker preaching. Please do join us at St Mildred's for this service - it will be lovely for us all to gather together, and it will be followed by (significant) birthday drinks for John Vosper.

Sermon attached from yesterday.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


THURSDAY 19 AUGUST 2021

Good morning to you all and hope you are all keeping well, as we are here at The Rectory...still feel refreshed from our wonderful fortnight away, and a case of catching up with a few things whilst it is generally quieter. 

As I have mentioned to you before in the autumn we will as a Benefice and Deanery be exploring the Living in Love and Faith material from the CofE which discusses Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage, and over the next couple of days doing some work in preparation for that. More information can be found here.

Friends of St Dunstan's: Please find attached a poster for the talk that Roy Henderson is giving on Saturday 11 September 2.30 in St Dunstan's Hall

Kentish Saints and Martyrs  talks: Saturday 18th - Saturday 25th September. Please do look at the poster attached and put the dates in your diary, this will be a very interesting series of talks and involved are our three churches on the Weds, Thurs & Friday

Celebratory drinks after our Services:

Sunday 22 August - message from Liz & Geoff Parsons. Liz and Geoff are celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary and would like to invite folk for a glass of wine after the 10.00 service at St Dunstan's on Sunday 22nd. Many congratulations to you both!

Sunday 29th August: John Vosper is celebrating a significant birthday, and would like to celebrate with everyone with a glass of wine after the 11.00 United Benefice Service at St Mildred's on Sunday 29th August. Many happy returns to John!

Services for Sunday 22nd September

10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan's this will be live streamed, but not recorded

Zoom coffee hosted by John: This will be our penultimate Zoom coffee.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless you all and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 30 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all on this rather damp morning. Several things to update you with this morning, before I head off on my hols for a couple of weeks.

Canterbury welcomes refugees: A family is arriving in Canterbury in September, and we have been asked to help furnish the house that they will be living in. They are a family of six with very few belongings. Attached is a list of what is needed, if anyone is able to help in any small way, then please email, thank you.

St Thomas More - concert: Please join us for a UK premiere of Sub Rosa's concert in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford on 7th August at 8pm accessed online. Some of the music featured includes music from the library belonging to the Roper family (as descendants of Sir Thomas More), the Barons Teynham, whose family chapel, of course, was in St Dunstan's. To find out more please visit them on Twitter @SubRosaEnsemble.

Reminder for Services in August: Our folk off-line have been sent letters advising them of this August pattern of worship, but if you are in touch with those offline please let them know as well.

No 8.00 service at St Dunstan’s. 10.00 midweek Eucharist at St Mildred’s continues.

Sun 1 Aug - 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s led by Canon Tim Naish from the Cathedral

Sun 8 Aug - 11.00 Eucharist at St Mildred’s led by Rev Brian McHenry

Sun 15 Aug - 9.30 Eucharist at St Peter’s led by Rev Jo Richards

Sun 22 Aug – 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s led by Rev Jo Richards

Sun 29 Aug Fifth Sunday United Benefice Eucharist: 11.00 at St Mildred’s - led by Rev Jo Richards, and guest preacher Samuel Keeler-Walker (Reader)

Worship in our church buildings

Covid measures: hand sanitising, Test & Trace and social distancing are still in place. Face coverings are recommended, particularly when coming and going. The Peace will continue from afar and the communion will continue in one kind only. Singing is permitted, but we will wear masks when doing so.

Autumn Benefice Newsletter: Please send articles, and photos to Samuel  who is compiling the Autumn newsletter.

Zoom Coffee in August: Please note Sunday 29th August is the last Zoom coffee, and a huge thank you to John for hosting this.

Annual leave: Jo is on leave from 30th July, and back on Sunday 15th August, if you have any queries in that time, please do speak to our churchwardens. Ana is on leave 12th August - 30th August.

Morning Prayer & Night Prayer: This will be led by Rev Jenny and John and if not circulated to you can be accessed via our YouTube link on the website.

Morning Prayer 

Thank you all, and have a good couple of weeks, and will catch up on my return.

God Bless.

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 27 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all on this rather damp morning....but the gardens need the rain! Hope you are all well, as we are here.

Today we remembered in Morning Prayer Brooke Foss Wescott.

Brooke Foss Westcott, (born Jan. 12, 1825, near Birmingham, Warwickshire, Eng.—died July 27, 1901, Auckland Castle, Durham), Anglican bishop of Durham, Eng., and biblical scholar who collaborated with Fenton J.A. Hort on an influential critical edition of the Greek text of the New Testament. Westcott took a degree at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1848 and was elected a fellow of the college in 1849. He left Cambridge in 1852 for a post at Harrow, where he earned a distinguished reputation as a lecturer and scholar during a 17-year tenure. In 1870 Westcott became regius professor of divinity at Cambridge, a position he retained even after being named bishop of Durham in 1890. The Westcott-Hort New Testament appeared in 1881 after nearly 30 years of work and became a major source for the English Revised Version of the Bible published the same year. Westcott also wrote commentaries on the gospel and epistles of St. John, and his History of the New Testament Canon (1855) was for many years a standard work in biblical scholarship. Reference 

Coming up: As we approach August, it is always a quieter month, a time for rest and relaxation and to recharge the batteries - both Ana and I are away during August: I am on leave 31st August, and back on 15th August, as we head up to Scotland, and Ana is away 12th August to 30th August. We have produced a bulletin that will cover all of August. 

August pattern of worship:

No 8.00 service at St Dunstan’s. Keep 10.00 midweek Eucharist at St Mildred’s.

Sun 1 Aug - 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sun 8 Aug - 11.00 Eucharist at St Mildred’s

Sun 15 Aug - 9.30 Eucharist at St Peter’s

Sun 22 Aug – 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sun 29 Aug Fifth Sunday United Benefice Eucharist: 11.00 at St Mildred’s

Worship in our church buildings

Covid measures: hand sanitising, Test & Trace and social distancing are still in place. Face coverings are recommended, particularly when coming and going. The Peace will continue from afar and the communion will continue in one kind only. Singing is permitted, but we will wear masks when doing so.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 23 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all on another warm day, and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory. Last night we had an excellent evening hearing about the impact of Climate Change from Nickolas Thurskston, Canterbury Climate Change Officer, Teresa Redfern, Canterbury Diocese Environmental Officer, and Jo Kidd local organic farmer - we had attendance from across the deanery and beyond, which was lovely. The evening was recorded and I will send the link out in due course.

Today in Morning Prayer we have been asked to remember Bridget of Sweden (c. 1303 – 23 July 1373); born as Birgitta Birgersdotter, also Birgitta of Vadstena, or Saint Birgitta (Swedish: heliga Birgitta), was a mystic and saint, and founder of the Bridgettines nuns and monks after the death of her husband of twenty years. Outside Sweden, she was also known as the Princess of Nericia and was the mother of Catherine of Vadstena. Her story is really interesting and well worth a read. Reference

Worship in our buildings and easing of restrictions, reminder of the guidance:

Updated guidance from the Church of England with respect to the easing of restrictions, can be found here. 

Hand sanitising and Test and Trace - the guidance asks that this be continued. 

Social distancing - every other pew will continue to be closed in St Dunstan's and St Mildred's and chairs in St Peter's much the same as we have recently had.

Ventilation: This is paramount and we are encouraged to keep our buildings well ventilated, and doors open where practicable

Face coverings:  " Although it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering, the government has stated that it “expects and recommends” that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others." I will be wearing mine except for when leading, and encourage you to do likewise, remaining mindful of others, and ask that you wear them when particularly when singing, and coming and going

The Peace: we will continue in all three churches to do this from afar - we must be mindful that although some feel comfortable to touch others, not everyone feels inclined to do so,  making eye contact with a bow or a nod will suffice

Singing: This is permitted, but the guidance asks that precautions are in place. We will initially just have two hymns, one at the beginning and one at the end, and to wear face coverings when doing so.

Receiving Communion: This will continue in one kind only, with all precautions in place. At St Dunstan's  communion will be distributed in the pews. At St Peters and St Mildred's we will invite people to receive from the front and you will be asked to stand with hands outstretched and receive and then follow a 'one-way' back to your seat. If you would rather remain seated communion will be brought to you. Instructions will also be given on the day.

We will resume refreshments after the service in September assuming that it would be safe to do so.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation, and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions relating to any of this. All this will be under constant review.

Reminder of the August pattern of worship:  

No 8.00 service at St Dunstan’s. Keep 10.00 midweek Eucharist at St Mildred’s.

Sun 1 Aug - 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sun 8 Aug - 11.00 Eucharist at St Mildred’s

Sun 15 Aug - 9.30 Eucharist at St Peter’s, Sun 22 Aug - 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sun 22 Aug – 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sun 29 Aug Fifth Sunday United Benefice Eucharist: 11.00 at St Mildred’s

Services for Sunday 25th July: The Feast of St James

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's, this service will also be live-streamed and accessed via our website

9.30 Eucharist at St Peter's in which Rev Jenny will be preaching

11.00 Eucharist at St Mildred's in which Rev Jenny will be preaching

Morning Prayer

Psalm 17.8 from today: Keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me under the shadow of your wings

God Bless and have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 19 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious day, and I hope this finds you all well. All well here at the Rectory but my goodness what a busy few days Jenny and I have had: we had with a funeral on Thursday, then both off on Friday and then the most glorious wedding at St Edmund's on Saturday and I had the privilege and joy to hear Jenny sing the hymns, as congregational hymns were not permitted. Then following our services yesterday morning we had a lovely baptism in the afternoon at St Dunstan's and welcomed baby Dash and his family. This was followed by a wonderful confirmation in which Michael Docherty from St Mildred's was confirmed by Bishop Rose - many congratulations to him.

So a wonderful weekend and the privilege of ministry especially with so many Occasional Offices was something quite special, though I think we were both exhausted by the end!

Easing of restrictions:

On Friday evening we received updated guidance from the Church of England with respect to the easing of restrictions, all details can be found here. 

You will note that "The responsibility for making decisions about how to proceed lies with the incumbent. This applies to acts of worship, to events run by the PCC or church community, and to decisions on whether to hire out spaces or allow other events to proceed."

I have liaised with the churchwardens and the ministry team with respect to this. All along first and foremost is the health and safety of you all, and has been all along, in all that we have done, and continue to do...we have got this far looking after one another, and so may that continue.

In the short term very little will therefore change, and we will be constantly reviewing the situation; your feedback as ever much appreciated.

Hand sanitising and Test and Trace - the guidance asks that this be continued. 

Social distancing - every other pew will continue to be closed in St Dunstan's and St Mildred's and chairs in St Peter's much the same as we have recently had.

Ventilation: This is paramount and we are encouraged to keep our buildings well ventilated.

Face coverings: "Although it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering, the government has stated that it “expects and recommends” that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings to protect themselves and others." I will be wearing mine except for when leading, and encourage you to do likewise, remaining mindful of others, and ask that you wear them particularly when coming and going.

The Peace: we will continue in all three churches to do this from afar - we must be mindful that although some feel comfortable to touch others, not everyone feels inclined to do so, making eye contact with a bow or a nod will suffice.

Singing: This is permitted, but the guidance asks that precautions are in place. We will initially just have two hymns, one at the beginning and one at the end, and to wear masks when doing so.

Receiving Communion: This will continue in one kind only, with all precautions in place. At St Dunstan's, communion will be distributed in the pews. At St Peter's and St Mildred's we will invite people to receive from the front and you will be asked to stand with hands outstretched and receive, and then follow a 'one-way' back to your seat. If you would rather remain seated, communion will be brought to you. Instructions will also be given on the day.

Decision regarding refreshments following the services has yet to be made.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation, and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions relating to any of this. All this will be under constant review.

Bring & Buy: Huge thank you to Chris and team for the Bring & Buy sale which raised £295.67  for St Dunstan's, which brings the total raised with the plant sale to over £600 for church funds.

Deanery Zoom Eco Evening: This Thursday at 7.30pm on Zoom - details on bulletin and Zoom link sent via email.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and enjoy this beautiful day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 16 JULY 2021

Good morning - a brief note today with Sunday's worship, as am off today and working tomorrow with a wedding at St Edmund's school which I am much looking forward to.

There is still no news from the Church of England re lifting of restrictions and the implications this will have for our church buildings and worship. Hopefully something will come out soon! 

Coming up:

Bric & Brac sale: Saturday, 17th at 10.00am at Chris Todd's house.

Benefice tea party: Monday, 19th July: 2.00 - 5.00pm at St Dunstan's Hall - we will be putting chairs and tables out behind the hall and opportunity to catch up with one another over tea and cake.

Sunday Services

8.00 said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

10.00 said Eucharist at St Dunstan's 

Both these services will be live-streamed at accessed via our website.

Zoom Coffee with John: Jenny will be joining this so opportunity to meet her online. Zoom link sent via Rev Jo's daily brief.

Baptism & Confirmation

Please keep in your prayers baby Dash who will be baptised on Sunday afternoon at St Dunstan's, and Michael Docherty from St Mildred's, who will be confirmed Sunday evening by Bishop Rose at Chartham. If others are looking to be either baptised and or confirmed please do get in touch, and further confirmations are taking place in our deanery in October.

Morning Prayer & Night Prayer - please access via YouTube.

God bless and have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 13 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all, and I hope this finds you all well as we are here at the Rectory. Disappointing regarding football, but also what a huge achievement to come second in Europe. I have been reading about Gareth Southgate's leadership and it is really interesting in what he has to say, and drawing on people from other disciplines and their life experiences. The racial abuse that has gone on though is just so very wrong and unacceptable, and really sickens and saddens me. Something to hold in prayer.

Lifting of Covid restrictions: we are still awaiting guidance from CofE with respect to what this means for our places of worship, and how we conduct public worship. I assure you that we will not be rushing into anything, though I would be very interested to hear your thoughts about what you would feel comfortable with in terms of mask wearing, social distancing, singing and receiving of communion. Of course, this may all be dictated by CofE, but good to get a feel of what folk are thinking, and would feel comfortable with - we are in this together!

St Mildred: Today is the Feast day of St Mildred, a fascinating woman and a very local saint. So for those who might be less familiar with her, one of our patron saints, here is some info: St. Mildred was the daughter of King Merewald of Magonset and his wife, St. Ermenburga (alias Aebbe of Minster-in-Thanet); and therefore sister of SS. Milburga and Milgith. At an early age, her mother sent her to be educated at Chelles in France, where many English ladies were trained to a saintly life. There is lots more info here.   

Looking ahead:

Bring & Buy Sale: Saturday, 17th July. Table Top sale at 50 Cherry Drive from 10am onwards. Many bargains. All Proceeds go to St Dunstan's Church & Hall.

Tea Party: We are planning to hold a tea party from 2.00 - 5.00 on Monday, 19th July at St Dunstan's Church hall, and this is for folk across the Benefice. It is an opportunity to see one another and to catch up - the weather looks to be good too, so we will hold this outside at the back of St Dunstan's Hall, although the hall will be open for those who prefer to sit indoors. We will of course remain very mindful of one another as the virus is still very present, and not everyone is vaccinated/double vaccinated, especially our young people.

Keep Praying Pentecost Prayer Gathering with Bishop Rose: Monday, 19th July 7:30pm on Zoom. Bishop Rose invites you to join her for an hour of prayer as part of 'Keep Praying', our thread of prayer running through 2021 which brings us together to pray with and for each other around the diocese. Zoom link, Meeting ID: 820 5726 9960, Passcode: 200167.

Canterbury Deanery Eco Evening: on 22 July at 7.30pm on Zoom. Please do join us for this as Climate Change impacts us all and our children and children's children. Exciting opportunity to hear Canterbury City Council Climate Change Officer Cllr Nicholas Thurston, Theresa Redfern (Canterbury Diocese Environmental Officer) and Jo Kidd (local organic farmer) talking about climate change and what we can do to help. Join Zoom MeetingMeeting ID: 868 9685 1936, Passcode: 280904.

Morning prayer. 

God Bless and have a good day - and Happy St Mildred's Day!

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 9 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all, and I hope this finds you all well, after what has been a busy week this end - and needless to say great excitement re the football! Yes we were all watching it here at the Rectory, and will do likewise on Sunday evening.

Looking ahead:

Benefice Tea at St Dunstan's Hall, 2.00 - 5.00 July 19th: Assuming that restrictions will be eased on July 19th, we are looking to have St Dunstan's hall open for tea and catch up - locating both in the hall and outside in the churchyard. I am very mindful that the virus is still very much present in the community, and know that there is understandably a level of anxiety, so please don't feel pressured to come along, but it's always good to see folk, even from afar! This invitation is for everyone across the Benefice, and Rev Jenny and I look forward to catching up with folk.

Easing worship restrictions: As soon as we hear anything from the CofE as to what the easing of restrictions will mean for places of worship, we will pass on the info to you.

Canterbury Deanery Eco Evening, Thursday 22 July 2021, 7.30 on Zoom: Please do put this date in your diary and join us for what promises to be a very interesting evening when Cllr Nicholas Thurston, Canterbury City Council Climate Change Officer, Teresa Redfern Canterbury Diocese Environmental Officer, and Jo Kidd, local Organic farmer will be joining us as speakers on the impact of climate change at a local level and what we can do to help both individually and as a church community.

Please contact the office for the Zoom link.

Plans for Sunday 

Rev Jenny will be deaconing at both St Peter's and St Mildred's on Sunday, so please do come along to meet her.

The weather is looking promising, so if you are able to join us for drinks, and nibbles/BYO picnic on Sunday after the 11.00 service at St Mildred's that would be lovely, and an opportunity to meet Jenny - and please do come from St Peter's and St Dunstan's, all are very welcome!

We are now able to sit as six on a pew in a group, so you will be asked when you arrive at St Mildred's if you are happy to either sit up to six on a pew, or on your own. We have also blocked off every other pew, rather than every third pew open

Services for Sunday:

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - this service will also be live-streamed

9.30 Said Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00 Patronal Festival, Said Eucharist at St Mildred's followed by refreshments in the churchyard

Morning Prayer 

Today's Psalm is 139 - just beautiful, if you do get a chance to look it up.

God Bless and have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 6 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all, on rather a damp day - on this 6th July when we remember St Thomas More, whose head resides in our chapel here in St Dunstan's.

Apologies for not getting a brief out yesterday but just to update you.

Jenny's ordination and first services: It was a delight and privilege to attend Jenny's ordination on Saturday in the Cathedral. Despite all the Covid restrictions it was a truly joyous occasion and wonderful to see all 11 curates being ordained deacon: 8 women and 3 men. Then on Sunday Jenny deaconed at both the 8.00 service and again at 10.00 at St Dunstan's - welcoming her family, along with those who came to hear their wedding banns being read. That was followed by churchyard refreshments. A real feel good factor! Jenny will have her day off on Saturday, and her study day being Friday. Like me, when we have a commitment on Saturday, then we will take Friday off as our rest day (and Jenny's study day will be Thursday).

Lifting of Covid restrictions: Following the announcement last night with 19th July proposed as the day for lifting restrictions. The Bishop of London, who has led the CofE guidance all along states: “We will await the new Government advice for places of worship and adapt our guidance to churches accordingly.”

We will of course keep you updated as we hear more.

Service of commemoration for St Thomas More: Please come along to the service tonight, 7.30pm at St Dunstan's to hear our speaker Rev'd Dr Johnathan Arnold. Otherwise do watch online, accessed via our website.

So today we remembered St Thomas More and John Fisher: Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, judge, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He also served Henry VIII as Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to May 1532.He wrote Utopia, published in 1516,[11] which describes the political system of an imaginary island state.

More opposed the Protestant Reformation, directing polemics against the theology of Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and William Tyndale. More also opposed Henry VIII's separation from the Catholic Church, refusing to acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. After refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was convicted of treason and executed. On his execution, he was reported to have said: "I die the King's good servant, and God's first". Pope Pius XI canonised More in 1935 as a martyr. Pope John Paul II in 2000 declared him the patron saint of statesmen and politicians. Reference

Morning Prayer 

God bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 2 JULY 2021

Good morning to you all, on a warm sunny morning, and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory - an exciting weekend ahead and just a few updates.

Seating arrangements in our church buildings: updated from CofE 30th June 2021

Please read the following:

"What about seating arrangements? From Step 3 groups of 6, or larger groups where everyone present is from the same two households (or linked support bubbles), can sit together. Everyone else will need to observe appropriate physical distancing at all times. It may be helpful to remind people as they enter, and to supervise this if needed. When entering and leaving church particular care needs to be taken that there is no mingling between groups. This can be particularly hard for people to do when encountering friends and clear paths for entrance and exit need to be considered as well as stewarding where this is considered to be an issue." 

What this means is: Attendees may sit in non-household groups of up to six on a pew together, but they must not mingle with other groups.  Mask wearing is mandatory (unless exempt), and there is no congregational singing, Test and Trace in place, and hand sanitisers.

We are expecting quite a few folk to come to our services on the 4th July and the 11th July, not only is it Jenny's first services with us, but we have couples hearing their Banns of marriage being read (5 couples at St Dunstan's and 2 at St Mildred's).

When you arrive, if you would rather sit alone (which is absolutely fine) please do indicate this, otherwise we will ask if you are happy to sit in a group of six on a pew. At St Dunstan's we have rearranged the ribbons, and closed off every other pew, as that brings us to just under the 2m social distancing between open pews; whereas before it was over 2m social distancing.

We as with everyone else await to hear if there will be any restrictions with the ease of lockdown, and will let you know accordingly.

Welcome party for Rev Jenny (4th and 11th July), following government guidelines: to take place in churchyard only (so if wet it will be cancelled), overall group size max 30 (so split into 2 groups in separate parts of churchyard if necessary). Smaller groups of 6 to be maintained, and sat together with no mingling between the groups. Drinks will be provided and brought to you (or BYO); we are not permitted to stand and drink/eat. Individual snacks will be available or bring-your-own. If you do have a collapsible chair and can bring it please do.

Link to the Cathedral for the Ordination service 3rd July at 5.30pm.

As we prepare to welcome Jenny to our Benefice - today's reading in Morning Prayer spoke to me most profoundly: Romans 16:1-2

"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well."

Services for Sunday 4th July:

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

10.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

Both of these services will also be live streamed and accessed via our website.

Service for St Thomas More: There is still plenty of Space for this annual service of commemoration at 7.30 on Tuesday 6th July at 7.30, so please do come along and support this service.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 28 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all, and I hope this finds you all well as we are here, and lovely to see so many of you yesterday at our services. It is certainly Reading Banns of Marriage season - we had two lovely couples with us at St Mildred's yesterday to hear their banns, one of the couple getting married in St Mildred's, and then for the next three weeks at St Dunstan's there will be 5 sets of Banns being read, with two couples getting married at St Dunstan's.

Banns of Marriage is a practise that goes back centuries and it is always a lovely opportunity for couples to hear their banns being read, and I always invite them. They need to be read in the Parish(es) in which the couple live, and in the Parish in which they are getting married. So, for one wedding three sets of banns may need to be read. They have to be read within three months prior to the wedding on three Sundays - not necessarily consecutive. In a Parish such as St Peter and St Mildred they have to be read in the church with the largest congregation, in our case that is St Mildred's regardless if the couple are getting married in St Peter/St Mildred - and when we don't have a 10.00 at St Dunstan's then the 8.00 service is the one with the largest congregation, and banns read then.

More info here - this is an excellent website for all couples looking for a church wedding.

Wedding Kneelers/Hassock: 

During the course of the wedding for the blessing of the marriage, the couple kneel on a wedding hassock - which is normally a long kneeler to accommodate them both. St Mildred's doesn't have such a hassock, and I wondered if there might be interested folk who might like to make one. For the wedding last year I borrowed St Dunstan's one, but it would be lovely if they could have their own, especially with two weddings this year (though August might be a bit soon). Please let me know if you may be interested in exploring this further - to be honest, I don't know what is involved, but if someone else does, please let me know.

Jenny's ordination: here is the link again for Jenny's ordination on Saturday, 5.30pm from the Cathedral - lovely if you can join online to witness this special day, and please do keep her in your prayers as she prepares for this special day. It was 7 years ago today that I was ordained in the Cathedral (back in 2014).

Christian Aid's Water Walk: On Thursday, Canterbury Christian Aid will be carrying buckets of water up and down Canterbury High Street, in aid of Christian Aid - yesterday morning Brian McHenry spoke about this on Radio Kent. The recording is attached, and please do contact Brian for any more info.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 25 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all - and hope this finds you well, as we are here on a somewhat damp morning!

Thank you again to all those who have donated to the Pilgrims Hospices - we have raised to date a staggering £1357.00 so a huge thank you!

Mothers Union: It was lovely to see so many of you from across our Benefice at our MU service yesterday - the next service will be on Thursday 22nd July, 3.15pm in St Dunstan's.

Benefice Newsletter: Please find attached our Summer Benefice Newsletter, which will also be available in our churches on Sunday as a hard copy. Thank you to all those who have contributed, and to our editor Samuel Woods who has put it all together.

St Thomas More: If you haven't yet done so please book for this service on Tuesday 6th July, when we will have the Mayor in attendance, and our speaker Rev'd Dr Johnathan Arnold. Booking to Sue on 767051.

Jenny's Ordination: Please do keep Jenny is your prayers as she moves to Canterbury this weekend, and then prepares for her ordination on Saturday, July 3rd at 5.30pm, as numbers are very limited (invitation only) the service will be live-streamed from the Cathedral and accessed hereIf you can, please do watch, as it is such a special service.

Following our services on 4th July 10.00 at St Dunstan's and 11th July at 11.00 at St Mildred's we encourage you to stay for a drink and BYO nibbles/lunch to raise a glass to Jenny and welcome her to the Benefice.  Jenny will be deaconing at both of these services.

Folk from 8.00 St Dunstan's and 9.30 St Peter's please come along to post-service gatherings at St Dunstan's/St Mildred's.

Scams: There are a number of scams at the moment going, including a Covid vaccine passport scam - please remain careful with these. 

Services for Sunday 27 June 2021 - St Peter's Patronal Festival

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

9.30 Said Eucharist at St Peter's as we celebrate our Patronal Festival

11.00 Said Eucharist at St Mildred's

Morning Prayer

Psalm 55:24 "Cast your burden upon the Lord and he will sustain you"

God Bless and have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 23 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all on a somewhat overcast day, and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory, and have pretty much recovered from our walk - a huge thank you for all your donations which are still coming in and now reached £1239.00 for such a good cause - a huge thank you on behalf of Pilgrims Hospices.

Today in Morning Prayer we are asked to remember Ethelreda, Abbess of Ely.

"Etheldreda (in Old English Æthelthryth, known in medieval times as Saint Audrey) was the daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia, and was born in Suffolk in the first half of the seventh century. At an early age she was married to an ealdorman of the kingdom, but she remained a virgin. On his death three years later (c. 655), she retired to the Isle of Ely, her dowry. In 660, for political reasons, she was married again, this time to Egfrith, the king of Northumbria, who was then only fifteen years old and several years Etheldreda’s junior. He agreed that she should remain a virgin, but twelve years later he wished to consummate their marriage. Etheldreda, advised and aided by Wilfrid, the bishop of Northumbria, refused. Etheldreda left Egfrith to become a nun at Coldingham under her aunt Ebbe. Their marriage annulled, Egfrith married again.

Etheldreda founded the double monastery (for women and men) at Ely in 673. She oversaw the restoration of an old church there, reputedly destroyed by Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, and built her monastery on the site of the present Ely cathedral. For seven years she lived an austere life of penance and prayer, eating only one meal daily, wearing woollen clothes instead of linen, and keeping vigil each morning between Matins and dawn. She died around 678 of a tumour on the neck. She was revered as a woman of austerity, prayer, and prophecy". Reference 

St Thomas More Service of Commemoration 7.30 Tuesday 6th July: Please do book your seat for our 50th anniversary Service of Commemoration of this national figure, and local saint. Bookings with Sue on 01227 767051

MU Service Thursday 24 June at 3.15pm: Do join us in St Dunstan's 3.15 for our monthly service of reflection, all welcome.

Week of Accompanied Prayer online, 11th - 17th July, and opportunity for daily prayer and reflection with a prayer guide. For more info please see the attached poster.

Morning Prayer 

God bless, and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 21 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory, though I must admit am still a bit achy this morning following our walk on Saturday. We managed the 55km (34 miles) from Wye to Dover, setting off at 7.50am from Wye village Hall to arrive at Dover castle 12 hrs, and 20 mins later at 8.10pm.  The walk was incredibly well organised by Pilgrims Hospices. Every 8-10km there was a refreshment stop with drinks and food, and lots of encouragement. In all there were 800 walkers - some doing the 25km (Wye to Canterbury), some 35km (Canterbury to Dover) and about 400 doing the full distance. Numbers were limited because of the Covid-restrictions - but really worthwhile and all for a good cause. For those of you who enjoy longer walks - I would thoroughly recommend it. A huge thank you to all those who have so generously donated - with our JustGiving page and in cash, to date we have raised £1164, for Pilgrims Hospices, with money still coming, so a massive thank you, and I have attached a few pictures along the way (Samuel please can you put a couple up on the gallery).

Coming up....

Jenny's ordination & plans for the 4th & 11th July:

Please keep Jenny in your prayers as she prepares for her ordination, which will take place on 3rd July in the Cathedral. Unfortunately with the Covid restrictions, numbers will be very limited, and invitation only. I have already circulated the Ember Card that Jenny sent, and this can be accessed under Resources.

Jenny's first services with us will be on Sunday 4th July at St Dunstan's and Sunday 11th July at St Peter's & St Mildred's.

To celebrate Jenny's arrival with us - after the 10.00 service at St Dunstan's on the 4th, and the 11th service at St Mildred's on the 11th we are inviting folk to bring a picnic/nibbles and have lunch together outside (I know a bit early for St Dunstan's - maybe some nibbles). It will be a means of welcoming Jenny, and raise a glass to her - we will provide wine/juice in paper cups. This will be an opportunity for you to meet Jenny, and catch up with one another. We are permitted to meet outside in groups of 30. We will have chairs (unless you want to bring your own). If it is raining we will have to cancel as not permitted to meet indoors. Those from St Peter's if you can come to St Mildred's for 12.00; like wise the 8.00 from St Dunstan's join us at 11.00 after the service. 

St Thomas More: 7.30 on Tuesday 6th July at St Dunstan's

This year marks the 50th anniversary of this service of Commemoration for St Thomas More, so please come along and hear our speaker Rev'd Canon Dr Johnathan Arnold. Unfortunately we can't have refreshments after the service, but please do book your seat with Sue on 01227 767051

August Pattern of worship

During August, which is often a quieter/holiday month, we will be adopting the following pattern of worship, rotating around the three churches, to accommodate Jo & Brian’s annual leave: Please note No 8.00 service at St Dunstan’s during August, but will keep 10.00 midweek Eucharist at St Mildred’s.

Sunday 1st August: 10.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sunday 8th August: 11.00 Eucharist at St Mildred’s

Sunday 15th August: 9.30 Eucharist at St Peter’s

Sunday 22nd August: 11.00 Eucharist at St Dunstan’s

Sunday 29th August: 5th Sunday United Benefice Eucharist: 11.00 at St Mildred’s with guest preacher Reader Samuel Keeler-Walker - please do all join us for this service, as our United Service, it was lovely to see so many from across the Benefice at our last United Service - and hopefully we may be singing by then!

Summer Garden Party at the Rectory: Sunday 22nd August: Please keep the date, details to follow

Confirmation 2021

There will be a Deanery Confirmation service on Saturday 9th October, at 5.30 pm. Venue tbc

If you are interested, or know of someone who might be interested, in getting confirmed - either adults or young people (from 11+), please let Rev Jo, or if you just want to know what is involved. I have already had expressions of interest from both children & adults so we will be running two courses, either on Zoom or in person. These courses are normally six weeks long. 

Morning prayer

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 16 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all on another glorious day. I hope this finds you all well as we are here at The Rectory. Not long to go now before our big walk on Saturday - training schedule says eat lots of carbs, so any excuse for cake and big pasta meal tonight! At least it will hopefully be a bit cooler; 19C rather than 25C which I think it will be today!

Today in Morning Prayer we have been asked to remember Richard of Chichester (1197 – 3 April 1253), also known as Richard de Wych, is a saint (canonized 1262) who was Bishop of Chichester. In Chichester Cathedral a shrine dedicated to Richard had become a richly decorated centre of pilgrimage. In 1538, during the reign of Henry VIII, the shrine was plundered and destroyed by order of Thomas Cromwell. Richard of Chichester is the patron saint of Sussex in southern England; since 2007, his translated saint's day of 16 June has been celebrated as Sussex Day. Reference 

National Refugee Week: This week in National Refugee week, and I will be preaching more about this on Sunday at St Dunstan's, which is National Refugee Day, however the diocese have put together this short clip which is worth watching. There is also more information on the diocesan website.

MU Service Thursday, 24th June 3.15 in St Dunstan's: Please do join us for our monthly MU service in St Dunstan's. This is open to all, members and non-members, and not exclusively for mothers/women - a service of prayer and reflection led by Rev Jo.

Service of Commemoration for St Thomas More at 7.30pm, 6th July. Booking is required for this annual service of commemoration - please do come along as it marks our 50th anniversary of holding this special event, and our guest preacher is Rev'd Canon Dr Johnathan Arnold. For bookings contact Sue on 01227 567051

Please note I am on leave Thurs & Friday this week, so any queries please contact the churchwardens.

Services for Sunday 20th June:

8.00 Said Eucharist St Dunstan's

10.00 Said Eucharist St Dunstan's

Both of these services also live-streamed and accessed via our website.

Morning Prayer led by John this morning. Please access via our website/YouTube channel (also for Thurs & Friday this week for Morning Prayer & Night Prayer).

God Bless and have a good day - enjoy the sunshine!

Rev Jo


MONDAY 14 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all on another glorious summer day. I hope this finds you all well as we are here at the Rectory.

It would appear that the lifting of Covid restrictions will be delayed for a month. We will no doubt hear more this evening from the government, but all Covid precautions are maintained across our three churches with the mandatory wearing of face coverings (unless exempt) and social distancing, receiving of the host in one kind, and no singing. Prayers for those who are planning weddings at this difficult time, and all the uncertainty that entails.

Today we were asked to remember in Morning Prayer Richard Baxter: 

Richard Baxter (12 November 1615 – 8 December 1691) was an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymnodist, theologian, and controversialist. Dean Stanley called him "the chief of English Protestant Schoolmen". After some false starts, he made his reputation by his ministry at Kidderminster, and at around the same time began a long and prolific career as theological writer. After the Restoration he refused preferment, while retaining a non-separatist Presbyterian approach, and became one of the most influential leaders of the Nonconformists, spending time in prison. His views on justification and sanctification are somewhat controversial and unconventional within the Calvinist tradition because his teachings seem, to some, to undermine salvation by faith, in that he emphasizes the necessity of repentance and faithfulness. Reference 

Dates for your diary

Service of commemoration for St Thomas More: Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 7.30 at St Dunstan's - Booking required via Sue: 01227 767051

May I encourage you to come along to this service which marks 50 years of this annual commemoration held in St Dunstan's. 

From Rev. Brian McHenry: It is good to announce that the service to mark the melancholy anniversary of St Thomas More's execution will return this year to St Dunstan's after the necessary intermission last year. The speaker will be Dr Jonathan Arnold, the Diocesan Director of Communities and Partnerships, who is an expert in late medieval and Reformation church history. His subject is 'Profit and Piety: Thomas More, John Colet, and the London Mercery'. 

The service will also be live-streamed.

Rectory Summer Garden Party: Please keep the date: Sunday, 22nd August 2.00 - 6.00pm - furthered details in due course.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and enjoy the sunshine.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 11 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all and hope this finds everyone well, as we are here. Last night we went to see the musical SIX at the Marlowe Theatre - an excellent show, focusing on the six wives of Henry VIII. It was so good to be back there - all socially distanced, mask wearing etc, and felt safe. But just to see the performance and hear the singing was a real joy.

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Barnabas: Barnabas, born Joseph, was according to tradition an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They travelled together making more converts (c. 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50). Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the "God-fearing" Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia. Reference 

Congratulations to Rev Iain Taylor

On this day, Feast of St Barnabas, 1971 Iain was admitted and Licensed as a Reader in the Cathedral by Anthony Tremlett, Bishop of Dover. This means he has reached 50 years in the Preaching/Teaching ministry of the Church.  We thank Iain for his ministry and commitment during this time, and his Christian witness in our city to both those in our Benefice and wider community. Thank you Iain, and God Bless.

Ember Card for Jenny: Please can you pray for Jenny, our prospective curate, as she prepares for her ordination in Canterbury Cathedral, on 3rd July, and then joining us on the 4th July. I attach her Ember Card, which is a prayer card designed by Jenny for us all to use in preparation for her ordination and joining us here in the Benefice, initially as Deacon, and then Priest.

PCR Testing: As a 'community leader' I received this email yesterday from the Government asking to let you know: "As you will be aware, Public Health England has found clusters of a COVID-19 variant of concern in your area and mass testing is underway. We need every member of the community to come forward for PCR testing in order to give us the best chance of suppressing this outbreak. Please help us by encouraging your members to get a test as soon as possible. Details of testing centres for Canterbury are available at Canterbury testing - Coronavirus - University of Kent"

Services for Sunday, 13th June

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - this service will also be live-streamed

9.30 Said Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00 Said Eucharist at St Mildred's

2.00 Baptism at St Mildred's

Morning Prayer - led this morning by John - please access via YouTube on our website.

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 7 JUNE 2021

Good morning to you all, on another glorious day. I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory. Having had time away, we feel refreshed and recharged. I initially spent time camping at Kingsdown for a few days, which was just fabulous - a campsite overlooking the channel, and then the weekend we spent up in Manchester catching up with our son and his girlfriend, who we hadn't seen for nine months. It was very strange opening Christmas presents in June - but so good to see them both, and the weather was just glorious, a real tonic.

Thank you to John Morrison who covered morning and night prayer whilst away, Brian for our Wednesday & Sunday Eucharists, and John Spriggs for Corpus Christi - very much appreciated.

Pilgrims Hospices 55km (34 miles) walking challenge - Saturday, 19th June 2021

On Saturday, 19th June, Jim & I are taking part in the Pilgrims Hospices Walking Challenge, and will be walking from Wye to Dover, via Canterbury in a day - 55km/34 miles. We set off at 7.30am from Wye and hope to get to Dover 12/13 hours later! A distance we have never walked before, but have been training. The Pilgrims Hospices, like many charities, have struggled this last year with so many fundraising events cancelled, so we thought we could perhaps raise some much needed funds for this very worthy cause, by taking up this challenge. Some of you have already enquired about sponsorship, if you would like to sponsor us we have set up a Just Giving pageA huge thank you in anticipation. The photo on this page was taken in 2019, when we walked the 35km challenge Canterbury to Dover.

Services on Church Services TV

For those of you who may have missed our United Benefice Service from 30th May and would like to see it/hear Rosemary's sermon, as well as yesterday's services, please access them via our Church Services TV link on our website.

For the service on 30th May, please go to 'Featured Videos' tab, and for yesterday's service go to recordings, all accessed via our website.

Morning Prayer

God Bless, and enjoy the glorious weather!

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 28 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all - and a lovely spring day. The weather is (at last) going to warm up a bit, which is lovely, especially as I have next week off and camping for a few days before heading up to Manchester next weekend to see our son, who we haven't seen since last summer. I am on leave from Monday 31st, and back to work on 7th June. Any queries when I am away please contact the churchwardens. Ana is also off next week as well.

Today in Morning Prayer we remembered Lanfranc.

Lanfranc (1005 -1010 – 24 May 1089) was a celebrated Italian jurist who renounced his career to become a Benedictine monk at Bec in Normandy. He served successively as prior of Bec Abbey and abbot of St Stephen in Normandy and then as Archbishop of Canterbury in England, following its Conquest by William the Conqueror. He is also variously known as Lanfranc of Pavia, Lanfranc of Be), and Lanfranc of Canterbury. Reference 

Services for Sunday: Trinity Sunday 

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's

10.00 Fifth Sunday United Benefice Eucharist at St Dunstan's with guest Preacher Rosemary Walters

Both these services will be live-streamed and can be accessed via our website.

Morning Prayer & Night Prayer: These services next week will be led by John Morrison (thank you, John) and can be accessed via our YouTube site which is on our website.

Likewise our services for Sunday, 6th June will be led by Brian McHenry - thank you, Brian.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good week everyone.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 26 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all - well at least it's not raining, and our front garden is a haven for our pollinators as we have undertaken the No Mow May initiative.

Yesterday I returned the wedding registers to the General Registry Office (GRO) now that the legalisation has changed. Couples no longer ‘sign the register’ in church (or wherever they get married), rather they sign a marriage document, which is returned to the GRO, and then they get issued with a certificate. In each church there are two registers – the GRO only required the return of one, the other kept in each respective church for historical reference, although clergy no longer issue any duplicate certificates. The other key thing is on the marriage document the mother's details are written, as well as father's in terms of names and occupation. 

Please find attached a document from Catching Lives which is their annual Winter Night Provision report and they are happy to share it.

Also attached is the diocesan Prayer Card from Pentecost through to Harvest.

Fifth Sunday United Benefice Service for Trinity Sunday:

A reminder that the services for Sunday 30th May, are 8.00am Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's, and then our 'Fifth Sunday United Benefice Service' for Trinity Sunday 10.00am at St Dunstan's with guest preacher Canon Dr Rosemary Walters - Reader from St Paul's. We have Stephen Banfield, one of our organists from St Mildred's playing, as John is on leave. Booking, preferred but not essential, with Sue on 767051.

Morning Prayer led by John.

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 24 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on another damp morning, but hope you are all well, as we are here.

Today we have been asked to remember in our Morning Prayer John & Charles Wesley - so a little bit about them:

John and Charles Wesley are among the most notable evangelists who ever lived. As young men, they formed a party which came to be derisively called Methodists, because they methodically set about fulfilling the commands of scripture. In due course they learned that works cannot save, and discovered salvation by faith in Christ. Afterward, they carried that message to all England in sermon and in song. John Wesley is credited with staving off a bloody revolution in England such as occurred in France. Although the brothers did not set out to establish a church, the Wesleyans and the Methodists are their offspring. Both preached, both wrote hymns. But John is more noted for his sermons and Charles for his hymns. Reference 

I wonder what hymn/s are you most looking forward to singing again, when restrictions are eventually lifted - at the moment we have no indication when congregational singing will be, and await instruction from the government and CofE. 

Morning Prayer 

Have a good day, and words from today's psalm: Ps.123.3 My eyes wait upon the Lord our God

God Bless.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 21 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this very blustery morning - feels more like autumn! Hope this finds you all well, as we are here.

Today in Morning Prayer, we were asked to remember St Helena, Protector of Holy Places: 246/8 - 330

Saint Helena, was the mother of Roman emperor Constantine the Great. She was born outside of the noble classes, a Greek, possibly in the Greek city of Drepana, Bithynia in Asia Minor. Helena ranks as an important figure in the history of Christianity and of the world due to her influence on her son. In her final years, she made a religious tour of Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem, during which ancient tradition claims that she discovered the True Cross. The Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Catholic Church, and the Anglican Communion revere her as a saint; the Lutheran Church commemorates her. Reference

Plant sale: Chris Todd is hosting a plant sale at her house on Sat 22 May - from 10am at 50 Cherry Drive. Please contact Chris if you have any plants to donate.

Fifth Sunday United Benefice Service, Sunday, 30 May:  this service is a United Benefice Service, and will be held in St Dunstan's (and will be rotated between the three churches for all fifth Sundays) and our guest preacher is Reader Rosemary Walters. As this is a Benefice-wide service, booking preferred - please contact Sue Palmer to book on 767051. Please do come from across the Benefice if you can - service will be live streamed for those who are shielding.

Services for Pentecost: Sunday 23 May

8.00 Said Eucharist from St Dunstan's - this is in-person and live-streamed

9.30 Said Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00 Said Eucharist at St Mildred's

Zoom coffee hosted by John after.

Deanery Novena Reflections: Friday 

Saturday 

Morning Prayer 

Today's second reading from 1 John 4.7-end is so powerful: God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

God Bless and have a good day/weekend.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 19 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this damp spring morning, and today we commemorate our patron saint: St Dunstan.

Earlier in the week I sent John's sermon from Sunday which gave an insight into our saint - but if you missed that here is some more info:

St Dunstan:  "Born of a noble family at Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, England, Dunstan was educated there by Irish monks and while still a youth, was sent to the court of King Athelstan. He became a Benedictine monk about 934 and was ordained by his uncle, St. Alphege, Bishop of Winchester, about 939. After a time as a hermit at Glastonbury, Dunstan was recalled to the royal court by King Edmund, who appointed him abbot of Glastonbury Abbey in 943. He developed the Abbey into a great center of learning while revitalizing other monasteries in the area. He became advisor to King Edred on his accession to the throne when Edmund was murdered, and began a far-reaching reform of all the monasteries in Edred's realm. Dunstan also became deeply involved in secular politics and incurred the enmity of the West Saxon nobles for denouncing their immorality and for urging peace with the Danes. When Edwy succeeded his uncle Edred as king in 955, he became Dunstan's bitter enemy for the Abbot's strong censure of his scandalous lifestyle. Edwy confiscated his property and banished him from his kingdom. Dunstan went to Ghent in Flanders but soon returned when a rebellion replaced Edwy with his brother Edgar, who appointed Dunstan Bishop of Worcester and London in 957. When Edwy died in 959, the civil strife ended and the country was reunited under Edgar, who appointed Dunstan Archbishop of Canterbury. The king and archbishop then planned a thorough reform of Church and state. Dunstan was appointed legate by Pope John XII, and with St. Ethelwold and St. Oswald, restored ecclesiastical discipline, rebuilt many of the monasteries destroyed by the Danish invaders, replaced inept secular priests with monks, and enforced the widespread reforms they put into effect. Dunstan served as Edgar's chief advisor for sixteen years and did not hesitate to reprimand him when he thought it deserved. When Edgar died, Dunstan helped elect Edward the martyr king and then his half brother Ethelred, when Edward died soon after his election. Under Ethelred, Dunstan's influence began to wane and he retired from politics to Canterbury to teach at the Cathedral school and died there. Dunstan has been called the reviver of monasticism in England. He was a noted musician, played the harp, composed several hymns, notably Kyrie Rex splendens, was a skilled metal worker, and illuminated manuscripts. He is the patron of armorers, goldsmiths, locksmiths, and jewellers. His feast day is 19th May." Reference 

Today at our 10.00 Eucharist in St Mildred's we will be remembering Dunstan's Feast Day - so do join us if you can, as we celebrate Dunstan's Feast Day.

Today's Novena reflection: Wednesday 

For Morning Prayer, which will be led by John, please access via our website/YouTube channel.

God Bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 17 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all and hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory.

What's On: Things are beginning to happen!

St Dunstan's open for private prayer & visiting from Monday, 17th May: We are delighted to announce that St Dunstan's will be open for private prayer and visiting with all Covid precautions in place from Monday, 17 May. It will be open from Monday - Saturday from 9.30am - 4.30pm, and after services on a Sunday until 4.30pm.

St Peter & St Mildred Vestry Meeting at 7.15 on Wednesday 19 May at St Peter's followed by APCM

Who can attend these meetings?

Vestry Meeting: (known also as the 'meeting of the parishioners', and 'Annual Parish Meeting') is for the election of the churchwardens, this is open to anyone on the electoral roll of the Parish, anybody who lives in the Parish. 

APCM: Only those who are on the electoral roll can attend the APCM - this is not a public meeting.

Tiny Tots is back: We are delighted to announce that our Tiny Tots is back up and running, with Covid secure precautions in place and we look forward to welcoming folk on Thursday, 20th May at 1.30 - 3.00pm at St Dunstan's Church Hall.  Please contact Chris for further info on 01227 453496.

Plant Sale: A Plant sale will be held on Saturday, 22 May, 10am at 50 Cherry Drive in aid of Church & Hall funds. If you have any plants to donate Chris is willing to collect. Thanks, Chris Todd.

Benefice Newsletter: Deadline for articles and reflections for Benefice Newsletter is this Thursday 20th May - please contact Samuel Woods.

Novena Day 4: Offer  

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 14 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this first day of our Novena.

Novena 2021 - please do use these resources as we pray intentionally during the Novena - the nine days between Ascension Day & Pentecost. Attached is the Novena booklet with the Order of service for these reflections.

Deanery: Reflection from the Deanery Day 1.

Diocesan: Nine days of prayer Daily with folk from across the Diocese at 12 noon every day- Zoom gathering using the Daily Waiting liturgies, reflecting on the daily themes from Thy Kingdom Come.

Christian Aid Week: Thurs & Fri

Thursday 13th May

Global heating threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, health, and poverty reduction. Christian Aid’s faith partner in Kenya, ADSE, helps people raise their voices and become climate change champions in their local communities.

Friday 14th May

Take a moment to consider how your wellbeing is intertwined with creation and with those people whom you may never meet. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said that “we think of ourselves too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole world”.

In this Christian Aid Week, you can support the work of Christian Aid and its partners in helping local voices to be raised about climate change by donating to Christian Aid through the Canterbury Christian Aid Group JustGiving page.

Sunday Services: St Dunstan's Patronal Festival - Sunday 16th May

8.00am St Dunstan's Said Eucharist - in person & live-streamed via our website

10.00am St Dunstan's Said Eucharist - in person & live-streamed via our website

Morning Prayer 

"Come Holy Spirit, Come"

God Bless and have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 12 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this sunny morning, and hope this finds you well as we are here.

Today we have been asked to remember Gregory Dix - a little bit about him: George Eglinton Alston Dix OSB (4 October 1901 – 12 May 1952), known as Gregory Dix, was a British monk and priest of Nashdom Abbey, an Anglican Benedictine community. He was a noted liturgical scholar whose work had particular influence on the reform of Anglican liturgy in the mid-20th century. Reference

APCMs and PCCs  for both Parishes

I have sent to those of you who regularly worship with us  the APCM reports, along with minutes from last year's vestry meeting and APCM, which was held in October 2020. To reduce the amount of printing (and the environmental impact this has), the APCM reports will be sent electronically only. If you wish to receive a hard copy, and are unable to print one off at home, please contact Ana in the office or Elizabeth Turner, and one can be provided for you . If you have not received a copy and would like to please let me know or Elizabeth and we can send you a copy by email: pollen_90@hotmail.com If you have any questions relating to the reports, it would be good if you could submit them prior to the meeting, where they will be answered.

Rector's report, along with churchwardens' reports, and those who normally write a report will be circulated in the next few days, once they have been compiled. Again we ask that you read these prior to the meeting as they will not be read at that meeting. 

APCMs this year are as follows:

Wednesday, 19 May: St Peter & St Mildred: 7.15 at St Peter's for Vestry meeting and 7.30 for APCM

Monday, 24 May: St Dunstan's: 7.15 at St Dunstan's for Vestry meeting and 7.30 for APCM

Christian Aid: Reflections from Rev Brian

Tuesday 11th May

In Kenya, people pray for rain. They are doing all they can to adapt but rivers are still drying up. We need a fundamental transformation of the systems that drive climate change and poverty. Christian Aid campaigns for that transformation.

Wednesday 12th May

Florence lives in Kyeng’e village, in a dry part of Kenya. Her community built a dam with help from a partner of Christian Aid. The water in the dam has changed her life. “It has helped me to start beekeeping, plant a garden and keep chickens because the water is nearby”.

In this Christian Aid Week, you can help people like Florence by donating to Christian Aid through the Canterbury Christian Aid Group JustGiving page.

Morning Prayer

Have a good day & God Bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 10 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this damp Monday morning - but we do need the rain. Hope you are all well as we are here on this Rogation Day - and lovely to see so many of you yesterday when we Beat the Bounds. It seemed to work well walking in our groups of six, with the people and land of our Benefice well and truly prayed for!

Christian Aid Week:

Today also marks the beginning of Christian Aid Week - a number of us joining virtually Canterbury Christian Aid service last night. It was a delight to have Rowan Williams preaching - thank you to all (especially Brian) who organised that.

Brian has also done a very short reflection for each day this week, along with means by which we can donate to Christian Aid:

"Monday 10th May: This is Christian Aid Week. The people and communities, whom Christian Aid seeks to help, live closer to the Earth than many of us do. They are the ones experiencing the strongest effects of the climate crisis. We can help them both through ensuring that we have a lighter touch on the Earth’s resources and through donating to the work of Christian Aid. You may donate through the Canterbury Christian Aid Group JustGiving page"

Ascension Day & Novena 2021

This week on Thursday is Ascension Day - and there will be a Said Eucharist  at 12.00pm at St Peter's and later at 7.30pm at St Dunstan's, and it will be lovely if you are able to join us.

We will also be marking The Novena - nine days of prayer between Ascension Day and Pentecost (23rd May). There are resources available nationally available from the CofE, but also as a Deanery we will be offering a daily reflection. This will be led by folk across the deanery, and I will send out the YouTube link with Morning Prayer each day.

May I suggest that we as a community really focus on prayer over these nine days for our Benefice - we will be having our Night Prayer at 6.00pm each day, and perhaps if you could join us for that (or watch later on YouTube). As we emerge from lockdown, I feel we need to do so on a bedrock of prayer - as some of our activities begin to start up again (20th May playgroup) - but also we are beginning to gain traction on our two Parish projects: The Big Plan at St Dunstan's, and St Peter's community Hub initiative, and need to be keeping these in our prayers. Thank you.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 7 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this lovely spring morning - though still very cool out there.

Beating of the Bounds on Rogation Sunday: 9th May 2021. As you probably know by now, I love walking and so to Beat the Bounds with you on Sunday would be a real joy! Of course we need to be mindful of Covid restrictions, ensuring that we keep to groups of six max. If you want to meet at St Dunstan's carpark at 2.00pm on Sunday, and go from there - do as much or as little as you want - we will Beat the Bounds Litany as we have done previously on Bingley Island (close to Toddler's Cove). The distance is about 6.7 miles max, and please bring a drink as it could reach 19 degrees on Sunday.

Please find attached the Liturgy both in publisher and word format, and please do use the prayers as you perhaps picture the roads and streets in our Benefice and pray for them on Sunday, if you are not able to join us.

Here is some background: 

The Rogation Days (from the Latin rogare, ‘to ask’) are the three weekdays before Ascension Day. Originally, the Christian observance of Rogation was taken over from Graeco-Roman religion, where an annual procession invoked divine favour to protect crops against mildew. The tradition grew of using processional litanies, often around the parish boundaries, for the blessing of the land.

The Rogation procession was suppressed at the Reformation, but it was restored in 1559.The poet George Herbert interpreted the procession as a means of asking for God’s blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbours with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor.

The tradition of ‘beating the bounds’ has been preserved in some communities. In more recent times, the scope of Rogation has been widened to include petition for the world of work and for accountable stewardship, and prayer for local communities, whether rural or urban (Ref. Common Worship: Times & Seasons).

 Services for Sunday 9th May: Rogation Sunday/Easter 6

8.00am Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - in-person & online, accessed via our website

9.30am Said Eucharist at St Peter's

11.00am Said Eucharist at St Mildred's 

Zoom Coffee: John will be hosting coffee at 11.15 on Zoom

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good weekend.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 5 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all today, and I hope this finds you well.

A bit brief this morning, as heading off to St Mildred's for the Eucharist at 10.00 - going via the office to pick up the paperwork.

You would have noticed on your electronic bulletin that we will be Beating the Bounds on Sunday 9th May as it is Rogation Sunday. We will meet at 2.00pm in St Dunstan's car park for the 6.7 mile walk - which will initially take us up St Thomas's Hill, back through the university, then follow the boundary through the city and then Biggley Island , where we will say the prayers and 'Beat the Bounds'. We then maybe go along the river a bit (depending how we feel - following the boundary) and then back up Rheims Way to St Dunstan's. At the moment the weather looks dry which is encouraging.

We have to be mindful of Covid regulations: walking in groups of six and keep within our groups. 

Let me know if you are interested, and if you feel you want to just do part of it that is fine.

Mothers Union Service today at 3.00pm in St Dunstan's - This is open to all, not just MU members, and you don't have to be a mother/female to be a MU member. Lovely if you can join us, and for those who are unable to be there, you can watch it live via our website. 

Morning Prayer - led by John this morning and accessed via our website - YouTube link.

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 4 MAY 2021

Good morning to you all on this damp Tuesday morning - but the rain is so very welcome for our gardens, and for the farmers. We did a lovely walk on Saturday - the most incredible bluebells I have ever seen along the North Downs Way from Chilham, heading towards Wye. It was just carpets and carpets of them!

Marriage Registers: You would have read/heard on the media that from today there are significant changes in the Registration of Marriages - this will no longer take place during the marriage ceremony - be it in a church/chapel/registry office or licenced venue. Rather the couple will sign a Marriage Document (or Schedule) during the service. This is returned by the minister who conducts the service within 21 days, to the General Registry Office (GRO) - it is from there that the couple have to get their marriage certificate and where the marriage is now electronically registered, rather than being given the certificate on the day. 

The marriage certificate is also somewhat different with the inclusion  of mothers - since their inception in 1837 only father and father's rank/profession were on the document. Now the mother's details are included, along with their occupation. It was this that triggered the changes - along with the GRO going electronic.

Needless to say we have had training both by the GRO and CofE for marriages that will take place from today onwards. The other change is that the new certificate is portrait (previously landscape) and we can include up to 4 parents (e.g. step-parents) and 6 witnesses. We do however have to have a 'register of marriage services' book. This will be a special book, as we have for burials, baptisms and confirmations. This is just filled out by the minister, again as per other occasional offices.

This is also an historical moment, and I attach the prayers that I said in St Dunstan's on Sunday, to acknowledge the closure of the two Registers there, and I will do likewise for both St Peter's and St Mildred's this coming Sunday. We are permitted to keep one Register in church for historical reasons, and the other returns to the GRO. We no longer provide replacement certificates, again all through the centralised GRO.

There is no change as far as Banns are concerned - what is called 'marriage preliminaries' remain the same, and the marriage service is the same - rather than 'signing of the registers' it will be 'signing of the marriage document' - and will be a lot quicker - one piece of paper rather than three! And we can still take photos!

Morning Prayer

God Bless.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 30 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all on this sunny spring morning - though still very cold out there.

Today in Morning Prayer we were asked to remember Pandita Mary Ramabai, particularly pertinent this morning as we keep the folk in India in our prayers as they are really struggling with the virus. A little bit about her: Pandita Ramabai Sarasvati (23 April 1858 – 5 April 1922), was a women's rights & education activist, a pioneer in the education and emancipation of women in India, and a social reformer. She was the first woman to be awarded the titles of Pandita as a Sanskrit scholar and Sarasvati after being examined by the faculty of the University of Calcutta. She was one of the ten women delegates of the Congress session of 1889. In the late 1890s, she founded Mukti Mission at Kedgaon village, forty miles east of the city of Pune. The mission was later named Pandita Ramabai Mukti Mission. Reference 

Coming up:

Please do come along to this virtual evening of entertainment, which promises to be a lot of fun led by David Clarke. 

Classical Music Performed Comedically: On Friday, 30 April at 7.30pm via Zoom. David Clarke will present 24 short clips of music overlaid with comedy. The hour-long presentation will be followed by general discussion. Some of the artists are known to many, others less so. It promises to be a fun packed event suitable for all ages. 

St Dunstan’s MU: invite you to a service of readings & reflection on Wednesday 5 May, at 3pm in St Dunstan’s Church. Come & find out more about the work of the MU at home & overseas. All welcome, whether you are an MU member or not. For those who are housebound - this will be live-streamed so you can watch from home via our website.

No Mow May: 

The National Trust amongst other organisations are promoting an initiative called No Mow May  in which we are encouraged not to mow our grass in May and give our pollinators, esp our bees, a chance - they are on the decline, and are crucial to our ecosystem. To find out more please read this, but so important and please do tell family and friends.

Services for Sunday 2 May: Easter 5

8.00 at St Dunstan's: Said Eucharist

10.00 at St Dunstan's: Said Eucharist

Both services will also be live-streamed and accessed via our website.

Morning Prayer

Words from today's psalm: 33.5 "He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of loving kindness of the Lord"

God Bless and have a good day - please remember Monday is a Bank Holiday. 

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 28 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope all is well, as we are here.

Towards a Flourishing and Sustainable Future

This is an important  document produced by the diocese which draws together what we all worked on in terms of listening and discernment last autumn, and the work all PCCs (including our two) did to compile a deanery report back in February of this year, which was then submitted to Bishop Rose. Please do read the document as it covers a number of key areas including mission, ministry and Parish Share. It is a lengthy document, but please do read pages 1-33, and the plans for our deanery are pages 42-49. This document will also be available under resources on our website.

Reminders of up-coming events:

Update from Porchlight: Wednesday, 28th April from 7.30 - 8.30pm on Zoom

This is an opportunity for us all to join Sophie Butcher from Porchlight and to hear what Porchlight have been up to and to understand the impact of the pandemic on our rough sleepers/homeless folk here in Canterbury and across Kent. Please do join us if you can for what will be an interesting evening and opportunity to ask questions.

Classical Music Performed Comedically: Friday, 30th April at 7.30pm on Zoom

David Clarke will present 24 short clips of music overlaid with comedy. The hour-long presentation will be followed by general discussion. Some of the artists are known to many, others less so. It promises to be a fun packed event suitable for all ages. Zoom link will be sent Thurs & Friday.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless,

Rev Jo


MONDAY 26 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all, and I hope you are all well, as we are here at the Rectory.

Today in morning Prayer we were asked to Remember St Mark the Evangelist:

Much of what we know about St. Mark, the author of the Second Gospel, comes largely from the New Testament and early Christian traditions. Mark the Evangelist is believed to be the 'John Mark' referred to in the Acts of the Apostles, the history of the early Church found in the Canon of the New Testament.He was the son of Mary of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) whose home became a meeting place for the apostles. He is also the cousin of St. Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), a Levite and a Cypriot. Mark joined St. Paul and St. Barnabas on their first missionary journey to Antioch in 44 A.D. When the group reached Cyprus, Christian tradition holds that Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem, possibly because he was missing his home (Acts 13:13). This incident may have caused Paul to question whether Mark could be a reliable missionary. This created a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas and led Paul to refuse Mark's accompaniment on their second journey to the churches of Cilicia and the rest of Asia Minor. Reference 

What's on this week:

Update from Porchlight: Wednesday 28th April, 7.30 - 8.30 on Zoom.

This is an opportunity for us all to join Sophie Butcher from Porchlight and to hear what Porchlight have been up to and to understand the impact of the pandemic on our rough sleepers/homeless folk here in Canterbury and across Kent. Please do join us if you can for what will be an interesting evening and opportunity to ask questions.

Friday 30th April at 7.30pm on Zoom - Classical Music Performed Comedically: David Clarke will present 24 short clips of music overlaid with comedy. The hour-long presentation will be followed by general discussion. Some of the artists are known to many, others less so. It promises to be a fun packed event suitable for all ages. Jo will send round a Zoom link nearer the time in her general briefing.  Zoom link will be sent later

Morning Prayer 

Words  from today's psalm 37.23-24 "When your steps are guided by the Lord, and you delight in his way; though you stumble, you shall not fall headlong, for the Lord holds you fast by the hand"

God Bless and have a good day, and keep warm, it is cold out there!

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 23 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious spring day, I hope you are all well as we are here. Thank you for my many birthday wishes and cards that I received yesterday - a day on Zoom (see below) followed by a very enjoyable evening with the family at The Dolphin!

Living in Love & Faith: Yesterday we had the annual Bishop's Day for Clergy and Readers. The focus of the day was the Church of England's 'Living in Love and Faith' initiative, which was very thought provoking and incredibly helpful, focusing on 'How do questions about identity, sexuality, relationships and marriage fit within the bigger picture of the good news of Jesus Christ? What does it mean to live in love and faith together as a Church?'

In due course, along with Parishes and Benefices up and down the country, we will be exploring these questions, utilising the resources that are provided by the CofE and can be found here. 

My third anniversary: Today, 23rd of April, not only mark's St George's day, but it is the third anniversary of my being your Rector, for which I continue to feel richly blessed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your support and prayers over this time - we have achieved a huge amount between us. Of course like any journey there are bumpy bits along the way - that is to be expected, that is life; but for me, such a sense of potential and optimism, as we emerge from lockdown and two projects beginning to get some traction, to grow the Kingdom of God in this place. To build on those relationships we have established, recognising that in our diversity lies our strength and unity.

St George: Needless to say there is masses of info on St George - but here is a link to what Wikipedia has to say. 

Services for Sunday:

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's in-person & live-streamed via website

9.30 at St Peter's: Said Eucharist

11.00 at St Mildred's: Said Eucharist

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day, and enjoyable weekend.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 21 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all, a brief note this morning, as heading off to St Mildred's for the morning Eucharist.

Please do keep in your prayers this morning our Queen, on her 95th birthday.

Message from Zoe and Steve to folk at St Dunstan's:

We wanted to contact you to send our best wishes to everyone at St Dunstan’s.  We were married at St Dunstan’s on 7 September 2013 by Fr. Mark Ball and we have really happy memories of that day.

We are now living in Hertfordshire, and in November 2020 we welcomed our first baby into the world - a daughter named Willow.  It has been a wonderful and exhausting few months!  Although having a baby during the pandemic has been challenging, we have appreciated having the opportunity to spend lots of time together at home. Please do pass on our good wishes to everyone at St Dunstan’s.  We hope that the community at St Dunstan’s has kept safe and well during the pandemic.  Hopefully in the near future we will be able to arrange a visit to Canterbury and St Dunstan’s with Willow!

Morning prayer: this is led by John this morning and can be accessed on our YouTube channel, via our website.

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 19 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all on this spring morning. I hope you are all well, as we are here. Back to school today, so prayers for all our young people as they begin their summer term, and all that that entails.

Today we remember St Alphege - a Saint close to our hearts, as St Alphege Church here in Canterbury was very much part of the Parish with St Peter & St Mildred. 

A little bit about Alphege: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in 953 and became a monk in the Deerhurst Monastery in Gloucester, England, asking after a few years to become a hermit. He received permission for this vocation and retired to a small hut near Somerset, England. In 984 Alphege assumed the role of abbot of the abbey of Bath, founded by St. Dunstan and by his own efforts. Many of his disciples from Somerset joined him at Bath. In that same year, Alphege succeeded Ethelwold as bishop of Winchester. He served there for two decades, famed for his care of the poor and for his own austere life. King Aethelred the Unready used his abilities in 994, sending him to mediate with invading Danes. The Danish chieftain Anlaf converted to Christianity as a result of his meetings with Alphege, although he and the other chief, Swein, demanded tribute from the Anglo-Saxons of the region. Anlaf vowed never to lead his troops against Britain again. In 1005 Alphege became the successor to Aleric as the Archbishop of Canterbury, receiving the pallium in Rome from Pope John XVIII. He returned to England in time to be captured by the Danes pillaging the southern regions. The Danes besieged Canterbury and took Alphege captive. The ransom for his release was about three thousand pounds and went unpaid. Alphege refused to give the Danes that much, an act which infuriated them. He was hit with an axe and then beaten to death. Revered as a martyr, Alphege's remains were placed in St. Paul's Church in London. The body, moved to Canterbury in 1023, was discovered to be incorrupt in 1105. Relics of St. Alphege are also in Bath, Glastonbury, Ramsey, Reading, Durham, Yorkminster and in Westminster Abbey. His emblem is an axe, and he is depicted in his pontifical vestments or as a shepherd defending his flock. Reference

Coming up, two events next week which will be of interest:

Porchlight update: Wednesday, 28th April at 7.30pm on Zoom, Sophie Batchelor, the Community and Corporate Fundraising Officer will give us an update on the world of Porchlight - this is a local charity that St Dunstan's supports, and it would be good to hear of more of what they are up to. Zoom link will be sent nearer the time.

Classical Music Performed Comedically: On Friday, 30th April at 7.30pm via Zoom. David Clarke will present 24 short clips of music overlaid with comedy. The hour-long presentation will be followed by general discussion. Some of the artists are known to many, others less so. It promises to be a fun packed event suitable for all ages. I will send round a Zoom link nearer the time in my general briefing.

Rev Perry: Perry continues to do well in his post-op recovery and please continue to keep him in your prayers.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 16 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you well, as we are here at the Rectory.

Today in Morning Prayer we were asked to remember: Isabella Gilmore (née Morris; 1842–1923) was an English church woman who oversaw the revival of the Deaconess Order in the Anglican Communion. Isabella served actively in the poorest parishes in South London for almost two decades and she is remembered with a commemoration in the Calendar of saints in some parts of the Anglican Communion on 16 April. She was the sister of William Morris. Reference 

Services for Sunday 18 April 2021: Easter 3

8.00 at St Dunstan's: Said Eucharist

10.00 at St Dunstan's: Said Eucharist

Both of these services are in-person and live-streamed, accessed via our website.

Please adhere to all Covid restrictions: wearing of face covering, 2-metre social distancing, and no mingling - groups of six can meet outside - all socially distanced and no cross mingling.

Marion White: Although it was in last week's bulletin, I am aware that not everyone may have read it/received it. It is with great sadness to let you know that Marion White died on Saturday, 3rd April. Marion has been a stalwart of St Mildred's since childhood and Sunday School years, and has contributed a huge amount to the church community of St Mildred's, along with her late husband Brian. She will be very much missed by her family and friends, and please do keep them in your prayers. Her funeral is on 27th April, with limited attendance and adhering to Covid restrictions.

Rev Perry: I received a text from Perry this morning - he has had significant heart surgery, but all is well, and in his words he is alive! Please continue to keep him in your prayers, which are much appreciated.

Live-streaming at St Dunstan's: Thank you to the PCC, and in particular Martin Ward for getting the ball rolling in installing our WIFI, camera and getting us up and running with Church Services TV; this has been very much appreciated by us all but especially folk whose funerals we are taking. Last Monday we had a funeral with 126 attendees from around the world, 21 countries, on all continents, including Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste - all these folk coming to the funeral virtually - it is so very much appreciated. Thank you!

Morning Prayer

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 12 APRIL 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory. 

I've spent much of last week walking - Jim and I are training for the Pilgrims Hospice 55km walk from Wye to Dover on 19th June. Whilst on leave we heard the sad news of the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, and our thoughts and prayers are very much with the Queen and the Royal Family at this sad time.

The flag of St George is now flying at half mast at St Dunstan's, and will remain so until the day after the funeral, and 99 bells at 12.00 noon on Saturday were rung at all three of our churches. Yesterday in our services we lit a candle and said the prayer provided by the Church of England.

Eucharist at St Mildred's 10.00 14 April

On Wednesday 14th April, our 10.00 Eucharist at St Mildred's will be in commemoration for the Duke - the CofE have provided liturgy that they suggest we use if we want to hold such a service. This is of course for everyone across the Benefice (as are all our services) - a quiet reflective service but also an opportunity for us to give thanks for his life, and to pray for The Queen and the Royal family.

For your own prayers there are resources here; we have been advised that Book of Condolences are online only via this link. If you know folk off line who want to sign, please ask them to contact Ana in the office and she can do so on their behalf. Ana: 07591513812 (direct line).

A prayer:

Remember, O Lord, your servant Philip, who has gone before us with the sign of faith and now rests in the sleep of peace. According to your promises, grant to him and to all who rest in Christ, refreshment, light and peace; through the same Christ our Lord. All Amen.   

Morning Prayer

God Bless.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 31 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this Wednesday of Holy Week. Another beautiful spring morning - and our magnolia tree is in full bloom if any of you are walking past.

Please find attached:

Benefice Spring Newsletter: Thank you to all those who have contributed to this newsletter, and thank you to Samuel Woods who has put it all together.

Diocesan Easter Card

Diocesan Cycle of prayer - please note several of our photos have made it into this and we will be prayed for by the Diocese on Thursday 29th April

Update on Services:

Maundy Thursday: Eucharist of the Last Supper & Watch, 7.30 at St Peter's - this service will also be live-streamed and accessed via our website then press other locations which will give you access to St Peter's

Good Friday: 

Stations of the Cross: 10.00 at St Mildred's

The Last Hour of the Cross: 2.00 at St Dunstan's - in-person and live-streamed

Easter Day Benefice services:

Easter Vigil: 6.00am at St Peter's this service includes the Service of Light - lighting of the Easter Candle, renewing of baptism vows and Eucharist

Easter Day Eucharist: 8.00 at St Dunstan's. This service is also in-person & live-streamed 

Benefice Easter Day Eucharist: 10.00  lighting of the Easter Candle, renewing of baptism vows and Eucharist. This service is nearly full - if you intend coming and not yet booked please contact Sue Palmer: 01227 767051 to book 

Hand bells:

Please bring your hand bells for both the 6.00am service at St Peter's and 10.00am service  at St Dunstan's to ring-in the Gloria - which we will say, not sing! Though Charlotte will be singing the Exsultet at the 6.00 service, and John at the 10.00 service immediately after the lighting of the Easter Candle.

Morning Prayer - this is led by John this morning and can be accessed via our website, and clicking the YouTube symbol (towards the bottom right hand side)

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 29 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this glorious spring morning - and what a lovely day it is with the sun shining, and here at the Rectory the magnolia tree is just about to burst forth with its blossom - it is quite stunning, if any of you are walking past.

As we continue our Lenten journey in this Holy Week, towards Good Friday, and then the joy of Easter Day, I wonder what it means to us both individually and as a community - the Body Of Christ. A very interesting article in the Guardian this morning, about 'post-christian' Britain a spiritual enigma - it's worth a read, and made me think. 

A sense that there is indeed a hunger for the numinous, something of the other, and perhaps this Holy Week and Easter we can witness to our faith in our being and our doing. Such actions are reflected in this message I received yesterday:

"Hi.  I just wanted to drop a message to say how lovely all the knitted decorations are at St Dunstan's church.  I regularly walk past the church and the Christmas, St Valentine's and Easter decorations in the churchyard have brought me joy every time I go past.  Thank you to whoever makes them - they make me smile which is very much needed in these times.  Kind regards."

Reminder of our services this week:

Maundy Thursday: 

Eucharist of the Last Supper and The Watch. &.30 at St Peter's. This will be a plain-chant Eucharist, sung by John Baily with a backdrop of candles and Altar of Repose. Please do join us if you can. It will be live-streamed for those who are unable to make it.

Good Friday: 

Stations of the Cross: 10.00 at St Mildred's

The Last Hour of the Cross: 2.00 at St Dunstan's - in-person and live-streamed

Easter Day:

Easter Vigil: 6.00am at St Peter's this service includes the Service of Light - lighting of the Easter Candle, renewing of baptism vows and Eucharist

Easter Day Eucharist: 8.00 at St Dunstan's. This service is also in-person & live-streamed 

Easter Day Eucharist: 10.00  lighting of the Easter Candle, renewing of baptism vows and Eucharist

Hand bells:

Please bring your hand bells for both the 6.00am service at St Peter's and 10.00am service  at St Dunstan's to ring-in the gloria - which we will say not sing! Though Charlotte will be singing the Exsultet at the 6.00 service, and John at the 10.00 service immediately after the lighting of the Easter Candle.

Morning Prayer

Lenten reflection at 5.30 and Night Prayer at 6.00

Archbishop Justin's Online Holy Week Lectures: Mon - Weds 7.30pm  Details on cathedral website .

Words from today's psalm: 41:1 "Blessed are they who consider the poor and needy"

God Bless.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 26 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope this finds you all well.

This Sunday for those of you who are able and feel ready, our buildings are once again open for public worship. Of course some of you are continuing to shield or do not feel the time is yet right, and that is absolutely fine, and fully respected.

What to expect: Covid restrictions remain in place until further notice from the CofE.

No mingling (this is really important both before and after the service), wearing of face covering at all times, 2 metre social distancing, receiving of communion (wafer/host only) will take place in your seat, and no singing.

Those of you in touch with folk who are offline, please can you let them know - many will know already, but just to check...thank you.

Sunday services for Palm Sunday:

8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's - this service will also be live-streamed via our website; it will also be available to watch later in the day under the recordings tab on the website and also uploaded to our YouTube channel and circulated

9.30 Said Eucharist at St Peter's 

11.00 Said Eucharist at St Mildred's 

There will be Zoom coffee at 11.15 as has been normal practice throughout the year hosted by John Morrison. Link will go out this evening.

Christians together in Canterbury: Praying Easter Blessings over our City

There will be no Good Friday Walk of Witness again this year, however, instead we are encouraged to pray  for our city - particularly at the gates. Please see the attached prayer card and map which encourages us to pray at certain points around the city and for the city. May I encourage you to do this - if you are not physically able, perhaps spend time in prayer and focusing on different aspects of the city. It is part of my daily discipline to walk around the city praying for people and places and I encourage you to do likewise either physically or virtually over the Easter weekend. Map attached. As our city prepares for 'opening-up' shops, and hospitality and welcoming visitors back to cover all in prayer would be great. Thank you.

Morning Prayer (apologies it is late!)

God Bless.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 24 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this beautiful spring day.

As probably the majority have now had their first vaccination, if not their second one, The Church of England are working with Vaccinaid and we are encouraged to read the following.

If you want to give thanks for receiving your vaccination, or to donate to charities who are helping to ensure that every community is supported, the following suggestions are among ways this can be done:

The Church of England helped to bring about the vaccinaid.org campaign with Unicef and Crowdfunder, which is seeking to help provide more than 2.5 billion vaccines worldwide. Donations can be made directly, or communities can set up local fundraisers to contribute together.

Christian Aid’s Give Thanks campaign is focusing on humanitarian support including food, water and healthcare in areas where the vaccine is not currently available.

In addition, the Church of England has worked with yourneighbour.org on the Give Hope Campaign which works to target misinformation and encourage everyone to take up the offer of a vaccination. 

Morning prayer 

Apologies I sent out the wrong Lenten Reflection last night, here it is from Canon Emma Pennington.

God bless.

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 23 MARCH 2021 - NATIONAL DAY OF REFLECTION

Good morning to you all, on this 23rd March 2021, one year on.

May I encourage you today, one year on to pause as we are encouraged to do so at 12.00pm, and light a candle at 8.00 this evening.

Reflection from the CofE and Marie Currie 

Some prayers offered for this day from the CofE:

Reflect

Loving God, 

You hold all our times in your hands, our past, our present, our future. Be close to us now as we remember all the difficulties and disappointments of the past year. Be especially close to all of us who are thinking of someone we loved and knew, but see no longer, whether family, friend, colleague or neighbour. Help us to trust that they are at peace with you, and comfort us with your presence. 

Connect

Loving God, 

You place us in families and communities, and we give you thanks for all those around us who serve us and help us in so many ways. Give wisdom to community leaders, to our schools, hospitals, care homes and other agencies who make a difference to our lives. Help each of us to have the courage to reach out with thanks and kindness to those around us and to speak words of faith as we share the good news of your love.

Hope

Loving God, 

As we journey towards Easter, help us to live as people of hope, knowing that beyond the pain of the cross lies the joy of resurrection. Inspire us in our worship, through our churches and in our homes, that we may bring glory to you and joy to others. Be with those who are struggling in mind, body or spirit, and give courage to those who are facing uncertainty and change ahead. Help each of us to keep our eyes fixed on you, that we may reflect your light to all whom we meet.

Prayers

Dear God,

Be with us as we think about all that has changed this year,

And help us to trust that you are always with us.

Be close to us as we remember those who have died,

And help us to trust they are at peace with you.

Show us how to reach out to others with kindness and care,

So that hope shines out in every heart and home,

Amen

 

God of Love,

As we think about all that has changed this year,

help us to trust that you are always with us.

As we remember those who have died,

help us to trust they are at peace with you.

As we reach out to others with kindness and care,

may hope shine out in every heart and home.

Amen

Morning Prayer 

God Bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 22 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this spring morning. I hope this finds you well as we are here.

Yesterday, 5th Sunday of Lent is also referred to as Passion Sunday, with the beginning of what we call Passiontide, and in morning prayer this is marked with a different liturgy.

"Passiontide refers to the last two weeks of Lent. In certain countries, such as Brazil and Italy, it is seen as the beginning of the Holy Week observances. The Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows) is a solemn pious remembrance of the sorrowful Blessed Virgin Mary on the Friday before Palm Sunday held in the fifth week of Lent. In the Orthodox Church, the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent is known as the Saturday of the Akathist, when the "Akathist to the Theotokos" is sung at Compline. In the Roman Catholic Church, Western Rite Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, and in Anglo-Catholic churches, all crucifixes and images may be covered in veils (usually violet, the colour of vestments in Lent) starting on Passion Sunday: "The practice of covering crosses and images in the church may be observed, if the episcopal conference decides. The crosses are to be covered until the end of the celebration of the Lord's passion on Good Friday. Statues and images are to remain covered until the beginning of the Easter Vigil." The veiling was associated with Passion Sunday's Gospel (John 8:46–59), in which Jesus "hid himself" from the people". Reference 

A note from Sue Palmer:

A big thank you to everyone who’s responded to The Big Plan. It’s not too late to reply, but please do so by Palm Sunday, so we can collate all the responses and get a good idea of what everyone’s thoughts & desires are, and then decide on the next steps to take.

Several people have raised concerns about the pews. Please rest assured that they are staying right where they are, there are no plans to remove them.

Painted Pebbles & flowers

This week we are hiding our Easter Pebbles around the city to be placed in the Easter Garden, outside St Dunstan's. A huge thank you to all of you who have been knitting, crocheting and painting - it is hugely appreciated by the local community. Messages received:

"love this hope", "love all the knitted themes that have been going on at this church, always cheers me up seeing them". "Please tell everyone at St Dunstan's how much we appreciate it in St Dunstan's"

Easter Day:

Please remember if you are planning to attend the 10.00 Said Eucharist on Easter Day, booking is preferred to give us some idea of numbers: please contact Sue on 01227 767051 or email.  This is a Benefice Easter Day service, for all those across the Benefice.

Morning prayer: This link is direct to Facebook recording, as difficulty uploading to YouTube.

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 19 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope you are all well, as we are here at The Rectory - end of another week, and aren't the gardens beginning to look lovely with the daffodils - one of my favourite. One of the funerals I took recently had the wreath on the coffin covered in daffodils - it was just beautiful, and such a sign of hope and eternal life.

Today we have been asked to remember in Morning Prayer Joseph of Nazareth, recognised as a lesser festival. 

What do we know about Joseph of Nazareth? Very little, really. But we can piece together bits and pieces. We know, for example that he was:

I will circulate details for Sunday's service tonight with Lenten Reflection and Night Prayer.

Morning Prayer

Words from today's psalm: 25:1 "To you O lord I lift up my soul; O my God in you I trust."

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 17 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this lovely spring morning, and a Happy St Patrick's Day to those of you of Irish descent.

Just to recap who St Patrick was: 

St. Patrick,, patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and probably responsible in part for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. He is known only from two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians. Reference

Many Congratulations to John Morrison:  Maundy Money

On the Thursday of Holy Week, known as Maundy Thursday, it is traditional for the reigning monarch to distribute money to deserving pensioners in a cathedral somewhere in the United Kingdom. This year, the chosen cathedral is, once again, Canterbury Cathedral, now that the Queen has distributed the Maundy coins all around the country in every cathedral. She commanded that the ceremony should take place in London only once in every ten years.

The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin for ‘command’, mandatum. The Thursday before Easter Day has been a traditional observation from early Christian days in celebration of Jesus Christ’s command to “love one another” demonstrated by his washing of the disciples feet. The day marks the end of Lent, an old English word for ‘lengthen’ as the daylight increases, a period of forgiveness, prayer, reflection and study.

To qualify to receive Maundy money from Her Majesty the Queen, a recipient must be 70 years old or more, recommended by their Bishop and have made a significant contribution to life in their local community. Since 1957, a recipient may only receive Maundy money once in a lifetime. 

The Queen honours the number of ladies and gentlemen for each year of her age. In 2021 this is 95, a total of 190 recipients. 

Each recipient is given two purses, white and red. In the red one is a set amount of current coinage amounting to £5.50, historically representing alms, made up of £3 for clothing, £1.50 in lieu of provisions and £1 which represents a piece of the Sovereign's gown which, before Tudor times, used to be divided between the recipients.

The white purse contains specially minted sterling silver coins in one penny, two pence, three pence and four pence denominations related to the age of the monarch. In 2021, a total of 38 coins. The style of the coins is largely unchanged since 1670 when Charles II added a year date to the coin distribution he started in 1662. The picture of the Queen on these coins is her 1953 Coronation year portrait designed by Mary Gillick. The coins were only ever debased from sterling silver by Henry VIII from 1544 to 1551. The design for the reverse of the Maundy money is a crowned numeral in a wreath of oak leaves. This has been the same design since Charles II.

British monarchs have been known to observe the distribution of alms and/or washing of feet since at least 600AD.

As Her Majesty is unable to distribute the Maundy money in person in 2021, for the second year running, because of the coronavirus pandemic, each set will be sent from Buckingham Palace, having been blessed in the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, with a personal letter from the Queen.

In our Benefice, one of our Readers, John Morrison, has been informed by the Lord High Almoner that he has been selected to receive the honour of this year’s Royal Maundy during Holy Week. John is active in the Church of England as a national Peer Reviewer and is on the Provincial Clergy Discipline Panel. In the Diocese he is an Archdeaconry of Canterbury lay representative on the Archbishop’s Council, a member of the Diocesan Synod, the Canterbury Deanery Treasurer and is an active licensed lay minister (Reader) in this Benefice. He is also a Chaplain in the Sea Cadet Corps.

John, this is a wonderful achievement, and congratulations from us all for this well-deserved honour, and for your ministry amongst us.

Morning Prayer - led by John.

God Bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 15 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this rather damp morning - hope you are all well as we are where at the Rectory, though quieter now that Hannah is back at school.

Today, 15th March is referred to as the Ides of March, but I must admit I wasn't sure what it meant so looked it up:

The Ides of March is the 74th day in the Roman calendar, corresponding to 15 March. It was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts. In 44 BC, it became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar which made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history. The Romans did not number each day of a month from the first to the last day. Instead, they counted back from three fixed points of the month: the Nones (the 5th or 7th, nine days inclusive before the Ides), the Ides (the 13th for most months, but the 15th in March, May, July, and October), and the Kalends (1st of the following month). Originally the Ides were supposed to be determined by the full moon, reflecting the lunar origin of the Roman calendar. In the earliest calendar, the Ides of March would have been the first full moon of the new year. Reference 

It's fascinating how a term of reference is still used today - millennia later; I wonder what words and phrases that we currently use will stay through the generations, or will lose all context. It makes you think!

Morning Prayer 

Words from today's psalm 70:6 "You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord do not delay"

God Bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on this rather damp and windy morning. I hope you are all well as we are here - though arm still achy from Sunday's jab - incidentally clergy were invited to have vaccine as a "priority group" because of our involvement in funeral ministry and 'social care'.

May I ask you to have a good look at these excellent courses that the Diocese are putting on. Many of you have been to Paul Kelly-Moore's Quiet Days, which are so good - so if you are available please do sign up. Likewise the Deepening Discipleship Course, I can highly recommend - I did it in 2008 and found it life-changing. At the time it was part of the Authorised Lay Ministry Course I was doing as Mission Enabler, and my feedback was that this should be offered to everyone as an individual course - and they have been doing that ever since with some excellent feedback. Happy to chat through with any one who is interested and wants to know more. As we emerge from lockdown, there will be different and new opportunities offered to us all, and as we ask that question what is God calling me to do, perhaps one of these courses might be the nudge that we are seeking.

From the Diocese:

Be still & know that I am God

20th March, 10am

A quiet morning on Zoom, facilitated by Paul Kelly-Moore and sponsored by the Pastoral Care Resource Group. A morning for pastoral carers to seek refreshment for the soul and take some Lenten breathing time in the midst of pandemic life and ministry. Register here by 15th March. 

Demystifying Parish Share

We've been receiving some requests for up-to-date information about how Parish Share is calculated and what the money is spent on. In response, our wonderful Finance team has worked hard to produce this handy guide to Parish Share.

Webinar:

Pastoral support by phone

17th April, 9:30am

Offering pastoral support on the telephone will continue to be a primary medium of communication for our churches and wider communities. Doing this well, responsibly, effectively and prayerfully between called and caller is a challenge and not as simple as some of us think. Focusing on active listening skills, Di Dawson draws on her  experience as a  churchwarden, educator and trainer for CRUSE to offer practical tips and advice. Register here.

Deepening Discipleship

15th April onwards

The next Deepening Discipleship course will run April-June via Zoom. This course will be facilitated by Peter Ingrams and Marianne Hambrook. If you would like to chat about what a Deepening Discipleship course involves click here or email Marianne. Click here to download an application form. The dates of the sessions are listed below. All sessions will run 7.00pm-8.15pm. The deadline for applications is 8 April 2021. Course dates: 15, 22, 29 April, 6, 13, 20, 27 May, 10 June

The Psalms -

Writing from the Heart

27th March, 10am

The Living Well is holding a Virtual Quiet Morning (via Zoom) with Liz Jennings on Saturday 27 March, 10am-1pm. This will be a practical workshop exploring the many flavours of the Psalms and using them to inspire our own creative expression to God. No previous experience is required. Donation of £10 to attend - book online here or email contact@the-living-well.org.uk.

Morning Prayer led by John. 

God Bless you all, 

Rev Jo


MONDAY 8 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all on a rather cold and frosty morning; and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here. Yesterday I headed over to Ramsgate for my vaccination - what a well organised and slick operation it was - hats off to all those who organised it. Arm feeling achy though which is to be expected. It was strange driving to Ramsgate as I realised it was the furthest I have been in the car for about six months!

Today, 8th March 2021 is International Women's Day, and the Mothers' Union has asked that we pray for women around the world between today and Mothering Sunday (14th March). We remember today that around the world there are women who are marginalised and oppressed or abused for just being female, who don't have the access to opportunities for education, a safe place to live, clean water, or some days don't have enough food to feed their children. We give thanks for organisations such as the Mothers' Union who support and encourage women both nationally and internationally. 

Morning Prayer 

God Bless you all and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 5 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all and I hope this finds you well. Having discussed with our churchwardens and ministry team,  we can now advise you of when we will be opening our buildings for public worship, and plans for Holy Week and Easter.

Opening our church buildings for in-person worship: Sunday 28th March.

We will be opening our buildings for public worship on Sunday, 28th March (Palm Sunday). To accommodate our patronal festivals later in the year (May, June & July) we are reversing our pattern of worship to: 1st & 3rd Sunday's: St Dunstan at 10.00 and 2nd & 4th Sunday's: St Peter at 9.30 & St Mildred at 11.00 

All Covid restrictions remain in place, with no singing, social distancing, no mingling, the wearing of face coverings etc until we hear otherwise from the Church of England.

Every Sunday there will be 8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan's, beginning Sunday 28th March, and every Wednesday 10.00 Said Eucharist at St Mildred's, beginning Wednesday 31st March.

Pattern of worship for Holy Week & Easter for the Benefice as a whole: The location moves, but these services are for everyone across the Benefice.

Palm Sunday, 28th March 2021: Said Eucharist at the following times:

8.00 St Dunstan's, 9.30 at St Peter's & 11.00 at St Mildred's

Maundy Thursday, 1st April 2021: 

Eucharist of the Last Supper and The Watch:  7.30 pm at St Peter's (this will also be recorded)

Good Friday, 2nd April 2021: 

Stations of the Cross: 10.00 am at St Mildred's (this will be reflections and readings based on the Stations - with all remaining stationary)

Readings and Reflections for the Last Hour of the Cross: 2.00pm at St Dunstan's*

Easter Day, 4th April, 2021:

Easter Vigil: 6.00 am at St Peter's

Said Eucharist: 8.00am  at St Dunstan's*

Said Eucharist: 10.00am at St Dunstan's* - booking preferred for this service, via Sue Palmer 01227 767051, or email Sue.

*Services will also be live-streamed

Having met virtually with the ministry team, this is the pattern of worship we are able to provide, and I am hugely grateful for their ongoing support. Please note Rev Perry Butler is stepping down from ministry for the time being, for health reasons, and we keep Perry in our prayers. 

I understand that some of you may be disappointed, but we can only 'cut our cloth' to what we can realistically and sustainably offer. This in itself can provide us with the opportunity to worship together more 'in-person', as we have been doing in recent times online, and grow the Kingdom of God in this place.

Services for Sunday 7th March: Third Sunday of Lent

10.00 Eucharist live-streamed from St Dunstan's accessed via our website

Morning Prayer   

Words from today's psalm: 40.4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.

God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying, and as clergy we have been invited for our vaccine - so I get jabbed on Sunday afternoon!

Rev Jo


MONDAY 1 MARCH 2021

Good morning to you all, and hope everyone is well.

Today is St David's Day - so particularly thinking of all our Welsh friends today. So a little bit about the Patron Saint of Wales:

St. David, Welsh Dewi, (born c. 520, near St. Bride’s Bay, Pembrokeshire, Wales—died c. 600, Menevia; feast day March 1), patron saint of Wales.

Many miracles are ascribed to St. David, including the resurrection of a dead child and the restoration of sight to a blind man. One of the more famous miracles associated with him is the formation of a hill beneath him as he preached to a large crowd, allowing them to see and hear him more clearly. During this incident, a white dove is said to have landed on his shoulder, and St. David is often depicted with a dove.

David founded numerous churches throughout South Wales (more than 50 named for him existed in the 21st century). His shrine at St. David’s became a notable place of pilgrimage, especially during the Middle Ages. His canonization by Pope Calixtus II (c. 1120) is unproven. His feast day, known as St. David’s Day, is widely celebrated in Wales, and many people wear traditional Welsh clothing and daffodils or leeks in commemoration. Reference

I must admit seeing the daffodils around the city at the moment is an absolute joy, especially by the city wall - one of my favourite flowers.

Holy Week & Easter: We are in the process of working out our pattern of worship over Holy Week and Easter, with a view to opening our buildings for worship on Sunday, 28th March (Palm Sunday). As things evolve, we will keep you all posted.

Morning Prayer

Our Lenten reflections are proving to be very popular - and thank you to all for your contributions. These can be accessed via Facebook at 5.30pm, Monday - Friday and then I circulate with Night Prayer in the evening, but they really are a 'pause for thought'.

God bless and have a good day.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and what a beautiful morning it is out there - I am looking forward to my prayer walk around town later today, and I wonder which three folk I will meet!  Without fail, I bump into at least three folk - so Triniatrian! As you know I love my walks and the Pilgrims Hospice have put together a package of 'virtual walks' and from 1st March you can walk The London Underground, which is all the Tube lines, comprising 250 miles (405km). (Details on their website) So the plan is to walk that in two months - a couple of 'big walks' and then the daily walk (which is normally 5-6km) loop I do into town, around the three churches and back. It is very much a rhythm, praying, and perhaps seeing folk along the way - being present to the present moment. Last Sunday when I was off, I was out walking and listened to the service from St Dunstan's on my headphones - modern technology!

Yesterday, one of you suggested watching Justin Welby's interview with Royal College of Medicine, from a couple of weeks ago - an excellent interview and worth watching - it is about an hour, but really worth watching on YouTube, if you can. 

Talking of Archbishops, I can also highly recommend Rowan Williams' new book: Candles in the Dark, and his reflections on the pandemic - very accessible, and really helpful.

Services on Sunday: 

Live-streamed Eucharist from St Dunstan's with Rev. John Spriggs preaching. 

This can be accessed at 10.00 on our website.

I will send out service details, hymns, Zoom coffee etc with Lenten Reflection & Night prayer.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good day, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and it feels like spring has arrived - certainly the daffodils are coming up, and the birdsong - little over two weeks or so ago we had snow on the ground! Whilst off, we managed a couple of good walks - Canterbury Outer Ring on Friday, and then yesterday another walk, this time along the pavements as Friday was so muddy - it felt like walking in treacle at times!

In case you missed it yesterday:

Sunday's Eucharist 

Fairtrade fortnight: Today marks the beginning of Fairtrade Fortnight. May this be an opportunity to remind ourselves of what this means as sometimes we can easily forget why it is so important to buy Fairtrade when and where we can; it really does make a difference. The Fairtrade Foundation website is well worth a look at, and can help point us in the right direction. 

15 years ago when living in Faversham, this was something that I was very involved with and something I feel passionate about - so if you have time please do check out this website.

Morning Prayer

God Bless and keep safe, keep well and keep connected.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and today is Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent.

Ash Wednesday service 7.30pm

In pre-Covid times we would have gathered in our churches for our Ash Wednesday service, as it is a Principle Holy Day; instead of gathering together, this year we will be live streaming online, with a service at 7.30pm from St Dunstan's. Needless to say there won't be Ash, but if you are planning to watch may I invite you to have a small amount of olive oil to hand, or something else that you can mark your forehead with at the point in the service in which one would normally be ashed; we have to be imaginative. The service can be accessed via our website.

Attached is Order of Service for Lent, along with the Liturgy of Penitence.

Plastic Free Challenge for Lent  

This year as a Benefice we are proposing a 'Plastic Free' Challenge for Lent; in other words to do the best of our ability to give up plastic for Lent. Sami who has recently joined us at St Dunstan's, and a student from UKC, is leading the way in providing us with 40 tips for 40 days (thank you, Sami).

Please do watch this introduction video which he has put together with Caroline Blamey who heads up our Eco Church, and myself. We have put an abridged version across our social media. If you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, please do like and share.

Plastic Free Challenge for Lent

Today's tip:

The first of many eco tips to come! A lot of our plastic waste comes from the bathroom, and so by switching to eco-friendly alternatives, we can reduce our plastic usage by a lot. Below are the links to take the first step and order some toothpaste tablets!

https://brushd.co.uk/products/toothpaste-tablets-one-time-purchase

https://nonplasticbeach.com/products/toothpaste-tablets

You may have noticed this on BBC from Monday, which is very interesting. Could churches do more to fight climate change? 

Morning Prayer 

God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on this rather damp morning. I do hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory.

Ash Wednesday: 7.30pm Eucharist service live-streamed from St Dunstan's

I will send round an Order of Service on Wednesday morning.

We are at the moment putting the finishing touches for our plans for Lent, which covers three key areas:  

Plastic Free Lent: We will be providing 40 daily tips and suggestions, along with web links etc to help us think about single-use plastic, and how to change our habits to be less dependent on plastic, and the detrimental impact it has on our planet. These will be available across our social media: website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, along with my daily briefings, and the bulletin.

Benefice Lent Reflections on the Gospel of the Day

We have slots available for individuals in the Benefice to read the Gospel of the day and to reflect on that reading using no more than three minutes or 300 words. Please choose from the attached list (no more than three days) in the green zone and let John Morrison know of your choices. You will be required to record your contribution and email the file to Rev Jo Richards, at the latest the day before transmission by Jo. Alternatively, you can arrange for John to record your contribution on 07714 242798 and he will forward it to Jo.  

Deanery Lent Groups - those who have signed up will have heard from Rosemary, and further details will be coming out. This has proved most popular, with over 50 folk from across the deanery involved.

Morning Prayer 

Words from today's reading: Jeremiah 1: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you."

Brian's sermon from yesterday attached.

God Bless, keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on another frosty morning, and hope this finds you all well - all well here at the Rectory, with Olaf the snowman joining us (photo attached - one for the gallery, Samuel). Please do continue to send your pics through to Samuel for the website - it is so important that we capture these lockdown memories for years to come - all this is history in the making.

This time will become part of our narrative, a period that we will look back on, and will no doubt shape us as we go forward - particularly for our young people who have spent time home schooling and the challenges that brings. Listening to friends it is not always straightforward, especially when trying to hold down a job as well. It is also a time in which the markers of life cannot be celebrated - key birthdays, wedding anniversaries, weddings - many of this year's weddings are postponing to next (2022 could be a bumper year!) and of course, funerals. It is so difficult with so few allowed to be present, and not having the wake - that opportunity to share memories, nor the hugs - it is going to take some time to recover from this.

I was reading recently how in a way, society is going through the 5 stages of grief - grieving for what we have all lost. The stages are:

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Sometimes folk can get 'stuck' in one of these phases, or move between them. It certainly made me think, and I wonder if folk are at that 'depression' stage of gloom...if you want to know more, here is a good reference from Cruse . Likewise I am also available for a chat/walk; but it is something to reflect on, and perhaps coming to that acceptance that life when we emerge from this may well be very different, and to be prepared for that.

Sunday service: 10.00 Eucharist for Sunday Before Lent.

Please do join us online for our Sunday Worship, which will be live-streamed from St Dunstan's at 10.00am and accessed via website.

Order of service, hymns, etc will be out with night prayer tonight.

Morning Prayer  

Words from today's psalm: Psalm 31:14 "But my trust is in you, O Lord. I have said, 'You are my God'"

God Bless, and keep warm, keep well, keep praying.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on another cold and frosty morning - it is very icy out there - going for my walk yesterday I rather glamorously slipped over on the ice, whilst heading up St Thomas's Hill, all is well but be careful!

Morning prayer

Today in Morning Prayer, we have been asked to remember another character: St. Scholastica, so a little bit about her. I love how we get to hear of these folk down the ages.

Scholastica (c. 480 – 10 February 543) is a saint of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Anglican Communion. She was born in Italy. According to a ninth century tradition, she was the twin sister of Benedict of Nursia. Her feast day is 10 February, Saint Scholastica's Day. Scholastica is traditionally regarded as the foundress of the Benedictine nuns. Reference 

Plastic Free Lent: With Lent beginning next week, Sami (from St Dunstan's), Caroline Blamey who heads up our Eco-Church committee and myself are compiling a series of tips to help us reduce the amount of plastic we use in our lives - so much is changing a habit. We will be publishing these tips in my daily brief, on our website, Twitter account, Instagram & Facebook - so watch this space.

Deanery Lent Course: It is not too late to sign with with Rosemary Walters if you wish to join the Deanery Lent Course for this year. This looks a really exciting initiative, and open to all - those new to faith and those who have been Christians for some time - we can all learn something.

Ash Wednesday: 17th February

This will be live-streamed from St Dunstan's in the evening (7.30).

Meanwhile, keep warm, it's freezing, and am heading off to Barham so prayers for another family mourning the loss of a loved one - it is so tough.

Keep connected, keep well and keep praying.

God Bless,

Rev Jo


MONDAY 8 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on this very cold and snowy morning. All well here, and enjoyed a walk in the snow yesterday afternoon! Though no decent slopes for tobogganing - we tried UKC and Neal's Place - any other suggestions? When you move to a new area - identifying such places is important! 

John is leading Morning Prayer, as I have a funeral at Barham, and giving myself plenty of time to get there, along with a shovel in the boot and flask of tea, though I am sure that the main roads will be fine. Prayers please for all those travelling to Barham at this time: families of the deceased, the funeral directors and ministers - thank you.

Like many of you, I am sure, I have been reflecting on prayer over these recent weeks and months. Something we talked about in our recent monthly ministers' meeting has been how for many our prayer life has been enriched - perhaps it is having more time.  Time to pray, time to reflect on some of the bigger questions this pandemic has brought to the fore. Of actively praying for others  - interceding, of putting that time aside. It needn't be formal prayers from a book (though that is fine) - prayers from the heart - our soul reaching out to God remembering that it is two way, remembering to listen as well as vocalising.

Benefice Spring Newsletter: A message from Samuel Woods (Editor) '' If anybody has any articles, pictures or reflections for the Spring Newsletter please send them to Samuel and we will do our very best to include them. The deadline for sending them in is 15th March."

Please access Morning Prayer via our YouTube link on our website this morning.

God Bless and keep warm, keep safe, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 3 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on this very wet morning, and I do hope all is well - it is really tough at the moment - so many stuck indoors, and many of you on your own.  I do my daily walk around the town, encompassing our three churches, praying as I go, and it is incredible I bump into at least three folk I know every day and it is so good to see familiar faces - a real tonic in these difficult days.

Today in morning prayer we were asked to remember Anskar - and who was Anskar? Reference 

Ansgar (8 September 801 – 3 February 865), also known as Anskar, Saint Ansgar, Saint Anschar or Oscar, was Archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen in the northern part of the Kingdom of the East Franks. Ansgar became known as the "Apostle of the North" because of his travels and the See of Hamburg received the missionary mandate to bring Christianity to Northern Europe.

Lent Reflections: 

This year as I have mentioned we are partaking in the deanery Lent Course which is run by our deanery readers and curates, and if you haven't already done so, please do sign up by emailing Rosemary Walters - it sounds like a really good course.

What we will do though is a series of Lent Reflections in the evenings, comparable to our Advent Reflections, which I know a number of you enjoyed. If you would like to lead a reflection, based on the gospel passage of the day, please do let me know. This would be about 3 mins as a voice recording - I am more than happy to offer guidance, but we need 30 reflections: Mon - Fri from Thurs 18 Feb - Weds 31 March. The ministry team are on board, and each week we will have a guest reflection from outside the Benefice, but please do give it some thought - thank you.

Morning Prayer 

In the meantime, God Bless you all and do keep well, keep dry, keep connected and keep praying....remember the snowdrops - Candlemas bells - a sign of hope.

Rev Jo


TUESDAY 2 FEBRUARY 2021

Morning Prayer for Candlemas, Contemplating Candlemas & Prayer for the Nation

Morning Prayer for Candlemas 

Contemplating Candlemas: We had made a backup recording from Contemplating Candlemas, which can be accessed via our website: 

Two ways to find it:

Follow this link or go to our live streaming page, click Featured Videos, then Contemplating Candlemas from St Peter’s Church.

Archbishop's call for Prayer for the Nation

Archbishops Justin and Stephen have asked that we all pray for the nation at 6.00 every evening. This coincides with our Night Prayer, so will include prayers then, but if you can please do, and more details here.

Attached is Tessa's sermon from Sunday - please do read as it speaks so well into what we are going through at the moment.

God Bless,

Rev Jo


MONDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, on this rather damp morning - anyway, I hope you are keeping well, as we are at the Rectory. 

Today in Morning Prayer we remembered St Brigid:

St. Brigid of Ireland, also called Brigid of Kildare or Bride, Irish Bríd, virgin and abbess of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland. Little is known of her life but from legend, myth, and folklore. According to these, she was born of a noble father and a slave mother and was sold along with her mother to a Druid, whom she later converted to Christianity. On being set free, she returned to her father, who tried to marry her to the king of Ulster. Impressed by her piety, the king removed her from parental control. According to the Liber hymnorum (11th century), the Curragh, a plain in Kildare, was granted by the king of Leinster to St. Brigid. At Kildare she founded the first nunnery in Ireland. The community became a double abbey for monks and nuns, with the abbess ranking above the abbot. Her friend St. Conleth became, at Brigid’s beckoning, bishop of her people. She is said to have been active in founding other communities of nuns. Reference

Morning Prayer

Contemplating Candlemas: A service of music & readings from a beautiful candlelit St Peter's.

This service was live-streamed from St Peter's last night, with plainchant singing from John Bailey (thank you, John). Apologies for sound being intermittent in places; despite our best efforts and Martin & Jayne Ward setting up a router to boost signal (thank you, both), we did our best, but 4G in central Canterbury is so weak.

Attached is Daily Prayer for February; also on the back of Tessa's wonderful sermon yesterday about kindness, I was sent something through last week - encouraging an 'act of kindness' each day of February - worth looking at!

Words from today's psalm: 57.2: In the shadow of your wings will I take refuge.

God Bless, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here.

Yesterday was a stark reminder of the human toll that this virus has had on so many people with the death toll exceeding 100,00 numbers that are difficult to commute. The impact that has had on so many families and communities. Like many of you I am very aware of those who have lost their lives from this virus, and the devastating impact it has had on so many. We think of them today, and all those who are struggling with long Covid.

Over the course of the next 5 weeks or so I have 9 funerals in the diary - not all by any means are Covid-related, but it is the reality of life at the moment, and the most I have ever had in such a short period of time. John today in leading morning prayer dedicated the service to all those who lost their lives, including the 880 NHS staff who have died from contracting the virus - of paying the ultimate sacrifice. It really makes one stop and think. Please keep all who mourn the loss of loved ones in your prayers.

Today is also Holocaust Memorial Day: a national commemoration day in the United Kingdom dedicated to the remembrance of those who suffered in the Holocaust, under Nazi persecution, and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. It was first held in January 2001 and has been on the same date every year since. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Union in 1945. Reference  

It is times like this that when we see outside the shoots of spring, the snowdrops (Candlemas Bells), and the buds on the trees that we recognise the signs of hope. Jesus is the light of the world. Some of you may have heard the Archbishop talk with words of hope on the Today programme earlier this morning.

Words from one of today's psalms: 46.10 "Be still and know that I am God"

Morning Prayer 

Wherever you are, please do keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

God Bless.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 25 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on this cold and frosty morning - and is beautiful out there. I hope this finds you all well, as we are here. 

Today we have been asked to remember in the church calendar, the conversion of St Paul. 

St. Paul the Apostle, original name Saul of Tarsus, (born 4 BCE?, Tarsus in Cilicia [now in Turkey]—died c. 62–64 CE, Rome [Italy]), one of the leaders of the first generation of Christians, often considered to be the most important person after Jesus in the history of Christianity. In his own day, although he was a major figure within the very small Christian movement, he also had many enemies and detractors, and his contemporaries probably did not accord him as much respect as they gave Peter and James. Paul was compelled to struggle, therefore, to establish his own worth and authority. His surviving letters, however, have had enormous influence on subsequent Christianity and secure his place as one of the greatest religious leaders of all time. To find out more. 

When we speak of Paul, we often think of his Damascus Road experience - his conversion to Christianity - and sometimes people talk about a 'Damascus Road moment' that is a sudden conversion to faith. Although such 'conversions' are unusual, they do sometimes happen. Some folk may have always had a faith - perhaps having been brought up in a Christian household, while others it may have been a gradual thing - perhaps attending a service that has made them think - or often at a traumatic time maybe a death of a loved one, or the birth of a child are all life experiences that can make us stop and think. This pandemic has also been one in which folk are asking questions - I was stopped in the street last week, and asked where is God in all this? In all the uncertainties that life is throwing at us, our faith is something that we have and something to hang onto. God is with us, Emmanuel, and that cannot be taken away.

Morning Prayer

Words from today's psalm: 66:3 'All the earth shall worship you, sing to you, sing praise to your name'

God Bless you all, and have a good day - keep warm (it is cold), keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 22 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on this cold and frosty morning - and it is beautiful out there with the sun shining.

Mary Ashby: It is with huge sadness to let you know that Mary Ashby has died, known to many of you particularly at St Peter's and St Mildred's. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with her sister Janet, and the family at this difficult and challenging time. May Mary Rest in Peace, and Rise in Glory. Amen

Today in Morning Prayer we have been asked to remember Vincent of Saragossa. Reference  

Saint Vincent of Saragossa (also known as Vincent Martyr, Vincent of Huesca or Vincent the Deacon), the Protomartyr of Spain, was a deacon of the Church of Saragossa. He is the patron saint of Lisbon and Valencia. His feast day is 22 January in the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion and 11 November in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. He was born at Huesca and martyred under the Emperor Diocletian around the year 304.

Sunday's services:

Sunday Eucharist will be live-streamed only from St Dunstan's at 10.00 and can be accessed via our website.

Leaving Comments: A number of you have said it is nice to write comments, particularly at the sharing of the peace, during our services. This is possible on our website, and easily done. Attached is a document that easily explains what to do. It is always good to know that we are worshipping together.

Zoom coffee and hymns will be circulated this evening with night prayer.

Lent Course 2021: I circulated the information on Wednesday, this promises to be really interesting, so do sign up.

Words from today's psalm: 27.1 "The Lord is my light and my salvation"

Morning Prayer

God Bless, and keep warm, keep well, keep connected, and keep praying.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 20 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, on a rather wet and windy morning, but I do hope all is well, as we are here.

I want to mention this morning about our Lent course, which this year will be run by the Deanery - see below.

Lent Course 2021

As part of the Deanery Mission Plan (see attached) it was decided to convene a group of Deanery Curates and Readers to plan city-wide Lent groups this Lent. The Group decided on Steven Croft's book Exploring God's Mercy: Five Images of Salvation. 

If you are interested, please email  Rosemary Walters. Let her know that you are interested, which church you attend and also advise if you can access Zoom, and whether an afternoon or evening works best. Please email Rosemary asap, and by Friday 12th Feb at the latest - any questions either email Jo or Rosemary. 

We will not be running a separate Lent Course, so please do sign up, and I will be involved with this Deanery initiative.

Deanery Mission Plan: Canterbury Deanery is comprised of all our local churches: Our three: St Dunstan, St Mildred, St Peter, St Nicholas at Sturry, All Saints, St Martin & St Paul, St Mary Bredin, St Nicholas Thanington, St Michael & All Angels at Harbledown. Our Area Dean is Rev. Mark Griffin (St Martin & St Pauls), and input from the Cathedral.  Each Parish has reps on Deanery Synod, and Deanery Synod have put together this Deanery Mission Plan. This document is looking at mission in the context of the deanery for the next three years and has some really interesting and exciting initiatives which we can all get involved with - please do have a read. It is from this that the Deanery Lent course has emerged, and there are some other ideas as well to look at.

Photos: Please do continue to send any photos through to Samuel for the website gallery - before we know it it will be a year's worth of pics!

Morning Prayer

Meanwhile, please do keep dry, and keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

God Bless,

Rev Jo


MONDAY 18 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and a somewhat cold day. I hope this finds you all well, as we are here.

Meet Jenny our prospective curate

Yesterday I was delighted to announce that Jenny Walpole will be joining us at Petertide to serve her three year curacy here in the Benefice. As I said yesterday, a word from Jenny (photo and bio attached): 

"Jenny Walpole has been training for ordination at Westcott House in Cambridge, where she completed a BA in Theology, Ministry and Mission. Jenny looks forward to moving to Canterbury in June, she grew up in Hampshire where she was a chorister and spent 12 years living in London.

Prior to ordination training Jenny was a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in Stepney and worked as Project Manager at Wandsworth Prison, supporting people through the gate and coordinating a team of volunteer mentors. Previously she worked at St James’s Church, Piccadilly as a Verger and at a homeless drop-in centre. Jenny is the proud Auntie to 2 nieces and 2 nephews, she enjoys music and singing, walks in the countryside, and cups of coffee." 

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is traditionally observed from the 18th to the 25th January – the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul. However, some areas observe it at Pentecost or some other time  

For those who might be interested in knowing more about this and resources click here.

Normally the churches of all denominations here in Canterbury put things together for the week, and hold a service at this time, but that is not the case this year, but they are actively encouraging us to pray for one another. This is being led by  St Thomas' RC Church - and today they are our praying for our Benefice and Ministry Team (see letter attached).

Prayer Corner: 

At the onset of Lockdown#1, I mentioned that I have a prayer corner in my study (icon, candle and angel), and invited folk to send any names through of loved ones who were in need of prayer at this time; names that I hold in private prayer morning and evening. In these difficult times, if you would like me to pray for someone/situation just send an email/call/text.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and keep well, keep warm, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 15 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all. Well, at least it's not raining this morning! Though it is going to get colder with some sleet forecast tomorrow. So hope this finds you all well, as we are here at The Rectory.

Curate

Some exciting news!  In our last PCC meeting I mentioned that we have been asked  to have a curate for three years, from Petertide 2021. Having met the ordinand (just, as day before the November lockdown), and spent 5 hours together, along with further input from the diocese, we all feel that The Benefice is the right place for this person. I will be making the announcement on Sunday in our service,  and will give you all further details in Monday's briefing; but this is really exciting and recognition of what the Benefice can offer for training. You will recall that in 2019 we had an ordinand Ylva with us for three months, along with Isobel, reader in training and both said how much they enjoyed their placements and how much they got from their involvement in the life of the Benefice. The diocese offers on-going training for a curate in terms of academic study, and Training Incumbents also receive training, again overseen by the diocese. So tune in on Sunday and you will find out who will be joining us!

Services for Sunday:

10.00 live-streamed Eucharist accessed via our website

I will send out hymns, Orders of service and Zoom coffee link this evening.

Words from today's psalm: 67:1 God be gracious to us, and bless us, and make his face to shine upon us.

Morning Prayer 

God Bless and have a good day, keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


WEDNESDAY 13 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all and I do hope you are keeping well, as we are here, on a rather damp morning. 

In these difficult times, it is important to keep in touch with one another - and please do let me know if you hear of anyone who needs any further support.

Message from Canterbury Cathedral:

For reasons of safety in light of the high Coronavirus case-level locally and of the Government’s advice to “stay at home”, the Cathedral is now closed for visiting, private prayer, and public worship. The Precincts are open to the public, free of charge, as an outside space for exercise. 

Today in Morning Prayer which was led by John Morrison, we were asked to remember three characters: Hilary, Bishop of Poiters, Kentigern, Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, and George Fox, Founder of the Society of Friends (The Quakers). As The Friends meeting House is just around the corner from St Peter's - a little bit about George Fox. 

George Fox (July 1624 – 13 January 1691) was an English Dissenter, who was a founder of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly known as the Quakers or Friends. The son of a Leicestershire weaver, he lived in times of social upheaval and war. He rebelled against the religious and political authorities by proposing an unusual, uncompromising approach to the Christian faith. He travelled throughout Britain as a dissenting preacher, performing hundreds of healings, and often being persecuted by the disapproving authorities. In 1669, he married Margaret Fell, widow of a wealthy supporter, Thomas Fell; she was a leading Friend. His ministry expanded and he made tours of North America and the Low Countries. He was arrested and jailed numerous times for his beliefs. He spent his final decade working in London to organise the expanding Quaker movement. Despite disdain from some Anglicans and Puritans, he was viewed with respect by the Quaker convert William Penn and the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell.

Morning Prayer

Words from our psalm: 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer"

Words that we can perhaps hold onto in all that we do and all that we are today.

Keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

God Bless,

Rev Jo


MONDAY 11 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all on another cold, but not quite so frosty morning, and I do hope this finds you all well, as we are at The Rectory. 

Services update:

Yesterday we live-streamed from St Dunstan's which seemed to work well, and hopefully you were able to access it live, or through the recording I posted. The services can be accessed also directly from the website. Thank you to those who have already come forward to offer to read and intercessions, and not too late, so do let me know if you can, and if you're new to it, Ana is available to help.

Today in morning prayer we have been asked to remember Mary Slessor, I must admit I wasn't familiar with her, a Missionary in West Africa who died in 1915. So little bit about her:  

Mary Mitchell Slessor (2 December 1848 – 13 January 1915) was a Scottish Presbyterian missionary to Nigeria. Once in Nigeria, Slessor learned Efik, one of the numerous local languages, then began teaching. Because of her understanding of the native language and her bold personality Slessor gained the trust and acceptance of the locals and was able to spread Christianity while promoting women's rights and protecting native children. She is most famous for having stopped the common practice of infanticide of twins in Okoyong, an area of Cross River State, Nigeria. Reference to find out more - a fascinating woman. 

Words from today's psalm: Psalm 2: "Happy are all they who take refuge in him"

In the meantime, please do keep in touch with one another on the phone, and keep well, keep warm, keep connected and keep praying.

God Bless you all.

Morning Prayer

Rev Jo


FRIDAY 8 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and I hope this finds you well on this cold and frosty morning, as we are here at the Rectory.

Closure of our church buildings for public worship:

Following on from yesterday's brief, we have since received permission from Bishop Rose to close our buildings for corporate worship, and to move everything online. Bishop Rose has stipulated in her letter that we may close until 28th March (Palm Sunday), though we can open before if we feel it is safe to do so. We had said in our resolution that we would review on 21 February 2021, which we will do, and make further decisions then.

PHE Kent are offering asymptomatic Covid testing in Canterbury: There is the opportunity to have a free test for asymptomatic Covid in Canterbury High Street, at the Sydney Cooper Gallery; I will be doing this on a regular basis, as I am out and about in the community; reassurance, both for you and for me. Here are the details if others are interested.

Worship this Sunday 10 January 2021 10.00 service live-streamed only from St Dunstan's.

Via our website: click on the picture of St Dunstan's, another window opens, again click on the picture of St Dunstan's and it takes you straight in, and you can watch from there.

Please find attached Readings, and Orders of Services.

I will send Zoom coffee link and hymns this evening with night prayer.

Volunteers for reading and intercessions: Please do get in touch if you are able to offer a reading and or intercessions whilst we are providing online services. It is really good to have a variety of voices from across the Benefice. For those who have done it before, and others - we can offer guidance!

Bulletin for Sunday attached and January Prayer Diary (you may have had this already).

Morning Prayer 

Words from today Psalm, 46: Be still and know that I am God.

God bless, and do keep well, and keep praying and keep connected.

Rev Jo


THURSDAY 7 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and I do hope this finds you well in these difficult times. Apologies for not updating yesterday, a lot has been going on behind the scenes - hence today.

Temporary closure of our church buildings

The PCCs of both of our Parishes, and our ministry team, have agreed that we temporarily suspend corporate worship in our buildings  with immediate effect, and move onto online provision, live-streaming our services from St Dunstan's with a 10.00 Sunday Eucharist. This will be the pattern of worship until Sunday February 21st 2021, when the situation will be reviewed, and hopefully more of our folk will have been vaccinated, and the virus less prevalent. 

We are legally permitted to keep our church buildings open for corporate worship, if we feel it is wise and safe to do so. Bishop Rose has advised in a letter to clergy, that this is a may, and not a must. She reminds us that we have a duty of care for everyone particularly those who are vulnerable or who may be most at risk from this virus.

With the demographics of our congregations being predominantly elderly and vulnerable (over 70),  the safest option for all, in this current climate, is to temporarily close our buildings for corporate worship; particularly in light of the CofE guidance that states "The Government guidance on the safe use of places of worship makes clear that those attending a place of worship must not mingle with anyone outside their household or support bubble"

The safety of our vulnerable congregations is absolutely paramount, and with this in mind, we are temporarily closing our buildings and moving our worship online, which folk can watch from the safety of their homes. I assure you that this has not been an easy decision  for myself and the PCCs, but it is in the interests of keeping everyone safe, and we have hope. 

I appreciate that for some this will be a  huge disappointment; and for others you may feel comforted by this decision. Either way may you be reassured by The Bishop of London's words - who chairs the Church of England Covid recovery group:  “There is hope. The vaccination programme is underway and, as Christians, we have a deeper hope in God that comforts us beyond fear itself. As we have been remembering this Christmas Season, even in the midst of our darkest fears, that hope brings light.”  

May I remind you that although buildings will be temporarily closed, the church is not shut - we are the Body of Christ, the church, and we can love and support one another with phone calls, and prayers, and keeping connected to one another. For those who are in touch with are offline folk, please can you let them know of this decision.

Letter from Archbishop Justin, and Bishop Rose. 

Here is a letter from ++ Justin and + Rose which they would like circulated and read by our congregations, recognising the challenges that many of us face at this difficult time. 

Knitted flowers: On a brighter note, for those who have been at home knitting and painting pebbles - the next project which is being spearheaded by St Dunstan's MU, but open to everyone, is knitting or crocheting flowers for St Dunstan's churchyard, primarily for Mothering Sunday, but with view to staying there for Easter, as our crib will be turned into an Easter Garden. If you would like some wool, please contact Liz Parsons, who has some in her porch, here are some patterns, but again you may find your own: 

poppy pattern.pdf

knitted stars.pdf

Morning Prayer

God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep connected and keep well.

Rev Jo


MONDAY 4 JANUARY 2021

Good morning to you all, and every blessing to you all for this new year. I do hope this finds you all well, in what are difficult and challenging times. We are all well here at the Rectory, with us all having appreciated some 'down-time', which included some lovely local walks and games - including a new board game: Ticket to Ride, like Catan, another strategic game, which we thoroughly enjoyed playing. That was interspersed with playing Magong, reading, watching TV, and catching up on some sleep! 

The beginning of a year is also an opportunity to reflect back upon the time that has been. In this most strangest of times, where plans have been turned upside down, and many have not been able to see friends or relatives, and some have lost loved ones, we do have our faith to hang onto and keep us going, and in all this God is with us, Emmanuel. I am always reminded of that beautiful poem footprints in the sand:

One night I dreamed a dream.

As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.

Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,

One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me

I looked back at the footprints in the sand.

I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,

especially at the very lowest and saddest times,

there was only one set of footprints.

"I don’t understand why, when I need You most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you,

Never, ever, during your trials and testings.

When you saw only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you."

Margaret Fishback Powers, 1964  

Covid updates: Tier 4 

Needless to say I am keeping a close eye on all that comes from the government - CofE in terms of what we are permitted to do, and will update you as things change. To date, we are able to keep our church buildings open for corporate worship - though I fully and completely understand for many of you, you would rather worship at home and not venture out. With the roll out of the vaccine programme just around the corner, there is hope...

Please note:

The guidance stipulates that we must not mingle either inside or outside of our church buildings

No physical meetings are permitted  in churches/church halls/private houses 

The guidance from CofE

Online recordings: 

I have uploaded both the Midnight Mass, which was led by Archbishop Justin, and our Epiphany Carol Service to the YouTube channel. I am in the process of making them complete videos, rather than segments - it just takes a while to merge using all the software etc. meanwhile you can access online via our website.

Morning Prayer 

Attached is yesterday's sermon (Samuel please can you upload to website).

God Bless you all and have a good day, and do keep well, keep connected and keep praying.

Rev Jo


REV JO DAILY BRIEF 2020