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Sunday 31st May 2020- Feast of Pentecost

posted 28 May 2020, 10:23 by Church Office   [ updated 30 May 2020, 08:56 ]

You can download the order of service here, and a printable version of the readings, sermon and prayers can be downloaded here.

Sunday 31st May 2020

Feast of Pentecost


Today is the feast of Pentecost: the birthday of the worldwide church and our parish’s patronal festival. Today we celebrate the sending of the Holy Spirit, no longer a gift for specially chosen individuals but now available to all because all are chosen to carry on Christ’s work in the world and build the Kingdom of God.

For today’s service you will need a candle, something to light it with and something red to wear or wave. 

Please click the links (in blue) for a special Pentecost activity for YOU and YOUR CHILDREN to do as part of a massive community project. You can also go to our what’s happening page for further instructions.

The fiery feast of Pentecost.  This week our pram service brings us the story of the wind and flames that heralded the birthday of the church.  As with any birthday there will be candles, there will be balloons, bring your own cake. Pram Service will now be pre-recorded so you can have your weekly dose of songs, stories and prayers whenever you like, where ever you like and how ever many times you like! Head over to the Children and Youth tab to start the fun! The pram service videos will be uploaded each week before Pram Service’s regular start time- Sundays at 8am.

In Sunday School this week (9:30am) A message from Caroline: Pentecost comes but once a year. It brings together the whole church’s birthday and celebrates our own church as Church of the Holy Spirit, so lots of light and flames! Can people make and/ or bring a cake big or small plus candles to light and crayons to finish Jesus statements - I am the light! Birthday light/ light in our darkness / light to show us the way. You will also need candle and lantern shapes.  Click the zoom link to join Sunday school, you will also need the password which can be found in our newsletter. 



Acts 2:1-21

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Peter Addresses the Crowd

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

When the Holy Spirit comes to the first disciples: each of them received a different gift & they are immediately sent out into the world to use it.


John 20:19-23

Jesus Appears to the Disciples

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Here the risen Jesus breathes his Holy Spirit on his disciples: just as the Creator breathed life into humanity in the beginning: we are to be a new creation.



 Fire is our most potent symbol: we light a flame when some one dies and we light one when someone is born.  When Christmas comes we light a fire, Easter; we light a fire; Pentecost: we light a fire.

When our hearts are full to bursting and we do not have the words to form a prayer – we light a flame, trusting that it will express the inexpressible and give voice to the unsaid.

This week Minneapolis is on fire: this fire too gives voice if not the unsaid then at least to the unheard longing of many hearts.

The fires in Minnesota express the anger of a community which has witnessed their voices being fatally ignored: when a man pleads for his life for a full five minutes and the boot is not raised from his throat until he has been silent for a further three, something louder is required to give voice to his plight.

Our Diocesan motto is Hearts on Fire and, for the many years that I have celebrated Pentecost with you, my heart has been on fire with love, on fire with hope. 

This year it is on fire with anger.

I want to tell you the story, not of George Floyd and the terrible injustice done to him but of another middle-aged black man.  A man I will be burying next week.  This man was born in the same year as me, he was raised in the same little patch of South London that I was.  He did not die as dramatically or publicly as Mr Floyd, yet I feel that his voice was also never heard. 

The funeral directors could tell me nothing about him, his uncle could tell me nothing about him, when I tried, I could not contact his mother, she had no mobile, no landline and she did not answer the door when I knocked.  I asked a neighbour who said that she thought she had been a member of a local church.  I called the minister who told me that the family had mental health issues, that they were resistant to contact, that I should maybe just turn up and pray the prayers we pray for anyone who has died known or unknown.

I don’t know why I tried again – I did not want to – I was irritable and bad tempered about it but maybe it was professional pride maybe it was that he was born the same year in the same place as me.  Anyway I went again and then again to knock on the door of the home he had shared with his mother all his life.  It was hard to get her to speak.  The first time she sent me away.  But finally she told me he had been mentally ill, he was a quiet soul, he loved music, he liked a drink and a smoke and a fry up.

She told me how hard it was to come to Britain in the 60s, of the racism she experienced, of continually being made to feel less than.  She told me how isolated she was; how as the area had changed in her lifetime and there was no one left on the street from back in day; how the new inhabitants of Clapham minded their own business. 

Both she and her home were run down.  She and her son had received no support.  She had cared for him from birth to death.  He was not murdered by a policeman for being poor and black like George Floyd, but I feel that his life and death were also full of injustice.  He lived and died below the radar, his experiences were never valued, voice was never heard.

At Pentecost the disciples, also a persecuted minority, were accused of being drunken fools, their voices were also dismissed. 

And Peter stood and spoke the words of the prophet Joel: in those days I will pour out my spirit on all people, your young will have visions, your old will dream dreams, your sons and your daughters, even the enslaved, will prophesy.

God speaks through those who are on the margins, those whose voices are often unheard, whose lived experience is frequently overlooked.

This Pentecost, we ponder all that the pandemic is revealing to us: we are aware that the voices of many have not been heard; the black men and women who are more likely to have low paid jobs, more likely to live in over crowded communities, more likely to be overlooked, are more likely to die.

The very old and the very young, the poor and those who struggle, they are the ones who will dream dreams, who will have visions, who will prophesy to us: speaking words we may not want to hear but that we need to listen to.

Before I left the doorstep of the mother, whose son I will bury next week, I asked her what had kept her going all these years.  She told me that as a child she was taught by heart the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm and many spiritual songs and then, suddenly, unexpectedly, she opened her mouth and sang, loudly, passionately:

Oh Lord my God and Father,

oft I stray,

yet still to you I pray,

though life is hard and dark my way,

thy will be done.  

It broke my heart, it filled my heart with sorrow, sorrow which has grown to anger, and then to a deep longing for us to be a community that listens to the voices of all those upon who God pours his spirit: the young, the old, the poor, the oppressed.  

And when we have listened, and when we have heard, and when our hearts have been set blaze, then and only then will the spirit of Lord fall on us and anoint us, anoint us for this purpose only, to bring good news to the poor, to open the eyes of the blind, to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind and to let the oppressed go free.  


Perplexing, Pentecostal God,
you infuse us with your Spirit,
urging us to vision and dream.
May the gift of your presence
find voice in our lives,
that our babbling may be transformed into discernment
and the flickering of many tongues
light an unquenchable fire of compassion and justice. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God, we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

We bring to you all who are sick, and all those who are caring for them,

praying especially for:

Jane, Heidi, and Albert Bell; Sara Carter, Ruby Mitchell, Monika and

Bernard Maciejko, Jane Taylor, Linda Parker, Christine Harris, Jane

Roberts, Damien Harte and Jonathan Aubrey.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

and fill us with your Spirit.


Generous God,

you sent your Holy Spirit upon your Messiah at the river Jordan,

and upon the disciples in the upper room:

in your mercy fill us with your Spirit,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever. Amen.

Church Office,
28 May 2020, 10:23
Church Office,
30 May 2020, 08:55