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  • Readings for St David

    Philippians 3:8-14

    I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ

    I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.

    Psalm 1:1-4,6

    Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

    Happy indeed is the man
     who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
    nor lingers in the way of sinners
     nor sits in the company of scorners,
    but whose delight is the law of the Lord
     and who ponders his law day and night.

    Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

    He is like a tree that is planted
     beside the flowing waters,
    that yields its fruit in due season
     and whose leaves shall never fade;
     and all that he does shall prosper.

    Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

    Not so are the wicked, not so!
    For they like winnowed chaff
     shall be driven away by the wind:
    for the Lord guards the way of the just
     but the way of the wicked leads to doom.

    Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord.

    Matthew 5:13-16

    Your light must shine in the sight of men

    Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

    ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’

  • Sermon for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

    Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Romans 4: 13-end, Mark 8:31-end 

    Our Bible readings today encourage us to grow in our relationship with God – to growin faith, belief and trust in God and have assurance of God’s great love, shown to us in Jesus. 

    Hyacinths grow because their roots draw up water and food so the plant can grow the stem, leaves and a beautiful flower. 

    Our Bible readings today remind us that God calls us all to make an individual response, just as each hyacinth grows from its separate bulb. We will grow in our relationship with the Lord by feeding on the Word of the Lord in the Bible, which I hope many of you are doing this Lent. We feed on Jesus and are spiritually refreshed when we receive Communion. At Mass as we receive the body and blood of Christ so Common Worship Services and Prayers for the Church of England, Church House Publishing, London, 2000 p. 181 that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Those of you at home can receive Jesus when you make an act of spiritual communion.

    In the Old Testament reading and the Epistle today, Abraham is honoured because he had faith and trusted that what God said would really happen. We can learn from the life of Abraham. Abraham was a man of faith. He heard from God, trusted the Lord and left his home to go to the land the Lord showed him. This can inspire us to listen to the Lord and be open for God’s direction and guidance. Abraham grew in an individual relationship with God and we all need to grow individually and together into a closer living relationship with Jesus. http://www.salvemariaregina.info/SalveMariaRegina/SMR-175/QueenPatriarchs.htm 7th April 2017 ‘The whole lesson of Abraham to the Jews, to the Apostles and Evangelists and to the Church, was that he believed God.’ Abraham believed and trusted God and had a growing relationship with Him. 

    We heard today that God said: ‘”As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.  I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you’.(Genesis 17:4-7) God called Abraham to trust and walk in God’s perfect loving plan. Abraham’s response to hearing God was to believe. 

    God calls all of us to respond individually to His invitation to believe and follow Him. The Epistle tells us about faith. ‘The Ministry of the Word – handbook for preachers’, BRF 2000, p.108-9 The Revd Alan Garrow‘Paul seems to be arguing that the righteousness of faith is the righteousness that we act because we believe the promise of salvation given through Jesus. It is therefore a consequence of God’s gift and a product of our relationship with him.’ The good news is that through Jesus’s death on the Cross we can be made righteous and be justified before God. How wonderful that ‘since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Romans 5:1) Through believing and accepting that Jesus died on the Cross so we can be forgiven; we are restored into a right relationship with God.

    Through Jesus all peoples can receive God’s blessings, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. The New Covenant enables us all to receive forgiveness and to know the Lord as individuals.  The Book of Hebrews tells us about the New Covenant, when God says: ‘I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8: 8, 10 – 12)

    How wonderful that God puts his laws in our minds and on our hearts; so that we can be led by the Holy Spirit and ‘let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,’ (Colossians 3: 15) by responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We will then grow into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit.

    In the Gospel Jesus warns us that following Him will have times of difficulty. Indeed all our lives go through times of suffering, trouble and stress. Paul realised that to ‘know Christ’ would mean ‘sharing in his sufferings’. (Philippians 3:10-11) Suffering was the experience of Christians in the past. When we go through times of suffering and difficulty we should pray and ask the Lord to help us. Those times can be when we grow in our relationship with Jesus to ‘know Christ’ in a deeper way. 

    This past year with the coronavirus pandemic and Lockdowns has been a time of great suffering and difficulty but also, I hope, this has been a time of growing to know that Jesus loves you and is with you. Jesus loves us all and Jesus said ‘I am with you always’. (Matthew 28:20) We can trust that whatever difficulties and troubles may happen in our lives; that Jesus will be there with us, helping and giving His loving peace and presence. So we should not fear what may lie ahead; rather we should trust the loveand faithfulness of God. We can grow into a closer relationship with Jesus through times of sorrow and times of joy.

    We are called to come to Jesus as individuals and so, as we sometimes sing we come:

    Just as I am, without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me,
    And that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God, I come. 

    NEH 294

    This lovely hymn will be our Communion hymn this morning when you can pray the words to make this your prayer.

    Let us use this time of Lent to grow closer to Jesus. Just like the hyacinth taking in nourishment through the roots; so let us feed on Jesus through the written Word of the Bible and through the sacrament of Holy Communion at Mass. Let us pray more through the day and know that Jesus is with us. 

    It will help us grow in our relationship with Jesus if we talk about how the Lord is meeting us and helping us in our daily lives. In the  https://talkingjesus.org/resources/  https://hopetogether.org.uk/Shop/  7th January 2020 Talking Jesus Course last Lent we were encouraged to tell the story of how we came to faith and to talk about how Jesus has helped us recently. This is encouraged by the Our Canterbury Diocesan strategy  https://www.canterburydiocese.org/mission/changing-lives-conversations/ 10th February 2021 Changed Lives → Changing Lives which focusses us on the life-changing love of Christ which we have experienced, and points us outward to consider how we can make that love real for others. Some of us from St Michael & All Angels went to a Zoom Meeting with 80 people in the Diocese about this. We were asked ‘How is knowing Jesus changing your life now?’ In these days of Lockdown you could encourage faith in others by talking about how Jesus has met and helped you recently; talking on the telephone if you live alone. I hope that each day in Lent you are praying for 5 people who do not yet know Jesus. The Talking Jesus booklet tells us: ‘Our role is to pray and to speak up when God gives us an opportunity to talk about his story in our lives.’ (p.31) It is good to be ready to encourage others about ways that Jesus has met and helped you. May be the Lord spoke and encouraged you through your Bible reading, may be you were full of thanks and joy to see spring flowers growing or you prayed about an anxiety and Jesus gave you peace. Sharing these stories from our daily faith journeys encourages other people and helps us grow spiritually.

    The hyacinth receives nourishment and grows a beautiful flower. Through Lent let us grow individually and together to know more of the love of Jesus so we can share the good news of the love of Jesus with others. Children in the Church building and at home: Jesus loves you and Jesus wants you to grow to know and love Him more. Just as the hyacinth grows through the roots taking in nourishment; we can grow to know more of the love of Jesus through praying, reading the Bible, Church Services in the building or on YouTube & talking about Jesus. 

    Let us pray: ‘Thanks be to thee, our Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given us, for all the pains and insults you have borne for us. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly. Amen

  • Live Stream Sunday Mass: Lent 2

    The live stream is available on YouTube using the following link: https://youtu.be/0L-8Ik_b39M. This link will work from your computer, tablet or mobile device.

    If you are connecting using a SmartTV you will need to open the YouTube application on your television and search for the listing. Due to the large number of listings it’s easiest to search for 0L-8Ik_b39M which will take you directly to it.

    Phonetic: 0 Lima – 8 India Kilo _ Bravo 3 9 Mike

    https://youtu.be/0L-8Ik_b39M
  • Readings for Lent 2

    Genesis 17:1-7

    The Sign of the Covenant

    17 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.” Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

    15 God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

    Romans 4:13-end

    God’s Promise Realized through Faith

    13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

    16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

    Mark 8:31-end

    Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

    31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

    34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

  • Live Stream Thursday Mass: Feria

    The live stream is available on YouTube using the following link: https://youtu.be/JCT5byvlm6w. This link will work from your computer, tablet or mobile device.

    If you are connecting using a SmartTV you will need to open the YouTube application on your television and search for the listing. Due to the large number of listings it’s easiest to search for JCT5byvlm6w which will take you directly to it.

    Phonetic: Juliet Charlie Tango 5 Bravo Yankee Victor Lima Mike 6 Whiskey

    https://youtu.be/JCT5byvlm6w
  • Readings for Thursday Mass: Feria

    Esther 4:17

    I am alone, Lord, and have no-one but you

    Queen Esther took refuge with the Lord in the mortal peril which had overtaken her. She besought the Lord God of Israel in these words:

    ‘My Lord, our King, the only one, come to my help, for I am alone and have no helper but you and am about to take my life in my hands.

    ‘I have been taught from my earliest years, in the bosom of my family, that you, Lord, chose Israel out of all the nations and our ancestors out of all the people of old times to be your heritage for ever; and that you have treated them as you promised.

    ‘Remember, Lord; reveal yourself in the time of our distress.

    ‘As for me, give me courage, King of gods and master of all power. Put persuasive words into my mouth when I face the lion; change his feeling into hatred for our enemy, that the latter and all like him may be brought to their end.

    ‘As for ourselves, save us by your hand, and come to my help, for I am alone and have no one but you, Lord.’

    Psalm 137(138):1-3,7-8

    On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.

    I thank you, Lord, with all my heart:
     you have heard the words of my mouth.
    In the presence of the angels I will bless you.
     I will adore before your holy temple.

    On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.

    I thank you for your faithfulness and love,
     which excel all we ever knew of you.
    On the day I called, you answered;
     you increased the strength of my soul.

    On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.

    You stretch out your hand and save me,
     your hand will do all things for me.
    Your love, O Lord, is eternal,
     discard not the work of your hands.

    On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord.

    Matthew 7:7-12

    Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find

    Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. Is there a man among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    ‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.’

Home

Welcome to the Church of St Michael & All Angels, Maidstone!  You’ll find us on the Tonbridge Road (A26) just over half a mile from the town centre.  We are the parish church for a population of over 6,000.  We have a growing congregation, some of whom have been attending the church for most of their lives, whilst others are newcomers.  The age range is from 0 to retired.

Our aim is that we should all have an encounter with Jesus Christ in our services.  To that end, our main services are Eucharistic: we gather around Jesus, who is sacramentally present in the consecrated bread and wine.  With the very first Christians, we believe “Jesus is the only one who can save people.  His name is the only power in the world that has been given to save anyone. We must be saved through Him!” 1Acts 4:12 ERV  The quotation from the Bible emphasises our faith in its divine inspiration from cover to cover.

Following all our services there is tea and filter coffee to wash down freshly-baked snacks.  We are finding that people are staying to chat and enjoy being together for longer.

You’ll hear our wing of the Church of England sometimes described as Anglo-Catholic (or simply catholic).  But what does “catholic” mean?  It’s not what you may think: it simply means that it’s for everyone, which therefore includes you.  Yes, there is incense at Sunday Mass, there is holy water at all the entrances; there are candles; the choir, ministers and servers wear robes and the priest wears colourful vestments:  all of these emphasise the greater significance of what we are doing: our goal is to meet Jesus in our worship and to give Him the highest honour and glory.

Do come and experience Christian worship in this lovely church, meet us and, more importantly, meet our Lord!

Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Officer: Janet Digby-Baker

Diocese of Canterbury Safeguarding Details

https://www.canterburydiocese.org/safeguarding/

Parish of St Michael and all Angels, Maidstone Safeguarding Statement

This Parochial Church Council has adopted the safeguarding polices and procedures of the Church of England. In particular we are committed to:

  • The safeguarding of all children, young people and vulnerable adults;
  • Carefully selecting and training paid and voluntary staff who might come into contact with children or vulnerable adults, using the Disclosure and Barring Service amongst other tools, to check their suitability;
  • Responding without delay to every complaint made which suggests that an adult, child or young person may have been harmed;
  • Cooperating fully with the police, local authority and any other appropriate statutory body in any investigation;
  • Ministering appropriately to anyone, child or adult, who has experienced abuse;
  • Extending pastoral care to those known to have offended against children or vulnerable adults whilst ensuring that children and vulnerable are protected from them.

Any child wishing to talk about a problem can contact Childline 0800 1111

Any parent or carer wishing to talk about parenting problems can contact Family Lives on 0808 800 2222

Policy Statements