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  • Live Stream Thursday Mass: Coronavirus Mass

    The live stream is available on YouTube using the following link: https://youtu.be/YkLLzgXoMP8. 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 YkLLzgXoMP8 which will take you directly to it.

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    https://youtu.be/YkLLzgXoMP8
  • Readings Coronavirus Mass

    Romans 8:31-39

    With God on our side who can be against us?  Since God did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all, we may be certain, after such a gift, that he will not refuse anything he can give.  Could anyone accuse those that God has chosen?  When God acquits, could anyone condemn?  Could Christ Jesus?  No!  He not only died for us – he rose from the dead, and there at God’s right hand he stands and pleads for us.

    Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked.  As scripture promised: For your sake we are being massacred daily, and reckoned as sheep for the slaughter.  These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.  For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Responsorial Psalm 80:2-3, 5-7

    Let your face shine on us, O Lord, and we shall be saved.

    O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
        you who lead Joseph’s flock,
    shine forth from your cherubim throne
        upon Ephraim, Benjamin, Manasseh.
    O Lord, rouse up your might,
        O Lord, come to our help.

    Let your face shine on us, O Lord, and we shall be saved.

    Lord God of hosts, how long
        will you frown on your people’s plea?
    You have fed them with tears for their bread,
        an abundance of tears for their drink.
    You have made us the taunt of our neighbours,
        our enemies laugh us to scorn.

    Let your face shine on us, O Lord, and we shall be saved.

    Gospel Mark 4:35-41

    With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’  And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him.  Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped.  But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep.  They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care?  We are going down!’  And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now!  Be calm!’  And the wind dropped, and all was calm again.  Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened?  How is it that you have no faith?’  They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be?  Even the wind and the sea obey him.’

  • Live Stream Sunday Mass: Christ the King

    The live stream is available on YouTube using the following link: https://youtu.be/00QP5gYozOQ. 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 00QP5gYozOQ which will take you directly to it.

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    https://youtu.be/00QP5gYozOQ
  • Readings for the Solemnity of Christ the King

    Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

    This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.  As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.  I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.  I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.  I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.  I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land.  There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

    “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.  I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.  I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.  I will shepherd the flock with justice.  See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered.  I will judge between one sheep and another.  I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd.  I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them.  I the LORD have spoken.”

    Ephesians 1:15-23

    Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

    That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

    Matthew 25:31-46 

    Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory.  All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.  He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

    ‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.”  Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?”  And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

    ‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.”  Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?”  Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.”

    ‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

  • Sermon preached on Second Sunday before Advent

    Matthew 25: 14-30

    I’ve a feeling that those of you who are still at school sometimes have a secret wish – to be a fly on the wall in the staff-room and hear what the teachers are saying among themselves about you and your friends. Well, I’m going to to let you into a secret – here’s one thing they’re almost certainly saying about you or someone you know. They’re saying,

    “If  Ermintrude put as much effort into doing her homework as she puts into making excuses for not doing it,  Ermintrude would be doing brilliantly.”

    Why do they get so fed up with Ermintrude? You might think it’s because all their lovely history or geography has been going to waste. But really, it’s not that. It’s Ermintrude’s time and Ermintrude’s opportunities that are going to waste. She could be achieving progress, and all she’s achieving is excuses – which may not even be truthful, and which will certainly get her nowhere. And the answer is not to stand over Ermintrude until the homework is done, still less to do it for her: doing the homework and handing it in on time is all part of growing up.

    But alas, grown-ups, too, can sometimes sound just as pathetic as Ermintrude when they, too, start falling back on excuses. The Bible is full of grown-ups like that – but let’s just listen for a moment to the very first example – Adam, saying to God, “I heard the sound of you walking in the garden , and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”  Not “I have just done exactly what you told me not to do, it was my fault, and I’m sorry.” If Adam had managed to say that, perhaps we can imagine a different end for the story even at that late stage.  But the fear and the concealment are tell-tale signs that the relationship between Adam and his creator has already gone badly wrong. Adam may or may not have been afraid of being found naked; what really frightened him was the prospect of being found, and found out.

    Fear and concealment are tell-tale signs of a relationship going wrong: so now listen to the excuses of the useless servant in our Lord’s story from today’s Gospel reading. “I knew you were a harsh man… so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground.” Is there a relationship here at all? In what sense was there ever one? It may be hard for us to picture what the master had entrusted to that servant, but it’s suggested that in those days one talent in silver would probably have paid a working man’s wages for rather more than 16 years – some experts say 20. Dumping it on the counter at the bank would have taken far less effort than digging that hole. So think of the amazing wealth the master entrusted to all three of these servants – by his standards, as he said, it was something little, but with far greater things to come if they proved trustworthy.  And think, therefore, of the huge gesture of trust the master was making, and of his joyjoy which he shares with his servants, when that trust is shown not to be misplaced. 

    Now this story does tend to get an outing at parish stewardship campaigns and school prizegivings, and I’m not saying that that’s wrong – but in those contexts there’s a temptation to focus on the economics, the fact that the successful servants doubled their master’s money, as successful fund-raisers and successful exam candidates often do, either literally or metaphorically. But there’s more to this story than economics. The master is trusting to the point of rashness, but the good servants clearly also trust him to appreciate their efforts to put those huge sums of money to effective use. I’m tempted to think that somewhere on the estate there was another servant who was also entrusted with a fortune, tried hard, and wasn’t so successful – but the master didn’t complain about that, and he too was appreciated.  It’s the useless servant who thinks – or says he thinks – that the master is a grasping tyrant whose only concern is how much money he can make.  And the master points out that the servant’s own behaviour shows that his excuse is not just a pathetic excuse, but a lie. “You knew I was a grasping tyrant, did you? Then why didn’t you open a deposit account?” There’s a footnote here: twisted ideas about God can produce twisted behaviour, and twisted behaviour can produce twisted ideas about God, in a chicken-and-egg kind of way. And what this story is about is of course, among other things, how we should see God and the relationship he wants to have with us – the way in which God invites us into co-operation with him by trusting us – quite rashly – with gifts that are far more precious than money, though they don’t exclude money: The created world for a start, and in addition our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life, but above all, his inestimable love in the redemption of the world, the means of grace, and the hope of glory. None of these riches of nature and grace is ours absolutely; it comes from him, and one day – our other two readings this morning, and the approaching season of Advent, ought to remind us of this – one day we shall have to explain to him what we did with it all. 

    God invites every one of us into a relationship of co-operation with him, for the good of the church our Lord came to build, and, looking outward, for the good of the world. I wonder what the useless servant said to himself when the master gave him that talent?  Perhaps it started with “Why me? I’m no good at business – and those other servants have got a head start anyway.” And a bit later “Well, if I just keep a low profile and let the others get on with it…” And later “Nasty old skinflint, what does he expect? It wasn’t fair to make demands on me like that!”  and later still “If I put it out of sight, perhaps I can forget all about it, and with luck, so might he.”  No prospect of joy anywhere there. The relationship was steadily destroyed – by something that started off by masquerading as humility, and then went on through laziness, self-righteousness, furtiveness, potential dishonesty – to telling his master a barefaced lie and disappearing into the dark. That’s how the habit of mind that resorts to excuses can end up. If we find ourselves with an opportunity to serve the church or the world, false modesty can be a very false friend indeed, to ourselves as well as to those we should be serving – because we really don’t know what God will give us the ability to do until we have a go. Having a go doesn’t come with a guarantee of instant success – but if God trusts us, we can trust Him. God is faithful.

    To finish on a personal note. In one of the places where I worked, I was once in a position where I had to stand up against a very unjust misuse of power. There were a couple of very unhappy and at times rather frightening years, when, despite the help of our union, my colleagues and I seemed to be experiencing only defeat, though it didn’t end like that. The wise priest to whom I could talk about it all while it was going on said one thing to me which I’ve never forgotten, of which I still regularly remind myself in happier times, and which might have shown the useless servant the proper response to his master’s trust and the proper thing to do with the talent he was given. The wise priest said:

    “God does not require you to succeed.  He does require you to try.”

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!

Parish Calendar

Nov
29
Sun
Sung Mass
Nov 29 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
3
Thu
Low Mass
Dec 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
6
Sun
Sung Mass
Dec 6 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
10
Thu
Low Mass
Dec 10 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
13
Sun
Sung Mass
Dec 13 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
17
Thu
Low Mass
Dec 17 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
20
Sun
Sung Mass
Dec 20 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
24
Thu
Low Mass
Dec 24 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
27
Sun
Sung Mass
Dec 27 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Dec
31
Thu
Low Mass
Dec 31 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

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