Holy Family

HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY Hymns 40, 33, 22, 25

FIRST READING Genesis 15.1-6 and 21.1-3 The word of the Lord was spoken to Abram in a vision, ‘Have no fear, Abram, I am your shield; your reward will be very great.’ ‘My Lord,’ Abram replied ‘what do you intend to give me? I go childless…’. Then Abram said, ‘See, you have given me no descendants; some man of my household will be my heir.’ And then this word of the Lord was spoken to him, ‘He shall not be your heir; your heir shall be of your own flesh and blood.’ Then taking him outside he said, ‘Look up to heaven and count the stars if you can. Such will be your descendants’ he told him. Abram put his faith in the Lord, who counted this as making him justified. The Lord dealt kindly with Sarah as he had said, and did what he had promised. So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the time God had promised. Abraham named the son born to him Isaac, the son to whom Sarah had given birth.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 105 R He, the Lord, is our God. He remembers his covenant for ever.

Give thanks to the Lord, tell his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.

O sing to him, sing his praise; tell all his wonderful works! R

Be proud of his holy name, let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Consider the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face. R

Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, the judgements he spoke.

O children of Abraham, his servant, O sons of the Jacob he chose. R

He remembers his covenant for ever, his promise for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. R

SECOND READING Hebrews 11:8,11-12,17-19 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going. It was equally by faith that Sarah, in spite of being past the age, was made able to conceive, because she believed that he who had made the promise would be faithful to it. Because of this, there came from one man, and one who was already as good as dead himself, more descendants than could be counted, as many as the stars of heaven or the grains of sand on the seashore. It was by faith that Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac. He offered to sacrifice his only son even though the promises had been made to him and he had been told: It is through Isaac that your name will be carried on. He was confident that God had the power even to raise the dead; and so, figuratively speaking, he was given back Isaac from the dead.

GOSPEL Luke 2.22-40 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord’), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, ‘a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons.’

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.’ And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome-back and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Warmest Thanks to everyone – visiting celebrants, musicians, decorators, altar party, readers and sound engineer – whose efforts combined to make our worship memorable on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Additional help is always welcome; please let us know of any way in which you would like to serve the St Michael's family.

Valerie Stickland, a devoted member of our congregation, died peacefully at home in the early hours of Saturday morning. Educated at Old Palace School, Croydon, and Homerton College, Cambridge, she was Headmistress of the St Michael's Schools from 1969 until her retirement. Gentle, astute and imaginative, she will be remembered for the astonishingly beautiful garden she created in a tiny space at her final home in Matterdale Gardens; for the bicycle-crowned cakes she produced for Ride and Stride; for the brown-and-gold kneelers she rescued from a skip outside another church and re-homed at St Michael's – and, most of all, for the interest she took in everything, which made her such fun to be with. We pray for her, and for her nephews and their families. May she rest in peace.

As you clear up the Christmas wrappings…. Are there any interesting stamps among them? Please think of bringing them to church, and putting them in Jacqui's box in the narthex, for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Epiphany – when we remember the visit of the wise men to the infant Christ – will be transferred to Sunday 7th January. At St Michael's we shall celebrate it with Mass as usual, but also with an extra Service of music and readings at 5pm. There will be an augmented choir, and seasonal refreshments in the Vestry Hall will follow. Everyone is welcome - please come, and invite your friends.

Have you ever made a pilgrimage to Walsingham? This isn't as rarefied an activity as you might think; it's a chance to spend time with God and with our Lady (whose example loving obedience points us towards Him) while enjoying the beautiful countryside of north Norfolk and the company of other Catholic Christians. Fr Peter Harnden of Harbledown will next month be making a preliminary booking for the pilgrimage he is leading on August 19th-24^th,^. If you think you might be interested in joining parishioners from Folkestone, Harbledown and Deal on this pilgrimage, please speak to Eleanor; a notional idea of possible numbers is all Fr Peter needs at this stage, and no one is committed, but it would be so encouraging to have plenty of enquiries from St Michael's. It is usually possible to arrange lifts for pilgrims who would need one.

Can someone very kindly take charge of washing and ironing the altar linen (corporals, lavabo towels and purificators)? We are most grateful to Katja, who has done this in the recent past but is now unable to continue. We can arrange to deliver and collect if transport poses a problem. Please speak to Jonathan if you think you may be able to help.

From Our Tower

Kent County Association, Maidstone, Kent: St Michael and All Angels

Friday, 22 December 2023 in 43m (6–1–24 in C)

1272 Norwich Surprise Minor

  1. Jacqueline Barlow
  2. Charlotte Elvers
  3. Lucy Harvey
  4. Mark Elvers
  5. Philip Jarvis
  6. Neil Jones (C)

1st in m: 2 & 3. Rung in anticipation of Christmas.

Thursday, 28 December 2023 in 2h 43 (6–1–24 in C)

5040 Stedman Triples - W A Cave's six singles variation

  1. Jason R Turnock
  2. Adam A Brady
  3. Jacqueline M Barlow
  4. Michael A Birkbeck
  5. Andrew M Hills
  6. Paul N Mounsey (C)
  7. David J Dearnley
  8. Neil W Jones

Rung half-muffled on the Innocents' Day

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?