St Peter’s Church, Formby

Sermons

Summaries of Weekly Sermons

See below for a selection of weekly sermons delivered by Anne, Nathan and by our guest clergy.

Please feel free to download the full sermon by using the links after each summary.

Sermons

All Saints Sermon – Sunday 2nd November

Revd Nathan Thorpe

1 John 3: 1-3, Matthew 5: 1-12

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight, O lord, our Strength and Redeemer.

Reverend Joy Carroll, the inspiration for Geraldine Grainger in the Vicar of Dibley, once said that the reason she decided to become a vicar because she read the Sermon on the Mount (which includes the Beatitudes). It is quoted by Geraldine in the episode about Songs of Praise.

And in the darkest grip of depression, another TV vicar, Adam Smallbone (played by Tom Hollander) in Rev. – whose equally human frailties are laid bare before our eyes – lies with the blanket over his head, having not moved for days, whispering these words to himself.

I could have said something profound like ‘we need these fictional characters to portray our deepest highs and lows’ – but then I watched Richard Coles on Strictly, which shattered that argument!

Both of these people, though fictional, depict, in their mishaps and slapstick, a genuine righteousness. A genuineNESS. Something that makes them stick in the mind and that inspires the heart.

And thus my sermon-y thoughts this week were two-fold. (1) the clear inspirational quality of All the Saints who we celebrate today, and (2) On the clear inspirational quality of the Beatitudes – which make up our text today.

To read the full sermon please download All Saints Sermon

Sermon for 8th October – Evensong

Michael Pitts

Prov. 2. 1-11; Ps. 136. 1-9; 1 John 2. 1-11

The word “love” in one form or another appears at least fifty times in this
comparatively short letter. In every case it is based on the Greek root ‘agape’, which
in the New Testament is used to represent the love that God has for the humans He
has created. Hence it should also represent the love that we humans have for God
and also for our fellow humans, whether relations, friends, strangers, or enemies.
How come the writer of this letter was putting such emphasis on “love”? First,
perhaps we should consider who the writer was and the circumstances in which he
was writing.

To read the full sermon please download Sermon for 8th October

Graham and Marilyn’s Farewell – Sunday 17th September

Revd Canon Anne Taylor

I recently came across a parody of a well-known hymn, and this is how it began,
“Oft in danger, oft in woe,
Church musicians come and go,
Undismayed by petty strife,
Guardians of a way of life.”
The poem went on, in 20 verses! to describe the strange ways of organists and clergy, but ended with this couplet,
“Organists and clergy must
Live in harmony and trust.”
Today, is a very sad day for St. Peter’s as it is the day when our church musician for the last 38 years, Graham, has decided to retire. And what’s more (to add insult to injury) he is taking Marilyn with him!

To read the full sermon please download Graham & Marilyn’s Farewell

Luke 9: 28-36 – The Transfiguration – Discipleship: Shorthand – Sunday 4th August

Revd Nathan Thorpe

May I speak in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I feel conscience-bound to inform you that it was my great privilege to preach my first ever sermon on this passage 5 years ago – the Transfiguration in Luke. I won’t repeat the word I used when I first read the text. Unfortunately, as I was preaching – fresh-faced, grateful of my robes to hide my knocking knees, I saw the worst thing… a head slowly drop into slumber (talk about dispiriting)! Accordingly, I solemnly promise that I confined that sermon to the bin – and anyone who essays a snore had better be on heavy medication or imitating Peter – as I’m assured the gentleman in question was!

Don’t let that put you off though – because what we have here is one of the most intriguing stories about Jesus. It contains elements that read like a fantasy novel – asking us to suspend our disbelief and look at what the Transfiguration might mean to us today.

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 4th August Sermon

 

Parables of mustard seed, leaven etc – Sunday 30th July

Revd Canon Anne Taylor

Canon Jamie MacLeod is a vicar who helps run an ecumenical retreat centre in the Peak District.

Some years ago he went looking for an impressive looking picture to hang on one of the walls of his house and went into an antiques shop in Cheshire where he came across what looked like an artist’s copy of a Van Dyck painting. He bought the painting for £400.

When the BBC’s Antique Roadshow was in Nottingham some time later he took the painting along to find out who the copying artist might have been.

The Roadshow team got very excited and called in an expert on Van Dyck’s paintings, and lo and behold, the picture of a Venetian judge which he had purchased for £400 was the genuine article and valued at £400,000 – the highest valuation of a painting on the Antiques Roadshow up to that time.

As we listened to the 5 quick fire parables of today’s Gospel you could imagine Jesus using that incident as an example of the kingdom of God! A kingdom of surprises where the unexpected happens, where the world’s values are thrown upside down, where the small become great, the ordinary become extraordinary, where what seems to be mundane is actually marvellous and what seems of little value turns out to be of great worth.

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 30th July Sermon

6th after Trinity – Matthew and Isaiah – Sunday 16th July

Revd Nathan Thorpe

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sometimes it is nice to go back to where you started. Sometimes we need to – to re-focus on where we are going, or to be reminded of what really matters to us.

The gospel of Matthew today tells us something of a story that would have been very familiar to them. It is equally likely to be familiar to us, and what is more, it would seem to be just as relevant now as then. In theological college, the parable of the sower is wheeled out time and time again in church growth and mission classes – redeeming the dubious expression ‘sowing seeds’ with a more virtuous emphasis. Because of its familiarity, it is easy (for me at least) to become bored or cynical when you hear it again, and again, and again.

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 16th July Sermon

 

St Peter’s Patronal Festival – Sunday 29th June

As is often the case in the gospels, Jesus’ questions are more important than the answers.

The gospel of Matthew, more than any other, is associated with building the Kingdom of Heaven. And appropriately, on the day which we celebrate the patronal festival of this church, it is Peter’s answer that interests us from the many given by the disciples.

Who do you say the son of Man is?

It is a somewhat leading question. But the answers are interesting. The answers are individualistic. They are (mostly) well thought through. They come from the people Jesus has gathered around him with different skills to hear different things. Accordingly, we hear a plethora of answers.

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 29th June Sermon.

 

CORPUS CHRISTI – SUNG EUCHARIST – Sunday 18th June

Corpus Christi – the Body of Christ. Tonight we celebrate and give thanks for our belief in Jesus
Christ, that he is the Son of God who came from heaven, and was made man to live among us and to give his life for us on the cross, in order that we might be saved from our wickedness and and so be able to live for ever with the Triune God. It is not a celebration of the institution of the
Eucharist, which we mark on Holy Thursday when Jesus met with his disciples for the last time to
have supper with them before his death and resurrection. On that occasion our thoughts are directed towards the events of the next couple of days, to our Lord’s trial before Pontius Pilate, his suffering and death upon the cross, and his time spent among those who had already died; which is why at the end of the evening Eucharist we depart in silence, the cross is covered and the altar is stripped. But tonight we rejoice in the fact that we have been fed with the true bread of God which came from heaven and gave life to the world.

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 18th June Sermon

 

MANCHESTER – Sunday 28th May 2017 

I was born the year before the “troubles” started in Northern Ireland, and I grew up in a very divided province where violence, bombings, murder, suspicion and hatred were very much in evidence. Though with my parents being English there was a sense of being in it but not of it.

The most dangerous thing that happened was that Communities were segregated. Loyalists painted the kerbstones of their streets red, white and blue. Republican areas flew Irish flags and painted the gable ends of houses with pictures glorifying terrorists.

And sadly, in a sloppy, sectarian way, each side largely became identified in religious terms – the Republicans were “Catholic” and the Loyalists were “Protestant”, and the media, even the so-called respectable papers, colluded with those descriptions. In many people’s eyes it was a religious war.

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 28th May Sermon.

 

SUFFERING – 21st May 2017

The story is told of a sailor who owned a pleasure boat, and would take day trippers on a cruise around the inlets and bays of the coastline where he lived. He was always very careful to heed weather warnings and not put his passengers at risk.

But one day as he was a fair way out to sea, a sudden squall blew up and all around the boat the waves got very choppy, and the boat seemed like a cork bobbing up and down.

Not surprisingly the passengers became alarmed as they clung to the sides for dear life. As time went on the wind seemed to get stronger rather than abate and one of the terrified day trippers, fearing the worst, made his way to the wheelhouse and on behalf of the passengers asked the captain to pray with them.

And this is what the captain replied, “I say my prayers when the weather is fine, and when it’s rough I tend my boat.”

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 21st May Sermon.

 

 “I AM THE WAY” – Sunday 14th May 2017

When I hear today’s Gospel read for an ordinary Sunday morning service rather than a funeral service – where the passage is most often heard – I think back to a service in our last parish when we had a visiting speaker from one of the missionary societies to preach.

She got up into the pulpit and started to speak. But very soon into her address her voice got weaker and her words got slower and then she collapsed disappearing from view in the pulpit.

The churchwardens rushed to help her and lift her out down the stairs of the pulpit, which wasn’t easy for she was a rather ample lady. There was nothing I could do except announce the next hymn which happened to be “The Lord’s my shepherd” – another favourite funeral hymn – and it was to the strains of that hymn that she came to, not knowing whether she was on earth or in heaven!

To read the full sermon please download Sunday 14th May Sermon.

 

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