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

NATHANIEL

Revd Canon Anne Taylor

During January I am attempting to do a bit of a clean out – two rooms done though the easiest I admit!
I was sorting through an old pile of coins – you know they can accumulate in jars and in drawers – when I came across 3 old pound coins that hadn’t been exchanged for the new pound coin by the deadline last October. I could just put them in a yellow envelope but I am not sure I would be popular!
They are just 3 of the estimated 500 million, yes million, that are still lying around in drawers and jars in people’s houses.
Anyway, around the time that the new pound coin came out there was an article in one of the Sunday papers about the origin of the pound.
Seemingly the first pound coin was minted in 1489. Up to that time it was only a notional amount used in book-keeping. Nobody in those days would ever dream of having a pound in their pocket – after all it was the price of 15 head of cattle – over £20,000 today. That’s inflation for you!

To read the full sermon please download NATHANIEL

14th January 2018 (2nd Sunday of Epiphany)

Michael Pitts

“We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” When preparing for this
evening, I found it difficult to decide quite where to start, as the writer of the letter to the
Hebrews is not the easiest to understand, particularly in his reference (the only one in the
New Testament) to that mysterious and almost mythical Old Testament character named
Melchizedek, who appeared out of the blue to Abram after the latter had won a battle to
release his nephew Lot from captivity (Gen. chapter 14). Now a week ago yesterday I had
the privilege of taking part in an exhilarating and (almost) complete performance of
Handel’s wonderful Oratorio “Messiah”. Compensation was made for the lack of cuts by
the exciting speeds at which many of the choruses and solos were taken, at the same time
enhancing the sense of theatre in this dramatic work. In my view Handel’s Messiah
encapsulates the best summary of the Christian faith outside of the Apostles’, Nicene and
Athanasian Creeds; so having reflected on this recent experience eventually I went for “this
hope”, our hope in the good news of the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of our
Lord Jesus Christ, which is the bedrock of our Christian Creeds, of Handel’s Oratorio, and
in essence of the letter to the Hebrews.

To read the full sermon please download 2nd Sunday of Epiphany (pm)

Epiphany January 2018

Revd Nathan Thorpe

We Three Kings of Orient Are, One in a taxi, one in a car, one a scooter blowing his hooter, wondering where we are…

Flippant, but where are we? The Christmas hubbub has died down, you might have started to think about de-christmas-ing everything.

Epiphany – the day we celebrate the 3 kings adoring the baby Jesus, bringing gifts, after a long journey. We spend so much time leading up to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but what do we think now he has been born?

What were the fruits of your advent journey? What gifts have you discovered? The visit of the three kings, all the way from the Orient, help us to reflect on our journey and the gifts that we can bring.

To read the full sermon please download Epiphany 2018

24th December 2017 (Fourth Sunday of Advent)

Michael Pitts

“You will conceive in the womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.” These
words spoken by the angel Gabriel to Mary are familiar to us now and we perhaps think
little about them. But to Mary, betrothed as she was soon to marry Joseph, they must have
come initially as a great shock. What would people say? Would Joseph refuse to marry her,
on the grounds that she must have had intercourse with another man? What amazing trust
she had which enabled her to say simply: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with
me according to your word.”

Ten years ago I had the privilege to preach on this same Sunday, when the gospel reading was from Matthew, the only other gospel writer to give us much detail about the birth of Jesus. Matthew wrote from the point of view of Joseph, who at first resolved to “dismiss her quietly”. I tried to imagine Joseph telling Jesus about the circumstances of his birth shortly after they had returned from Jerusalem after his twelfth birthday. Since they were betrothed, Mary was already Joseph’s property, even though she would continue to live with her parents until the wedding day. I wondered aloud whether Joseph might have taken Mary to the village elders but held back because they might decide to stone Mary or at least commit her to many lashes. Instead he resolved to dismiss her quietly in order to avoid her public disgrace. Fortunately, before he acted, Joseph had a vision in which the Lord told him much the same as Gabriel told Mary in Luke’s account, including the instruction that “you are to name him Jesus”, adding the explanation “for he will save his people from their sins.”

To read the full sermon please download 24th December 2017_10am

 

Christ the King – Sunday 26th November

Revd Canon Anne Taylor

The Feast of Christ the King is a relatively new Sunday for churches to observe. It was only introduced less than 100 years ago, in 1925, by the then Pope, Pius XI, because he felt that belief in Jesus, and therefore in his eyes, the Church, was waning in the years after the 1st World War. So he introduced the concept of Christ the King – to whom all should return in universal obedience and loyalty, and so also return to the church.

It didn’t really work. And in many ways the concept of a universal king doesn’t really sit very well today, where the trend is very much away from big power blocs and authorities – think Brexit from the EU, independence for Catalonia, and the fragmentation of politics in Germany. Is not the notion of Christ the King of the World a bit outmoded? Would it not be better to return to the old description of the Sunday next before Advent as Stir-Up Sunday?

To read the full sermon please download Christ the King

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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