St Peter’s Church, Formby


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.


Consecration Sunday 21st July

Revd Canon Anne Taylor

Someone once wrote “A people without knowledge of past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”. And in our very mobile and transitory society, more and more people are interested in their roots to give them identity and help them to understand who they are. Not only history channels and magazines but programmes like ‘Who do think you are’ are among the most popular. There is a U3A family history group who meet in our hall. Family history has become quite an industry. In our baptism register Bea who will be baptised shortly will have her name recorded along with her parents, their occupations and her godparents – I wonder if any of Bea’s descendants in years to come will want to view the register.

There is a piece of history literally looking at us this morning. And it’s even older than this church building. It’s the royal coat of arms of Queen Anne. She was on the throne from 1702 to 1714, a few decades before this church was built in 1746.

The original St. Peter’s Church was not here but beside the sea, near where St. Luke’s church has since been built. The original St Peter’s church was destroyed in a storm in 1739. Which was a blessing in disguise as it was felt that the church was too far from the village and apparently wasn’t in good repair. A report says it was so “ruinous and deranged” that services couldn’t be held in it.

It was decided to build a new church, further inland and opposite a pub – which the Old Vicarage used to be. Our present church was consecrated on 19th July 1747.

7th July 2019

Peter Paine

Allow me relate a cautionary tale I heard recently. There was a person who thought it would be clever to open the Bible at random and do whatever it said. So he opened the good book and read: And Judas went and hanged himself. As that didn’t sound very promising, he thought he’d try again and alighted on the parable of the Good Samaritan where he read: And go and do thou likewise. Third time lucky he thought and read Jesus’ instruction to Judas, Do quickly what you have to do. At which point he gave up.

And now for the healing of Naaman’s leprosy where we read: “Then he returned to the man of God, and he came and stood before him; and he said, “Behold, I know there is no God in all the earth but in Israel”.”  Naaman was a great general, the best in the Syrian army. He had the ear of the king and the king depended upon him and his soldiers. He had his choice of Ferraris and BMWs, secretaries and colourful uniforms. But there was just one problem – Naaman was a mighty man of valour – but he was a leper.

St Peter’s Day 2019

One of the most famous churches in Britain, if not in the world, must be St. Martin’s in the Field in Trafalgar Square. On the one hand, it is renowned for its Academy and for the quality of its music, yet on the other hand it is famous for the ministry it has to tramps, drug-addicts and down-and-outs. Two contrasting claims to fame!

One of its well-known vicars was Canon Austen Williams, who was himself a character of contrasts. He was said to be distant, yet warm and personal; assured yet self-doubting; shy yet a showman; laid-back yet driven, sophisticated yet simple; an establishment figure yet deeply suspicious of institutional life.

So, it’s not surprising, perhaps, that he once wrote a prayer entitled “I am two people”
I am two people
One is longing to serve you utterly
And one is afraid.
O Lord have compassion on me.
I am two people
One will labour to the end
And one is weary already.
O Lord have compassion on me.
I am two people
One knows the suffering of the world
And one knows only its own.
O Lord have compassion on me.

Pentecost 2019

Revd Nathan Thorpe

O the temptation to stand in this pulpit and announce a sermon with 6 points in honour of a certain football match that happened last week! Never fear, we did manage to watch it in Uganda – and even have the Manchester United supporter amongst the group to thank.

Yet that match, as well as the England vs Scotland women’s world cup match this afternoon – showcased the hype and expectation around big games of football. It also got me to thinking about Pentecost – the churches birthday – that we celebrate this morning.

Because, like fans before a big game – the disciples too were feeling a sense of anticipation, excitement and expectation in our reading from Acts. They were expecting a promise to be kept. In the weeks following their experiences at Easter, they had prayed together, and the result had been a gradual growth in wisdom and understanding and a deepening sense of peace and joy. God was at work in them and through them, bringing work a long time coming to fruition.

2nd June 2019 

Michael Pitts

In the opening verses of chapter 4 of his letter to the Ephesians Paul starts to encourage his hearers to walk in a manner worthy of their calling; to lead a life “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  This is a timely reminder to us, as we witness the behaviour of some of our elected representatives in the self-seeking and consequent wranglings over current political issues.  Where is that longing and determination to seek what is best so as to keep together our United Kingdom as a whole, and not what suits the individual interests of those wanting power?  So also in the church, the assembly of all God’s people, the body of Christ, it is up to each of us as members of that body to seek the growth of that body in love. As Paul again reminds us, “There is one body and one Spirit, …….one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.”

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