The Gathering

Our worship begins at the sound of the bell as the sacred ministers enter, during which the introit hymn is sung.

Angel-voices ever singing
Round thy throne of light,
Angel-harps for ever ringing,
Rest not day nor night;
Thousands only live to bless thee
And confess thee
Lord of might.

Thou who art beyond the farthest
Mortal eye can scan,
Can it be that thou regardest
Songs of sinful man?
Can we know that thou art near us,
And wilt hear us?
Yea, we can.

For we know that thou rejoicest
O’er each work of thine;
Thou didst ears and hands and voices
For thy praise design;
Craftsman’s art and music’s measure
For thy pleasure
All combine.

In thy house, great God, we offer
Of thine own to thee;
And for thine acceptance proffer
All unworthily
Hearts and minds and hands and voices
In our choicest

Honour, glory, might and merit
Thine shall ever be,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Blessèd Trinity.
Of the best which thou hast given
Earth and heaven
Render thee.

F. Pott (1832-1909)
Music: E. G. Monk (1819-1900)

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


The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you

and also with you.

Words of Welcome

Prayers of Penitence

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.

Silence is kept.

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

Lord our God,
in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us;
deliver us from judgement;
bind up our wounds and revive us;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

The president says:

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Collect

The president introduces a period of silent prayer with the words ‘Let us pray’.

God of compassion,
whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary,
shared the life of a home in Nazareth,
and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself:
strengthen us in our daily living
that in joy and sorrow
we may know the power of your presence
to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


The Liturgy of the Word

Please sit.

A reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation is abundant through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we are also suffering. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

2 Corinthians 1.3-7

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Please stand as the gradual hymn is sung. During the hymn a procession will make its way to the centre of the nave from where the Gospel for the day is read. To symbolise our desire to turn to Christ in our daily lives, at the end of the hymn we remain standing and turn to face the place where the Gospel is proclaimed.


For Mary, mother of our Lord,
God’s holy name be praised,
Who first the Son of God adored,
As on her child she gazed.

The angel Gabriel brought the word
She should Christ’s mother be;
Our Lady, handmaid of the Lord,
Made answer willingly.

The heav’nly call she thus obeyed,
And so God’s will was done;
The second Eve love’s answer made
Which our redemption won.

She gave her body for God’s shrine,
Her heart to piercing pain,
And knew the cost of love divine
When Jesus Christ was slain.

Dear Mary, from your lowliness
And home in Galilee,
There comes a joy and holiness
To ev’ry family.

Hail, Mary, you are full of grace,
Above all women blest;
And blest your Son, whom your embrace
In birth and death confessed.

Words: J. R. Peacey (1896-1971
Music: G. Slater (1896-1979)

Gospel Reading

An acclamation is said to herald the Gospel.

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.
The Lord is a great God,
O that today you would listen to his voice.
Harden not your hearts.

cf Psalm 95.3,8

Praise to you, O Christ, King of eternal glory.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

Glory to you, O Lord.

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Jesus. 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.’

Luke 2.33-35

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.


Please sit after the preacher leads us in prayer.

Affirmation of Faith

Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Though he was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself
and was obedient to death,
even the death of the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

cf Philippians 2.6-11

Prayers of Intercession

Following an invitation to pray from the intercessor we kneel or sit to pray.

The response to the bidding.

Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Then at the end:

Merciful Father,

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Liturgy of the Sacrament

Please stand with the president.

The Peace

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.

Preparation of the Table

The table is prepared and bread and wine are placed upon it.


During this hymn a collection, our financial offering in support of the work of the church both at St. Mary’s and across our diocese, is taken.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon and stars of night:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely giv’n,
Graces human and divine,
Flow’rs of earth and buds of heav’n:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise.

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Off’ring up on ev’ry shore
Her pure sacrifice of love:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our sacrifice of praise

Words: F. S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)
Music: G. Shaw (1879-1943)
adapted from a folk song

Taking of the Bread and Wine

God of our journey,
as we walk with you on your path of obedience,
sustain us on our way and lead us to your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Eucharistic Prayer

Please kneel or sit.

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

Cradling God, we thank and praise you
because like a mother you brought all things into being.
Through trial and truth-telling, touch and tenderness
you nurtured a people
and led them in the ways of justice and peace.
When the time came
for you to dwell among us in flesh and blood,
your Holy Spirit called a woman to be the godbearer,
that in her we may behold
that our bodies could bring forth your glory.
And so we join with angels and archangels
and all the household of heaven
to sing the song of your eternal joy.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Redeeming God, you called a woman
to be closest to your Son at the moment of his nativity,
at the place of his crucifixion
and in the wonder of his resurrection.
Like a mother hen gathering her chicks
you draw the weary, the lost and the betrayed
to the abundant table of your kingdom.
Send your Holy Spirit on your church,
that it may radiate gladness as its destiny with you.
By that same Spirit, sanctify this bread and this cup
that they may be for us
the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who, at supper with his disciples
took bread, gave you thanks, broke the bread,
and gave it to them, saying,
‘Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.’
After supper he took the cup.
Again he gave you thanks,
and gave it to his disciples, saying,
‘Drink this, all of you:
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.’

Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.

Yearning God, bless every mother
who gives and does not count the cost,
who toils and does not seek for rest,
who labours and does not ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that she does your will.
Visit and heal the sadness of those
whose calling to be a mother has not been fulfilled.
Transfigure the distress
of any whose experience of raising a child
has meant a sword has pieced their own heart.
Come close to all who find
they cannot look upon a parent
with either gratitude or grace.
Hasten the day when the holy city descends
like a bride prepared for you,
when all desires are known
and from you no secrets are hid,
ever-living, ever-giving God,
Trinity of mercy and love.

Amen. (Sung)

Silence is kept.

The Lord’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, remember us in your kingdom
and teach us to pray.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated bread.

Every time we eat this bread
and drink this cup

we proclaim the Lord’s death
until he comes.

The Agnus Dei is sung as the bread is broken for distribution.

Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,
grant us peace.

Invitation to Communion

Jesus is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sin of the world.
Blessed are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word, and I shall be healed.

The president and people receive communion. All baptised Christians are welcome to receive the sacrament. Please follow the guidance offered by the stewards.

If you are not baptised, or would prefer to not receive then do still come forward for a blessing bringing this book with you so the president knows your intention.

The sacrament is available in both kinds, however if you wish to only receive the bread please do so and then return to your place. Receiving in one kind is still considered to be full communion by the Church of England. Please do not dip bread in the wine (sometimes called ‘intincting’).

To the words “The Body/Blood of Christ” the communicant replies “Amen”.

For those at home it might be helpful to use this prayer during the distribution.

We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs,
for as long as it takes,
wherever you call us.

These words of Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference, were offered on Mothering Sunday the last two years when we have not gathered as a Church family in St. Mary’s.

Choir Anthem

‘Song of Saint Anselm’

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.

You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us, and with pure milk you feed us.

Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.

Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.

Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us;
in your love and tenderness remake us.

In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.

Words: Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Music: J. Stainer (1840-1901)
from a melody by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

One or two communion hymns may be sung during the distribution as time allows. Please remain seated.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You have come to us,
You are one with us,
Mary’s Son;
Cleansing our souls from all their sin,
Pouring your love and goodness in,
Jesus, our love for you we sing,
Living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ,
Now and ev’ry day
Teach us how to pray,
Son of God.
You have commanded us to do
This in remembrance, Lord, of you.
Into our lives your pow’r breaks through,
Living Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You have come to us,
Born as one of us,
Mary’s Son.
Led out to die on Calvary,
Risen from death to set us free,
Living Lord Jesus, help us see
You are Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ.
I would come to you,
Live my life for you,
Son Of God.
All your commands I know are true,
Your many gifts will make me new,
Into my life your pow’r breaks through,
Living Lord.

Words & Music: P. Appleford (1925-2018)

Now let us from this table rise,
Renewed in body, mind and soul;
With Christ we die and live again,
His selfless love hath made us whole.

With minds alert, upheld by grace,
To spread the Word in speech and deed,
We follow in the steps of Christ,
At one with all in hope and need.

To fill each human house with love,
It is the sacrament of care;
The work that Christ began to do
We humbly pledge ourselves to share.

Then give us courage, living God,
To choose again the pilgrim way,
And help us to accept with joy
The challenge of tomorrow’s day.

Words: F. Kaan (1929-2009)
Music: Swiss traditional melody
arr. R. H. Lloyd (1933-2021)

The Post Communion Prayer

Please stand with the president who introduces a time of silent prayer with the words ‘Let us pray’.

Loving God,
as a mother feeds her children at the breast
you feed us in this sacrament
with the food and drink of eternal life:

help us who have tasted your goodness
to grow in grace within the household of faith;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing of the Flowers

Daffodils, kindly supplied by the Co-op are presented to the president for this prayer of blessing and are then distributed amongst the congregation.

God, our Mother and Father
whose love surrounds us daily
we pray you bless these flowers
that they might be tokens of your love
and symbols of hope
giving joy to those who give and receive
we ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Now thank we all our God,
With hearts and mind and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mother’s arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace,
And guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son and him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heav’n adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Words: M. Rinkart (1586-1649)
translated by C. Winkworth (1827-1878)
Music: J. Crüger (1598-1662)

The Dismissal

The Blessing

Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy
and the blessing of God Almighty
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
rest upon you and those whom you love
now and always.


Go in the peace of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

Donations to St Mary's

St Mary’s is a charity which receives no funding from the government and is entirely dependent on donations and fees to keep operating.

If you'd like to donate to support our work you can give contactlessly as you leave the building by tapping your contactless card device against our card reader. You can also leave cash in the offering plate by the door.

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For Mary, mother of our Lord
Words © Reverend M. J. Hancock
Music © Oxford University Press

Communion Setting
© Royal School of Church Music

Music after the Gospel
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

For the beauty of the earth
Music © Oxford University Press

Music after the Offertory Hymn
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Great Amen
© G H Taylor

Lord Jesus Christ
© Josef Weinberger Ltd

Now let us from this table rise
Words © Stainer & Bell Ltd
Musical arrangement © Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Music after the Communion Hymns
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Music during the distribution of flowers
© Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Organ voluntary
© Stainer & Bell Ltd

CCL licence: 668063