Worship for Sunday 4th June 2023, by Rev. Ken Stokes

Hymn: StF 726 “Come to us creative Spirit”

Come to us, creative Spirit,
in our Father’s house,
every natural talent foster,
hidden skills arouse,
that within your earthly temple
wise and simple
may rejoice.

Poet, painter, music-maker,
all your treasure bring;
artist, actor, graceful dancer,
make your offering;
join your hands in celebration!
Let creation
shout and sing!

Word from God eternal springing,
fill our minds, we pray,
and in all artistic vision
give integrity,
May the flame, within us burning,
kindle yearning day by day.

In all places and for ever
glory be expressed
to the Son, with God the Father,
and the Spirit blest.
In our worship and our living,
keep us striving towards the best.

Prayer of adoration

Eternal God and Father, you are the source of all life,
the fount of all wisdom, the well-spring of all grace.
Your days are without end, your loving mercies without number.
We depend on you: and we remember your goodness to us
and to those who have gone before us.

We tell your story in every generation:
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God of Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel,

God of Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, and John Wesley

God of Hilda of Whitby, Julian of Norwich, and Elizabeth Fry

God of (name of some people who have been important on your spiritual journey)

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, God of a pilgrim people, your Church.
You are our God, ahead of us, leading us, guiding us, and calling us;
you are the Lord God, the all-wise, the all-compassionate.

To you we lift up our hearts and we worship you, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of confession and declaration of forgiveness

Loving God, there are times when in your house
We have been less than living stones.
We have been dull in worship, slow in service and lax in love.
There have been times when in your house
We have rejected Christ our Cornerstone,
By not making everyone welcome, by not noticing someone’s pain.
Forgive us and make your home again in our hearts. Amen

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate the anniversary of this church:
we thank you for the fellowship
of those who have worshipped here,
and we pray that all who seek you here may find you,
and, being filled with the Holy Spirit,
may become a living temple,
a dwelling place for your life-giving presence in the world.
We ask it through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Epistle 2 Corinthians 13.11-13

11Brothers and sisters, put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.

13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

The Church took centuries to develop its thinking about the idea of God as Trinity. However, the way Paul puts together his ideas in this prayer show that he held together the threefold experience of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and sees this experience as one united divine initiative of grace, love and fellowship points us to where Christian thinking will head in the coming centuries.

Now the idea that God is one and three at the same time isn’t an easy idea to get your head around.

The comedian Dave Allen used to complain about how the Church talked in very old-fashioned language and used impenetrable ideas – that most people couldn’t understand. Trinity, he said – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – needed to be translated into something more modern and contemporary that people could relate. His suggestion was that it would be better if we referred to the  Trinity as Big Daddy, the Kid and Spooky.

Well, it’s a thought but more seriously I think we would do better to have a look at the words of the Grace because though they do not tell us everything that can be said about the doctrine of the Trinity, they do tell us some important things that are essential to the very nature of who God is.

Understanding the Trinity is therefore not an academic exercise because the purpose of the Christian life and the ultimate purpose of the Church is for us to become like God and so it’s only as we understand God as Trinity that we can have a hope of truly becoming the Christ like Spiritual community of God’s people that God wants us to be.

Though they were written by Paul a couple of centuries before the doctrine of the Trinity was worked out and defined, the first words of his prayer that we refer to as “the grace”, point to what is at the heart of the Trinity. Paul says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ….”

The writer C.S. Lewis was once asked what was the unique thing that Christianity contributes to the world and his answer was simply “Grace”

Hindus believe in Karma – you reap what you sow. Buddhists seek to follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment; Muslims follow the Koranic Law, and the Jews follow the law laid down in commandments that were given to Moses. All other religions seek to earn the approval of God, but Christians believe in unconditional grace.

Grace comes free of charge to us – people who don’t deserve it and I am one of those people who know that they have been given it, though I have done nothing to earn it.

Grace is undeserved favour or blessing. Grace is something good that is given which is unearned and unmerited.

Please forgive me if I you have heard me tell this story before, these days I lose track of where and when I have told stories. Paul was a man in his 30’s He was an alcoholic. He was always fighting. Paul scared people. Hands badly misshapen caused by the way he hit walls in frustration and sometimes from hitting people. Yet when sometimes he would chat about his life when he was not in prison or too drunk. Often however he was depressed and hopeless. So, I was surprised one day when I saw different Paul. A smiling Paul – I don’t remember Paul smiling much.  I asked him why he was so happy. Just before Christmas Walking past Salford Cathedral and someone tapped him on shoulder. Paul usually tried to floor anyone who touched him but turned and bloke gave him a box. He said this is for you. When Paul opened it inside were a brand-new pair of trainers – not just any – top of the range NIKE – worth £70 – 80. They were even right size. Paul never had anything but second-hand clothes and shoes. He was speechless – talked about for months afterwards about it – it blew his mind – some one thought he was worth a pair of trainers. It was an act of grace – he’d not done anything to deserve it –and for a time transformed this man. Sadly, there wasn’t much grace in Paul’s life and so eventually he turned back to alcohol as a comforter because that was always there for him. The last I heard he was in prison – one fight too many. It cost the state thousands to lock him up, but I have wondered since whether a few more people handing out pairs of trainers and showing love might have done far more to change the lives of Paul and so many people like him.

Sadly, too few people experience grace in their lives – we often feel that we can achieve more by punishment and discipline than we can by grace but in actual fact I believe that the opposite is usually true. It is grace that changes us and transforms us but to be really changed we need to meet the one who always shows us grace even if we ignore him, hurt him, and even crucify him. We need to recognise that grace is at the heart of God the Trinity, and we need know the constant and undeserved grace of Jesus Christ our Lord if we are to become truly who we are meant to be.


  1. When have you experienced grace? What happened, what made your experience “gracious”?
  2. When have you shown grace to someone? What did you do? What difference did it make?
  3. Have you experience God’s grace? How did you recognise that grace? What difference has it made to you?

Song “10,000 reasons” – Song by Matt Redman

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh, my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name


The sun comes up

It’s a new day dawning

It’s time to sing Your song again

Whatever may pass

And whatever lies before me

Let me be singing

When the evening comes


You’re rich in love

And You’re slow to anger

Your name is great

And Your heart is kind

For all Your goodness

I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons

For my heart to find


And on that day

When my strength is failing

The end draws near

And my time has come

Still my soul will

Sing Your praise unending

Ten thousand years

And then forevermore


Refrain x 2

Sing like never before

Oh, my soul

I’ll worship Your Holy name

Jesus I will worship Your Holy name

Worship Your Holy name.

Hymn: StF 707 “Make me a channel of your peace”

Make me a channel of your peace,
where there is hatred let me bring your love;
where there is injury, your pardon Lord;
and where there’s doubt, true faith in you:

O Master, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope;
where there is darkness, only light,
and where there’s sadness, ever joy


Make me a channel of your peace,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving unto all that we receive,
and in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

Sebastian Temple (1928-1997)

Prayers of intercession

Creator God, creation was conceived by you, brought to birth by you
and is continually sustained by your parental love;
in gratitude we pray for the world:
that its beauty and variety may be treasured
            and its riches and resources used responsibly and fairly;
that its rulers and leaders may seek your guidance and     govern with justice, wisdom and compassion;
that humankind may acknowledge all that unites us
            and strive to show one another respect and understanding;
that the wonders of creation and human love
            may lead us to seek and to know you, living God.
In your gracious love and mercy: hear our prayer.

Saviour God, in Christ you came to seek and to save the lost,
to offer us new life and make us one with you;
in gratitude we pray for all humankind in its need:
for those who are lost in poverty and hunger,
            their lives a dehumanizing struggle for existence;
for those who are lost in warfare or conflict,
            their lives in the constant shadow of death;
for those who are lost in sickness or sorrow,
            their lives eaten up by anger, regret or despair;
for those who are lost in self-destructive sin,
            their lives shallow, empty, short on love.
In your gracious love and mercy: hear our prayer.

Holy Spirit, you breathe life and power into God’s people,
            uniting them in love and praise;
in gratitude we pray for the church:
asking that you will pour your many gifts upon us,
gifts of prophecy, healing, teaching, speaking,
            of faith, service, guidance and understanding.
May we be your Church and we pray loving Spirit that by your gracious power you will equip us to fulfil our calling.
May we ever shine with the light your grace.
In your gracious love and mercy: hear our prayer.

In the name of Jesus, our loving, gracious Lord, Amen.

Hymn: StF 503 “Love divine”

LOVE DIVINE, all loves excelling,

Joy of heaven to earth come down!

Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,

All Thy faithful mercies crown.

Jesus, Thou art all compassion,

Pure unbounded love Thou art;

Visit us with Thy salvation,

Enter every trembling heart.


Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit.

Into every troubled breast!

Let us all in Thee inherit,

Let us find Thy promised rest.

Take away the love of sinning;

Alpha and Omega be;

End of faith, as its beginning,

Set our hearts at liberty.


Come, Almighty to deliver,

Let us all Thy grace receive;

Suddenly return, and never,

Never more Thy temples leave.

Thee we would be always blessing,

Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,

Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing,

Glory in Thy perfect love.


Finish then Thy new creation,

Pure and spotless let us be;

Let us see Thy great salvation

Perfectly restored in Thee!

Changed from glory into glory,

Till in heaven we take our place;

Till we cast our crowns before Thee,

Lost in wonder, love, and praise.



The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now, and forever. Amen