Our Services

/Our Services
Our Services 2017-04-14T17:29:36+00:00

Our Services

When the Right Reverend Father, Robert Runcie, was Archbishop of Canterbury, he wrote that he considered St. Peter’s Church to be the stronghold of the Anglo-Catholic tradition within the Canterbury Diocese of the Church of England. This continues to be as true today as when he wrote it.

Whilst we are a theologically conservative, traditional family Church, we are liberal in giving a warm welcome to all. Everyone who wishes to seek the truth and love given by our Lord Jesus Christ is embraced in our Church. Our congregation is a lively mixture of ages, families, divorcees, single parents, sexual orientations, races, rich and poor, just as you would expect in a 21st century family.

We are all equal before God. So if you seek the truth of Christ, whatever your spiritual needs through life, from birth, marriage and death to the everyday seeking of peace, tranquillity and truth, please do explore your sacred journey with us.

The Church is open during service times and also from 6-6.45 pm on Tuesday and 11-11.45 am on Thursday, so if you seek spiritual solace; want to talk about making special arrangements for services; or just wish to find out more about us, please call in.

I look forward to welcoming you personally.

Peace be with you!

Father David Adlington
Vicar of St. Peter’s Church

Father David Adlington Vicar of St. Peter’s Church

Regular Services

We regularly offer different forms of the Mass throughout the week, so we hope that you will be able to find a service that suits you!

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Low Mass is regularly said on Sunday at 8am; Tuesday at 7pm; and Thursday at 12 noon. Whilst following the form of traditional Catholic worship, no incense is used, nor is there any singing. The service takes about half an hour.

Solemn Mass is sung on Sunday at 10:30am and on special feast days. We don’t currently have a choir, so simple plain chant is used and an organist accompanies us in our singing of hymns. We follow the form of traditional Catholic worship, which involves the use of incense and bells. The service takes about an hour and is followed by refreshments and lively chatter, often upon the subject of the Vicar’s sermon!

Special feast days, such as Pentecost, The Annunciation, or the Feast of All Saints, are generally kept with a special Solemn Mass at 7.30pm. We do not keep with the modern practise of transferring the feast day to the nearest Sunday, unless it falls on a Saturday or a Monday. The times of masses for High Days and Holy Days are printed in advance on our weekly news sheet. The Mass is, once again, followed by socialising and refreshment.

School Mass St. Peter’s School hold regular School Assemblies and School Mass in the Church during term time. Times are variable. Please be respectful if you find yourself in the Church at this time.

Evensong is sung in plain chant, using the Book of Common Prayer, every Sunday evening at 6pm. This is a very beautiful and meditative service of prayer, rather than a Mass, with no use of incense. The service takes about half an hour.

Benediction is sung in plain chant on the second Sunday of every month at 6.30pm. The ancient service of Benediction constitutes the veneration of the Sacred Body of Christ as present in His most Holy Sacrament of the Altar (the Real Presence). The service makes considerable use of candles, incense and bells. The service takes about half an hour.

A Period of Quiet Prayer and Meditation is held in the Church every Tuesday during Term Time at 2pm and lasts for half an hour. This is a time of silence, to meditate upon the presence of God and open our hearts to His presence. It is one of the great spiritual disciplines and for people used to 21st Century busyness, is not as easy as it sounds! But with a little practice, it is a hugely rewarding part of any prayer life. Sometimes a short quotation from Scripture is given, upon which to focus our thoughts. Sometimes the session is held in complete silence.

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Details of all this week’s services are to be found in our weekly Newsletter

Advent

Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight! (Mark: 1:3)

The first Sunday in Advent is the first Sunday of the Church’s New Year. It falls on the 4th Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or the Sunday which falls closest to November 30th, and lasts until Christmas Eve (24th December). The start of Advent represents a change in the focus of our liturgy, prayer, worship, meditation and reading.

Each of these Sundays is marked by the lighting of a candle in the Advent Wreath, to count down the weeks to the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. There are 4 candles for the 4 Sundays of Advent (3 purple and 1 pink) and one for Christmas Day itself (White). Each week, as the new Advent candle is lit, the priest asks:

Priest: “What does Advent mean?”
All: “The coming”
Priest: “The coming of whom?”
All: “The coming of Jesus”

A literal reminder of the meaning of Advent, which means ‘coming’, from the Latin, ‘adventus‘ (coming, or arrival), translated from the Greek ‘parousia’. We are now looking towards celebrating the coming of Jesus at his birthday on Christmas Day (His coming to us in the flesh in Bethlehem). As we do so, we do so in prayer (remembering His coming into our hearts daily); and remember his promise to us that he will come again in Glory at the end of Time. So the coming of Jesus is contemplated and celebrated through Advent as a threefold manifestation of Divine Glory.

Advent is therefore a time of spiritual preparation. The vestments and wreath candles are purple. These are days of reflection, of penitence, of prayer and sometimes of fasting. Only once we are half way through Advent, on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, does the mood lighten, to encourage us to finish our vigil. Vestments and the third advent candle are pink, to reflect the more encouraging mood. Gaudete Sunday takes its name from the Introit for this Sunday, taken from Philippians 4:4-5 “Gaudete in Domino Semper” or “Rejoice in the Lord always!”

Advent is sometimes called ‘Little Lent’, to reflect the fact that it is not as strict as Lent but is nevertheless penitential in nature. It is a time of watchfulness. As the children sing in their advent song:

“Stay awake! Be Ready! You do not know the hour when the Lord is coming!”

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Advent, therefore, is the antipathy of the orgy of self-gratifying consumerism that now goes on in the world around us in the days before Christmas. It is not the time for Carol Services nor Christmas Celebrations (except for schools and colleges at the end of term)… these come at Christmas!

So we light our candles in the darkness around us and we pray. These days as we light our Advent wreath, we often have a song from the children of the Sunday School, sung to the tune of ‘Hot, crossed buns’:

See the Light
See the Light
Our little candle Flame
Can shine so bright
Chase away the darkness
Fill the world with light,
Be a little candle Flame
and Shine out Bright

A reminder to us all to be a light to the truth of Christ and to shine in the darkness, whilst we await His coming in prayer and meditation.

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Christmas

The feast of Christmas is one of the most holy days of the Christian year, when Christians celebrate the birth day of Jesus Christ our Lord. The major feast lasts for 12 days, until Ephiphany, which celebrates the arrival of the Magi to pay homage to the Christ-child.

The end of Christmas is, however, celebrated 40 days later on February 2nd, with the Feast of Candlemas. This celebrates the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.

This is a joyous period of the Christian Year and sees the celebration of some of the oldest festivals of the Christian Church. We wish you a blessed and peaceful celebration.

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Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” (Matthew 9: 14-15)

So now we fast.

Since the early days of the Church the days leading up to the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus have been marked by the Solemnity of Lent: a time of penance; of prayer; of alms giving; of fasting; and of meditation. All in preparation to commemorate the anniversary of the events which saw the Lord being ‘taken from us’ to become the Saviour and Redeemer of us all. This period of sacred preparation helps us to be drawn closer to Christ, through following His teaching with extra care. It helps us to be ready to celebrate the traumatic events of his death and resurrection. It is a cleansing of the soul in this life, in preparation for the life of the world to come.

Throughout Lent, the Church takes on a less celebratry tone. There are no flowers, less music and the liturgy changes to a more mournful setting, including the singing of the Asperges (sprinkling the congregation with Holy Water whilst singing psalm 51) to move us to penance, in place of the normal penitential rite. There are no ‘allelluias’ and the ‘Gloria’ is not sung. This helps us to focus more on the 3 traditional practices which receive particular attention during Lent: prayer (justice towards God); fasting (justice towards self); and alms giving (justice towards neighbour).

The solemnity of Lent lasts for 40 days. This in itself is of great Biblical resonance. Moses spent 40 days in the wilderness on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24: 18); Elijah spent 40 days walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8); God sent 40 days of rain to bring the great flood of Noah (Genesis 7:4); The Hebrews wandered for 40 years in the desert whilst seeking the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33); Jonah gave the City of Nineveh 40 days to repent or be destroyed (Jonah 3:4); and Jesus himself went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. It was here that he was tempted by the Devil 3 times with different forms of worldly power and 3 times he declined (Matthew 4:1; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1). All of these great events are kept in our minds throughout the Lenten journey.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday occurs 46 days before Easter. It culminates in the events of Holy Week, ending on Maundy Thursday just prior to the events of the Passion of our Lord.

Ash Wednesday is a day upon which all Christians are called to repent and believe anew in the Gospel. The ceremony during the Ash Wednesday Mass is an acknowledgement of our own earthly mortality. Ashes are placed onto our heads with the mark of the cross, reflecting our Baptism, as the Priest utters the words:

“Man (or Woman); Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return”

These words are based upon Genesis: 3:19 and remind us of the fall of Man from God’s Grace when he gave in to temptation in the Garden of Eden. The ashes are composed of the burnt remains of the Palm Crosses from the Holy Land given out during the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations. As Palm Sunday is the start of the Passion Story of our Lord, this reminds us of the cost Jesus paid to restore us to God’s Grace.  All serve to remind us of the need for repentance in searching for God’s Grace and of its promise through Jesus Christ, given through our Baptism. Ash Wednesday is a profound ritual passage setting us upon our Lenten pilgrimage.

4th Sunday of Lent: Mothering Sunday/Laetare Sunday

As with other periods of fasting and penitence during the Church Year, such as Advent, there is a day of recuperation half way through. This rest refreshes us and encourages us on our journey.

Laetare Sunday is so named for the traditional Introit: “Laetare Jerusalem” – “Rejoice, O Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:10) which rings around the Church at the start of the Mass. So it is a day of rejoicing, when Lenten vows are slackened. It is sometimes known as ‘Pink Sunday’ because of the colour of the vestments worn by the Priests, contrasting with the usual purple throughout Lent. As it is a day of refreshment on our Lenten journey, it is also sometimes called ‘Refreshment Sunday’.

The traditional Epistle for the day (Galatians 4:26) declares  “Jerusalem which is above is free; which is Mother of us all.” The day therefore also became a celebration of our Mother Church and from at least the 16th Century servants were given a rare day off to go and visit their ‘Mother Church’ – usually the Church where they were baptised. It was one of the few days of the year on which they would see their families. Flowers were frequently gathered along the way to give to mothers and grandmothers. So it became a day celebrating the maternal themes of the community of Church and family: Our mother the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; our Holy Mother, Mary, mother of our Lord; for our spiritual mothers in the monastic orders; for the Queen, mother of our nation; and for mothers and grandmothers everywhere but especially in our Parish. In modern times this has evolved into the secular concept of ‘Mother’s Day’ focusing, not on the community but on individual mothers.

5th Sunday of Lent: Passion Sunday

During the first four weeks of Lent, up to Laetare Sunday, we concentrate our meditation and prayer on human sin and our separation from God. From the fifth Sunday of Lent, the mood in the Church becomes even more contemplative and serious, as our meditation and prayer concentrates upon the remembrance and commemoration of the events surrounding the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. This change of emphasis starts the two weeks of Passiontide, with today being the first Sunday, or Passion Sunday. At this point images and statues in the Church are covered over with purple cloth. This represents our penance and mourning, for God was among us in human flesh and was taken away from us by the sinful action of our forebears.

6th Sunday of Lent: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is also known as the Second Sunday of the Passion being the second Sunday of Pashiontide. Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem, which is described in all 4 Gospels. Jesus rode into the town on a donkey, a symbol of peace, rather than on a war horse and was met by large crowds bearing palm branches and strewing his way with them, whilst shouting ‘Hosannah to the King of Kings’ and singing Psalm 118 ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’.

In the Church, Palm crosses, made from Palms in the Holy Land, are distributed and a procession is made. In many parts of the world Palm Sunday processions are very large. In Folkestone, they are quite small and if the weather is good we manage a loop around the Church, singing Palm Sunday hymns, such as ‘Sing Hosannah to the King of Kings!’.

These events took place one week before the resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday and start the serious commemorations of the events which led up to it. This is known as Holy Week. To mark the start of Holy Week,  one of the Gospel accounts of the Passion is read in full in a partly dramatised form.

Lent officially ends just before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on the Thursday of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday.

The Way of the Cross

Throughout Lent and in Holy Week, it is traditional to follow the Stations of the Cross. These mark the precise events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, with each of the 14 stations marking an event along the way he walked from his trial to his crucifixion and burial. These form the focus of our meditation and prayer. You may join us by following them on the website – or keep an eye on our weekly newsletter for the times of Stations of the Cross in Church – and come in to join us.

Holy Week

Holy Week commemorates the week of historic events surrounding the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It begins with Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Sunday. The services during this week contain some of the oldest and most moving liturgy of the Christian Church.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is also known as the Second Sunday of the Passion being the second Sunday of Pashiontide. It commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem, which is described in all 4 Gospels. Jesus rode into the town on a donkey, a symbol of peace, rather than on a war horse and was met by large crowds bearing palm branches and strewing his way with them, whilst shouting ‘Hosannah to the King of Kings’ and singing Psalm 118 ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’.

In the Church, Palm crosses, made from Palms in the Holy Land, are distributed and a procession is made. In many parts of the world Palm Sunday processions are very large. In Folkestone, they are quite small and if the weather is good we manage a loop around the Church, singing Palm Sunday hymns, such as ‘Sing Hosannah to the King of Kings!’.

These events took place one week before the resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday and start the serious commemorations of the events which led up to it. This is known as Holy Week. To mark the start of Holy Week,  one of the Gospel accounts of the Passion is read in full in a partly dramatised form.

The Way of the Cross

During Holy Week, it is traditional to follow the Stations of the Cross. These mark the precise events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday, with each of the 14 stations marking an event along the way he walked from his trial to his crucifixion and burial. These form the focus of our meditation and prayer. You may join us by following them on the website – or keep an eye on our weekly newsletter for the times of Stations of the Cross in Church – and come in to join us.

Maundy Thursday

The evening Mass on Maundy Thursday is the start of the Easter Triduum, the three most sacred days and services of the Church’s year. These services contain some of the most ancient and profound liturgy to be found in the Christian Church, commemmorating, as they do, the historic events which lie at the heart of the Christian faith.

On Maundy Thursday, Jesus Christ met with his disciples in an upper room, to celebrate the main meal of the Jewish festival of The Passsover. As part of the ritual washing prior to the meal, Jesus surprised his disciples by washing their feet. It is this act which gives the unusual name of ‘Maundy’. ‘Maundy’ comes from the words of the traditional Latin rite sung during the ritual re-enactment of the washing of the feet, which takes place in Church services across the world today, as it has done for centuries. The first line “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“I give you a new commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you”) are taken from the Gospel of John (13:34). The term mandatum, became ‘mandé’ in the Middle English (from the French) and so to Maundy in modern English, and was applied to the rite of foot washing and then to the day itself.

During the meal Jesus divided some bread, broke it and said a prayer and handed it to his disciples saying “This is my body”. He then took a cup of wine and having given thanks he said “this is my blood of the everlasting covenant which is poured for many.” He then commanded his disciples to ‘do this in remembrance of me’. This is the divine institution of the Holy Eucharist and of our understanding of Jesus Christ being present in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Detailed accounts are given in the Gospels according to Matthew (26:26-28); Mark (14:22-24); and Luke (22:19-20). The account of the Holy Sacrament in John is more complex (John 6: 26-59). There is also an account in 1 Corinthians (11:23-25). Through this action Christ became in himself the sacrificial lamb of the Passover. The receiving of the Holy Sacrament during the Maundy Thursday mass is therefore particularly poignant.

During the service we sing the Gloria in Excelsis Deo for the first time in six weeks, to mark the end of Lent. This is accompanied by the loud ringing of Church bells! Following this, the Church bells become silent, once again, until the celebration of the resurrection during the Easter Vigil Mass.

Throughout the meal, Christ talked to his disciples to prepare them for his coming trial and execution but they did not understand much of what he said. He also predicted his betrayal at the hand of Judas Iscariot and his denial by Peter three times before the cock crowed.

After the supper Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Here Christ waited and prayed through much of the night and asked that he might be spared his coming ordeal. However, soldiers arrived and once Judas had pointed Jesus out them with the pre-arranged signal of a kiss, they arrested him.

At the end of the mass, which follows the pattern of this famous meal, the Church is stripped bare of its ornamentation whilst Psalm 22 is sung antiphonally, Deus, Deus, meus (My God, my God, look upon me; why hast thou foresaken me?). Afterward, the congregation retire to the Altar of Repose, where the sacred host has been reserved. The altar is decorated with flowers, so that we may watch and pray in the garden, as Jesus did that night, to prepare for the coming agony. Many people stay and pray, keeping watch for some hours.

Good Friday

Good Friday is without doubt the most solemn day in the Church’s year, commemorating, as it does, the show-trial and execution by crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In this context the name ‘Good Friday’ may seem odd but it is an out of date usage of the word ‘good’ simply meaning ‘pious’ or ‘holy’ Friday.

It is the day on which the Church recalls in detail the 14 Stations of the Cross, which mark each significant moment leading to the death of our Lord and Saviour.  Nothing depicts the sheer awfulness of the bloody tribulations to which Jesus was put than the film based on the Stations by Mel Gibson The Passion of the Christ. If you do nothing else on Good Friday, watch this.

At 3pm the main service of the day is held, this being the hour at which Christ is recorded to have died. From the moment the priests enter the bare Church to fall flat on their faces in front of the altar, the sheer despair of the day amongst those who followed the Lord is shared amongst us. An account of the days events is read from one of the Gospels in full. This is followed by the Solemn Prayers which are amongst the most ancient of the Church. Today, we venerate the cross on which the Prince of Glory died, but those who witnessed the events at the time had not yet seen the Resurrection which was to come and for those first Christians, this was a day of awful shock, emptiness and a sense of betrayal. During the veneration The Improperia or The Reproaches are sung antiphonally by the cantors, (My people what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me?) expressing the remonstrance of God with his people who have rejected and murdered His Son and messenger in an orgy of human sin. The Reproaches are amongst the most ancient chants of the Church, part of which are still sung in the original Greek. The effect is overwhelming and many are moved to tears.

The Easter Vigil

The great vigil of Easter is held during the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Sunday. It is most usually held on Holy Saturday evening. It is one of the most important and wonderful services of the Church year.

The service begins outside of the Church with the lighting of the Paschal fire. From this is lit the Paschal Candle, which is to be used throughout Easter and at Baptisms and Funerals throughout the year as a reminder of the light of the risen Christ. It is brought into a dark Church with the priest singing ‘The Light of Christ’ upon which the entire congregation kneels and responds, ‘Thanks be to God!’. The priest then sings the Exsultet, the hymn of praise or Easter Proclomation. From the Paschal candle, other candles among the congregation and around the Church are lit, slowly eating away at the darkness.

There now follows the liturgy of the word, 7 readings (usually reduced to 3) from the Old Testament, interspersed with Psalms. These tell the story of the people of God through their Jewish history and the prophecies anticipating their salvation through God’s messiah. The readings culminate in New Testament readings recalling the resurrection of Christ and the salvation of us all, through the messiah, our Lord, Jesus Christ. This leads into the singing of the Gloria for the first time since the start of Lent. During this the organ and bells of the Church sound out in triumph, having been silent for several days. At this moment, too, the Church lights come on and Church statues have their veils removed.

The Liturgy of the Word is followed by the Renewal of Baptismal Vows. This is also the traditional time for Baptisms or Confirmations, although these take place throughout the year in modern times. These lead into the first Mass of Easter and the joyful celebration of the the resurrection of Jesus before dawn on Easter Sunday.

Easter Sunday

Although the main mass of Easter has been celebrated on Easter Eve, The Sung Mass of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday is still a service of great joy and a wonderful celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The recalling of the finding of the empty tomb of Jesus by his disciples and his first appearance to them as the resurrected Lord is a moving moment in which we may share in their astonishment and joy. This is a service which many people attend, even if they rarely attend Church otherwise.

This is possibly the children’s favourite service of the year, as at the end of the service, Easter Eggs are distributed to the congregation, to remind them of the regeneration of Life through the resurrection of Jesus.

The celebration of Easter carries on for another 40 days

Whit Sunday

Ascension Day

Are you thinking of being baptised? Or are you thinking of baptising your baby?

Welcoming a new baby into your family and into the family of the Church is a great joy! Bringing a baby before God to give thanks, before your wider group of family and friends and before the Church community, in order to recognise the new infant and bestow its Christian name, is one the most important Sacraments of the Church.

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Not all Baptisms are of children, however. We welcome with equal joy, the Baptism of an adult, entering into the Christian family.

Jesus himself was baptised by John the Baptist, in the river Jordan (Matthew 3:13), in an act of repentance and cleansing from sin. He also instructed his disciples to go out and do likewise (Matthew:19). The Christian Church has practised Baptism by immersion in water, ever since.

The ritual of Baptism gives birth to your spirit and awakens your soul, bringing the true person forth into the Christian community in the same way as our physical birth brought us into the physical world. In its cleansing of original sin, it allows us all to enter the spiritual dimension of life, rather than simply wallowing in our animal nature. In this way, Baptism confers grace and allows us all to grow in spirit, through the Christian faith.

In fact, Baptism is an ongoing event throughout one’s Christian life. It is the source “from which the entire Christian life springs forth.” Which is why we all repeat our Baptismal Vows each year at the service of the Easter Vigil on Easter Eve.

Where Baptism is given to a baby or small child, they are unable, of course, to understand the promises that are being made on their behalf. These are undertaken on their behalf by Godparents, adults who agree to take an active interest in the child’s welfare and upbringing and in particular in their spiritual and Christian education. Sometimes Godparents are family members but often they are close family friends. It is their job to educate the child in the Christian way of life and their duty is only discharged when the child takes on the responsibility of the Baptismal promises themselves at Confirmation.

The Catechism describes the role of Godparents in this way:

“For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the Godfather and Godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptised – child or adult – on the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial function. The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism.” {8}

It is for these reasons that the Sacrament of Holy Baptism is regarded as one of the most important in the Church. It is the start of your new spiritual life in Jesus Christ. This is symbolised in the fact that the Font, where the Holy Water of Baptism is given, is at the West end of the Church near to the entrance. It is the start of your Christian pilgrimage.

There is little that we can think of that is more joyous or more exciting!

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Baptisms at St. Peter's

We always enjoy Baptisms at St. Peter's, so if you are thinking of having your baby baptised, or of being baptised yourself, please contact Father Adlington to discuss making the arrangements.
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Are you thinking about being Confirmed?

Confirmation is the second rite of passage in the Christian way of life, after Baptism, and is one of seven sacraments instituted by Christ (Baptism; Confirmation; Holy Eucharist; Penance; the Anointing of the Sick; Holy Orders; and Marriage) Baptism is by water; Confirmation is by the Holy Spirit ( (John 15:26). Confirmation also allows the newly confirmed Christian to enter the sacraments of Penance (Confession) and receiving the Holy Eucharist (Communion) with the rest of the congregation. In its very essence, it is liberating!

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Confirmation is the affirmation (or re-making) by an adult of the promises made at their Baptism. Where Baptism was given as an infant, these promises will have been made on your behalf by your Godparents. Now you accept them for yourself and become a full member of the Church.

Candidates for confirmation attend a series of classes, to learn about the Christian way of life and the basic teachings which they are expected to follow as adult Christians. Once this is completed, candidates are Confirmed during a special service. The Bishop of Richborough currently carries out confirmations once per year at St. Peter’s Church.

Confirmation promises are made before the Bishop, who then anoints the candidate with the Oil of the Holy Chrism, and blesses them with the Holy Spirit in the laying on of hands. This act has very ancient origins going back to Christ himself and was practised by the Apostles, according to Christ’s instruction, even by St. Peter, himself.

When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

Acts 8:14-17

The anointing and laying on of hands, is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostles were given at Pentecost. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are considered to be: reverence, understanding, courage, knowledge, wisdom, awe and wonder and right judgement.

Confirmation is a significant rite of passage within the Church and a step on your Christian pilgrimage. The journey towards becoming more truly who you are as a person, a spiritual being, within God’s creation.

Confirmation is awesome! We are always pleased to welcome new Christians into full membership of the Church.

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Confirmation at St. Peter's

If you would like to be Confirmed, please contact Father Adlington, who will discuss the arrangements with you
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Are you thinking of getting married at St. Peter’s Church? How wonderful!

St. Peter’s is a pretty Church and full of atmosphere. It makes a wonderful setting for any wedding.caintarwedding-6781

Here are some things to consider as you plan one of the most exciting days of your life!

  • Marriage is the third rite of passage of the Church as you progress through your life, as well as being amongst the seven sacraments which Christ gave to us (Baptism; Confirmation; Holy Eucharist; Penance; the Anointing of the Sick; Holy Orders; and Marriage)
  • Marriage is a confusing issue these days, as our modern world has so many forms of it. In fact, there always have been. Marriage is a practice common to all ages and cultures. This is what is often called ‘Natural Marriage’.
  • Natural Marriage is a) a union of two people b) it is usually lifelong, ending only with the death of a spouse c) it is exclusive to the couple and prohibits a union with another person, except where multiple marriages are culturally permitted, which they are not in the United Kingdom d) it is guaranteed by some sort of contract and e) Sometimes cultures allow for a dissolution of the contract in a divorce but often not. In modern Britain, you may obtain this form of marriage from a Registry Office and obtain a State License which states that you are legally married.
  • Whilst it is true that marriages carried out by the Church are also legally binding under the law and you will receive a State License; it is no longer true that marriages carried out by the State in a Registry Office are recognised by the Church.
  • The Sacrament of Marriage is something different.
  • Church Marriage takes place between two baptised members of the Church. The Church views marriage as Sacramental, that is, as sacred, for several complex reasons. Christ himself gave us a strict definition of what marriage should be (Matthew: 19); and in a reflection of Christ’s own teaching on the nature of his ministry, where Christ often suggests that He is the Bridegroom (Matthew 25), to the Bride of His people, or Church. St. Paul calls upon Christians to make marriage a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:22), a Union that confers a relationship of Grace.

Christ’s own teaching in Matthew 19 on the nature of divorce, gives a very clear instruction of the nature of marriage

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way (i.e. gay people), and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others (i.e. castrato)—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (i.e. monks and nuns). The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Under Christ, therefore, and through His teaching, marriage is between a man and a woman, who through marriage become ‘one flesh’. They must not have been divorced. Marriage is for life. And it is not open to all.

In our modern world, this is a tough teaching for many people to accept. However, it comes from the Lord, Himself, and so it is the view of marriage that we hold at St. Peter’s Church.

Are you among those ‘to whom it has been given’? Are you one of the lucky ones who can accept the Sacrament of Marriage?

If so, you can start to plan your Wedding Day at St. Peter’s Church! A small fee will be payable for the organisation of the service and to have the Banns the announcement of your wedding to the Congregation – a very special day in itself! – read in Church.

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Marriage at St. Peter's

If you would like to get married at St. Peter's Church, please contact Father Adlington to discuss making further arrangements
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Are you looking to have your Marriage blessed?

St. Peter’s is a charming Church and is most suitable for such a ceremony! Numerous such blessings are given every year.

People chose to have their marriage blessed for all sorts of reasons… perhaps it is a special anniversary and you wish to re-dedicate your relationship to God? Or perhaps you got married overseas and want some sort of ‘service’ for your friends and family back home? Or perhaps you have had a natural marriage through a Civil Service in a Registry Office, perhaps because you were ineligible to be married in Church through previous divorce, or for some other reason, but nevertheless want to dedicate your relationship to God (like Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall)? Because it is not a Sacrament of the Church the rules concerning Marriage Blessings are more relaxed than for Marriage.

Whatever your reason, dedicating our lives to God together, anew, is always a right and proper thing to do.

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Marriage Blessings at St. Peter's

If you wish to explore having a Marriage Blessing at St. Peter's Church then please contact Father Adlington for further details.
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Confession

Confession is one of the seven sacraments of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ. Confession was given on Easter Sunday, in one of Christ’s first acts after His resurrection (John 20: 22). The outward sign of the Sacrament is the forgiveness of sins (wrongdoings) which the Priest grants to the Penitent (the one confessing their wrongdoings) and the Grace given through the Sacrament is the reconciliation of the person to God.

This is one of the most mis-understood aspects of the Christian faith. In part, this is due to the Victorian Church and its fixation on sexuality. Somehow sin has become equated with sexual activity. It may involve this, where this is abusive. However, sin simply means those actions which separate us from God. This can be any action of a violent of abusive nature in thought, word or deed. Confessing this separation from God and accepting your own responsibility for it through the act of Confession, becomes, in fact, a great reconciliation between you and God. It grants the deepest peace imaginable.

This is the one great difference between the modern trend for secular counselling, in which a person is encouraged to talk through their problems and wrongdoings, to become aware of them, and so through consciousness of them, to learn to live with them. In certain forms of group therapy, reconciliation between individuals may take place. However, in our view at St. Peter’s, this is not enough. Talking about it may help to raise your awareness of the issues which have ensnared you and help to make you more conscious of your emotions (something equally well done with a Priest). However, secular counselling is a poor form of Confession. It cannot grant forgiveness, nor ultimately, healing and peace.

The purpose of Confession is to break the spiral of wrong doing in our lives. When we do wrong, it becomes easier to do so again – and again. We create for ourselves a downward spiral that becomes self-absorbing and leads us astray, down roads that lead to misery and self-loathing. The only way out of such spirals, whether they be psychological, physical or spiritual, is to acknowledge the problem. This involves facing the issues, the full awfulness of what we have done and in so doing to stop doing it. The cleansing from the wrongdoing of sin comes when we are truly penitent, perhaps even on our knees and weeping. At this point, we may then ask forgiveness of the one person in the entire universe who has the power to forgive all. Christ Himself. In asking for forgiveness of God, we become cleansed in our souls, reconciled again to God. We become filled with Grace and our souls are restored. And if we have been truly penitent, if we resolve to keep working at it and to break the chain of wrongdoing, with God’s help, we will cease to sin and instead work towards the ends which Christ has taught us to work for in our lives, as we make our spiritual journey through this world towards the heavenly light. It is not easy. But then Jesus never promised us that it would be easy.

Of course, it is possible to undergo this process without a Priest and to pray directly to God for his assistance and forgiveness. It is also possible to undergo this process through the communal confession each week, early in the Mass. However, in its full and proper form, as given to us by Christ, confession involves an outward manifestation, that involves a Priest. This is why we recommend regular confession at St. Peter’s and a minimum act of full Confession once per year (usually in the penitential seasons of Lent or Advent).

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Confession

If you wish to arrange to make your confession, please contact Father Adlington.
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Spiritual Solace

We all feel down from time to time. Sometimes, this can be a result of something quite specific like a death in the family, relationship challenges or bullying. At other times, the feeling can be a bit vague and we don’t really know why we are not quite feeling ourselves.

St. Peter’s Church offers a place of solitude and prayer. It is a place where you can come and sit down to simply be ‘at peace’. Many hundreds of people have done this over the past century and so the Church has a welcoming and peaceful feel to it. Often it helps to light a candle, which can either be done in prayer, or, often as not, as a simple form of wordless prayer. This is a special help when we can’t quite find the words. The Church is often open for services or community events and you are welcome to come in at these times and sit quietly.

At other times our disquiet is more substantial and we want to talk to somebody. Our Priests are always willing to call round to see you, upon request, to talk through what is troubling you. Alternatively, you may prefer a Church elder, or Parish Visitor. At St. Peter’s there is always somebody available, some of whom have substantial training in counselling skills.

However, we do not offer a full counselling service at St. Peter’s Church. In part because we view it as a form of secular confession and we believe that confession is a fuller and more healing form of counselling (see the section on confession). However, if you are seeking counselling support this is available through the Canterbury Diocese, for urgent cases of sexual or other abuse.

Alternatively, we recommend the following secular phone services for urgent assistance:

If, however, what you are seeking is “The peace which passes all understanding”, if your soul seeks to find rest amidst the chaos of our 21st century lives, then please call into the Church

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Spiritual Solace

To arrange to see one of our Priests or Parish Visitors, please contact Father Adlington.
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“Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” – “Grant them eternal rest, O Lord”.

Losing a loved one is often a very difficult time. Death, however, gives definition to human life. We all die. One of the more difficult realities of our human lives is that we must pass on to the next stage of our spiritual journey.

Having a proper funeral can be a powerful blessing. The liturgy of the Requiem Mass is able to provide release, honour and reconciliation. The Sacramental funeral rites of the Church are, in many ways, the most important of our life journey. They give our Earthly Christian life a proper ending, in the same way as Baptism gives it a proper beginning.

The modern trend is not to have a funeral service at all. There is a quick private cremation and then, perhaps, a memorial celebration a little while later. Grieving friends and relatives often never get to say ‘goodbye’ properly to the deceased. It is as though we refuse to acknowledge death and get it all out of the way in an embarrassed, almost apologetic rush. This form of repression can cause long term difficulties for those who have not been permitted to properly grieve.

A proper funeral mass, by contrast, confers dignity and blessing. Often the coffin will rest overnight in the Church, passing through the Rood Screen to rest in the Sanctuary. It symbolises the final part of our journey through the earthly Christian Church, having entered the Church at our Baptism at the West door, been confirmed and married before the Rood Screen and now to pass to the inner Sanctum of the Church in the Sanctuary itself (where the body of our Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar is reserved), as our Soul moves towards our final rest with the Lord. Often the casket is draped with white, or with white flowers, to remind us of the purity which we received at Baptism and is now conferred again in death.

Then follows the Requiem Mass, with family and friends all gathered together for one last Holy meal together with the deceased, the coffin at the front of the Church standing in reminder that they are now receiving the Lord in a far more direct way. It is an opportunity to cry together, to support each other and, most importantly, to say a final ‘goodbye’ together. It is a shared acknowledgement of a new reality in our lives. And as we crave re-assurance amid our doubts and our grief, through the Mass and the receiving of the Holy Sacrament, we are reminded that death is not the end. That our dear one has taken the next step on our shared Christian path towards the eternal bliss of life eternal. It is natural, perhaps, to be angry with the deceased for moving on without us, and leaving us behind. Yet in the stillness of the Mass, we know that our turn will come and that our separation is only ‘for now’. The beauty, the love and the joy of life eternal are aspects of the Christian life that only come for most after death. Yet often, in the funeral Mass, we catch a glimpse of it. And in the saying of our ‘goodbye’ our faith becomes strengthened.

It is after the Mass, when the coffin has been removed from us and we are finally parted, that we hold the ‘wake’ or final party, whether it is a cup of tea at the back of the Church or something stronger down the pub. Now is the chance to celebrate the life of our loved one and to do so with joy, knowing that we have sent them on their path towards God in dignity and with honour. We have said farewell properly.

This is why we encourage you to hold a funeral at St. Peter’s Church.

Whatever funeral you chose for your loved one, however, the community of the Church and the supporting visits of the Priests are here to help you through this challenging time.

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Funerals at St.Peter's

If you want to arrange the final anointing of someone who is dying, to arrange a visit of spiritual solace whilst you are grieving, or to arrange a funeral service, please contact Father Adlington.
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The Catholic Guilds

The Catholic Guilds of the Church of England exist in order to focus attention upon, and to encourage participation in, chosen aspects of Christian service. Many of them were founded out of the Oxford Movement and have become active parts of the Anglo-Catholic crusade in many Parishes across the world.

At St. Peter’s Church we encourage our congregation members to actively support:

The Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary

badge_origThe Guild encourages the Servers at Mass to reflect more deeply upon the nature of their task and to support each other in their service. Through regular meetings and prayer it aims to deepen the spiritual life of its members and to assist them to become more worthy in the execution of their duties at the High Altar. This includes training to become more conscientious in the duties of the Mass.

The Guild is a lay guild but welcomes clergy as Associate Members and also non-Servers as Supporter members. The support of the Guild is particularly important to small Churches where Servers may be isolated and the fellowship of Servers in other Churches is important.

Regular Chapter meetings are held in Society Churches throughout the Canterbury Diocese, including at St. Peter’s.

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The Additional Curates Society

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For over 170 years the Additional Curates Society has faithfully served the church, supporting some of the poorest parishes. Today, they are”Passionate about Priesthood” and champion the encouragement of vocations for the Catholic movement in the Church of England. Their mission is to both pray for and to pay for priests.

This important work is prayed for at St. Peter’s and we also contribute where we are able, through using the Society’s online shop.

Is God calling you to be a priest?

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The Guild of All Souls

Founded in 1873, the objects of the Guild today are to give prayer for the dying and also to pray for the souls of the dear departed. Through these actions Guild members aim to engage with two of the great teachings of the Christian Creed: “The Communion of Saints” and “The Resurrection of the Body”.

As well as active engagement in their prayer life with these aspects of the Creed, Guild members are also encouraged to care for the dying, the dead and the bereaved in their community.

Churches, like St. Peter’s, which support the objects of the Guild, are also Churches which practice Holy Unction (the anointing of the sick with Holy Oil) and the reserving of Holy Eucharist to be taken to the sick and dying. We also pray for members of our community who are sick or dying and for our departed brethren, on a regular basis.

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