Bexley Team Ministry News for Sunday 24th January 2021

Bexley Team News

St Barnabas, Joydens Wood

St James, North Cray

St John the Evangelist, Bexley

   St Mary the Virgin, Bexley


24th January 2021 Issue 45                                                      The Third Sunday of Epiphany


Team Services and Worship material in Lockdown

Saturday 23 January at 5.30 pm                                                      Saturday NightWatch Zoom Service

In Jewish understanding, the Sabbath begins as night falls on the Eve of the Sabbath, and for Christians it is an opportunity to put aside the cares and concerns of the Monday to Saturday week of tasks and activity and to prepare ourselves to keep Sunday as ‘a Day of Holy Rest’.  This short, informal service will include material to help us to reflect on the week that has past and will be suitable for all ages. Do have a candle ready to light.


Sunday 24 January at 10.00 am                                                                                         Sunday Zoom Service

A Service of bible reading and prayer. See the final sheet of the BTNews for the songs and some liturgy.


Invitations to the above Zoom services have been emailed. If you haven’t received the link, or are having problems, please contact any member of the Team Clergy. Dial in option is available.


Sunday 24 January at 10.00 am                                                                Livestreamed Holy Communion

A livestreamed service of Holy Communion from St John's. This will be available to view at 10am on St John's Facebook Page: It is possible to view the stream without having a Facebook profile. The video will remain accessible after the event.


Sunday 24 January                            Bexley Team Children’s Church

Here's the link for this week's Children's Church.

This week we look at a wedding where Jesus turned water into wine! Hope you enjoy it.


A Daily Bible Passage and reflection is sent out to those who request in on email, or via a dedicated WhatsApp Group.  Please let Rev Ren know if you wish to be included in this.


Bible Readings           Genesis 14, 17-20       Revelation 19, 6-20     John 2, 1-11


The Collect: Almighty God, whose Son revealed in signs and miracles the wonder of your saving presence; renew your people with your heavenly grace, and in all our weakness sustain us by your mighty power; 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 Alternative Collect: God of all mercy, your Son proclaimed good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed: anoint us with your Holy Spirit, and set all your people free to praise you in Christ our Lord.


Rev’d Edward writes-

On the 25th of January the Church remembers the Conversion of St Paul whose dramatic encounter with Christ on the Road to Damascus (as recounted in Acts 9, and touched on elsewhere), transformed Saul the persecutor into Paul the Apostle.

Religious experiences have long been a fascination for theologians and scholars across the world’s many religions. Currently one such base for the study of these encounters is the Religious Experience Research Centre, based at the University of Wales campus in Lampeter: This institution and others like it have amassed huge archives of accounts and testimonies from those across a range of faith traditions who have purported to experience some form of real, sensory encounter of a divine reality. This could be anything from a warm, fuzzy feeling during an act of worship, to full-on flashes and bangs visions like that of Saul on the Damascus Road. The academics at the Centre are then able to compare, contrast, correlate and analyse this collected library in order to further our understanding of such phenomena.

Over time, the term Road to Damascus Experience has come to be used for any sudden and vivid supernatural experience which causes a complete and drastic religious conversion on the part of the recipient.

One of the interesting findings of the researchers is that Road to Damascus Experiences are actually quite rare. Whilst vivid and lucid experiences such as Paul’s are certainly well documented, the majority of religious experiences fit quite firmly within the existing faith-perspective of the subject. From a post-modernist point of view it could be argued that this is down to the established psychological framework  interpreting the phenomenon: What a Christian might interpret as a Lourdes-esque vision of the Virgin Mary, a Hindu might see as a manifestation of Saraswati, a Jedi might understand to be a hologram of Princess Leia, and so forth.

 Where conversion does follow on from a religious experience, studies demonstrate that in virtually all occasions the individual has spent time exploring, studying or contemplating the religious framework into which the experience fits. Even if they weren’t a committed adherent, something has paved the way to open them to receive and comprehend their experience in such a way that will lead to religious conversion.

 Our tendency with Saul’s encounter is to read the event as a virginal conversion where Jewish Saul is a blank-slate to the Gospel of the Risen Christ and the experience provides a brand-new overhaul of his mental and spiritual framework. But this reading overlooks the fact that Saul did know about Christianity: He had met Christians and must have had sufficient awareness of their beliefs to be hunting out and persecuting them.

 We don’t know much about the majority of those who suffered at Saul’s hands: Stories of sinners-turned-saints often overlook the intimate narratives of their victims. But could it just be possible that in those darkest of times those first martyrs were somehow able to witness and give testimony to Saul so that, when the Risen Lord would appear before him his mind and his soul would have been prepared to receive him?

 “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  The Risen Christ identifies with the persecuted church and they with him: The oppressed have witnessed to the oppressor: Saul’s victims have revealed the Saving Victim. So often it is the quiet voices of the vulnerable who open our lives to the revelation of the Risen Christ – and so often it is when we speak in the quiet voices of vulnerability that we too may prepare others to receive Him.


Lent for the Bexley Team

The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 17 February.  For those of you who value a daily resource, we encourage you to access the Church of England Live Lent material.  You can sign up to this very simply by following this link #LiveLent: God's Story, Our Story - our Lent reflections | The Church of England .  We will also aim to provide a paper copy of this for those who do not have access to the internet. The Clergy Team are currently looking at suitable material for a weekly group session online – and we will give you information about this shortly.


Deanery Confirmations These will be on Sunday 18 April 2021 at 6.30pm at Holy Redeemer, Lamorbey with Bishop James. Please speak with any of the Team clergy if you are interested in being confirmed.



A six-week course during lockdown to explore and develop your relationship with God through prayer. Mondays 6.30-8.15pm on Zoom                            

25th January     What is prayer?          1st February     Lectio Divina               8th February     Centering Prayer

15th February Imaginative prayer     22nd February  Creative Prayer           1st March     Discernment and prayer

To book contact Susanne Carlsson and you will be sent a zoom link. Donations are welcome to support the work of spirituality in Rochester Diocese at this time.  07795167603


St Mary’s: If you ordinarily make your financial contributions in church but, in the present circumstances, wish to contribute by cheque, then please make your cheque payable to St. Mary’s Bexley PCC and send c/o C. Lee  11 Holmesdale Road, Bexleyheath, DA7 4TJ. Your continued support is very much appreciated.

St John’s: Giving to St John's: You can give financially to the continuing upkeep and ministry of St John's via our Just Giving page: Sermons are posted each Sunday at  Social Media - engage with us via Facebook (/stjohnsbexley), Twitter (@stjohnsbexley) and Instagram (@stjohnsbexley )

St James, North Cray: Each week the musicians at St James North Cray offer links to a selection of songs and music for us to enjoy. These can be found on our website



Team Rector: Rev’d Ren Harding              01322 528923     07836644782

Associate Priest: Rev’d Sue Twynam 01322 559501     07952 468127

Team Vicar: Rev’d Edward Barlow       01322 521786    

Team Vicar: Rev’d Clive Wood                   01322 270942     07982 392809

Team Curate: Rev’d Matt Hodder                                            07889 873125

Words and Songs for Zoom worship – Sunday 24th January at 10am.


Opening words

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

This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it

Prayers of Penitence

Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

We believe in God the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son, who lives in our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit, who strengthens us with power from on high.

We believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Closing words

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life. Amen

Let us bless the Lord. Thanks be to God




Restore, O Lord, the honour of Your name,
in works of sovereign power

come shake the earth again;
that all may see
and come with reverent fear
to the living God,
whose kingdom shall outlast the years.


Restore, O Lord, in all the earth Your fame,
and in our time revive
the church that bears Your name.
and in Your anger,
Lord, remember mercy,
O living God,
whose mercy shall outlast the years.


Bend us, O Lord, where we are hard and cold,
in Your refiner's fire
come purify the gold.
Though suffering comes
and evil crouches near,
still our living God
is reigning, He is reigning here.

Repeat v.1

Graham Kendrick & Chris Rolinson
Copyright © 1981 Thankyou Music


Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to thee we raise,
manifested by the star
to the sages from afar;
branch of royal David's stem
in thy birth at Bethlehem;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan's stream,
Prophet, Priest and King supreme;
and at Cana, wedding guest,
in thy Godhead manifest;
manifest in power divine,
changing water into wine;
anthems be to thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.


Sun and moon shall darkened be,
stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
all will see his glorious sign;
all will then the trumpet hear,
all will see the Judge appear;
thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in man made manifest.


Grant us grace to see thee, Lord,
mirrored in thy holy Word;
may we imitate thee now,
and be pure, as pure art thou;
that we like to thee may be
at thy great Epiphany;
and may praise thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest.


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