You need Flash Player to view this site.  Click here for a fast, free download if you cannot see the animations below.

allsaintsblackheath.org

Welcome to the website of All Saints', Blackheath, one of the five Church of England parish churches serving Blackheath and a member of the Churches Together in Blackheath. It offers traditional catholic worship, with a long-standing fine choral tradition and an emphasis on liturgy. Its clergy and lay staff work closely with All Saints' C of E Primary School.

Visitors are always welcome to join us at our services and there are opportunities for regular members of the church to explore their faith and to deepen their knowledge.

History: As part of the Church of England the parish church was built in 1857/8 and is now within the Diocese of Southwark. The cathedral is on Bankside west of London Bridge.

The Church of England welcomes all the baptised who are communicant members of their own churches to make their communion if they wish. Others, and all who are not Christian, are welcome to attend but are asked to refrain from receiving the sacraments. Regular training is offered for those seeking to become Christian and to profess their faith at Baptism. There are prayer and bible study groups as well as children's church. Our regular worship follows the traditional style of the Church of England. Morning and Evening Prayer are said daily according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Parish Mass on Sundays is a sung communion service with a full robed choir.

Music continues to form a major part of our worshipping life (to hear our organist Michael Bonaventure playing, click here) and the English composer Alfred Cellier (1844-1891), who conducted many premieres of G&S operettas, was the first Director of Music and Organist, from 1862. His own opera Dorothy was the longest running opera in the 19th century and he later composed operas with Gilbert.

All those seeking to arrange baptisms or funerals or to be married here should first contact the Vicar, Father Nicholas Cranfield FSA, 10 Duke Humphrey Road, Blackheath SE3 0TY. You can check that this is your parish church at http://www.achurchnearyou.com

The Church supports Parent & Baby and Toddler Groups, Advent and Lent Study Groups and Young People's Groups, Sunday School, a robed choir and a Crèche. It is a member of Churches together in Blackheath.

 

Services

There are daily masses (Mondays and Thursdays at 8am; Tuesdays at 7.30pm, Wednesdays at 10am, Fridays and Saturdays at 9am) and morning prayer and evening prayer are said according to the Book of Common Prayer daily (except Saturday evening) at 8.30am and 5.00pm. Additional services are as advertised on the church notice boards and on the website.

On Sunday Holy Communion is at 8am, the Parish Mass at 10.30am and Evening Prayer at 6.30pm. Additional masses are celebrated on major feasts of the church's year. The church porch is kept open daily and affords a space for quiet prayer.

There are five Anglican churches that cover SE3 and Blackheath; before enquiring about arrangements for baptism, marriage or a funeral please ensure that this is your parish church.

 

See the pewsheet for latest information.

This is available by clicking on the link here.

Calendar of events

Organ Restoration Appeal

Our original target of £315,000 was successfully raised by April 2014. The organ was dismantled by Harrison & Harrison in May and taken to their organ works in Durham to start the work. Since then some additional costs have arisen, and we are now fundraising to a new target of £340,000. Donations continue to be very welcome.

 

Sermons for Lent

Lent I, 18 February 2018 - Father Nicholas

In these first three weeks of Lent, Fr William and I will reflect on Christ’s temptations in the Wilderness – which is where the Gospel leads us today (Mark i, 9 – 15); reflections on materialism, on pride/invulnerability and on the pursuit of power. And we shall want to ask what they would have meant for his ministry and the character of his Messiahship if he had given into them and how his ministry clearly refuted them. How are His temptations our own?

At the moment I am reading two books, back to back (among others, I should add, since I seem to live inside a library!). What did Jesus look like? is written by a professor at King’s, London, Joan Taylor, who is professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism. Her other book has the, to me, much more interesting title Jesus and Brian   Exploring the Historical Jesus and his times via (you’ve guessed) Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The other is by an American artist and film-maker, William E Jones, an illustrated essay that accompanied an art exhibition a few years ago (UCLA, 2013) called Imitation of Christ.

Taylor sees Jesus as a Jewish teacher, a man of Law, who would have worn a mantle of undyed wool over a short tunic, suitable for walking and working. She uses early examples of mosaics and wall paintings from catacombs and highly prized items like ivory carvings and marble sarcophagi. For Jones Jesus was marginalised, living at the edge, with the poor in the forgotten corners of society.

Which is the Christ we follow into the Wilderness? If we follow the teacher, the rabbi, the Jewish leader our encounters may be very different from those we might have if we stick with the indigent, the impoverished, ordinary bloke, an angry carpenter’s son, bent upon transforming society of the inequality and oppression around him. And that immediately challenges how we see the effect on him of the temptations and his response but also, by the sheer variety of ways in which we might see Jesus, situates our experience alongside his, whomever we are.

If I am wealthy, a senior manager perhaps or a leading lawyer, the first temptation will challenge me not because I cannot afford all the bread in the world but because it is an encounter in the Wilderness. If I am used to having a roof over my head, several perhaps, in more than one country maybe, with the means for travel and transport to get to them, the threat of being out in the wild is real – loss of status, loss of social position. Maybe because I am so well off materially I have not even begun to be aware of what such circumstance might mean as I scurry across London Bridge to the office and disregard the rough sleepers on the pavement or the old woman selling The Big Issue.  

Wanting more, the insatiable appetite for material gain, for yet more and more, is the curse of our society which we regard as being Developed. For what we think of ‘developing’ countries makes us persuade them to have more and more, especially if we can sell it to them.

To the starving man in the desert the offer of bread at any cost must seem to be tempting. And as the week’s unfolding of Oxfam has demonstrated all too clearly and too uncomfortably, such temptations can be exploited.

I can offer you safety, I can offer you sanctuary, I can offer you shelter if you have sex with me. I can offer you food and housing if you work for me for no pay. I can provide a livelihood for you beyond your imaginings if you service all my needs.  

It is all around us if we have eyes to see and ears to hear where the powerful can exploit the vulnerable with the temptation of material affluence.

And it is not only in the volunteer charitable sector working overseas. If we look seriously at the accusations brought against the UN Peace-Keeping forces in some of the world’s most fragile societies or if we look at our own Armed Forces serving in hidden corners overseas.

All of which would have been all too familiar to Jesus in his day, growing up in a country under occupation, with a powerful militarised presence. All that we know of those communities suggests that such a society has every opportunity for the black market and for exploitative, transgressive relationships.

What might Jesus’ ministry have looked like if he had turned the stones into bread? As a miracle worker he would have had even more success. More would have flocked to him to be fed: A sort of Pied Piper effect. The underclass, the despised, the downtrodden. All of these might have gained short term benefit. But what of their lives? I don’t want to get into the arguments about whether benefits create dependencies in society, although it is a discussion that our Society needs to have.

What would such a one-off demonstration have meant in Jesus’ day? Well, this need not be speculation. We have the answer given to us in the Gospels. The miraculous Feedings of the Five Thousand, or Four Thousand depending on the text. Against all seeming odds Jesus is able to feed all those who come to him. Beer and sandwiches. The multiplication of the loaves and fishes is misunderstood by those who come to Him, who is the Bread of Life. They eat and do not understand.

Wherein lies the temptation for us? Perhaps we should spend this period of forty days trying to review again our dependence upon the material and in examining our relationships, in our family, at home, at work, in our society.     

 

Lent I, 18 February 2018 - Father William

‘Man does not live by bread alone’

This, Lent Fr. Nicholas and I are focusing successively on the three temptations that Jesus suffered in his wilderness testing, looking at what giving in to them would have meant for the character of his ministry, and of his Messiahship, how his ministry refuted them, but also how those same temptations are real for us and for our own lives in faith.
Mark gives us very little information about the testing time, but both Matthew and Luke have more details – details that can only have come to the Disciples, and thence to the evangelists, from Jesus. And so in examining them, we are gifted with an insight – rare in the synoptic Gospels – into the inner life of Jesus himself.

A word, to begin with, about the testing time itself. It was appalling. The land east of the Jordan is a blasted wilderness; scorching by day, freezing by night; almost devoid of vegetation, the water available brackish and scarce; the only shelter caves in the rocks. The length of time Jesus suffered there is quoted as ’40 days’ – the length of time Moses was with God on Sinai; and though ’40 days’ was a standard measurement of ‘significant time’ for Jesus’ society, that did not make it much if any shorter than that exact amount.

We need therefore to see Jesus’ period in the wilderness as analogous to the testing in the Siberian Wilderness or Greenland ice cap undergone by young people called to become Shamen. The testing is meant to be a near-death – a very near-death -  experience, bringing a human being face to face with the most basic, bedrock experience of existence. It is meant to be – and is – a time of stripping away; of terror. There is no reason to believe that Jesus’ experience was any different.

At the end of that period, Matthew and Luke say, Jesus was ‘famished’, and the first temptation assailed him. Matthew writes “And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

However we read ‘the Tempter’ here, whether truly from an external source of evil or from the depths of Jesus’ own humanity - the temptation is significant. Note that there is no doubt in his mind that he could indeed cause those stones to become bread; his stripping-time had revealed the depths of his power to him. But had he done so, two things would have happened. First of all, he would have relied on his own power – not the Father’s gift – to attend to an acute physical need. No reliance on the Father there, then. And secondly, having done so, the temptation to repeat the act to gain a following in a land afflicted by chronic landlessness and poverty would have returned again and again. The whole character of his Messiahship would have changed. He would have become ‘Wonder-worker, bread-provider, rabble-rouser’.

And his response to that temptation is significant. He quotes the passage in Deuteronomy where Moses, in addressing the people following the granting of the Law on Sinai, talks of the trials they had undergone in the wilderness, and their purpose:
“And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”

The test of the Manna was this; there was only enough given in the morning of each day for that day itself. No stock piling. No security. The people had to rely on God to feed them, or die. Their prayer to God had to be ‘Give us each day our daily bread’; total reliance. And more, that in thinking about their physical needs, in seeking to ‘live’ the people had to understand that they were being called to a totality of existence with their God; that his ‘word’  - his essence, his revelation of himself to them, his revelation of his will for them - was to be their whole life.

Yes, Jesus fed the people; twice, according to Matthew – to 5,000 men and their families once, to 4000 the second time. But this was not a staple of his ministry or of his Messiahship. It was rather a sign that the Father’s banquet had finally been prepared for his people; that they had been forgiven, and healed of their exile; had come home. In the wilderness, that temptation was resisted; the transformation of stones into bread was itself transformed.

The episode has real, and challenging, significance for us as well, in our day to day lives. God calls us, at a fundamental level, to dependence on him. And ‘dependence’ in this culture and at this time, has an almost ugly ring to it. The quality we admire, that we aspire to, is its opposite. We are to be ‘ourselves alone’, self-actualising and self-sufficient, planning our lives and the lives of those who depend on us, to maximize those qualities. And there is enough truth, and enough virtue, in that quest, to make us jib at its opposite.

But it is also limiting; and in its outworking, it is risk-averse. It encourages us to believe that we only have access to our own resources, and therefore to at best minimize, at worst ignore, the resources of his Holy Spirit. We are rather meant, as Christians, to be going out on a limb for him, and asking for his strength to do so; going out on a limb to widen our social contacts, widen the claims of others on our emotions and our resources, and relying on his goodness and his spirit for that limb-travelling not to get us into trouble more serious than we - and he - can handle. Give us this day our daily bread.

He will.

DAILY PRAYER

is offered in the parish church as on the weekly sheet.

Morning Prayer

Evening Prayer

Holy Communion

Daily Prayer provided by the official Church of England website,
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2002-2004

All Saints' School

Anflican Online

Bible Gateway
Unknown voices

Back to top
back to top back to top
Back to top Back to top
Back to top