Welcome to the website of the parish church of St Stephen, South Dulwich in South East London, England. St Stephen’s is a parish church of the Church of England, and aims to be a broad and inclusive church valuing formal liturgy, challenging preaching, and fine music but aiming also to serve its community and parish. We are striving to make Christ’s presence real in our community. Our postal address is: St Stephen’s Church College Road SE21 7HN Telephone: +44 20 (or from the UK 020) 8693 3797 E-mail: ParishOffice@ststephensdulwich.org
Thought for the week.
Lent is beginning already! Tuesday 9th is Shrove Tuesday, when we will all eat lots of pancakes. But the name of the festival comes from the word ‘shriven’, meaning absolved or forgiven. Traditionally on this day people make their confession to a priest and receive penance and absolution to prepare for the solemn time of Lent which begins on Wednesday.
Many people today assume that personal confession is only for Roman Catholics, but in fact it’s common to the Orthodox and Anglican churches too. As Anglicans we have a ‘general confession’ at the start of most Communion services, when we together repent of our sins and receive absolution from the priest. But Anglicans have always held that private, one-to-one confession can also be desirable. The usual formula is ‘all may, none must, some should’, and in the Book of Common Prayer (1662) the priest is directed to say that anyone who, after the general confession, ‘requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God’s Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God’s holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly [spiritual] counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience…’
Many experienced Anglican priests offer the sacrament of confession to individuals. They hear whatever the person wishes to confess, offer counsel and a penance (which is usually the reading of a suitable passage), and give absolution in the name of Christ and his Church. Personally I go to confession to a particular priest I know and trust a few times a year and find it helps me stay accountable and notice where I am falling into repeated patterns of sin or bad habits. It is also an incredible joy to be able to lay down burdens of guilt and failure and leave feeling cleansed and absolved. And the law on confession is quite clear: the priest can never repeat to anyone anything you say under the seal of the confessional. So I say things there I never ever would elsewhere! As Lent begins this year, perhaps we can all think about what ‘penitence’ means for us. How seriously do we take the ‘saying sorry’ at the start of the Communion service? Is there anything concrete we should be apologising for or trying to change in our lives? And if you are interested in personal confession, one of the clergy can put you in touch with a suitable priest.
Services Sunday 7th February.
8am:Holy Communion (BCP – 1662). Sermon: the Vicar
10am: Choral Eucharist with Footsteps for children – Sermon: The Vicar
Hymns and music at 10am
Processional hymn 2 Christ, whose glory fills the skies
Gloria David Thorne Mass of St Thomas
Gradual hymn 461 Help us to help each other, Lord
Offertory Hymn 523 My God, how wonderful thou art
Setting Harwood Holy Communion in A flat
Anthem Howells Like as the Hart & Wesley Lead me Lord
Recessional Hymn 543 O Praise ye the Lord
Voluntary Boellmann Menuet Gothique
After the 10am parish service, please stay for tea and coffee in the hall.
Services & events in church during the week
Monday to Friday:
8.30am:Silent prayer followed by 8.45am Morning Prayer
Tuesday: 9.30am Mindfulness workshop
Wednesday (Ash Wednesday):
9.45am:Holy Eucharist with Ashing
8pm:Holy Eucharist with Ashing
Services Sunday 14th February
8am:Holy Communion (BCP – 1662).Sermon: the Curate
10am:Choral Eucharist with Footsteps for children. Sermon: the Curate.
Many thanks to all who helped make our Pet Service such a great occasion last week! Thanks especially to the sidespeople, readers, and to Rupert and all who sang.
We are in the process of creating a parish visiting group and we would welcome interest from anyone who might wish to be part of this group and offer visits to local people who are ill or housebound. Please speak to our Reader Mrs Trot Lavelle or our Curate Revd Rebecca Lloyd for more information.
On Sunday 21 February there will be a lunch for Footsteps volunteers and those who help its smooth running, kindly hosted by Angela Emmott. Partners and families welcome. Please sign up at the back of church if you wish to attend, or speak to Angela or the Curate for more details.
Our long-standing server Temple Sambo recently took a group of servers from this church to a service at the Cathedral for the Southwark Diocese Guild of Servers. They returned to St Stephen’s with some suggestions about how we might improve some aspects of our 10am Holy Eucharist and these changes have now been agreed and implemented. If you have any comments about the worship please speak to a member of our Worship and Mission Group, such as the Curate or Michael Jenkins. And if you are aged between 11 and 90 and would like to join our friendly team of servers – full training provided – please speak to our Reader, Mrs Trot Lavelle.
On Tuesday 1 March CCJ (The Council of Christians and Jews) will be holding an event at St Stephen’s Church entitled “Question of Identity: who is a Christian, who is a Jew”. Speakers are Bishop Michael (Woolwich) and Clive Lawton OBE, founder of Limmud (the Jewish event driven education movement)
This Lent we will have several activities running at St Stephen’s. Every Sunday we will collect non-perishable food items and toiletries for the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers as part of the tradition of giving alms during Lent. You could set aside one item every day for the 40 days of Lent. We will have a Lent Appeal for training priests in Ghana – more on this later. We will also be having Stations of the Cross from 1-1.45pm every Tuesday, when we pray and meditate on Jesus’s Passion. There will be events for Passion Sunday and Holy Week. The Curate will also be attempting the 40 Acts, which is a suggestion for a good deed each day straight to your inbox: http://www.40acts.org.uk/ and will be writing about it on Facebook (when she isn’t on retreat!). She invites you to join her.
St Stephen’s will once again be running marriage preparation sessions to which we are inviting all couples who are planning a wedding with us in the next year. These will take place on Saturdays 9 and 23 April and couples would need to be able to attend both. In previous years couples have found these sessions very helpful. For more information please speak to one of the clergy or to Maggie Tetlow.
We are in the process of creating a parish visiting group and we would welcome interest from anyone who might enjoy being part of this group. Please speak to our Reader Mrs Trot Lavelle or our curate Revd Rebecca Lloyd
On Saturday 16th April Southwark Cathedral will be hosting a Diocesan Spirituality Day. The main speakers will be Bishop Christopher and Margaret Silf, a well-known writer on spirituality. There will be an interesting-looking range of workshops available covering everything from ‘Meeting God in loss’ to circle dancing! Cost is £5. Please speak to the Curate if you are interested in attending, or for more information or to book email email@example.com or phone 020 7939 9475.