June 28th – 3rd Sunday after Trinity

Our celebrant is the Rev Elizabeth Bunker. The sermon is from the College of Preachers, amended by Peter

Hymns and songs were recorded remotely by the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-fields in their homes, and edited together

The order of service is embodied on this page. However, following it here means scrolling away from the video, so it is also here,  where you can read separately on another device, or print.


Opening Hymn: How Great Thou Art

1       O Lord my God! when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works Thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed:
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee,
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great thou art! How great thou art!

2       When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze;

3       And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
sent him to die, I scarce can take it in.
that on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
he bled and died to take away my sin:

4       When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home – what joy shall fill my heart!
Then shall I bow in humble adoration
and there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

Stuart K Hine (1899-1989)
© 1953 Stuart K Hine/The Stuart Hine Trust/Published by kingswaysongs.com. http://www.kingswaysongs.com. Worldwide (excl. North & South America).

The gathering

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

Sentence: ‘You, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness’
Romans 6.17b

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

The Summary of the Law (sit)

Minister Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
The second is this:
‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbour in thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past, and grant that we may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen.

The Absolution

The Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the most high, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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..


First Reading: Jeremiah 28.5–9

5 The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD; 6 and the prophet Jeremiah said, ‘Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD fulfil the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles. 7 But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet.’


This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God

Psalm 89.1–4, 15–18

R Your love, O Lord, for ever will I sing.

1 Your love, O Lord, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness. 2 For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens. R

3 ‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant: 4 “I will establish your line for ever, and preserve your throne for all generations.”’ R

15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout! they walk, O Lord, in the light of your presence. 16 They rejoice daily in your name; they are jubilant in your righteousness. R

17 For you are the glory of their strength, and by your favour our might is exalted. 18 Truly, the Lord is our ruler; the Holy One of Israel is our king. R

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, Amen

New Testament Reading:

: Romans 6.12–23

12 Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. 20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God

Gospel Hymn; Jesus Christ is waiting

1       Jesus Christ is waiting, waiting in the streets;
no one is his neighbour, all alone he eats.
Listen, Lord Jesus, I am lonely too;
make me, friend or stranger, fit to wait on you.

2       Jesus Christ is raging, raging in the streets,
where injustice spirals and real hope retreats.
Listen, Lord Jesus I am angry too;
in the Kingdom’s causes let me rage with you.

3       Jesus Christ is healing, healing in the streets;
curing those who suffer, touching those he greets.
Listen, Lord Jesus, I have pity too;
let my care be active, healing, just like you.

4       Jesus Christ is dancing, dancing in the streets,
where each sign of hatred he, with love, defeats.
Listen, Lord Jesus I should triumph too;
where good conquers evil let me dance with you.

5       Jesus Christ is calling, calling in the streets,
‘Who will join my journey? I will guide their feet.’
Listen, Lord Jesus, let my fears be few:
walk one step before me; I will follow you.

John L Bell (born 1949) and Graham Maule (1958-2019)
© 1988 WGRG, c/o Iona Community, 21 Carlton Court, Glasgow, G5 9JP, Scotland. http://www.wildgoose.scot


Hear the GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Matthew 10.40-42

Glory to you, O Lord

Jesus said to the twelve:

40 ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple – truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward

This is the Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, O Christ

Sermon – College of Preachers, read by Peter

Last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a speech to Harvard University graduates. In her speech she said,

‘The moment when you step out into the open is also a moment of risk taking.

I say, how apt is this for preparing for next weekend? How confident are we that it is safe to step out into society again? (Actually, stepping out into the open is much safer than stepping into shops or pubs) Is it safe to gather in our church for worship? Your churchwardens will make it as safe as is humanly possible – and we think that is pretty safe! So, we would like to do it.

Merkel went on to say

Letting go of the old is part of a new beginning. There is no beginning without an end, no day without night, no life without death … I believe that time and time again we need to be prepared to keep bringing things to an end, in order to feel the magic of new beginnings and to make the most of opportunities.’

I say, in our times it is vital to let go of the old to make new beginnings. Our new Vicar will want to begin new things to reach out to the Wilbury community, and that may mean letting go of some old things. I would like to talk about society in general letting go of unsustainable ways, and joyfully embracing new more sustainable ways, but maybe that’s for another occasion.

Our preacher says For most people, chapter 6 of Romans does not read like an inspiring address. An encouraging address in the year 2020 is not loaded with the word sin…. sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin (eleven times in twelve verses Paul uses the s-word).

It is a word we are taught in ‘progressive church speak’ to avoid. Say it too much and you are going to conjure up images of self-righteous religiosity. But then it is hard to read the Bible without having to utter the unutterable. One theologian, trying to wrap her mind around sin, defines it like this, ‘Life itself is the only framework comprehensive enough to explain sin. After all, sin affects all of life. Since Jesus described himself as the One who came to give abundant life to all creation, we might think of sin as anything that robs us of the fullness of life — or something we’ve done that robs others of the fullness of life.’ In verse 15, Paul raises a question: ‘Should we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?’ If God’s grace is so vast and dependable, can we just go on doing those things which rob ourselves and others of the fullness of life and simply rely on God’s grace to heal what is broken? Paul answers emphatically: ‘Hell, no.’ (Or, as the NRSV translates, ‘By no means!’)

Earlier in chapter 6, Paul expressed that in following Jesus we have been raised to walk in newness of life (notice the verb, raised to walk — not raised to believe, not raised to think). We are not called to let God’s generous grace do all the work, which brings us back to sin. If sin is whatever robs us and our neighbours of fullness of life, then what we need is a new beginning — to end those things which rob ourselves and others of life and begin anew. Paul believes following Jesus invites us to a new beginning that calls us to work alongside God for fullness of life — we are raised in baptism to actively work with God.

Paul connects this to the cross of Christ. The cross is God’s answer to all the dead ends we humans make for ourselves and our world.

The cross represents our quest for violence, our broken politics, our corrupt religious systems, our fear of recognising the causes of poverty, hunger, and illness in our world — all things Jesus spent his life and ministry confronting. For this Jesus was crucified. His answer from the cross was, ‘Creator God, forgive them.’

This is the way of new beginnings. To confront sin. To confront the dead ends of life with a love so deep and real that it actively works for new beginnings. Can we just pray for a better world, gather in our churches, hear a few sermons, have a workshop or two, and leave the problem of sin to God? ‘Hell no,’ says Paul, ‘we are called to be part of making new beginnings happen.’

Merkel, recounting the dead end she witnessed in the Berlin Wall that once divided her homeland, and staring down the walls of populism and nationalism rising up throughout the world these days, called on the graduates of Harvard to see these walls as dead ends. But Merkel added a word of hope: ‘Letting go of the old is part of a new beginning. There is no beginning without an end, no day without night, no life without death.’

Paul says it like this: in the death of Christ, there is a call to newness of life. It is this new life that we have been baptised into and that we are called to walk within. Should we continue living the ways of life that rob ourselves and others of the fullness of life? Should we continue living in sin so that grace may abound? ‘Hell no,’ says Paul.


The Nicene Creed (stand)

We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father: through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, he became incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers by Sylvia Wildey

Father God

We thank you that in the midst of danger and uncertainty, you are our rock and anchor, the unmovable centre, holding all together. In this time of pandemic, terrorist attacks, and angry protest, you remain steady and unchanging in your love, truth and justice.

This is a time of change. Give wisdom to our government as they begin to open up the economy, while trying to hold down any rise in cases.

We already see long-established shops closing down, or struggling to survive, and we pray for businesses, as they work out how to open again safely.

Support and encourage our schools and teachers, as they cautiously bring the children back. We pray for children who have fallen behind during the lockdown, and for government plans to provide educational help for them over the summer.

Caution will still be necessary. As people continue to fall ill, we pray that the changes will not bring a new spike in cases.

We pray for the sick and for the health workers who care for them. New vaccines, tests and treatments are being developed, and we pray for scientists in this field.

This is a time to rethink how we do things, individually and as a society.

You are the God of justice, and it must grieve you, to see how the powerful have mistreated and exploited those of other races, over many centuries. May peaceful protest achieve at last a world where each individual is valued, regardless of race, and encouraged to reach their potential.

We pray for the people of Reading, and especially those affected by the terrorist attacks on Saturday. Uphold our security services, who have the unending task of protecting us, from such mentally-damaged or misguided individuals.

And of course the Brexit negotiations are still to be settled, with all the implications to our economy and international relationships, and we pray for great wisdom and integrity from all those involved.

We at St. Thomas’ are facing change, as we wait to welcome Jess as our new vicar. We pray for her, as she also must feel apprehensive at this significant step in her life, especially at such a difficult time.

We remember St. Mark’s church, who are also seeking a new incumbent.

It has been a blessing to be able to pray in church again. Soon we will be allowed to meet for services once more, but they will follow a different pattern. This may be disconcerting, but keep us mindful, Lord, that worship is not simply going through a familiar ritual, but in lifting our hearts to you in praise and thanksgiving.

Father, we are being invited to step out of the confines of our home once again, into a strange new world of sanitizer and plastic partitions. Keep us from letting fear hold us back from living as fully as we can, in the abundance of your love.

Merciful Father, Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.  AMEN


The Peace

We are the body of Christ. In the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
and also with you.
Let us offer one another a sign of Christ’s peace.

Offertory hymn,  And can it be

Please give generously to the work of St Thomas https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/13156

1       And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

2       He left his Father’s throne above –
so free, so infinite his grace –
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free;
for, O my God, it found out me!

3       Long my imprisoned spirit lay
fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray –
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

4       No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

The last two lines of each verse are repeated.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Eucharistic prayer

Yours, Lord, is the greatness,
the power, the glory,
the splendour, and the majesty;
for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
All things come from you,
and of your own do we give you.

The Lord be with you
and also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is indeed right, it is our duty and our joy,
at all times and in all places
to give you thanks and praise,
holy Father, heavenly King,
almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For he is your living Word;
through him you have created all things from the beginning,
and formed us in your own image.
To you be glory and praise for ever.

Through him you have freed us from the slavery of sin,
giving him to be born of a woman and to die upon the cross;
you raised him from the dead
and exalted him to your right hand on high.
To you be glory and praise for ever.

Through him you have sent upon us
your Holy and life-giving Spirit,
and made us a people for your own possession.
To you be glory and praise for ever.

Therefore, with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we proclaim your great and glorious name,
for ever praising you and saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Accept our praises, heavenly Father,
through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and as we follow his example and obey his command,
grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit
these gifts of bread and wine
may be to us his body and his blood;
who, in the same night that he was betrayed,
took bread and gave you thanks,
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me.

Pause for the Sanctus Bell

To you be glory and praise for ever.

In the same way, after supper
he took the cup and gave you thanks;
he gave it to them, saying:
Drink this, all of you;
this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Pause for the Sanctus Bell

To you be glory and praise for ever.

Therefore, heavenly Father,
we remember his offering of himself, made once for all upon the cross
we proclaim his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension;
we look for the coming of your kingdom,
and with this bread and this cup
we make the memorial of Christ your Son our Lord.

Great is the mystery of faith.
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.

Accept through him, our great high priest,
this our sacrifice of thanks and praise,
and as we eat and drink these holy gifts,
in the presence of your divine majesty,
renew us by your Spirit,
inspire us with your love,
and unite us in the body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Through him, and with him, and in him,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
with all who stand before you in earth and heaven,
we worship you, Father almighty,
in songs of everlasting praise:
Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever. Amen.


Here follows a time for silent reflection

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray: (kneel or sit)
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory
are yours now and for ever. Amen.

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Jesus, Lamb of God: have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins: have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world: give us your peace.

We do not presume
to come to this your table, merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in your manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy so much
as to gather up the crumbs under your table.
But you are the same Lord
whose nature is always to have mercy.
Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of your dear Son, Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood,
that our sinful bodies
may be made clean through his body,
and our souls washed through his most precious blood,
and that we may evermore dwell in him,
and he in us. Amen

The body of Christ Amen
The blood of Christ Amen

Post Communion Prayer


O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. AMEN

Almighty God, we thank you for feeding us with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies to be a living sacrifice
Sen us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory, Amen

Final Hymn:

Final Hymn Jesus shall reign

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
does his successive journeys run;
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.

People and realms of ev’ry tongue
dwell on his love with sweetest song,
and infant voices shall proclaim
their early blessings on his name.

To him shall endless prayer be made
and praises throng to crown his head;
his name like incense shall arise
with ev’ry morning sacrifice.

Let ev’ry creature rise and bring
peculiar honours to our King;
angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud amen.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)




Blessing and Dismissal

The blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you now and always. Amen

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord. In the name of Christ, Amen

Copyright: Common worship Archbishop’s Council ©2000

Thought for the Week

Paul says it like this: in the death of Christ, there is a call to newness of life. It is this new life that we have been baptised into and that we are called to walk within. Should we continue living the ways of life that rob ourselves and others of the fullness of life? Should we continue living in sin so that grace may abound? ‘Hell no,’ says Paul


Prayer Hotline
Have you tried the Archbishop’s Daily Hope phone line 0800 804 8044, for music, prayers and reflections? If not, try it! It’s free and inspiring!

Church open for private prayer

In line with government and diocesan guidance, St. Thomas’ is now open for private prayer, for an hour each day from Monday to Friday:
Monday Wednesday Friday 10-11am – Peter
Tuesday Thursday 2-3pm – Shena

Please enter by the front door, and leave by the back door. Hand sanitizer will be provided at the door, and an attendance book must be signed. Chairs will be set 2m apart.

Shena and Peter will ensure that door handles etc. are cleaned before and after each session.

Probable opening for Public Worship next week, 5th July

Your PCC will meet on Tuesday for final decision. Keep an eye on website, Facebook page and notice board in front of church for notification, and we will email and phone those that we can

Prayers for the week

Please pray for folk who live in the following streets:

The Birches

Cowslip Hill

Hawthorn Hill

Wheat Hill

Redhoods Way East

Rowan Crescent

Bedford Road

Corner Close

Icknield Green

Special topics

Local schools, pupils and staff

Young people and youth organisation

Users of our facilities


Bedford Road Preschool is open, so you might see some activity around the Wilbury Hall.



Please keep up your planned giving because we need to maintain our cashflow. Offertory envelopes can be dropped in to church while we are open for private prayer. We are trying to avoid handling cash if possible. Could you consider giving by occasional cheque, or setting up a standing order or direct debit? The church and Wilbury Hall hires ceased, so that income stream is gone! (Wilbury Hall will be getting a small rent from Pre-school) If you could spare a bit more, that would be great!

Donation online You can now give online from the website. Go to the new “Donate” menu item, and click the link there. Please encourage any you know who are worshipping with us online to support us financially at this difficult time


The warehouse will reopen on Friday 3rd July, so they are able to receive donations of food again.

These items are particularly needed:

  • Shampoo
  • Shower Gel
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet Rolls
  • Nappies Size 5 & 6

 More general help
You could give online to nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk, who have launched an appeal for all those affected financially by the Coronavirus.