Category Archives: services

Ash Wednesday 7pm Service

Holy Trinity, Markbeech | 14th February, 7pm

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a season of prayer and fasting. It commences the season of penance, fasting and reflection in preparation for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Holy Trinity, Markbeech there will be a service including the Imposition of Ashes. We look forward to welcoming you to our service on the first day of lent.

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Archdeacon’s Visit

11th February 9.15am

Sung Eucharist

Holy Trinity, Markbeech

On 11th February we have an important visitor in our parish  – Archdeacon Julie Conalty – who will be coming to take the service and preach.  PLEASE come along to this service!  The new Archdeacon is an interesting lady and will, I am sure, have something interesting to say.  The choir will be meeting and we hope to see lots of children too!Archdeacon's visit

 

 

Patronal Service St Paul’s Four Elms

Sunday, 28th January, 11am

This Sunday there is an United Benefice service celebrating the Patronal Festival of St Paul’s at Four Elms.  This is always a lovely service celebrating St Paul and it is a good opportunity for the benefice to all get together, so do come!

Looking ahead on 11th February we will be welcoming the new Archdeacon of Tonbridge, Julie Conalty, as a visiting preacher at Holy Trinity Markbeech, 9.15am. It would be great to be able to show her what a lively community we are, so please put a date for this in your diary.

All Souls Day Invitation

Thursday, 2nd November 7pm

On All souls day, which this year falls on Thursday, 2nd November, the Church remembers all those we know who have died – family members and friends. In our Benefice there will be a quiet, thoughtful, gentle service including hymns and readings which includes a chance to pray for those whom we love who have died, naming them as we do so.

Please join us if you can, at 7pm in Holy Trinity, Markbeech. Everyone is welcome, and will be able to light a candle as a symbol of our prayers and all that they meant, and still mean, to us. If you would like to make sure a special person known to you is included, please write the name down and give it to the Church Warden when you come to church.

Patronal Service Holy Trinity Markbeech

It’s Trinity Sunday this Sunday and Holy Trinity Markbeech are having their Patronal Service at 11am.

Most churches are named after a Saint – their Patron Saint and so have a festival on their Saint’s day, but at Markbeech we are named for the Holy Trinity so our special Sunday is Trinity Sunday.

MB Patronal Service

Sermon preached by bishop Tom Frame

Bishop Tom Frame from Australia made a visit to the Benefice on 22/23 April with his wife Helen. There were many friends old and new in Markbeech church to hear his sermon which is copied below. We thank him for allowing us to reproduce it.

 

“It is a blessing for Helen and I to be back in the only place outside Australia we have ever called home. This church, this village, this Benefice – all left a mark on our entire family for which we are still grateful. This morning I am especially conscious of friends, particularly the absent and the departed, especially Canon Derek Blows, the Reverend John Lee and Emily Turner. We have felt keenly all the deaths of those we befriended during our time in the Benefice (October 1996-August 1997) and were reminded in the case of Emily that much in life is unexpected.

 

As I reflect on the previous two decades, on what has changed and on what has remained unchanged, I am conscious of the three abiding elements in the Christian journey: the gift of faith, the call of discipleship and the challenge of obedience. These three things remain integral to Christian living or one is not living as a Christian at all. And these three things are commended in today’s Gospel reading from John chapter 20, verses 19-31. To appreciate the significance of this portion of Scripture we must ask two questions. First, why is it included in the text? Conversely, would it make any difference if it were not included? Second, given that John can’t resist the allure of symbolism, is there a symbolic meaning embedded in the whole passage that we need to discern?

 

The Gospel reading is well known to many. Jesus appears to his disciples. It is a text that has attracted some controversy in relation to Jesus’ remarks about the transmission of authority to forgive and retain sins … but there are some important statements of fact that we should not overlook. The context is straightforward. Ten of the remaining eleven disciples (Judas has committed suicide) are together in one room. Thomas is absent. There is no indication of the reason for his absence or of his present location. Perhaps he is hiding – alone; perhaps he is feeling let down and prefers solitude; perhaps he is contemplating returning to his former home. We do not know.

 

But when Thomas is reunited with the eleven disciples a week later, he hears their testimony that Jesus has risen from the dead. Notably, he refuses to believe. He demands evidence. In this instance, he wants physical evidence. Jesus again appears to his disciples and speaks directly to Thomas whose demand for evidence is evidently satisfied. Thomas then pronounces: “My Lord and my God”. But he receives no personal credit for this declaration of faith. In fact, he is chided by Jesus. He is advised that some will come after him whose faith will allow them to believe without the benefit of the kind of experience he has enjoyed. These people are more blessed than he. The encounter ends with what we might read as harsh words from Jesus.

 

So we need to ask: what specific work is this text doing in John’s Gospel? Why is this encounter included? What purpose does it serve? It seems to convey five important insights. First, John wants to say that people believe at different times and in different ways. Second, John observes that we respond to different kinds of evidence and require different standards of proof. Third, John explains that God is not indifferent to the way our minds allow us to accept truths. Fourth, John reminds us that we need eyes to see and ears to hear but also spirits willing to accept our heart’s judgements. And fifth, John insists that there comes a time for conclusion, for decision and for action. Analysis can never be allowed to morph into paralysis.

 

Without this text, these critical points about believing may not have come to our notice. We might have thought the disciples believed everything and all at once; that they required no evidence and that faith involved no persuasion. We might, therefore, have been misled into thinking the disciples were all alike or that one single encounter with the Risen Christ relieved them of doubt for all time. Rather, the resurrection reality dawned on them over time, through a series of encounters and experiences, before it was an internalised reality that shaped their entire outlook.

 

And what of my second question: where is the symbolism? It starts with the person to whom this second resurrection appearance was designed to affect – Thomas. The disciple Thomas appears at several key points in the Fourth Gospel. We encounter him in John chapter 11 when the disciples tried to dissuade Jesus from returning to Jerusalem (where his life was previously threatened) because his friend Lazarus had died. The disciples urge Jesus against the journey fearing their own safety. Thomas announces: “Let us go with him to Jerusalem and we will all die with him”. This can be ‘read’ as weak resignation or as a bold commitment. In my judgement, he is resolute, defiant and determined. He is the one who urges courage among the disciples.

 

And we encounter him again in John 14. Jesus foreshadows his ‘departure’ to his Father’s house, a place of many rooms. Thomas asks him for an explanation of what these apparently cryptic statements might mean: “we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Is Thomas concerned that he can’t fulfil his calling to follow out of ignorance more than a deficit of courage? It is not clear from the text but we can conjecture. After the first resurrection appearance at which he was absent, Thomas is still resolute, defiant and determined: he will not believe. He won’t be swayed by others; he insists on making up his own mind. He appears to be the solitary one, separate from the group who never thinks that truth resides in the mind of the majority.

 

Then the evidence is presented powerfully and in a manner that addresses his needs. Jesus appears and invites him to touch his wounds and examine his injuries. This is the same Jesus; this is his master – now raised and responsive. Thomas believes and is chided for his disbelief before John adds by way of reflection: “these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah and that, by believing, you may have life in his name”. Belief prompted action.”