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Readings, Prayers and Music
29 November
First Sunday of Advent 

During the second phase of 'lockdown' we are broadcasting our Sunday services via 'Zoom'. You will find the link to the Zoom services in the weekly email newsletter. If you would like to receive the newsletter and/or join our Zoom services please email

You can download a copy of the regular service booklet here

You can watch a 'Zoom' recording of the service here

You can listen to the latest sermon from St Alfege Church on our Dial a Sermon line.  Just phone  020 8016 2271 (it costs the same as a normal local call).
We welcome Canon Henry Whyte as our preacher today. Revd Caroline Risdon is presiding.

'Them they will see "the Son of Man" coming in clouds with great power and glory' (Mark 13. 26)

East window


You can watch a video recording of the Choir singing  Hark a thrilling voice is sounding  here  (24, Hymns Ancient &  Modern New Standard)

The Collect

Almighty God,
give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness
and put upon us the armour of LIght,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which thy son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility'
that in the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
    to judge both the quick and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit,
now and for ever.

First Reading

Romans 8. 18-28  Future Glory

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in[a] hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes[b] for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes[c] with sighs too deep for words. And God,[d] who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit[e] intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.[f]

We know that all things work together for good[g] for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.


Mark 13. 5-8, 24-31  The  Coming of the Son of Man

Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

‘But in those days, after that suffering,

the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
    and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.


You can read the text of the sermon by Canon Henry Whyte here

Prayers for the week

Lord, help us to support each other as we continue to wrestle with restrictions on social interaction and face difficult decisions over family gatherings at Christmas.  Help our government to stay attentive to the scientific data, amidst the various ‘groanings’ that we are experiencing, and to aim for the common good as it makes decisions on matters such as tier levels and vaccines.

Lord, we thank you for new and old ways in which we can celebrate Christmas, in particular for street advent celebrations such as the Greenwich Advent Windows project organised by this church.  We thank you for the planting of new trees in the St Alfege churchyard this week that will enable the area to continue to be an inviting and green space, open to all. 
We pray for national leaders as they seek to rebuild after the Covid-19 crisis and negotiate a trade deal with the EU, that they would aim for a system that supports the most vulnerable and impacts positively on the environment.   We pray that we might find ways to support those around us who are in need, especially refugees and the homeless and those who are lonely or isolated.   
We pray for Caroline and the whole church ministry team as they plan for a range of Christmas services, for the re-opening of the church and for the arrival of our new vicar, Simon Winn, in the Spring.  We also pray for Simon and his family as they begin to loosen existing ties and prepare for a move to Greenwich.
We pray for the sick and for those who suffer, for all in the nursing homes and hospices in our parish, and for those who are housebound.
We remember by name Benedicta Adenejolu, Phyllis Belton, Fiona Cochran, Barry Graney, John Kelly, Jordan Morley, Anthony, Aminta Prowse, David Risdon, Moira Skingley and Jean Smith.
Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Father, we pray for all those who have died recently that they may rest within your everlasting love and light. 
We ask God’s blessing on all who are bereaved or marking the death of loved ones, that they may find true comfort.

Choir Anthem

Dixit Maria - Hassler

Mary said to the Angel:
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord,
let it be done to me, according to your word.
Luke 1.38

You can watch a recording of the Choir singing the anthem here

Post Communion Prayer

O Lord our God,
as we wait for the coming of thy Son our Lord,
preserve us in watchfulness and faith,
that when he shall appear
he may not find us asleep in sin
but active to serve him
and joyful to praise him;
through Jesus Christ our Lord

The Blessing

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come down upon you and remain with you always. Amen

Final Hymn

You can watch a video recording of the Choir singing  Through the night of doubt and sorrow  here (211 Hymns Ancient &  Modern New Standard)


Liturgical texts taken from Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England . Hymns taken from Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard  (Hymns Ancient & Modern Limited). Many thanks to Steve Dagg and the Choir of St Alfege Church for their recordings of the hymns and anthems. With particular thanks to: Tom Bowles (recording and editing); Waimay Yau, Kate Robinson and Steve Dagg (video);  and Paul Harrison (organ)
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