Children and young people are welcome at all services, however on the third Wednesday of each month a family service is held at 6:30 pm. This is a short informal service suitable for children of all ages from 0 to 99.
We are currently trying to find a new time for
the “4 O’clock service”.
Please check here for details.
Good Friday - Were you there? - 22nd April
At 10 am we gathered for our family service for Good Friday. This year we followed the story of Good Friday by following the Stations of the cross. Different people told us of the story of that first Good Friday, starting with Pilot's servant telling us how he held the bowl as pilot washed his hands. We then went through as Barabbas told he was released and Jesus took us his Cross, then the soldiers told us how Jesus fell for the first time. The Virgin Mary told how she met Jesus and Simon of Cryene how he had to carry the Cross. Veronica then explained how she wiped Jesus’face before the soldiers told of Jesus falling again. A women from Jerusalem and her daughter told how they saw Jesus and the soldiers told of him falling for the third time and how they had stripped Him of his garments. Then the Good Thief told of being crucified next to Jesus while St John told of Jesus dying on the Cross. Mary was then comforted by St John as she told how He was taken down from the Cross and laid in her arms. Finally Joseph of Aramathea told how Jesus was laid in his tomb.
Children's Station of the Cross - 20th April 2011
The children from Jubilate dressed up and acted out the Stations of the Cross during their last meeting before Easter.
St Thomas Becket - 7th November 2010
In today's service Fr David told us about how Thomas had been a friend of King Henry. King Henry needed a new Arch Bishop of Canterbury and decided to make his friend Thomas the new Bishop thinking he would do what he wanted him to do. However, after King Henry made him the Bishop, Thomas started to pray a lot and became very 'religious'. King Henry was very angry and got 3 knights to kill him. However, after his friend had been killed, King Henry felt very sad, he took off his cloak and crown and shoes and walked to Canterbury to where Thomas had been buried. There he prayed at his tomb. Many people came and prayed at his tomb and miracles happened. Thomas was then made a Saint.
Fr David explained that we have a statue of St Thomas in church because he is special to the area. One of the people who had wanted Thomas killed was Robert De Lucy, as a penance he built the Abbey (Lesnes Abbey) which was dedicated to St Thomas.
St Francis of Assisi - 4th October 2009
After a couple of gathering songs, Fr David welcomed us all to the service, asking if we knew who's birthday it was today. After several suggestions one of the children told him it was St Francis’birthday. Fr David explained that it was actually the date on which he had been made a saint. He asked what St Francis was famous for and was told he was nice to animals, however we were told St Francis actually had nothing to do with animals at all, which was a bit difficult as Michael had chosen all songs about animals for the service.
Fr David then picked James to come out and pretend to be St Francis. We were told that St Francis came from a wealthy family and liked to dress up in fine clothes. When he was young, he loved fighting and was going to be a soldier. But he used to go to the church and pray and one day come across a poor man who was ill, even though he was disfigured St Francis stopped and gave him a hug and gave all his money to him. He gave up all his wealth and started to live a simple life wearing an old tunic. This was to be the start of the Franciscan order of monks. Later on, one day while he was praying in front of a crucifix, marks appeared on his hands, they were the marks of the nails from the Crucifixion of ChriSt. Fr David also explained that St Francis had also brought the first Christmas crib into the church.
Good Friday - 10th April 2009
On Friday morning there was a family service for Good Friday, it is a lovely service in which members of the congregation act out rolls of people who may well have been about on the first Good Friday, not the central characters of the story but other more peripheral people who may have seen the events; a servant girl who sees Peter deny Christ, Pilates wife, a Roman solider and the son of Simone of Cyrene. It really is a lovely service.
Children's Stations of the Cross - 8th April 2009
On Wednesday I took Jessie along to the Jubilate Choir as usual, but instead of the normal choir activities a children's service reinacting the Stations of the Cross had been arranged. The children really enjoy this because it involves dressing up and acting. The children also learn a lot about the Easter Story.
Jessie was a Roman solider this year and was given a large wooden stick with which to beat ChriSt. (I had my doubts about the wisdom of letting Jessie have a club and telling her to beat someone! I thought that she may take method acting a bit to far!). Father David had to make a rapid intervention to a young lad who was about to nail Jesus to the cross with a mallet from the church tool kit. The evening ended with a cross made from two planks of wood and laid in front of the altar and each child lighting a tea-light candle and putting it on the cross. Jessie always lights a candle for her brothers as well as herself. It all went well and the children did enjoy themselves.
Holy Week - 5th April 2009
The April Four O'clock service was about Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week. There was quiet a good turn out of both children and adults. The service started with gathering songs that the children had been learning for the last few weeks at the Jubilate Choir. After the first song we were told that we were going to start the service in the hall. When we arrived in the hall everyone was given a palm cross and these were blessed and sprinkled with holy water.
Father David told the children about the excitement the crowd had felt as Jesus had rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and said that we were going to try to recreate the atmosphere with all the noise and excitement. To the delight of the children they were told to go and collect a “noise maker” from the table and then to make as much noise with it as they could. There was a selection of party whistles, football rattles and hand clappers and along with their laughing and general excitement the children succeeded in making quite a din! Father David, carrying a colourful icon of Jesus, led the procession of excited giggling children and rather sheepish adults out of the hall and around the Church garden before leading it back into the Church to continue the service.
The service told the story of Holy Week until Maundy Thursday. Four children were invited to sit at the front of the Church and re-enact the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and think about why he had done so….some interesting answers here! Eventually, with a little help they understood the meaning of what Jesus had done. Fr David talked about the Last Supper and the sharing of the bread and wine, how Jesus broke the bread showing how his body was going to be broken on the cross and how the wine was like his blood which would be spilt and how we should share it every time we come together. Deep ideas for young children to understand. The service went on with Fr David telling us how Jesus took his disciples out to the garden of Gethsemane to pray, how they had fallen asleep and Jesus was arrested. The service concluded with more songs and prayers. And lots of happy smiling children. A pleasant Sunday afternoon, well spent.
St. David’s Day -1st March 2009
The theme for our Four O’clock service on 1st March was St. David. After we had sung a couple of gathering songs Fr David rain in with a bucket, he had heard we had a leak in church. It turned out to be a leek Fr Derek was holding because it was St. David’s day. We then sang ‘When the spirit of the Lord’, after which Fr David told us about St. David. Firstly he told us he lived in Wales and got the children to show us where Wales is on a map. He lived in a remote part of Wales and was very Holy. He was a monk and a Bishop. He also sometimes preached sermons. One day he was preaching and there were hundreds of people there, so many that they could not see or hear him. God made a special hill appear for him to stand on so everyone could see and hear him. At this point Fr David climbed up some steps he had hidden behind the Altar.
The service continued with us singing ‘I, the Lord of Sea and Sky’. Fr David then told us that St. David liked to drink wine but he gave up drinking it. He had several bottles and cans of drink and asked the children if they thought St. David had drank each. They decided he didn’t drink Coke, Guinness, Beer or Tango but only drank water (just like Fr David!). It was a bit like giving up something for Lent, only St. David always only drank water.
We then sang ‘There was one’. Next we were told that St. David had spent a lot of his time praying. Fr David said some prayers while two children brought up some lit candles and placed them in front of the Altar.
The children were then asked if they knew why we have leeks for St. David’s day. Fr David explained that the English were going to invade Wales but everyone looked alike. The Welsh asked St. David how they would recognise who was English and who was Welsh. They were told to pull up a leek from the field and place it in their hat so everyone would know they were Welsh. Fr David then put the leek on to Penny’s hat. The service finished with us singing ‘I watch the sunrise’.
Crib Service - 24th December 2008
On Christmas Eve we held our Crib service. The service started some children lighting the Advent candles. After we sang 'Come and join the celebration’, Fr David asked the children who was coming tonight after suggesting Father Christmas and then the reindeer, they said Jesus. Next Elizabeth, Mary's cousin, told us about when Mary had gone to see her to tell her she was expecting a baby. Elizabeth was also pregnant with John the Baptist. We then sang 'Silent night'. Next, an Inn keeper told us about the evening that Mary and Joseph and arrived wanting somewhere to stay and how he let them sleep in the stable, then in the middle of the night Mary had given birth to Jesus. After this we sang ‘While shepherds watched', then a shepherd told us about the angels coming and telling them baby Jesus had been born. This was followed by us singing 'See him lying on a bad of straw'.
Fr David then told us he had got all the pieces out for the crib earlier but had forgotten where he had put them. The children helped him find all the pieces (except Joseph and the dog who arrived after the service!). While we sang 'Little donkey’the children and Fr David took the crib pieces and put them in the crib. After singing 'Away in a Manger’Fr David said some prayers and the service finished with ‘Hark, the herald'
Christingle service - 7th December 2008
At the beginning of December we held our annual Christingle service. After some gathering songs Fr David lit and blessed the Evening candle. We then sang 'The light of Christ’, this was followed by a reading from the book of Isaiah. Fr David then asked for 2 volunteers. He told them he would call out a colour and they would have to take the correct colour sweet off the plate. This sounded quite easy until he blindfolded one of them. He went on to explain that it is difficult to do things if we can't see and that we need light to see. He told us that people didn't know what to do so God sent Jesus to be a light to the world to show us how to live. Fr David then explained the Christingles: the orange represents the world, the sweets are the fruit of the earth, the red ribbon is the blood of Christ and the candle is the light of the world, Jesus.
We then sang 'Lord, the light of you love’followed by some prayers. The Christingles were then given out to everyone and were lit while we sang 'Colours of day'. Fr David then blessed the Christingles and the service finished with us singing 'The spirit lives’while processing around the church to the High Altar.
All Saints - 2nd November 2008
The November Four O’clock Service was held on All Saints day. The service started with a couple of gathering songs lead by our music group. Fr David then introduced the service by asking the children about Halloween. The children said it was all about witches and ghosts. He went on to explain that really Halloween is the Eve of all Hallows or All Saints day. The children were able to name several saints including: St. James, St. David, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. George and St. Steven.
We then sang ‘Jesus has all kinds of friends’. Fr David then told us he had a book which told you how to tell if someone will become a saint. It said they: have a halo, spend all day in church praying, are very serious and do not laugh and smile, they are very old and have grey hair and they lived a long, long, time ago. He then said that obviously no one here would become a saint. Fr David went on to explain that wasn’t correct, saints are just ordinary people like you and me; they wouldn’t have halos when they were alive, some saints were very young, and they didn’t spend all their time in church but may have gone out and helped people.
We then sang a song ‘Peter and John went to pray’about the two saints Peter and John. After this the children did a sketch about our church and the people connected with it from the lady who cares for the church, the Bishop, the King, the man who translated the bible, to the cross which Jesus died on. After singing ‘There are hundreds of sparrows’, Fr David asked what Christians do for one another, the children suggested: helping each other, teaching each other and praying for each other. Fr David gave some of the children pictures of different saints which they laid one at a time in front of the Altar with a candle to help us in our prayers, for example with St. George we prayed for this country, and St. Steven for all those who are ill or suffering in any way. The service then finished with us all singing ‘O when the saints’.
5th October 2008
The theme for the October Four O'clock service was water. Fr David entered the church wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella and introduced the service. After singing 'As the Deer’Fr David, having removed his raincoat, blessed some water and some salt, then he used it to sprinkle everyone while we sang 'Have you heard the raindrops'. Fr David then showed us his cactus, it had died because he hadn't watered it unlike the other plant he got from the choir vestry which had been watered and was still alive. He explained that we all need water to live. He then told us we also need water to wash, otherwise we end up smelling and sprayed someone with deodorant because he hadn't washed recently.
After we all sang 'Vaster far than any ocean’Fr David asked for two volunteers. He wrote 'bad’on the forehead of one in Ash and 'sin’on the forehead of the other. He explained that sometimes we do bad things and that another name for that is to sin. He went on to explain that when we are baptised our sins are washed away, he then washed away the words 'bad’and sin’from the children's foreheads. After singing 'There is a river’Fr David said some prayers, then we all sang the Echo Lord's Prayer. We finished the service by singing 'I watch the sunrise'.
7th September 2008
Gladiators was the theme for this month’s Four O'clock service. After a couple of gathering songs Father David open the service by welcoming everyone. He then told us he had received a phone call from Trinity school saying we had a bully. He called one of the children out to the front explaining that he was Goliath and he was a bully, but it was ok because David (another child) was there and he would sort the bully out.
After singing 'When I feel the touch’Father David read us the story of David and Goliath. We then sang ‘Goliath was big'. Next Father David had placed 3 boxes in the pulpit. He asked the children to guess which would land first if they were all dropped at the same time. The children all said the smallest - as always showing you can not trust children to say what you expect them to say. He then asked 3 children to help by going up the pulpit and dropping the boxes together. After several tries, in which the small box kept doing a false start and getting dropping too early, they eventually got the three boxes to land at the same time. This was to illustrate what we had just sang that 'Biggest isn't always best'.
After another song and some prayers, Father David got our David and Goliath to come out to the front again. He explained that David killed Goliath by being cleverer than him. He then asked us for ways of dealing with bullies. The children suggested: telling a teacher, saying stop, walking away, asking why? or becoming the bullies friend. David then killed Goliath with his sword and we finished by singing 'Step by step'.
3rd August 2008
The Four O'clock service for August had the theme 'The Olympics - run the race'. Everyone had been asked beforehand to come in sports gear. We started the service by singing a couple of gathering songs, then as we sang 'Colours of Day’Fr David ran into the church carrying a torch. He explained that it represented the Olympic torch.
He then told us he was a footballer as he had come dressed in a football t-shirt. He asked several members of the congregation why they had come dressed as they had; one child had come dressed in her PE kit, any other in her majorettes outfit, a lady had come in a rugby top but explained that she was not really a rugby player but had borrowed the top, another lady had come as a bike rider who had fallen off her bike and another as a runner. Fr David then read a bit from the bible which St. Peter had written about running the Christian race. He went on to explain that to do any sport you have to train; just because he was wearing a football T-shirt didn't make him a good footballer. He then went on to talk about how we know someone is a Christian - the children suggested that they would go to church, be baptized, receive the sacraments and pray. Fr David told us we must train to be a good Christian not only by going to church but also by praying, and reading our bible but also by how we lead our lives.
He then went on to say that in sport only the winner gets the Gold medal but in the Christian race we all get the prize of eternal life. He then gave out medals to everyone to represents this.
1st June 2008
The theme for this Four O'clock service was 'belonging'. After a couple of gathering songs Fr David welcomed everyone. He started the service by having a moan that someone had been untidy and left their sweatshirt in church. He asked if we could tell who it might belong to. The children suggested it was someone who went to big school, and that it must be Trinity School as it was a Trinity school sweatshirt. Fr David then found three people who had come to church dressed 'funny'. One was an explorer scout, and another was a cub, we could tell this because of their uniforms. We could even tell they belonged to the 13th Woolwich group because of their badges. He then found another child who was dressed in a martial arts suit, he explained that he does Tai Kwan do and showed us a couple of kicks he had learnt.
Fr David then asked Fr Derek why he was dressed like that. He explained that he was wearing a 'dog collar’and black suit because he is a prieSt. He went on to explain that we all belong to something; the church. He asked how people know we belong to the church as we do not have a uniform. He brought out a mini font and the children said we had all been baptised. However, people can not see that you have been baptised. They then said many people wear a cross, but Fr David pointed out that you see all sorts of thugs around Abbey Wood wearing Rosaries and just wearing one does not make them a Christian. The children then suggested that we know someone is a Christian by the way they behave; they read the bible, come to church and try to be good.
4th May 2008
The theme for the May Four O’clock service was ‘The Way’. After a couple of gathering songs Fr David welcomed us to the service. He began to talk but was interrupted by two disciples rushing into the church. They told him they had been walking to Woolwich when they met a man and started talking to him. They told him all the things that had happened in Jerusalem, how they crucified Jesus and how the women had gone to the tomb but found the body wasn’t there. The man started talking to them about the bible, explaining it to them like no one ever had before. When they got to Woolwich they asked the man to stay with them and have something to eat. During the meal, he took the bread and broke it, just like Jesus did. Then they recognised him. It was Jesus and he was alive. They ran all the way back from Woolwich to tell everyone.
After singing ‘The Spirit lives’, Fr David started talking again when a pilgrim arrived. Fr David thought he must be a rather poor holidaymaker because he had a rucksack instead of a suitcase and wasn’t dressed well. He explained that a pilgrim is someone who goes to a Holy place like Jerusalem or Rome and that he had been to Walsingham in Norfolk, it is England’s Nazareth. Fr David asked him what he did there and he replied that he went to church, hung around a bit, lit a candle and then came home. He explained that the important bit of the pilgrimage is the journey because being a Christian is like being on a journey to God. On a pilgrimage we try to pray and learn a bit more about God and hopefully it makes us better Christians when we get back home.
We sang ‘I watch the sunrise’then Fr David rolled out a paper ‘road’. We then helped him to fill in the road with life’s journey starting with being born, then walking and talking, going to school, getting a job, getting married, having children, becoming grandparents, retiring, going into a retirement home and eventually dying. Next to it he marked out our Christian journey, starting with baptism, going to church, reading the bible, learning about God, taking first communion, getting confirmed and living a Christian life until we die and go to heaven.
We then sang a special song called ‘Lord, look upon each helpless child’which had been sung at some of the children’s Baptisms. Fr David then explained that Lawrence was going to be blessed as part of his Christian journey. Laurence uses a special sign language called Makaton and Fr David showed us all the sign for Love. He asked us all to make the sign while he blessed Lawrence to show that God loves him. After Fr David had blessed him we finished by singing ‘step by step’. Although Lawrence is usually unable to join us in church on a Sunday, he is still part of our Christian family and it was great to see him taking another step along his Christian journey. This was a lovely service and it was good to be joined by Lawrence’s friends and family.
6th April 2008
We celebrated the 100th birthday of St. Michael's church at our Four O'clock service. The service opened with some adults and children from St. Michaels’along with children from Jubilate and the Scout group each bringing up a lit candle. These were placed in front of the altar to form a number 100. While the candles were brought up we sang a medley of songs.
After the candles were blessed, Fr David introduced us to four special visitors; two children from 100 years ago and two from the present day. Fr David interviewed our visitors to find out about their lives. We found out that the two visitors from 100 years ago went to the newly built Alex McCleod School. They had moved here into new houses and their fathers worked at The Royal Arsenal. They went to the newly built St. Michaels’church which was warm because it had central heating, something they didn't have at home. They were reading the newly published Wind in the Willows. The visitors from the present day liked watching TV and playing videos games and were watching Harry Potter in DVD. They thought the church was nice but very cold as its only got old radiators which don't work properly.
We finished the service by singing Happy Birthday to St. Michael's and 3 children seeing if they could blow out the candles of the number 100 in one breath.
3rd February 2008
At another well attended family service we celebrated Candlemas with a family Mass. The service started with everyone gathering in St. Michael's chapel where Fr David explained that it was 40 days since Christmas when Jesus was born and today we were celebrating Jesus being presented in the Temple, which was the custom of the Jews when the child was 40 days old. Everyone was given a candle which was then lit, blessed and sprinkled with Holy Water. We processed around the church carrying our candles while singing ‘The Spirit lives to set us free'.
We continued our Mass with the 'clap, clap’Gloria and readings from the bible telling of Jesus being presented in the temple.
Fr David then got three children to come out and hold a candle each. He told us the candles were very 'last century’and that we were now going to use electric lights on the Altar. He removed the candles on the Altar and replaced them with an electric light. He explained that the light from the electric light is generated from a power station but the light from a candle is generated from within the candle. If we left both all night the electric light would still be the same in the morning but the candle would have burn down. Fr David went on to explain that this is like Gods love; when you love some one you give yourself to them and that is what God did in giving us Jesus because he loves us.
The service continued with us saying the Action Creed. After we had shared the Peace we sang 'The light of Christ'. We then gathered around the Altar as the Mass continued and received communion or a blessing. After we returned to our places Fr David welcomed three new members of the 'Jubilate’choir, giving them their medals and making them full members of the choir.
After the blessing we finished our Mass by singing 'Faithful vigil ended'.
4th November 2007
The theme for today's family service was 'Stars in your eyes'. Father David started the service by asking what sort of stars you can get and if we could guess what sort the service was about. After suggesting you could have stars in the sky, film stars and music stars we found out the service was about Christian stars or Saints.
After a song Father David got some children to come out and find the stars he had placed on the altar rail. They had names written on them and we had to say whether they were saints or not - they all were and they were placed in the middle of a square of candles to represent they were in heaven. These included 2stars with no names on to represent the saints we don't know about but only God does.
After another song one of the boys was interviewed 'Stars in their eyes’style by Father David. He wanted to be a saint but his only talent was that he was good at sweeping and opening doors. However, Father David looked in his book and found he could be one, like St. Alphonsus. He placed a halo on him made from glow sticks. We then sang another song during which everyone placed their own smaller star with their name on around the square of candles to indicate they want to become saints.
7th October 2007
Today's theme was the power of prayer. Father David started off the service by giving 4 children Rosaries. He said these could indicate various things: the first child used it to indicate she was a drug dealer, the second to show she was part of the St Michael's gang, the third wore it because it was cool and the fourth to pray with and was powerful.
This was followed by a reading from Ephesians 6:14-18. Father David got another child to come to the front and as he read he dressed him up. He gave him a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, shoes of eagerness to spread the gospel, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation and a sword of the Spirit. Finally, the child had been dressed up as a Power Ranger. He explained that a Power Ranger is different from a normal Ranger as he has Power and we have the power of prayer.
In his sermon Father David explained that on 7th October 1571 the Battle of Lepanto took place. This was a battle between a galley fleet of the Holy League (a Christian alliance from various countries including Spain, Italy and Germany) and a force of Ottoman galleys. The battle raged but eventually the Ottoman fleet was defeated. They found out afterwards that the Holy League had used the Rosary to pray for victory. This shows how powerful prayer can be.