Sermons and Services

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The Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 29th 2020

The service on YouTube
The service on Facebook
The entire service as an audio file

Fr John’s sermon


The Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 22nd 2020

Facebook livestream of the entire service (opens in a new tab)
The entire service as an audio file

Fr John’s sermon


Fr John’s sermon on the Third Sunday of Lent, March 15th 2020


Fr John’s sermon on the Second Sunday of Lent, March 8th 2020


Fr John’s sermon on the First Sunday of Lent, March 1st 2020


Fr John’s sermon on Ash Wednesday, Feb 26th 2020


Fr John’s sermon on the Sunday Next Before Lent, Feb 23rd 2020


Fr John’s sermon on the Second Sunday Before Lent, Feb 16th 2020


Fr John’s first Sunday sermon, on the Third Sunday Before Lent, Feb 9th 2020


Bishop Rose’s sermon at Fr John’s Installation on Feb 4th, 2020


A new priest for St Mary & St Eanswythe

People are often quite surprised about how new Vicars are chosen. Actually, it’s a lot like recruiting for any job. The church writes a profile of the kind of qualities they’d like to see and the post is advertised. Priests who are looking for a move from their present jobs apply, are shortlisted and interviewed. If a candidate fits well, then they’re offered the job.

So far, so familiar. But then it gets rather different. Because you nearly always have to move house, even when the new job is close to the old one. I only moved from Dover, but the new Vicarage had to be redecorated and I had to box everything up and make a new home here in Folkestone before I could start my new job.

And then the way you start is extremely different! No sliding in to a quiet induction day for us. There is a magnificent worship service in the church where the Bishop installs the new priest (literally – you’re physically put in your stall in the church). The Bishop also gives a Licence to the priest to minister in their new parish.

My licensing and installation in St Mary & St Eanswythe Church was on the evening of February 4th and it was an extraordinary experience. Churchwarden Pam made sure the church was spotless. Churchwarden Andrew prepared the service sheets and made sure everyone was invited. Our Area Dean, the Revd Jane Weeks, made sure everyone participating knew what they were doing. Archdeacon Darren was there to commend me to the Bishop because he had overseen the appointment.

But Bishop Rose stole the show. This was one of her first services like this as our new Bishop and she has an amazing presence and energy. Her preaching is direct and challenging, but encouraging too. I was particularly pleased that the magnificent Cope (like a big cloak) that our church provided for her had roses on it…

And the church was packed with so many people. People from my old churches in Dover – but particularly St Mary-the-Virgin, many of whom sang in the choir. People from the new congregation. My friends and family. And so, so many people from the local communities, schools and churches of Folkestone who had come to wish me well. I was overwhelmed by that.

The service was partly legal, partly expressing hope and vision for the future, and partly inspiring, soaring worship. The combined choir under the leadership of Toby Huitson was glorious! And the Choir of the FESI group of Church of England Schools in Folkestone under conductor Helen Brookes was very, very moving.

And afterwards, the food… oh gosh… the food was literally gorgeous. Kim Adlington and her team were awesome!

So what have I come to do? Here are some words: spiritual and numerical growth; inspiring worship; welcome; belonging; spirituality; heritage; partnerships; story-weaving.

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