Worshippers at our morning service at Christ Church today might have noticed a difference. Instead of our usual Eucharist we had a Service of the Word, or Morning Prayer.

Of course, worshippers at St Mary’s have been used to this, but regulars at Christ Church might have a few questions.

Last year, Robert Hammond from Chelmsford Diocese visited us to talk about “Setting God’s people free“, a Church of England initiative designed to introduce more licensed lay ministers into the church. Clergy numbers, already under pressure, have been greatly impacted by the Covid crisis.

Following the successful introduction of lay-led worship at St Mary’s, in recent months we have been training people ready to start leading worship once a month at Christ Church starting in December.

As Father Richard explained in his sermon today, a key part of the service is the Gospel Canticle and today’s service featured the Benedictus. Less well known than Evening Prayer’s Magnificat, it is taken from Luke 1:68–79.

We hope those attending Christ Church enjoyed this thoughtful, prayerful service today.