Thinking allowed

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross is a traditional devotion for Lent, and especially for Holy Week. It originated in Jersualem, where pilgrims would literally walk along the route from the centre of the city to the traditional place of Christ’s execution, stopping en route to recall various incidents recorded in the gospels, or elsewhere in the tradition. The number and names of the stations were later codified at fourteen (to which a fifteenth station of the Resurrection was added in more recent times). Many sets of words and prayers have been written to acccompany the walk. I compiled this particular set for an ecumenical service in my home parish, and subsequently published them on the Thinking Anglicans blog. It envisages a scenario in which some of those who participated in or witnessed the original events are gathered to remember what happened on that day.

  1. Pilate condemns Jesus to death
  2. Jesus takes up his cross
  3. Jesus falls the first time
  4. Jesus meets his mother
  5. Simon helps Jesus carry the cross
  6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
  7. Jesus falls the second time
  8. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem
  9. Jesus falls the third time
  10. Jesus is stripped of his garments
  11. Jesus is nailed to the cross
  12. Jesus dies on the cross
  13. Jesus is taken down from the cross
  14. Jesus is placed in the tomb
  15. Jesus is risen

Common Worship Almanac for 2021-22

My Almanac for the liturgical year 2021–22, the year beginning Advent Sunday 2021 is now available. The Almanac is a complete and customizable download that can be added to the calendar on a desktop/laptop, a tablet or a smartphone providing a fully-worked out calendar and lectionary according to the rules of the Church of England. Several download formats are provided, giving access to most calendar software on most devices.

As before, download is free, and donations are invited.

What’s new?

The Almanac is also available as a web page that can be installed as a web app on smartphones and tablets for easy access to all the data. New features include

  • the Download tab now shows a live preview of the data that will be added to your calendar; as you select options from the menus the live preview automatically reflects your choices
  • in the View tab you can toggle the display of verse numbers in the readings, making it simpler to copy and paste passages to other documents in the desired format
  • in the View tab the bible readings now have an additional link to the NIV text at Bible Gateway, as well as displaying the NRSV text (or the Common Worship psalter for psalms)
  • a new shorter format for subscription links (old-style links continue to work as well)


This Almanac is offered free of charge, and without warranty, but as you might imagine it takes some effort to compile. If you would like to make a contribution to my costs then donations may be made via PayPal at Alternatively, Amazon gift vouchers can be purchased online at Amazon ( for delivery by email to .

The Almanac has been freely available for over 20 years. There is not and has never been any charge for downloading and using the Almanac — this is just an opportunity to make a donation, if you so wish. Many thanks to those of you who have donated in the past or will do so this year, particularly those who regularly make a donation: your generosity is appreciated and makes the Almanac possible.


2020-21 Almanac for Common Worship and BCP

Now available for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2020: Almanac, the calendar, lectionary and collects according to the calendar of the Church of England, for Common Worship and for the Book of Common Prayer. Download to your calendar or use the web app.

Download is free, donations are invited.

What’s new?

The Almanac web page has been comprehensively updated since last year to make it easier and more useful. Updates include

  • the download page and the daily view have been integrated into a single tabbed page
  • the oremus Bible Browser (which includes the full NRSV, the AV, and the psalters from the prayer book and Common Worship) is added on another tab
  • a resources tab provides direct links to all the official Common Worship texts, hymn suggestions (with links through to HymnQuest) and some other liturgical resources
  • the Almanac daily view includes sunrise and sunset times, which can be customized to your location
  • on phones and tablets you can add an Almanac icon or tile to your screen so that it is accessible like an app (details in the Help tab), and you can swipe forwards and backwards through the days, and through bible passages in the Bible tab

As usual, the Almanac is available in a number of formats for adding to Microsoft Outlook, Apple Calendar, iPhone or iPad, Google Calendar and other calendar applications. It can be synced from a desktop calendar to a tablet or smartphone (including Apple iPads and iPhones, Android phones and tablets, and Windows Surface tablets). There is also a csv format, which can be opened in a spreadsheet for further manipulation.

Naturally I hope that the Almanac is free of errors, but I disclaim responsibility for the effects of any errors. My liability is limited to providing a corrected file for import, at my own convenience. Please help by notifying me of possible errors.


This Almanac is offered free of charge, and without warranty, but as you might imagine it takes some effort to compile. If you would like to make a contribution to my costs then donations may be made via PayPal at Alternatively, Amazon gift vouchers can be purchased online at Amazon ( for delivery by email to .

The Almanac web page carries the date 8 September 2000, so, as the Beatles sang, “it was twenty years ago” that I first provided a digital liturgical calendar, which in a couple of years evolved into a fully worked-out lectionary. There is not and has never been any charge for downloading and using the Almanac — this is just an opportunity to make a donation, if you so wish. Many thanks to those of you who have donated in the past or will do so this year, particularly those who regularly make a donation: your generosity is appreciated and makes the Almanac possible.


1 Comment

Centenary of the WW1 Armistice

Over the last few years the Church of England has published various liturgical resources for commemorating the centenary of significant moments in the First World War.

It has now added to that collection a set of resources for the centenary of the Armistice on 11 November, and entitled ‘Steps towards Reconciliation’: a monologue interspersed with words and music.

How are we to mark the end of a War in which so many lives were lost and damaged? We will certainly remember, but we must also commit ourselves afresh to working together for peace. Reconciliation requires an honest ‘truth telling’, and the text that follows seeks to respect the fact that we may only be able to take steps towards that goal.

This is an imaginative and thoughtful resource that can be used in a number of settings on and around 11 November 2018. It has been compiled by members of the Liturgical Commission.

The text is available as a pdf file here.

1 Comment

Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources

On Friday, the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England published “safeguarding resources, for use in churches across the country, including Bible readings, prayers and suggested hymns, chosen in consultation with survivors” under the title Towards a Safer Church: Liturgical Resources.

There is a press release here, and the liturgical resources are available in PDF format here

The Chair of the Liturgical Commission, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, in an introduction to the resources has written:

The Church needs to be at the vanguard of fostering a change of culture across society. Safeguarding is at the forefront of public consciousness and the Church needs to embody best practice in safeguarding in our network of parishes, schools and chaplaincies as part of our commitment to excellence in pastoral care.

Many of these resources are already being used widely across our churches, but we thought it would be helpful to gather them into one place for ease of access. Collectively they are neither the first word nor the last word on this subject, but they are offered in the hope that by God’s grace the Church may become a safer place where everyone is valued.

Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport, has also written about the resources here

The resources have been compiled by the Liturgical Commission and staff, in consultation with survivors, who have themselves suggested some of the resources, with the aim providing prayers and other resources for various occasions. This includes use with survivors and others directly affected, as well as events such as the commissioning of safeguarding officers in parishes and dioceses. Most of the material had been previously published (including commended and authorized liturgical texts), but it has been brought together in one place so that it is easier to find and to use.

(This item has also been posted on the main Thinking Anglicans page.)


Further resources for the Queen’s 90th birthday

Church House has published online a set of Liturgical Resources for the Celebration of HM The Queen’s Ninetieth Birthday containing: Notes of Guidance; an outline service; collects and graces; and suggested readings.

The resources are available as a PDF here.

The notes say:

It is hoped that many churches and communities will be able to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. This leaflet contains, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, the Outline of the Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving which will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 10 June 2016. Churches are invited to use elements of this outline in their own preparations, especially the bidding prayer, intercessions, and act of thanksgiving in the appendices. In addition to the resources below, St Paul’s has commissioned the Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, to compose a choral anthem, I love all beauteous things, which can be used in the context of a celebration service and is now available.

Also included here are the Collects which The Queen has been pleased to approve for use in services celebrating her birthday, and Graces for use at church and community gatherings. Finally, the Liturgical Commission suggests a number of appropriate readings suited to a celebratory service.

1 Comment

Thanksgiving for the Queen’s ninetieth birthday

The Liturgical Commission has prepared two collects (one in traditional language and the other in modern language) for use at services celebrating the ninetieth birthday of HM the Queen, which falls on 21 April this year. These have been approved by the Queen, and the Commission has asked that they be circulated as widely as possible. The Commission has also provided two graces for use at church and community gatherings such as street parties.

Heavenly Father, who hast brought our gracious sovereign Queen Elizabeth to the completion of her ninetieth year, and dost gather her people in celebration of the same: grant that we, rejoicing before thee with thankful hearts, may ever be united in love and service to one another, and her kingdom flourish in prosperity and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Heavenly Father,
as we celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen,
receive our heartfelt thanks
for all that you have given her in these ninety years
and for all that she has given to her people.
Continue, we pray, your loving purposes in her,
and as you gather us together in celebration,
unite us also in love and service to one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bountiful God, giver of all good gifts,
we give thanks for the many years and long reign of our Queen;
Bless our food, our neighbourhood,
and our enjoyment of each other’s company.
Help us to learn from Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to her people,
so that our community may be strengthened
and all may flourish.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the King of love.

Gracious God, give our Queen continued wisdom and strength
to carry out the promises she has made;
and bless (this food, and) those who are gathered here,
that, sustained by service for others,
we may faithfully serve you, all the days of our life.
[With words from The Queen’s First Christmas Broadcast, 1952]


Thanksgiving for the longest reign

The Liturgical Commission has drafted two prayers for use to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest-reigning monarch in British history, on 9 September this year. These have been approved by Buckingham Palace, and the Commission has asked that they be circulated as widely as possible.

Prayers for use when HM The Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history (9 September 2015)

A Collect for use after the Collect of the Day at BCP services
Almighty God, who hast set our gracious sovereign Queen Elizabeth upon the throne of this realm, and given her to surpass all others in the years of her reign: Receive our heartfelt thanks for her service to her people, confirm and encourage her in the continuance of the same, and keep her in thy heavenly wisdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who took the form of a servant for our sake, and reigneth now in glory with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

A modern-language prayer drawing on Philippians 2
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ exchanged the glory of a heavenly throne for the form of a servant,
we thank you that you have given Elizabeth our Queen a heart to serve her people,
and have kept her devoted in this service beyond all who were before her:
encourage us by her example to serve one another, and to seek the common good,
until you call us all to reign with Christ in your eternal kingdom. Amen.


New baptismal texts; and rules on eucharistic ministers

The General Synod of the Church of England, meeting in York, yesterday gave final approval to the additional baptismal texts. The texts are authorized from 1 September 2015.

The synodical report reads:


Article 7 business Final Approval

The Bishop of Sodor and Man (Chair of the Steering Committee) moved:

‘That the liturgical business entitled “Christian Initiation: Additional Texts for Holy Baptism in Accessible Language” be finally approved for a period from 1 September 2015 until further Resolution of the Synod.’

The final vote was approved after a division of houses, with the voting figures below:

House of Bishops: For – 23, Against – 1, Abstentions – 1,
House of Clergy: For – 114, Against – 6, Abstentions – 5,
House of Laity: For – 126, Against – 10, Abstentions – 6,

The Synod also approved new regulations on the authorization of people to assist in the administration of Holy Communion. The rules allow the bishop, on the application of the incumbent or priest in charge, to authorize named individuals. The bishop may also give the priest general authority to allow people to administer (with PCC agreement), and this may include children who have been formally admitted to Communion before Confirmation. Children in church schools may be authorized with the agreement of the head teacher rather than the PCC. The full rules are in the linked file. The new regulations come into force on 1 October 2015, and revoke the old 1969 rules.


Regulations under Canon B 12 Article 7 business

The Bishop of Sodor and Man (the Rt Revd Robert Paterson) moved:

‘That the Administration of Holy Communion Regulations be approved.’

which was approved.


Topical prayers from the Liturgical Commission (2)

The Liturgical Commission has provided prayers and other material for a number of forthcoming occasions.

These are:

  • The Baptism of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (on 5 July)
  • The 70th anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (6 and 9 August)
  • The 70th anniversary of VJ Day (Victory in Japan) (2 September 15 August)
  • The centenary of the execution of Edith Cavell (12 October)

The text of the material for the first three is in the previous post. This post contains the material for Edith Cavell.