Sunday, March 29, 2020

Act of Entrustment of England to Our Lady: 12pm on Sunday 29 March 2020

At 12pm on Sunday 29 March 2020, the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham will live stream its prayers for the Act of Entrustment of England to Our Lady. The live streaming of the prayers from the Shrine Church is available via: 

A pdf servicesheet is here:

Online Video Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Today I give you a choice of two Masses in lieu of being able to physically gather at the altar of God. In each case, as well as joining 'in spirit' with the celebration, we hear an inspiring reflection on the message of hope that resounds through the Scripture readings. May the Lord bless you as you watch and listen.

First is Father Philip Corbett, Vicar of All Saints' Notting Hill.
Click on this link . . .

Second is today's Solemn Mass from S. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Sydney, Australia. The celebrant and preacher if Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
Click on this link:

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Prayers to pray during the Coronavirus Crisis

Click HERE to download this very useful collection of prayers put out by The Church Union and The Society of S. Wilfrid and S. Hilda for people stranded at home during the present crisis.

Friday, March 27, 2020


Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

I am so grateful for your kind responses to the email letter I sent out this time last week. Thank you for the assurance of your prayers, not just for me, but also for those of our parishioners who are affected by or connected with people who have contracted the Coronavirus, and also those who have been ‘self-isolating’ for some time on account of being in a high risk category. 

The measures I had put in place this time last week to maintain worship and prayer while rigorously safeguarding all around us from any further spread of the Coronavirus have been superseded by more recent communications from the Archbishops. As we are not able to celebrate Mass publicly, I had thought that opening the church on Sunday mornings for personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, with people coming and going as they are able - and keeping two metres between each other - was a loving and sensible provision. Many who managed to make it last Sunday have said how deeply moved they were by the Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament and our special experience of his love and blessing during that time. For those of you who were unable to come, here is how the sacramental presence of Jesus was honoured as we prayed:

We have since been instructed by the Archbishops to keep churches locked at all times, so as to prevent lay people and clergy alike from leaving home ‘unnecessarily’ in order to pray individually in the church building. I know how upsetting many of you have felt this to be, and - to be honest - that’s been my reaction, too.

However, as I emphasised in my letter last week, we are a Catholic parish, and the centre of our life, our worship and our prayer is Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. 

So, I have done the only thing left that can be done to ensure that the daily offering of the Lord’s great Sacrifice of love remains the fundamental reality from which everything else flows in the parish of All Saints’ Benhilton. Like so many other parish priests of Forward in Faith and The Society, I have established an oratory in the Vicarage, where I pray the Daily Office, and offer the Mass every day of the week at 7.30 a.m. (i.e. including Sundays). I will not be ‘inviting’ anyone to join me. 

However, during this emergency period I do ask you to pause at 7.30 a.m. each day, and ‘spiritually’ associate yourself with the parish’s Mass, appropriating by faith the blessings that are being supernaturally released into your life and into the lives of all for whom the Holy Sacrifice is offered to the Father.

This photo shows the altar set up for Mass in the Vicarage. (I’m sorry that the curtains are so overpowering in the photo - they’re OK in reality! The other thing is that the curtains are a long, safe distance from the candles . . . unlike the impression given in the photo!)

All who are on our intercession list will be prayed for each day at this altar. Please email me the names of others to be included, living and departed alike. Also, let me know when people’s names can come off the prayer list.

Last week I mentioned my blog at which will be updated daily from now on, with articles, prayers and scripture teaching to encourage your growth in Christ during these difficult days. I also pointed out the online  version of my book of prayers which can be accessed at:

I’m still not persuaded that I should try to make videos of myself saying Mass each day! Hopefully by this time next week I will be able to provide you with a list of reliable, orthodox, well produced, good quality and spiritually enriching daily Masses that you can choose from and easily access online.

Over the last fortnight, a number of parishioners have suggested a variety of social media ‘groups’ that we could utilise to keep in touch as a parish family, especially during this Coronavirus emergency. What a great idea!

I decided to use Facebook because I already know how to operate it. Also, it is easy for you to join and control your security settings. It doesn’t matter if the only Facebook activity you choose to involve yourself in is the All Saints’ Group.

The way I set it up last night, the All Saints’ Group is a TOTALLY PRIVATE GROUP. In other words, it is just for those who belong to our parish family. No-one can join the group without being approved by me. (Once it has been up and running for a while, I will choose another Moderator or two to help vet requests to join.)

To join the group, go to and log in (or join Facebook if you’re not already a member). Then, search for All Saints’ Church, Benhilton, Sutton, London

Please spread the news of this Facebook Group among your friends in the parish who might not be on our email list. (And don’t be shy about using the Group to share things that are encouraging and helpful!)

There are still parishioners - even some on the electoral roll - with email, but who haven’t yet given us their email address. Where possible, and as time permits, we will try to send this letter out to them in the ordinary mail, but it would be great for you to get the word out for them to send their email address to me in an email in which they give the “Vicar and Churchwardens” permission to use their email address “for the purpose of pastoral care and sharing parish news.” Under the data protection rules, we cannot use people’s email addresses without their permission.
I reiterate my words from last week. Please contact me if you need to; especially if you need the Sacraments of Anointing, Reconciliation, and/or Holy Communion.

And, if you are able to offer help to some who are shut-in, or those who are self-isolating (such as going to the shops for them), please let me know. Also, just as importantly, if you need such help, please ask!

In 1833, John Henry Newman, a 32-year-old priest of the Church of England, was touring the Mediterranean. He became seriously ill with a fever in Sicily, and was bedridden for a number of weeks. After his recovery, on the way to Marseille, his ship was delayed in the Strait of Bonifacio where he wrote these words. They reflect his faith journey, and I share them with you today, not just because I know how you love to sing them, but more importantly because they are the perfect words for us to pray at this difficult time:  

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, 
lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; 
lead thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou 
shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now 
lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long thy power hath blest me, 
sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, 
till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Go HERE for an inspiring rendition of this hymn 
from Arundel Cathedral

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

 Father David Chislett

Saturday, March 21, 2020


Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord,

I write this letter to you on S. Joseph’s Day, the second anniversary of my becoming your parish priest, and I sincerely give God thanks for every one of you. Your faith and devotion, your loving support for one another, your care for the things of God, and your kindness to me, have been so real. Furthermore, in our short time together we have had the joy of seeing new people become part of our fellowship at the altar of God.

It is unfortunate that on this day I have to share with you special measures we as a parish must put into place in response to the coronavirus outbreak, following advice from both the Government and the Church of England. But your safety and your peace of mind is important to the Churchwardens and to me, as is our determination not to do anything that could aid and abet the spread of the virus.

We are a Catholic parish, and as such the centre of our worship and life is the Mass, the great Sacrifice of Jesus that unites heaven and earth, in which we actually receive Jesus himself, the Lamb of God and the Lord of glory, in Holy Communion. It is desperately sad that of necessity public Masses are suspended from this coming Sunday (22nd March). However, I want you to be assured that the centre of our prayer as a parish community will continue to be Jesus, lovingly present to us in the Blessed Sacrament. I share with you the arrangements that will come into being from Sunday, and pertain until further notice:

I will celebrate a ‘private Mass’ at 8.00 a.m. each Sunday with only the Churchwardens in attendance. It will be offered for all the people of the parish, for all on our intercession list, and for others, living and departed, for whom you ask us to pray. Week by week, please continue to let us have the names of those for whom you wish the Mass to be offered.

The church will be opened for personal, private prayer each Sunday from 8.30 a.m. until 12.00 midday.  I encourage you, as well as others from the neighbourhood, to visit All Saints’ for a time of prayer during that period each Sunday. You will be able to light candles and pray at the shrines. You will be able to stay for as little or as long a time as you wish. To this end our cleaning team is ensuring that all surfaces in the church that are easily touched are regularly disinfected and cleaned. Each week there will be a different pew bulletin available to use and then to take home containing Scripture readings, set prayers and spiritual teaching.

The focus of our devotion on these Sunday mornings will be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, placed in a monstrance on the nave altar surrounded by candles and flowers. This Sunday is Mothering Sunday, and I know that the very best way to observe it during the current medical emergency will be to come in family groups for a short time of prayer and thanksgiving at All Saints’, not forgetting to light a candle at the Shrine of Our Lady, the mother of Jesus and our mother, too.

One last thing about these Sunday mornings. When you spend time before the Lord in this special way, do come with love and expectancy in your heart. For from the miracle of his sacred presence in the Blessed Sacrament, enthroned on the altar, cascade wave upon wave of healing love to touch your life and to give you his blessing. 

Just last Sunday during my address to the APCM I said that the most important - and really, the only indispensable - thing I do every day, is to go to the altar of God and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Reflecting this priority for the parish community, although public Masses will not be held, a ‘private Mass’ will be offered from Monday to Saturday at 7.30 a.m. Two people will be invited for each day. If you would like to be invited, please send me an email or write me a note. It is also important to let me know of any prayer requests for a particular day.

Since 2008 I have written a blog. It is at and contains many teaching articles following the themes of the Church Year, as well as general insights to help in our discipleship of Jesus. I will be using this blog to share with friends and parishioners.

Ten years ago I published a book of prayers in traditional language for Anglicans of the Catholic Tradition. I then created an online version which can be accessed here:
It is a veritable treasure trove of devotion that many of you might find helpful.

You will be relieved to know that I do not intend to use my iPhone to make amateurish videos of myself saying Mass each day! But I will in due course provide you with a list of reliable, well produced, good quality and spiritually enriching daily Masses streamed on the internet that you might find helpful.

As your parish priest I am committed to ensuring that you have access to the sacramental and pastoral ministry of the Church. I am supported in this commitment by the lay ministers of the parish. I do understand that those who are self-isolating face particular challenges, and  that in order not only to keep safe but also to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, special care must be taken with personal hygiene. To this end, the priest’s hands will always be washed thoroughly, immediately before and immediately after any sacramental ministry.

A range of people regularly receive our e-pew-bulletin. If you would like to be put on that email distribution list, please send me an email and ask!

Likewise, please get in touch with me if you wish a pastoral visit and/or to receive the Blessed  Sacrament.

Other aspects of the pastoral ministry such as funerals and weddings need to be considered with respect to the possible size of the congregation, and therefore the risks thought to be involved. There may well be a further development in the legal situation with regard to these celebrations. 

Finally, there will be opportunities within our parish family for help to be offered to some who are shut-in, or those who are self-isolating. This help might well be as simple a task as going to the shops for them. Please let me know if you can manage to give this kind of help, or if you need it.

It is difficult to predict how things will transpire in this evolving and challenging situation. But you can be confident that as instructed by the Diocese, the Churchwardens and I have put together a ‘Parish Continuation Plan’ that - as far as possible - helps us to be ready for whatever happens.  Above all, as Bishop Jonathan Baker has reminded us, we must be anchored in our confidence that God is with us. 

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
Father David Chislett

Saturday, March 14, 2020

What C.S. Lewis might have written about the deadly coronavirus

Of course, all necessary precautions should be taken - especially in church communities - to protect people as best we can and to limit the spread of COVID-19.  But - as a number of commentators have pointed out - the words of C.S. Lewis about the atomic bomb, written 72 years ago, are relevant for us. All you have to do is replace “atomic bomb” with “coronavirus” in the following. If you like this excerpt, scroll down and watch (and listen to) the doodle of the entire essay.

On Living in an Atomic Age (1948) in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays

In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. “How are we to live in an atomic age?” I am tempted to reply: “Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.”

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anaesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.