Plague Rag: Trinity, 7 June

St George the Martyr, Goodwood

Trinity: 7 June, 2020

The Plague Rag

As we finish the Easter season, Holy Mother Church has a series of catch-up Sundays, where we take themes for the faithful to ponder. Easter finished last week with Pentecost, when we pondered the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this Sunday we step back and contemplate the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the revelation by which we know God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We still have to come the feasts of Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart, the last of the two catch up feasts.

The Holy Trinity is simplicity and complexity in one. One of the first things we learn is making the sign of the cross to the name of the Holy Trinity, touching the head to signify our intellectual consent, our heart to signify our emotional consent, and then across our chest to signify the body’s worship. It is simplicity in that it is three persons, but complex in how this can be. But what we need to know is that by existing in three persons, God shows a plurality and an independence that is held together in love. We often say that God is love, and we know this from the Trinity, the ability to hold three persons together in love, the Father our creator, the Son our redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our sanctifier.

In the parish we are now allowed twenty persons per mass, so we are now down to three masses on Sunday morning: 8, 10 and 11.30. Please remember to book for a mass on Sunday; the 10 am mass particularly is full. You need to tick your name off the list on Sunday, so we have a record of who is here for tracing purposes. Weekday masses are also available, at the moment there is no need to book for these but do write down your name on the attendance sheet. The list will only be kept for one month and then destroyed.

The last few weeks I have been employing the low altar at the chancel steps and bringing communion to you in the pews. This echoes what was sometimes called the Jacobean church arrangement. This was the period in England of Elizabeth and James I, hence Jacobean from the Latin version of James. In those days in many churches the altar was no longer against the east wall, but instead placed lengthwise in the chancels. Most Sundays the normal service was Matins, Litany and the first part of the communion service, finishing before the consecration, and therefore called the ante-communion. The priest led these services from the nave, in front of the screen that separated the chancel from the nave. When it came to communion, which was often just monthly or even every three months, those who were communicating went into the chancel and sat in the choir stalls there, with the altar in between. The priest stood then at the narrow end of the altar, facing the east wall. Anciently, Christians always celebrated facing East, to await the return of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who will return in the East. Then at communion the priest would bring the sacrament to where the people were kneeling, in the chancel pews. In the reign of Charles I the altars were restored to the East walls and communion rails were erected to stop the altars being profaned – when the altar was between the choir stalls the puritans used the altar as a convenient “table” upon which to place their tall hats. However, many clergy still continued to say mass at the short end of the altar, now the north end, as they had in Jacobean times. This custom still continues in some low churches to this day.

We are now having pew sheets at church again, so I am starting to change the format of this Plague Rag. I will no longer include the weekly readings after this issue. I would also like feedback as to whether we should change the Messenger magazine. At the moment we post it out every three months. Would people prefer to receive it monthly in the same format as this Plague Rag?

I hope you have enjoyed the photos that I am putting in each week. Today I have specially included different photos of the interior of the church, looking towards the high altar. As you can see, there have been many changes over the years. The original idea was for a carved wooden screen, but that was too expensive. So we had curtains, and then for many years the lovely painting of the flight into Egypt, showing the Holy Family, now situated over the door leading into the vestries. Then the Crown complete with the “traffic lights” before their removal.

Gradually our churches are re-opening. It’s been frustrating to limit large buildings to small numbers. Full marks to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney who organised an email campaign to the NSW government to allow more than ten in the cathedral there. As he pointed out, 40 people could cram into a bus to come here and then only ten would be allowed in the massive nave.

In England the churches are also slowly preparing to re-open. When the churches were closed the Anglican Archbishops went further than the government guidelines and even banned clergy from entering the churches for private prayer or mass. Once more it was found out to be rule by personal decree and the Archbishop of Canterbury was put on the spot and had to admit that the law did allow clergy to use the churches. There has been much discussion about this within the English church. The Archbishops, in their micro-management of buildings and structure, had become more managers ruling over the church and less the shepherds whose calling is to offer hope and leadership. They are meant to be our Fathers in God, not health and safety officers.

This week’s hymn is the great hymn for Trinity Sunday, Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! It was written by the Anglican bishop Reginald Heber (1783–1826). Heber served as Bishop of Calcutta for only three years until his death at the age of 42. As Bishop of Calcutta, he and his successor also had responsibility for Australia until we appointed our first bishop in 1836. He died after plunging into cold water on a day of intense heat. A contemporary engraving shows his body “being carried from the bath by his servant and chaplain, the latter immaculately attired in a frock coat and top hat.” 

The tune for this hymn, Nicaea, was composed by John Bacchus Dykes in 1861. The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea – held by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 – which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity. It has been noted as one of the composer’s finest. Here is a video of Evan Brickner playing the hymn on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Organ, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, complete with shots of the feet playing the foot pedals.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee,

Though the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see:

Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,

Perfect in power in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth, and sky, and sea;

Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty,

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

God bless

Fr Scott 

Online Resources

This Saturday morning several of our local Benedictine Oblates met for the Eucharist and fellowship at St George’s; this is the first time since the Corona lockdown started and a return to their monthly cycle. Of the dozen or so in South Australia, three are members of our Parish and Father Scott is their Chaplain, having previously been Chaplain to the Sisters at the Community of Christ the King in Wangaratta Diocese.  Our oblates are members of either the CCK community, or the St Mark’s Community at Camperdown in Ballarat Diocese, with both groups meeting together and usually at Goodwood.

So, what is a Benedictine Oblate?  An Oblate professes the traditional Benedictine vows of stability, obedience and conversatio (conversion of life) outside of a monastery and in the place in the world to which God has called them.  They will seek to live in harmony with God and their neighbours amongst the distractions, disturbances and diversions of daily life – perhaps as parents, workers, Church members – by finding the classic Benedictine balance between prayer, work and study.

To guide them, Oblates will study and seek to apply the Rule of St Benedict to their spiritual and worldly lives – for example, most will include a portion of the Rule alongside their daily scriptural reading, and today we had a reading from the Rule during the Eucharist, and then that portion was discussed over the lunch.  Despite arising in the chaotic world of sixth century Italy, the Rule is remarkably easy to read and, due to its moderation and flexibility, adaptable to the 21st century.  Everybody should read it!  We’ve ordered in copies for the Tract Case, and Fr Scott recommends that you also subscribe to Fr Jerome Leo’s daily commentary, which helps put it into context:

Ah, I hear you say!  Fr Jerome is a Roman Catholic, and isn’t that who all this is for?  Not at all!  While there is a surprising ecumenical quality amongst Lutheran, RC and Anglican Benedictines, our own history shows that the Benedictine ethos has a unique place in the Church of England and her descendants.  Many of her great Cathedrals –  including Canterbury – were Benedictine foundations and Benedictine spiritually is found throughout our Prayer Books, particularly in our monastic pattern of daily prayer.

Some of these links will show just how broad the world of Anglican monastics and oblates is!

To finish, two contrasting RC communities in Australia:

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at

This Week

7 Sunday                                                                                                                                    TRINITY

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         10.00 am       Mass

                         11.30 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

8 Monday                                                 Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Non-Juror, Hymn Writer, 1711

                                                                                                                                         Fr Scott’s day off

9 Tuesday                                                                                          Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597

                                                                        Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymn Writer, Teacher of the Faith, 373

                         10.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

10 Wednesday

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

                           7.30 pm       Gregorian Chant Group

11 Thursday                                                                                BARNABAS, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

                         12.00 noon    Angelus and Mass

12 Friday

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

13 Saturday                                                                          Antony of Padua, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1231

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

14 Sunday                                                                                                                    CORPUS CHRISTI

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         10.00 am       Mass

                         11.30 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus


ALMIGHTY AND EVERLASTING GOD, you have given to us your servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, for you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First reading                                                                                                              Exodus 34:4b-6.8-9

A reading from the Book of Exodus.

Moses rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” The Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. He said, “If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

Hear the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Canticle                                                                                          Daniel 3:52-56. R v22

Blessed are you, the | God · of our | forebears: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed is your holy and | glorious | name: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you, glorious in your | holy | temple: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you who be|holds the | depths: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you on the | throne · of your | kingdom: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you in the | heights of | heaven: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Second reading                                                                                                    2 Corinthians 13:11-13

A reading from the second letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters, put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Hear the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel                                                                                                                        Matthew 28:16-20

+  A reading from the holy gospel according to St Matthew.

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This is the gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

The Midday Prayers (including the Angelus) are said in the gardens at the outdoor shrine every day from Tuesday to Sunday at 12 noon.

Published by

St George the Martyr Anglican Church Goodwood, Adelaide, South Australia

An Anglican church in the Catholic tradition - the leading shrine church in Adelaide!

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