Sunday Services

8.00 Eucharist

10.00 The Parish Eucharist

10.00 Junior Church

18.30 Evening Prayer

19.00 Benediction

Weekday Eucharists

Tuesday 10.00

Wednesday 19.00

Thursday 10.00

Friday 12.30

Saturday 18.00

Contact Details
Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 3JG.
01823 354800
Facebook:  Holy Trinity Taunton

Fr Julian writes:

If I were to ask you who was the patron saint of students, bachelors and butchers, you may have to scratch your heads a little!  Were I to add ‘artists’ to the list, things might become clearer, and ‘doctors’ would doubtless clinch it – St Luke!

It is as the Patron Saint of physicians and surgeons that St Luke is best known.  We don’t have any churches dedicated to St Luke around here but ‘locals’ will recall that the former hospital site of Tone Vale has now been redeveloped and renamed as the quaintly-titled ‘Cotford St Luke’, in remembrance of the area’s former association with medicine and the dedication of that hospital’s chapel.

St Luke, whose Feast Day is October 18th, is accredited with being the author of both the gospel that bears his name and also the Acts of the Apostles.  If that were indeed the case, then St Luke wrote more than a quarter of the New Testament – quite a feat.  It is likely that as he is mentioned by St Paul in several of his epistles that Luke was actually one of Paul’s disciples, and therefore could not have been an eye-witness to Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Although one tradition has it that he was martyred by hanging from an olive tree, it is more commonly accepted that he lived to a grand old age of 84, and was unmarried.  That’s a tradition dating only from the 2nd century…

What with his writings, we have a lot to remember St Luke for, and with great thanksgiving.  As a doctor himself, the Church’s healing ministry often features St Luke, and this year we will once again have a healing service at St Luke’s-tide (22nd October at 6.30pm).  we also have a monthly service of prayer and intercession for the sick (first Saturday at 10am), as well as an active ministry of prayer for the sick through our weekly notice sheet (another reason to take it home…).

However, we sometimes get confused between ‘healing’ and ‘curing’.  We look upon our intercession for those who are sick almost as a shopping list of things for God to do, and top of the list is making them get better.  That is not what is meant by the ministry of healing.

You may think I’m splitting hairs, or being disingenuous in making that statement, trying through it to explain why prayer isn’t ‘answered’.  No, often our prayers for the sick do not result in a cure, but that doesn’t mean they are not answered.  As many of you know Fr Jeff has been very seriously ill, and he has been prayed for in various parishes as well as by strangers belonging to the on-line cell of Our Lady of Walsingham.  We, his family, have noticed the effect of these prayers; not that his cancer went into remission, but that he became much calmer.  And another way that prayer has been answered in him is that unusually he experienced no pain.  So prayers for him HAVE been effective, but not perhaps in the way that some may have hoped or even expected.

We pray in the Lord’s Prayer:  thy will be done.  That means we put our own wills second to God’s.  He is not there to do our bidding, but to serve our needs – very different from wants.  People who pray for others do have their prayers answered.  It may be that because those prayers are not answered in the ways that we expect that we don’t realise that it is so.  It calls for grace and humility – essentials for effective prayer - on our part actually to put our requests into the hands of God for him to do as he sees fit, and then to accept his will, however painful it might be, or even how joyous it might be.

Christ alone is the source of all healing and wholeness and it is to him we pray, enlisting the aid of saints such as St Luke.  In order that we might experience the answer to prayer, not only do we need to make that prayer, but we need to pray for grace and courage to recognise and accept its answer.

Since this was written, Fr Jeff has sadly died; peacefully at home surrounded by his family and the prayers of the Church.  His funeral mass will be at Holy Trinity on Friday 13 October at 11am.  May he rest in peace.