Liturgical Writings 2020


We are very grateful to those who have made available these liturgical texts. If we did not publish everything sent in, this was mainly due to a lack of time. We will revisit material not included here.

The Holy Week texts (A) were initially developed at, or inspired by, WATCH’s Liturgical Writing Day, held at the Oxford Deanery on a sunny winter’s day early February 2020 with participants gathering from far afield. The hand-out is included (C) describing those parts of the Communion service (CofE) which it is permitted rewrite. It was these sections which formed the basis for the day’s explorations. Themes engaged were: the use of non-gendered language, the mixing up genders and imagery drawn from women’s embodied experience. As Emma Percy suggested on the day, non-gendered approaches to rewriting liturgical texts have had an inadvertent effect of making women’s embodied experiences less visible,  thus rendering a diminished landscape for us all to be present to and responsive to the divine.

In our second section (B) John Schofield, responding to an invitation made at WATCH’s 2019 AGM, has kindly shared his texts for Inclusive Language Liturgy. These were originally written for the Church of St Mark’s, Broomhill, Sheffield. John has provided a brief introduction.

If you would like to:

  • be informed of future WATCH Liturgical Writing Days
  • share your liturgical writings* giving WATCH permission to make these available on a non-commercial basis.

Contact Claire Creese [email protected]

*In so far as within WATCH’s charitable aims.

Texts for Holy Week


1 Maundy Thursday

God our foot-washer,
Open us to your
Vulnerable presence,
Your tender love
And your eternal mercy
In the holy ground
Of our bodies
Created and sustained by you. Amen
Mary Kells

2 Good Friday

Broken God,
We bring our tears
For your brokenness
For our brokenness
And for the breaking we have done.
Help us
Like the women
At the foot of the cross
Not to look away
But to wait with you. Amen
Mary Kells

Compassionate God,
who of your tender mercies
gave Jesus, to be our saviour,
to labour on the cross
with blood, sweat and tears,
that we, and all God’s children
may be born anew:
grant us grace to follow
the example of our mother Jesus
in loving and giving of ourselves
so that, in us and through us,
new creation may be brought to birth
by the grace of your spirit.
Emma Percy

Generous God,
who like a woman
with a jar of precious ointment
showers us with blessings,
help us to accept your grace
that in it we may find assurance of forgiveness
anointing for our calling
and balm for our suffering
through Christ our friend and saviour.
Emma Percy

5 Palm Sunday

Almighty and ever-living God,
Who in your love toward the human race
Conceived our Saviour Jesus in flesh:
Make us pregnant with
The possibilities of his human life
And death among us,
Through Jesus Christ
In whom divine flesh and human spirit
Are joined
In the unity of the one God.
Liz Shercliff

Almighty and ever-living God
Who in your love toward the human race
Became, and still becomes, flesh:
Grant us the abiding peace of your presence
When our bodies are overtaken by human frailty
And our spirits disturbed by human fears,
Through Jesus Christ the living Word
In the power of Sophia the mighty Spirit
In the communion of the Trinity
Liz Shercliff

Almighty and ever-living God
Who in your love toward the human race
Yielded your flesh to suffering:
Grant us your endurance in vulnerability
When our paths are blocked
Our dignity stolen and
we are no longer able to choose for ourselves.
In the name of him who suffered the pains of labour
In birthing a new world
Liz Shercliff

Almighty and ever-living God,
Who in your love toward the human race
Laboured to bring new life from shed blood and water:
Grant us clarity
To see when we blame without cause
And to absorb the responsibility that is ours
That we might not dismiss others but
Welcome them into your family.
In the name of him who suffered the pains of labour
In birthing a new world
Liz Shercliff


Holy God
We have squandered your gift of life,
Clinging to that which is passing,
Controlling that which should be free.

God have mercy
God have mercy 

Vulnerable God
We have turned from the Cross,
We have shunned suffering
And sought our ease.

Christ have mercy
Christ have mercy

 Sharing God
We have denied relationship
And closed down
When we could have opened.

God have mercy
God have mercy


God of mercy and of love
Forgive us all we have
Set aside, and
Set us free
To live as your friends,
In the name of the one
Who lived on earth
As the friend of all. Amen
Mary Kells


Loving Jesus
raise us to new life

God have mercy
God have mercy

Compassionate Jesus
forgive us when we falter
and forget to be as you are

Christ have mercy
Christ have mercy

Caring Jesus
feed us with living bread
renew us with your Spirit

Holy Spirit have mercy
Holy Spirit have mercy

As Mary came to embrace
your divine presence
from birth to tomb to cross
enable us to walk in you footsteps

Creator God have mercy
Creator God have mercy

As the women who followed the Messiah
Even to the foot of the cross
Give us the courage to be like them

Loving Creator have mercy
Loving Creator have mercy

As Mary wept for you
as you demonstrated your you love
through sacrifice
let us not waste this gift

Mother have mercy
Mother have mercy
Giselle Rusted


Jesus Christ, Holy and divine
gracious and humble
We sit at the foot of the cross
aware of our own frailty
In the knowledge that it is only through
your mercy and love
demonstrated in your sacrifice
and your resurrection
that we will be redeemed.
Giselle Rusted

Biblical Reflection

Pilate’s wife

He was in a filthy mood tonight.
‘Tough day at work’ he said.
I bet.
Dinner was long cold,
He’d spent so long in the bathroom –
Blaming me that the soap didn’t work,
Hands still filthy as he cut up his meat.
I wept.
Tears and fears poured out of my heart
For the innocent man condemned to die.
‘Me too,’ I whispered, ‘me too.’

I’d done my best,
Tried to warn him:
‘Listen to my dream!
Listen to me!’
But old habits die hard,
And my dream was yet again washed away
Down the plughole of his ambition;
His dreams of power
Turning my dream into a nightmare.

And so what could I do?
I washed my face,
And washed my hands,
And vowed to buy some stronger soap.
Marie Calvert


God of love,
Spirit of integrity,
Forgive our tendency
To massage truth to suit ourselves.
Wash away our lack of courage,
That we may hear your dream for the world.
Marie Calvert

God in Christ
love poured out in flesh and blood,
risen to a new order
so that we may leave our concerns
at the foot of the cross:
fill your church with faith and hope,
for a new day has dawned
in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Giselle Rusted

Proper Prefaces for Holy Week

In this holy week of Easter
It is indeed right
To praise you, Creator God,
You who made the earth
And all your creatures,
You who bring to birth,
Creating and making new
Yesterday, today and forever.

God our maker
We praise your holy name

 You gave us Jesus,
Born of a woman,
Friend of women,
Friend of the outcast,
Friend of us all,
Who showed us how to live,
Whom death could not contain.

God our friend
We praise your holy name

 Holy God
You breathed your holy essence
Upon us
Within us
Between us
We are not alone.

God among us
We praise your holy name

And so we raise our voices
To join in the eternal song of Heaven
In gratitude and joy 

Followed by the Sanctus
Mary Kells


Ever-giving, ever-loving God
To you, in all times and in all places,
It is right to give thanks and praise.
In Jesus your Son, our Saviour
You came among us
As one born of Mary,
Whose friendship with the outcasts,
Servant love and rigorous challenge
Has taught us how to live.
Open our hearts
To your mystery,
The mystery of your eternal presence,
And with all God’s people
And with Heaven itself,
To sing your praise: (Sanctus)
Mary Kells


Enriching, enlivening God,
It is indeed right
To give you thanks and praise.
You birthed your people
In labour and in joy
And fed us from the
Breast of Christ
Who passed
Through blood and water
To bring us to the knowledge and love
Of your eternal presence.
And so we lift our hearts
With all the saints
To give you praise. (Sanctus)
Mary Kells


It is right to give you thanks and praise Holy God, mother of all.
In creation you birth all things into being.
Through Mary’s body your beloved Christ was born
into our human likeness.
Through blood and water,
through travail and suffering on the cross,
Jesus birthed your people into a new creation
so we become children of heaven.
Now we join our songs with the saints and angels
forever more praising you and singing ….
Emma Percy


It is always good to thank you gracious God
for your love for us and for all the blessings of our life.
And now we remember your love shown in Jesus
who willingly went to the cross
to suffer pain and brokenness
so that we could be born anew.
Like a mother, he births us and feeds us
then sends us out into the world
to live life in all its fullness.
Rejoicing in this love and living this new life
we sing with all the angels.
Emma Percy



This is the body of Christ.

Swaddled in love and wonder,
Held by his mother’s gaze
And laid in a manger.
Silent night.

This is the body of Christ.
Swaddled in pain and death,
Held by his mother’s gaze
And laid in a tomb.
Holy night.

We are the body of Christ.
Swaddled in grace and mercy,
Held by the mother’s gaze
And laid in the arms of love.
Starry night.
Marie Calvert 


God of Peace
who raised from the dead
Jesus, our protector and guide,
through the blood of the eternal covenant:
Make us perfect in every good work
to fulfil God’s will,
Working in us that which is
well pleasing in our Creator’s eyes.
Giselle Rusted

Inclusive Language Liturgy John Schofield

John writes: These are among the pieces which I have written for liturgical use at St Mark’s, Broomhill, Sheffield. They are written to be inclusive rather than challenging. The Sursum Corda is the version now used as standard at St Mark’s. The Eucharistic Prayer (which brings together ideas from existential and process theology) is used during the first part of ordinary time.

Affirmations of faith/trust

We trust in a God who never stops creating:
Moulding the broken pieces of the world, and offering hope.

We trust in the story of Jesus, giving forgiveness, healing and wisdom:
To shape our stories and reshape the story of the world.

We share the wounds of Jesus:
And in his name welcome all who are wounded.

We are friends of God,
Part of God’s story for our lives and this place.

Amen. So be it.


Let us give voice to our convictions
and substance to our hopes.

We live by faith;
in the love of God, embodied in Jesus the Christ.

We live in hope;
which does not disappoint, but brings love to life.

We live in the power of the Spirit;
transforming our lives and the whole of creation.

Amen. So be it.

Sursum Corda 

May God be with you:
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to our gracious God:
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Eucharistic Prayer

May God be with you:
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to our gracious God:
It is right to give thanks and praise.

Ground of Being, great I Am,
your breath sweeps through the universe,
bringing life to life;
we praise you for your energy
and your intention for all creation.

In Jesus you displayed your love.
made known your wisdom,
and called us to yourself.

You wait and weep and sorrow
as we prefer self-interest to all that is good
for us, for others and for our world.

Yet reaching out with open arms
you draw us to yourself,
revealing the strength of love
where we see only weakness.

And so with all who,
through time, in our time and for all time
rejoice in your being,
we join our voices in a song of endless praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of truth and love.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. 

Blessed is Jesus, the Bread of Life:
on the night when he was betrayed he took a loaf of bread,
and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,
This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying,
This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Blessed is Jesus, the Bread of Life:
Dying you destroyed death;
Rising you restored life;
Come to us, Lord Jesus. 

Be with us now,
and breathe your Spirit into this bread and wine.
May we take them into our lives,
grow in Christ,
and be the breath of love
in our being and becoming.

Calling us to be like you in Christlike living,
fulfil in us all that you intend,
as in our lives,
and in community with Christ,
we worship you,
source and ground and purpose of our being,
now and throughout all ages.



May we be blessed by God in our loving and our hoping,
may we be blessed by God in our courage and our striving;
may we be blessed by God in our blessing one another.


The following Eucharistic Prayer has not been tried out in public worship. I wrote because I feel that Prayer H in Common Worship doesn’t really work, but that we do need something that is both accessible and responsive.

May God be with you:
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts
We lift them to God.
Let us give thanks to our gracious God:
It is right to give thanks and praise.
God, you are good:
We thank you.
God, you have made the world for us all to enjoy:
We thank you.
God you have called us to live together in one world:
We thank you.
God, you have created each one of us to know you and love you:
We thank you.
God, even when we have turned away from you and one another,
You do not turn away from us:
We thank you.
God, you have given us Jesus to show us how we should live:
We thank you;
So with all your people throughout time, we give you praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of truth and love.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest. 

Jesus showed us what it means to love:
He gave his life for us on the cross.
Jesus shares his life with us:
When we break bread together.
In the Upper Room Jesus took a loaf of bread:
He gave you thanks, broke it and shared it.
He said ‘This is my body, given for you.’
We eat it, remembering him.
Then he took a cup of wine, and gave you thanks:
He passed it round and shared it.
He said ‘This is the cup of the new relationship with God.’
We drink it, remembering him.

Blessed is Jesus, the Bread of Life:
Dying you destroyed death,
Rising you restored life,
Come to us, Lord Jesus. 

Gracious God
send your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and wine:
As we receive them
unite us in the body of your son.
Gracious God,
send your Holy Spirit on your people:
Renew us with your love.
Help us to work every day for the coming of your kingdom.
And shape us every day
to grow like Jesus,
Who, with you, Creator, and you, Holy Spirit,
we worship and adore, true and living God,|
for ever and ever,

Hand Out  – WATCH Liturgy Day                                                                

February 8, 2020 – Christ Church Deanery, Oxford
Facilitator – Rev Dr Emma Percy

In a communion service it is permissible to rewrite these sections:

  • Collects
  • Confession
  • Absolution
  • Intercessions
  • Proper Preface of the Eucharistic prayer
  • Post communion prayer
  • Blessing

Today we are thinking about how to make liturgy more inclusive of women.

  1. Using non gendered language – is there a good alternative to Lord?
  2. Mixing up the genders, using both male and female pronouns for God.
  3. Drawing on feminine imagery from women’s embodied experience, from the Bible, from history.

Reflecting on Holy Week

Where are the feminine ideas to be found?

The cross as a birthing? Water and Blood, the necessity of pain in bringing about new life.

The women in the stories. Watching from a distance, bearing witness. The woman with the perfume. Mary the mother of Jesus.

How does this resonate with women’s lived experience.

Being silenced, watching at a distance, being passive in the face of power, having violence done to you, laying down one’s life for one’s child.


With Thanks to God who is both Father and Mother to us all – Mothering Sunday Resources


We speak often of God as Father. We look to God to father us but also to help and inspire us towards the best in fatherhood and to understand what makes for healthy fatherhood and what doesn’t.

We also have need to speak of God as Mother. We need to see God as a true mother to us and also to help and inspired us towards the best in motherhood and to understand what makes for healthy motherhood and what doesn’t.

So today as we celebrate Mothering Sunday and thank God for our mothers who gave us birth, we also give thanks to God our mother who is the very source of our being.

Opening Hymn/Song


Before confession or at beginning of service get congregation to practice the actions below.

As we stand, let us prepare to ask God’s forgiveness.


As a mother comforts her child,[hold arms like rocking baby]
So shall the Lord comfort us.
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

You Lord will not always be chiding, [hold out finger, telling off]
Nor will you keep your anger forever:
Christ have mercy
Christ have mercy

I have calmed and quieted my soul [finger to mouth]
Like a child upon it’s mother’s breast is my soul within me:
Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy

Oh The Lord have mercy upon us [arms open]
Forgive us all our sins
Enfold us in your love
And bring us to eternal life.


Someone read this from Good News and with ‘she’.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.
She lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
She gives me new strength. She guides me in the right paths, as she has promised.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

You prepare a banquet for me, where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.


Leader asks children/congregation:
What do shepherds do?

Look after sheep? What sort of things:

  1. Make sure they’re fed
  2. Make sure they’re safe
  3. Stop them from getting lost
  4. Protect them from wolves and bears
  5. Get stones out of their hooves
  6. Cut their hair
  7. Most important they love their sheep. That’s why they do all that for them. They love their sheep so much that they will risk their lives to protect them.

That sounds a lot like what mums and dads and carers need to do.

Leader may share:
Jesus said “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – and I lay down my life for my sheep”

Leader tells everyone we’re going to have a gospel reading and a sketch now.

Question: What is it that you can give away and share and never runs out?

Gospel Reading

Feeding of the 5000 Mark 6: 34-44


Feeding of the 5000


Love never runs out

Parents bring what they can. Sometimes those offerings are very small. But we offer them to God. We also need our community to support us so that our children can be fully fed and cared for


Could have kids standing up around the church and saying a short prayer

(get them to make them up before) – thanks for love shown and pray for healing for those who are lonely, hurt by lack of love… etc

give out slips of paper for people to write their own prayers on for parents, children, the world… with pen or their finger… Bring up the prayers



Eucharistic Prayer


Eat this Bread

Give Out Posies

With celebration and thanksgiving for all

Susan Stead


Collects and Prefaces for Mothering Sunday

Opening Collect

Marvellous Mother, you have carried us since you birthed creation
And continually watch over our growing.
However heavy we become,
You never relinquish your load.
Though you weep when we wander,
You will not lock the door on our return,
Stay always close, we pray, through the love of your Son, Jesus Christ.

Short Preface to Eucharistic Prayer

We have seen the wonder of your love
Expressed and multiplied in creation
We have heard the powerful warnings spoken
By your prophets, when in the hardness of our hearts
And stubbornness of our wills
We would not take you by the hand.
We have read the story of your Son’s abiding in a human family
We rejoice in the full extent of Jesus’ love shown through his teaching
We remember his trial, his death by our sin and his rising by your power.
This is our story; this is your story; this is the world’s story.

Closing Collect

Tender Father, our blanket against the cold of sin,
You wrap us in the shawl of forgiveness when we tripand fall,
You rock us in your arms till our weeping ceases.
Though our thanks can never be sufficient,
We promise today to prove the teaching and sacrifice of your Son
Through our daily lives, and in the mothering of others.

Closing Collect

Maternal Father, in your Son your love is forever
Expressed and constantly multiplied,
And through your Spirit it is always available to share.
We thank you for your protective presence in our lives,
Through Jesus Christ our brother.

Judith Diamond


Can a Woman Forget Her Nursing Child

Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show compassion for the child of her womb. Even these may forget yet I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15

We pray with thanksgiving for all the mothers who do not forget –
Whose patient loving kindness sustains life and nurtures growth,
Whose children bring her joy and delight
And for all who have shown us such love.
Loving God hear our prayer 

We pray for strength for the mothers who do not forget
Despite limited resources
In places of fear and danger
Who make homes and provide hope in the harsh realities of the world
Loving God hear our prayer

We pray for courage for the mothers who do not forget
Yet live with the pain of grief for children they have lost
Who know the sorrow of fragmented relationships
Who could not or cannot keep their children safe from harm.
Loving God hear our prayer

We pray for those whose mothers seemed to forget
For children and adults neglected, abandoned or abused
For those of whom too much was expected and too little love shown
For all who need to know that you will not forget.
Loving God hear our prayer

We pray for each of us and those we care for
That we may trust in Your compassionate love,
For you do not forget.
You write all our names on the palms of your hand
And hold our needs in the depth of your heart.
You love us throughout the years of our life and promise never to forget.

Emma Percy

A song for toddler group

to the tune of Frere Jaques
God our Mother
God our Mother
Source of love
Source of love
Hide us in the shadow
Hide us in the shadow
Of your wings
Of your wings

God our Mother
God our Mother
Keep us safe
Keep us safe
Comfort and defend us
Comfort and defend us
In your love
In your love

Mothering Sunday Liturgy

God of light and love;
We pray especially for all who find Mothering Sunday painful:
We pray for mothers who watch over children who are ill
and children who watch over their suffering mothers;
We remember mothers who are apart from their children
and mothers who grieve because their children have died,
remembering especially the parents of the young people who died in York’s rivers in recent weeks
and those who grieve for relations who were lost on the Malaysian Airlines jet MH370;

For those who longed for children and who have none
For those without their mothers because of illness or death
And who, in their longing, know themselves to be alone;
For children who are abused or neglected,
For children missing their mothers on this day
And all who suffer the impact of family breakdown
We ask that you would be a light in the darkness.

Tender and compassionate God
surround us all in your loving embrace;
and hold us always in your care.

Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

We commit our struggling world and the conflicts that spoil our relationships into your hands of love, naming before you today the pain of Syria, Egypt and Southern Sudan.
For people we know who are sick and for those close to death,
We ask for peace.
For all who offer us love and compassion
And nurture us into growth and wholeness
we give you thanks.

May we walk more faithfully with Jesus
and follow him, as Mary did,
to the foot of the cross
and onwards into the light of resurrection hope.

In the company of one another and of all the saints in glory
May we gaze on Jesus, the light of the world that will never be overcome.

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son
our Savior, Jesus Christ.

A prayer for parents who feel inadequate

Thank you God
For loving us when we get things wrong,
When we’re cross, tired and irritable.
Thank you for loving our children
When we find them hard to love.
Thank you for being a Mother to us all, parents and children,
And for gathering our whole families together
In the tender warmth of your embrace.

Liturgy of candle-lighting

God who loves and nurtures us,
Protects and defends us,
Frees us and calls us,
Your love for us shines like a flame
Which cannot be put out.

A candle is lit.

Your love ignites in us
The life-giving spark of your spirit,
Calling us to love and be loved.

All are invited to light a candle from the main candle, and hold it as we pray.

We hold before God those who have mothered us:
All who have nurtured us,
Cared for us,
Encouraged us,
Prayed for us.


We hold before God those whom we have mothered;
Those we have nurtured,
Cared for,
Prayed for.

Loving God, Mother of us all,
We thank you that all love flows from your limitless love,
Help us to know your love for us,
To show your love to others,
To shine with the light of your love,
Until the whole universe is transformed by love.

Intercessions 2

We thank you God
For our mothers and fathers,
Grandparents and siblings,
Family, friends,
And all who care for us.

We pray for all who are without family, friends or anyone to care,
For those who feel like they are unloved;
May they know your infinite, compassionate love.

God of love,
Our refuge and strength,
Our hope and our peace,

Bring us close to you.
We thank you for good relationships,
For joy and happiness
And the gift of laughter.
We thank you for strong relationships
Which strengthen and support us
Through difficult times.

We ask your healing for relationships which have gone wrong;
We are sorry for the times we have hurt others;
Help us to forgive those who have hurt us.

God of love,
Our refuge and strength,
Our hope and our peace,
Bring us close to you.

We thank you, compassionate God,
For your love for us,
Greater and deeper than we can understand.
We thank you that we can rely on you,
And that whenever we turn back to you,
You receive us with open arms.

Help us to show your love to a needy world,
To love your children as you love us,
And to draw all people into your loving embrace.

God of love,
Our refuge and strength,
Our hope and our peace,
Bring us close to you.

Intercessions 1

Loving God,
You call us to be part of your family,
You feed us and shelter us,
You write all our names on the palm of your hand;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer
For the loving parent,
The grandparents starting again,
The step-parent learning to love a child not their own;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For the struggling parent,
The mother at the end of her tether,
The father frightened of what it means to be a dad;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For the joyful child,
The child full of the wonder of the world,
The child bouncing and running with energy not yet crushed;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For the anxious child,
The one who is old before her time;
The child who does not know where his next meal is coming from;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For the fearful child,
The one who has cried too much and played too little,
The child who no longer believes it is safe to trust or love;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For the childless person
Whose arms ache with emptiness,
The one who yearns for what they cannot have;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For the single person
Who has chosen their own family,
The one who draws together strangers with bonds of love;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer

For all your children,
All your great creation,
Which longs for a completeness which is only found in you;
Mother of all
Hear our prayer