A Reflection for Holy Week from Revd. Bryan Coates

Sunday 5th April – Palm Sunday

Lectionary Passages – Matthew 21 vv 1 – 11, Psalm 118 vv 1 – 2 & 19 – 29.


Whereas Matthew and Mark speak of the crowd cutting branches from the trees, it is John (c 12 v 13) who is definitive in telling us that they were palm trees – hence Palm Sunday, the day of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem by Jesus.

All four Gospels have an account – with some variation – of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Matthew, with his Old Testament emphasis, picks up the verse from the prophet Zechariah about the King coming to them in humility and riding on a donkey.  The crowd, pilgrims on the journey with Jesus, must have been familiar with the Psalm that is also part of today’s Lectionary, and join in with shouts of acclamation:-  “God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.  Praise God.”

Two lines of thought for our reflection.

One is about the very careful planning and preparation made by Jesus for this day.  It was Festival time.  The Passover was one of three great festivals in the Jewish calendar.  Under the obligation of the Law, pilgrims made the journey to Jerusalem from all over.  Jesus had come by way of Jericho and, we assume, had spent time with his friends Martha, Mary and Lazarus in Bethany. Now the Sabbath was over, and the journey could continue.  On that Sunday there must have been a Bank Holiday atmosphere.  Jesus, who had deliberately and resolutely “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9 v51), laid plans that were precise and detailed.  We hear about the arrangements for the loan of the donkey and the password that released it to the disciples.   He had repeatedly spoken about his death.  Now it was time.  Jerusalem was the place.

Jesus wasn’t at the whim of happenstance; he wasn’t the victim of external forces that exercised control over him.  His understanding of God’s purpose in him and through him brought him to this place and this hour – daunting and horrific as it must have seemed.  That jolting journey down from the Mount of Olives, past Gethsemane and up the other side towards the Temple was his way of obedience and our way of salvation.  We travel with him into Holy Week and towards Good Friday.

“Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die.”

Secondly it is about the crowd and their question. Verse 10 reads – “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar.  “Who is he?” the people asked.”  So, a second crowd.  The people who, with cheering voice, proclaimed him “King” are matched by people who seemingly haven’t got a clue.

Isn’t that a question for us?  Who is he for each one of us as, from our Christian perspective, we watch again the events of Holy Week unfold?  Is he King?  Is he Saviour?  How will he touch our lives and claim our hearts?

Isn’t that a question for the world?  A world again today full of suffering and pain and unwelcome death.  Attested as a real historical figure by Jewish and Roman historians, honoured by many, discounted and discredited by others, “Who is he?” to the world?  What does his death really mean?

“O Christ, your triumphs now begin o’er captive death and conquered sin.”

Bryan Coates                                                                                                                                  April 2020


A Prayer for our time

A Prayer from the Connexion – slightly amended.

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear,
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reaction to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.

We pray for your Church in this time of uncertainty.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others,
For those who feel more isolated by not being able to attend worship or fellowship.
Grant us your wisdom.

Holy God, we remember that you have promised that nothing will separate us from your love, demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us to turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.



Our Christmas Services


Amesbury 24th December, Midnight in Bethlehem at 9pm
Revd. M Jones
  25th December, Christmas Family Service at 10.30am Revd. C Jones
Bemerton 24th December, Midnight in Bethlehem at 9.30pm
Revd. S Hawkes
  25th December, Christmas Morning Service at 9.30am Revd.  S Hawkes
Bourne Valley         25th December, Christmas Morning Service at 10.30am Revd. S Hawkes
Fordingbridge 25th December, Christmas Morning Service at 9.30am Mr. M King
Pitton 25th December, Christmas Morning Service at 11am – B Coates
Salisbury 24th December, Holy Communion at 11.15am – D Hookins
  24th December. Christingle at 6pm – D Hookins
  25th December, Christmas Morning Service at 10am – D Hookins
Sandleheath 24th December, Nativity & Christingle at 6pm – S Hawkes
Shrewton 25th December, LA at 10am
Winterslow 25th December, Christmas Morning Service at 9.30am – D Moody




Special Services in the Circuit


      • 12th September, Harvest Festival Service
      • 22nd September, Rededication of the Girls Brigade


      • 22nd September, Harvest Festival Service
      • 6th October, Guild Sunday
      • 13th October, Church Anniversary
      • 17th November, Shoe Box Service, All Age Worship

Bourne Valley        

      • 15th September, Harvest Festival Service
      • 10th November, United Service at St Michaels


      • 22nd September, Harvest Festival
      • 17th November, Church Anniversary


      • 8th September, Church Anniversary
      • 6th October, Harvest Festival Service


      • 15th September, Harvest Festival Service

Wellow Wood

      • 29th September, No service at 6pm
      • 13th October, Harvest Festival Service


      •  15th September, Harvest Festival Service


Big Brekkie for Christian Aid in Woodfalls

18th May 2019

We took 85 orders for cooked plus a few people who just came for coffee or toast etc.  We had helpers from St Birinus, St Mary’s and the Methodist Church.  We raised £720 for Christian Aid. An increase of 18% on last year.  Plus they will benefit from just over £100 Gift Aid. This is the fourth year we have held the event.

Many thanks to all those who organised and supported this event at Woodfalls Methodist Church

Jerusalem Joy


Jerusalem Joy is a musical telling the Easter story Jerusalem Joy is a musical telling the Easter story Jerusalem Joy is a musical telling the Easter story from from Palm Sunday to the resurrection.
It comprises 13 songs and lasts approximately 45 minutes with narration.
Performanceon Saturday 4th May 2019
7.30pm at Bemerton Methodist Church
If you would like to be involved, please come along to the Sing Through 23rd April. You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t need to be at every rehearsal.

All are welcome

Rehearsals (all at Bemerton Methodist Church) :
Tuesday 23rd April @ 7.30pm  -Sing Through
Monday 29th April @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tuesday 30th April @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Wednesday 1st May @ 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Thursday 2nd May @ 2.30pm (No Evening)
Friday 3rd May @ 7.30pm (No Afternoon)
Saturday 4th May @4pm -Final Run Through
Saturday 4th May @7.30pm – PERFORMANCE

For further info please contact: