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Monday, 10 April 2017

Discover & explore: Peter Delaney (Internet)

Today's Discover & explore service at St Stephen Walbrook, explored the theme of internet (and the London Internet Church) through the ministry of Peter Delaney. The service featured the Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields singing Ubi Caritas by Durufl√©, The Call of Wisdom – Todd, Loquebantur variis linguis by Tallis and Nunc Dimittis by Barnaby Martin.

The next Discover & explore service is on Monday 24 April at 1.10pm when, as part of our new series exploring Reformation500 themes, together with the Choral Scholars, I will explore Grace, not Works.

In todays service I gave the following reflection:

Peter Delaney was Archdeacon of London from 1999 to 2010 and was Priest in Charge of St Stephen Walbrook from 2004 - 2014. He is a man with a passion for the arts and communication as a means of understanding humanity and God. After a classical art education and a brief period teaching, he worked for NBC television in Hollywood and there found his vocation to the Anglican Priesthood returning to England to read theology at Kings College London.

He served at Marylebone with Chaplaincies to the National Heart Hospital and London Clinic. He was Chaplain at the University Church of Christ the King. From there he was invited to become Precentor and Residentiary Canon at Southwark Cathedral, where he developed an arts programme of exhibitions and theatre and theological training. He was appointed Vicar of the ancient City church of All Hallows by the Tower where he not only developed the parish but set up a Performing Arts Cultural Exchange Programme twinned with New York and Philadelphia. Peter was made a Prebendary of St Paul’s Cathedral, London 1995. He began the City Churches Advisory Group at St Katharine Cree to develop the City Churches until being appointed Archdeacon. He was made MBE in 2001 for services to community in the City of London.

As part of the work at St Stephen Walbrook, he developed the London Internet Church as a vision of the church for the future. Peter is Director of the London Internet Church and with a team of others has moved this concept of the church of the future into a reality. After a lifetime holding together the disparate interests of faith, arts, theatre and television, St Stephen and the London Internet Church became the synthesis of all these interests.

At the heart of the London Internet Church is the praise and worship of Almighty God. In order to involve the whole LIC family on line, the Trustees have considered carefully how each one of can fully enter into the fellowship of the LIC. In line with the principles of the Anglican Communion, daily prayer and the Eucharist are the core of worship on the site. Those visiting the site are invited to worship and study with the LIC using the following new ways of approaching God in worship, prayer and praise:

  • Morning Prayer and Night Prayer – short filmed services lasting a few minutes and to be used at work or wherever you may be able to pray. These are services of quietness and reflection as we start or end the day: a daily changing prayer, ranging from 5 to 9 minutes in length, fronted by a number of church leaders, church dignitaries, actors and other celebrities.
  • Walbrook Eucharist– A film of the Eucharist using the words of the Book of Common Prayer set around the Henry Moore altar in St Stephen Walbrook. The film can be used to pray with us, make a spiritual communion with us, and teach others about the Eucharist.
  • Prayer Request and the Light a Candle Ministry – join with people throughout the world in placing prayers on the prayer board and actually lighting a candle on the webpage. When people pray or light a candle online, their prayer will be said and once a week a candle is lit in St Stephen Walbrook.
  • Teaching – Sermons from St Stephen, a series of Bible Studies involving Scripture, Prayer and Action, art courses covering Caravaggio, Giotto, Spencer and Botticelli, and videos such as The Exodus Story in twenty minutes retold by John Simpson CBE, Rabbi Mark Winer, Rabbi Mark Solomon, the Bishop of London, the Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Dean of St Paul’s and Dr Jonathan Gorsky of Heythrop College.

In developing the London Internet Church Peter would have been seeking to fulfil the Great Commission given by Jesus to his disciples to make disciples of all nations. At the beginning of the 1970s a Roman Catholic document called Communio et Progressio pointed out that “modern media offer new ways of confronting people with the message of the Gospel”. ‘Pope Paul VI said the Church “would feel guilty before the Lord” if it failed to use the media for evangelization. Pope John Paul II declared that “it is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church's authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the ‘new culture' created by modern communications”.’

‘All this applies to the Internet. And even though the world of social communications “may at times seem at odds with the Christian message, it also offers unique opportunities for proclaiming the saving truth of Christ to the whole human family. Consider...the positive capacities of the Internet to carry religious information and teaching beyond all barriers and frontiers. Such a wide audience would have been beyond the wildest imaginings of those who preached the Gospel before us.’

‘As the Church understands it, the history of human communication is something like a long journey, bringing humanity “from the pride-driven project of Babel and the collapse into confusion and mutual incomprehension to which it gave rise (cf. Gen 11:1-9), to Pentecost and the gift of tongues: a restoration of communication, centred on Jesus, through the action of the Holy Spirit”. In the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, “communication among men found its highest ideal and supreme example in God who had become man and brother”.’

‘The modern media of social communication are cultural factors that play a role in this story. The Church has a two-fold aim in regard to the media. One aspect is to encourage their right development and right use for the sake of human development, justice, and peace—for the up-building of society at the local, national, and community levels in light of the common good and in a spirit of solidarity. But the Church's concern also relates to communication in and by the Church herself. Such communication “finds its starting point in the communion of love among the divine Persons and their communication with us”, and in the realization that Trinitarian communication “reaches out to humankind: The Son is the Word, eternally ‘spoken' by the Father; and in and through Jesus Christ, Son and Word made flesh, God communicates himself and his salvation to women and men”.’

‘God continues to communicate with humanity through the Church. The Church herself is a communio, a communion of persons and eucharistic communities arising from and mirroring the communion of the Trinity; communication therefore is of the essence of the Church. This, more than any other reason, is why “the Church's practice of communication should be exemplary, reflecting the highest standards of truthfulness, accountability, sensitivity to human rights, and other relevant principles and norms”.’ Our hope is that this has and will continue to be true of the London Internet Church.


Heavenly Father, we embrace Your call for us to make disciples, to be witnesses and to grow leaders. Give us the eyes to see Your vision, ears to hear the prompting of Your Spirit and courage to follow in the footsteps of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Help us help others to discover your Way, to know your Truth and to share your Life in your dear Son. Inspire us by your Spirit to sow the good seed of the gospel through the London Internet Church with imagination and compassion that many will come to know you and many will be strengthened in their faith, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We light candles in church and on the London Internet Church site as a prayer: when we have gone the candle stays alight, kindling in the hearts and minds of others the prayers we have offered for the sick, the suffering, for those who have died, for the peace of the world, for ourselves and prayers of thankfulness too. Lighting a candle is a parable: burning itself out it gives light to others. Christ gave himself for others. He calls us to give ourselves. Lighting a candle is a symbol: of love and hope, of light and warmth. Our world needs them all and so we pray for these things in this world. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ, you speak and bring all that is seen and unseen into being: we give you thanks for the gift of the media to reach the far flung places of the earth with messages of hope and life. We give you thanks for those who risk their security and even their lives to expose injustice and to bring news of hope. May they strive to be the bearers of good news that all people may come to know the abundant life for which we have been created; and yet more wonderfully redeemed in Jesus Christ. We offer our prayer in your name, in the power of the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Father. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Blessing

The Lord says, ‘Go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations.’ The Father, whose glory fills the heavens, cleanse you by his holiness and send you to proclaim his word. The Son, who has ascended to the heights, pour upon you the riches of his grace. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, equip you and strengthen you in your ministry. And the blessing of God almighty, The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.


Will Todd - The Call Of Wisdom.

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