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Remembering His Royal Highness Prince Philip

It’s with sadness we learn today, (Friday), about the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 

In our Joint service at 10am at St Lawrence on Sunday we have a minute silence, with prayers for the Royal family and the National Anthem. Both Churches will be open on Sunday for private prayer, St Lawrence after Holy Communion service until 3pm and St Margaret’s from 9.30am until 3pm.

We will also be adding information to our websites.

There is an online book of condolence which we are all invited to contribute to on the Church of England website,

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said today: 

“I join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service. Prince Philip continually demonstrated his unfailing support and unstinting loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen for 73 years.

“He consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service. During his naval career, in which he served with distinction in the Second World War, he won the respect of his peers as an outstanding officer.

“On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life. He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.

“The legacy he leaves is enormous. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which he founded in 1956, has inspired generations of young people to help others and instilled in them a vision for citizenship and a desire to serve their communities. His work with countless charities and organisations reflected his wide- ranging, global interests in topics including wildlife, sport, design, engineering and inter-faith dialogue.

“In his powerful advocacy for conservation his was a prophetic voice for over half a century, as he brought people from around the world to a new concern and commitment to action for the future of our planet.

“As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others. Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example.

“I also join many people in giving thanks for the marriage of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, and for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Theirs was a marriage grounded in friendship and mutual respect and sustained by shared faith in Christ.

“I pray that God will comfort Her Majesty and the rest of the Royal Family at this time. May His Royal Highness rest in peace and rise in glory.”


God of our lives, we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip, for the love he shared among us, and for his devotion to duty. We entrust him now to your love and mercy, through our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Amen.
Merciful God, be close to all who mourn, especially The Queen and all members of the Royal Family. May they know the hope of your promises and the comfort of your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Online Concert April 23rd 2021

In aid of St Lawrence Seal and St Margaret’s Underriver Church funds

And The Clemence Charitable Trust (Reg no: 283114)


Lauren Joyanne Morris (Mezzo Soprano)

Milly Forrest (Soprano)

Camilla Marchant (Flute)

Joseph Havlat (Piano and accompanist)

Our two churches, which are a joint benefice, are producing a second online concert following the success of our earlier concert last December. Thanks to generous support from ticket sales and donations we raised £4,800 which was shared between the performers and our churches to provide much-needed financial support in a very difficult year. It was viewed in Washington, Toronto, Vancouver, South Africa and New Zealand as well as all over the UK.

Our next concert will again include mezzo-soprano Lauren Joyanne Morris together with flautist Camilla Marchant, both of whom have appeared in live concerts at our churches. They will be joined by soprano Milly Forrest and Joseph Havlat pianist and accompanist.

The recordings for the December concert were necessarily recorded in the musicians’ homes due to strict lockdown measures; on this occasion the recordings will be in a studio which will offer more scope to the performers.

Once again we are seeking your support for our talented musicians, our two churches which are experiencing another period of financial uncertainty and The Clemence Charitable Trust.

The concert will be available on YouTube from April 23rd for a minimum of 4 weeks and ticket holders will be advised of the access link ahead of the concert.

Tickets are priced at £15 per household (£20 for anyone outside Europe) and are available by application on the attached form from John Clemence on which you can also include a donation. It is essential that you provide an email address so that the link may be sent to you.

Your application will be acknowledged by email. This letter and the application form will be attached.

We would urge you to forward them to family and friends wherever they are so that they will also be able to enjoy the concert.

We hope we can rely on your support.

The funding is being arranged through The Clemence Charitable Trust (Reg No 283114)

Click here for the full programme.

Click here for the ticket application form.

How can we help during lockdown?

Our first ‘Click and Connect’ will be this Wednesday at 11am – the theme for this one is Christmas Needlepoint. A short demonstration followed by time to chat all within an hour. We have other speakers lined up and may have a session every fortnight. We shall send the link out on Tuesday 12.1.2021.  Please can you email Maxine at if interested.

Quiz Date to follow – keep checking the website.

Christmas 2020

Welcome to Christmas at St Lawrence!

This is a slightly different Christmas which we aim to keep as simple but as special as possible for us all.
From the 20th of December onwards, you can access our very special Online Christmas Carol Service for the Christmas week here.

In church we have the following:

Christmas Eve – 3-5pm Journey to the Crib, drop in anytime between 3-5pm and go to the Crib in your Bubble for a quiet moment. Carols playing, candles will be lit and there will be some special displays to enjoy. There may be a short waiting time with this.

Christmas Day – 10am Service in both Churches. Due to Covid restrictions these services need to be booked in advance, we will have overflow sound in the Churchyards for anyone who cannot get a seat in Church.
Booking for Christmas Day: please send an email to this address to book –

Much love to you all this Christmas time,

Rev Serena Willoughby (Vicar)

Online Concert December 6th 2020


In aid of St Lawrence Seal and St Margaret’s Underriver Church funds

Produced by John Morris

Presented by The Clemence Charitable Trust (Reg no: 283114)


Lauren Joyanne Morris (Mezzo Soprano)

Greg Tassell (Tenor)

David Flood (Organ)

The two churches, which are a joint benefice, have a record of producing live concerts. Most of the performers at Underriver have been students of music, who have been supported in their studies by The Clemence Charitable Trust and Greg Tassell and David Flood have frequently performed at St Lawrence.

Lauren and Greg are well-known to concert audiences at our two churches and they will be performing a wide range of music to suit all tastes. Greg will be accompanied by David Flood, who will also contribute to the concert a short recital on the newly-rebuilt Canterbury Cathedral organ.

This year has been difficult for professional musicians with the cancellation of engagements and also for our churches with the closure of buildings and the cancellation of fund-raising events. This concert will enable the musicians to earn a fee. It will also raise essential funds for the two churches and it will provide a much-needed lift as Christmas approaches.

The concert will be available on YouTube from 6pm on December 6th until Christmas and ticket holders will be advised of the access link ahead of the concert.

Tickets are priced at £15 per household (£20 for any one outside Europe) and are available by application on the attached form from John Clemence on which you can also include a donation.

It is essential that you provide an email address so that the link may be sent to you some 48 hours before the performance. No actual tickets will be issued.

Your application will be acknowledged by email. This letter and the application form will be attached. We would urge you to forward them to family and friends wherever they are so that they will also be able to enjoy the concert.


British born mezzo soprano Lauren Joyanne Morris is a recent graduate of the Royal College of Music International Opera Studio (RCMIOS), having completed her Master of Vocal Performance (Distinction) at the Royal College of Music, London. During her time at the RCM Lauren Joyanne was generously supported by the Clemence Charitable Trust. Lauren is also proud to be a Concordia Artist.

Performance highlights include covering the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni for Garsington Opera, singing the role of Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro under the direction of Sir Thomas Allen for the RCMIOS and covering Johanna in Sweeney Todd for Welsh National Opera. Concert work includes singing in a performance of Serenade to Music at Buckingham Palace and in a Gilbert and Sullivan Gala Concert at the Symphony Hall, both under the baton of John Wilson.


Greg is from Tunbridge Wells in Kent and was a chorister at Durham Cathedral. He studied music at Exeter University, becoming a choral scholar at Exeter Cathedral under Andrew Millington and won a place on the post graduate diploma course at the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied under David Lowe and Ryland Davies. Whilst at the RAM he reached the finals of both the London Handel Competition and the London Bach Prize and was runner-up at the inaugural John Kerr Award for Early English Song. 

On the opera stage, Greg has performed roles with English Touring Opera and is also much in demand as a soloist for oratorios. Recent engagements have included appearances at Cadogan Hall, Coventry Cathedral and St Martins in the Field. Greg has become particularly well known for performing the role of the roasting swan in Carmina Burana in full costume! In 2017 Greg was honoured to be one of the chosen soloists at the Presteigne Festival, performing Walton’s rarely heard “Anon in Love” and Cecilia Macdowell’s “In some corner of a foreign field” with full orchestra, to critical acclaim.

Greg is a founder member of professional chamber choir Sonoro and the vocal quartet Twilight ensemble. He also enjoys teaching singing at various schools in Kent.


David is the Master of the Canterbury Cathedral Choristers and is the Cathedral Organist. As such he is responsible for every aspect of the Cathedral’s music programme and has filled these two roles since 1988, having previously been Organist of Lincoln Cathedral. Prior to that, he had been assistant organist at Canterbury Cathedral. He has been a key participant in four Enthronements of Archbishops and two Lambeth conferences, but it is the daily sequence of sung services, which is his pride and joy. He is an Honorary Fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University and a Visiting Fellow of St John’s College, Durham. He was awarded an honorary DMus by the University of Kent in 2001 and is much in demand for choral workshops around the world.


Part 1

Greg Tassell accompanied by David Flood will sing

“Johanna” from “Sweeney Todd” by Stephen Sondheim

“Adelaide” by Ludwig van Beethoven

“The English Rose” from “Merrie England” by Edward German

“Ill Wind” by Flanders and Swann

“You are my hearts delight” from “The Land of Smiles” by Franz Lehar

Part 2

David Flood will then play on the newly restored organ at Canterbury Cathedral

“Carillon de Westminster” by Louis  Vierne

“Fiat Lux” by Theodore Dubois

Part 3

Lauren Morris will sing

“Habanera” from “Carmen” by Georges Bizet

“Hello Young Lovers” from “The King and I” by Rodgers and Hammerstein

“Faite-lui mes aveux” from “Faust” by Charles Gounod

“King David” by Herbert Howells

“Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” by Tom Lehrer

“We’ll Gather lilacs” from “Perchance to Dream” by Ivor Novello

“White Christmas” by Irving Berlin

“By Strauss” by George Gerschwin

Due to time constraints the content may be slightly varied in the performance

Tree of Life Altar Frontal for St Lawrence C of E School May 2020

Made by St Lawrence Stitchers :

Ethelwyn Osbourne, Gretel Wakeham, Alison Glennie, Sheila Jackson, Bridge Stephens, Teresa Anderson, Jenny Wharton, Rosemary Attenborough, Louise Clark, Lesley Rayner, Maureen Lewis, Gwen Ayling and Roz Morris. 

The tree design has been inspired by the location of the church and the school  in a rural setting near to Sevenoaks.  The leaves and animals on the ‘Oak’  tree are in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, to represent the diversity of life in the school.  The materials and skills used in the design  represent the important connection between the church and the school.   

All the fabrics,  embroidery threads and wools used to make the tree,  leaves and animals were donated.  The white silk of the tree was left over from making a vicar’s stole to celebrate 150 years in 2018. The green background fabric was donated by Robin Kiddell, and the White lining fabric was donated by Kate Clark.

The leaves on the tree and the animals have all been individually drawn and made by the Stitchers using  a variety of stitching methods, including needlepoint, embroidery and knitting. The wools and canvas used to create these leaves and animals are the excess materials from earlier stitching projects at the church, including the kneelers made following the lightening strike in 2005.  The owl and the squirrel were made by Teresa Anderson, The ‘Jenny’ Wren by Jenny Wharton, The dormouse by Louise Clarke and the Blackbird and ladybirds by Roz Morris. 

Coronavirus: updated advice on Holy Communion and sharing of The Peace

Dear Sisters and Brothers

I attach for your attention a letter (or download it here) from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.  This points you to new and important guidance relating to the administration of Holy Communion, the sharing of The Peace and other acts of ministry.

This new guidance is prompted by:

  • The developing public health situation (among those advising the Church of England is the Revd Professor Gina Radford, formerly the Government’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer);
  • Our responsibility towards those who may be most at risk of infection;
  • The desirability of consistency of practice across the church.

While there may be a few situations where ministers need to exercise judgement in the application of this guidance, it should be noted that this is guidance to which we should all have ‘due regard’ – in other words, we need to have a good reason for not abiding by it. 

If in doubt, please be in touch with my office at Bishopscourt

There is likely to be further advice in due course (e.g. about funerals where a person’s family are all self-isolating), and planning is in place in expectation of any significant increases in deaths. 

Where necessary, there will also be guidance about Confirmation and Ordination Services.

At present there is no guidance suggesting that we should discontinue public worship or other gatherings or close our schools. 

The exception to that would be if there was a case of actual infection in a particular community. 

At Diocesan Synod last Saturday, I drew particular attention to the importance of our care towards those who may be the most at risk, especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. 

Please be particularly alert to those in our communities who may themselves decide not to attend worship or other gatherings, and take steps to make sure that they have all that they need for their wellbeing. 

And please do all that you can to make sure that those people are not exposed to the risk of infection.

I am conscious also that there will be those among our clergy, lay ministers and pastoral volunteers who are themselves more at risk due to their own age or medical circumstances. 

Please do not place yourselves at risk and, if you need advice, please be in touch with Bishopscourt.

While we do need to be proportionate in our response to the present situation, we also need to take proper care and indeed to take a lead and set an example of good practice within our communities. 

Please be alert to the very simple guidance about frequent hand-washing and ‘social distancing’; also keep alert to further advice on the Church of Englandand diocesan website.

Please hold especially in your care and your prayers those who may be the most at risk of harm in our own different settings and more widely.

With my thanks for your attention to this and the assurance of my prayers.

The Rt Revd James Langstaff
Lord Bishop of Rochester and Bishop to HM Prisons