10.00 am Easter Holy Communion, 12 April 2020

Choral prelude for Easter Day – Christ Lag In Todesbanden, J.S. Bach

Introduced and played by Adrian Boynton, Director of Music (recorded before the Cornerstone building was closed)


Risen Lord Jesus,
we adore you and praise your name.
Today you defeated death and rose again.
You died on the cross that we might be free.
Thank you, risen Lord, that you did this for us,
so that we might enjoy the freedom of eternal life.
Risen Lord Jesus,
we love you, we worship you, we adore you.


First reading: Acts 10: 34–43

Read by Janet Trimnell

34 Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favouritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached – 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

39 ‘We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’


This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Gradual: Alleluia Psalm

Introduced, played and sung by Adrian Boynton, Director of Music (recorded before the Cornerstone building was closed)

Gospel reading: Matthew 28: 1–10

Jesus has risen

Read by Ian Trimnell

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’


This is the Gospel of Christ.

Praise to Christ our light.

Sermon for Easter Day

by Revd George Mwaura

Resurrection Hope

Lord, we thank you for the gift of your Word, and as we reflect on the Easter Sunday event, we pray that you would open our hearts and our minds to hear afresh your message of resurrection in the name of the one who overcame death.


A few years ago, I witnessed a truly funny incident in Bolton town square. Every two years, the city holds a community Easter Passion drama and people from all over Bolton are invited to audition for the different roles. The job of selecting the cast was relatively easy. However, the part of Jesus was difficult to cast. No one seemed to fit the new director’s idea of what Jesus should be like – no one, that is, except for the most unlikely character: a hefty six-foot heavily tattooed man who worked for the council as a bin man: or to be politically correct; a waste management advisor! Surely, he must be out of the question, reasoned many of us. How could the director select someone to play the part of Jesus who cursed like a squaddie and had a reputation for fighting in the pubs? But he was the one she chose, because he was the logical choice: an ordinary non-pretentious person.

On the day of the play itself, the town square was heaving with people. When it came to the part where Jesus was led away to be crucified, one very short man who was part of the crowd, became so caught up in the heat of the moment and kept shouting: ‘Crucify him, crucify him!’ And as Jesus went past him carrying the Cross, the little man spat in his face. Ho, ho, Ooh! The big fellow stopped dead in his tracks; the director froze: the audience waited with bated breath — the silence was ominous. Slowly, the big guy reached up and wiped the spit off his face, stooped down a bit and eyeballed the little man, then hissed, just loud enough for most of us to hear, ‘I’ll be back to take care of you – after the Resurrection!’

Indeed, the events that took place after the Resurrection in our Gospel reading today are what has made this day known as Easter Sunday so special. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary certainly did not expect anything special. After all, they had seen Jesus die on the Cross. As they made their way to anoint his body; all they were expecting was the bleak, cold reality of death. But, when they arrived, they were surprised at what they discovered: the tomb was open; the stone rolled away; the body missing. The burial clothes were lying on the stone in the shape of a body. According to the story, an angel of the Lord said to the women: Fear not, for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen from the dead. The women then left, and on the way encountered the risen Christ. He was alive!

And that, my good friends, is the Easter Event. It is a true story, the narrative of an experience relayed in several ways by the four gospel writers. Everyone who heard this story was overwhelmed by it, because they did not expect it: but it was not a figment of their imaginations; oh no, it was reality – Jesus was alive! This is a story that is so simple, yet hugely important. I don’t completely understand it myself, but I believe it with every fibre of my being. I really don’t know what I would preach if I didn’t believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. I believe it because of the difference it has made in my own life and indeed the lives of millions of others who have encountered the risen Christ.

Two things to note from the Resurrection: First, after the Resurrection, there was disbelief. When the women were first told, they didn’t believe; they thought someone had stolen the body of Jesus. All they wanted was to give him a proper burial and so they had trouble believing the Resurrection angle at first. Then, they ran back and told the disciples who disbelieved them as well – primarily because they were women. In first-century Palestine, a woman’s witness was not considered valid, unless supported by a man! Again, when Jesus appeared to the disciples in the Upper Room, Thomas was not there, and when they told him of their experience he simply said: Unless I see him for myself, I will not believe.

Unfortunately, many of us are like that too: imprisoned by disbelief. We may not say it loudly, but we say it by the way we live our lives. We are filled with doubt, loneliness and despair, and often we feel as if our lives don’t matter – as if no one cares. Because we live as if we do not need God’s help, when our best human efforts fail, we get discouraged and feel alone.

On Easter Sunday morning, the followers of Jesus suddenly realised … he was alive, he cared, and they were not alone any more. And neither are we: In the first four months of this year, our world has been turned upside down by COVID-19. Our winter seem never ending. It’s as if we have been permanently left in the wilderness to fight the demons of Corona alone. At the moment life feels bleak. But, if you open the eyes of faith, I believe that you, too, can experience the risen Jesus; and when you do, you will discover a God who cares so passionately about us and what is happening in our world right now. A God caring enough to let his own son die so that you and I might have eternal life. No matter how frustrating, confusing, or scary this crisis gets, fear doesn’t have the final say. The final say belongs to God. We read in 1 John 4: 18 : There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. Our hope is built on the perfect love of Jesus Christ, and we’ve been called to share that love with the world. We do not know how long this winter will last nor how long we will be exiled; that shouldn’t be our major concern. Our primary task in the coming weeks and months is to do all we can to bring hope to God’s people – practically and spiritually as we learn how to be a diaspora church in the corona times.

The second thing we need to note is this: After the resurrection, there was a joyful hope. When the women went to the tomb, there was sorrow in their hearts. They were there to anoint the body, but how would they roll away the stone? When they arrived, however, the stone had been rolled away and the angel of the Lord said to them, ‘He is not here; he is risen!’ Then, Matthew tells us that they left the tomb filled with joy. But the joy they felt was more than simple happiness; it was a joy that was filled with hope. And the joyful hope that came alive to those first disciples was that Jesus was resurrected from the grave – and if this was possible; well, then they too would be conquerors of the grave. This joyful hope of conquering death brought the disciples out of hiding and sent them into the world proclaiming the good news of the Easter Event. They were changed people because they knew that God had not deserted them.

The Apostle Paul proclaimed this joyful hope when he wrote to the church in Rome saying: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers – and, dare I add, not even Corona – will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the joyful hope of the Easter Event. Like I confessed earlier, I do not completely understand the mystery of the Resurrection. I have no answer for why and how Jesus walked out of that tomb alive. But I believe that he did it! I believe that the tomb is empty. And because he lives, I am here to tell you the Good News of the Gospel – you too will live, long after the dreadful Corona, long after your earthly journey has come to an end!

Happy Easter everyone!


Hymn: The Day of Resurrection

Played and sung by Adrian Boynton, Director of Music (recorded before the Cornerstone building was closed)


Led by Cheryl Montgomery

Acts 10: 34–43; Jeremiah 31: 1–6; Psalm 118: 1–2, 14–24; Colossians 3: 1–4; John 20: 1–18; Matthew 28: 1–10

Sit up my people and dry your eyes!
Smell those lilies, grasp that hope!
We come together this morning to pray and
celebrate this Resurrection Day.

We give thanks for the gift of Jesus renewed:
death is inevitable but not the end!
No more ransom required to be paid.
The grave is no spectre on this Resurrection Day.

We give thanks for all our Cornerstone people,
who pray as one in love and in loss,
drawn from every nation – every tongue.

Despite isolation we can rejoice at new birth and at David’s Happy Birthday.
We can remember the Cornerstone pioneers who helped make us one,
like John Dunbabin, who is at ease with you now.
Reaching across technology let’s all say:
‘Thanks, God, for your CMK people on this special Resurrection Day.’

We give thanks for the people who keep us safe:
the doctors and drivers, shelf stackers and monitors,
nurses and carers, social workers and everyone who just does!
Give them space to take breath and keep them safe
on this socially distancing Resurrection Day.

We celebrate today the ethos of Traidcraft:
fighting poverty through trade to achieve fairer supply chains,
responsible business and justice in international trade.
Help us live as your new people, convinced that:
evil will not overcome goodness, cruelty will not prevail;
that dignity and justice are worthy of work at home as well as far away.
A fairer future is worth a fight on this courageous Resurrection Day.

Strengthen us Lord in a time of dread to live as your fearless people:

  • to see the world as we could make it;
  • to speak of a world full of better tomorrows;
  • to live in the power of guilt removed;
  • to pray in the name of Him who died but lives for ever

thanks to His own Blessed Resurrection Day!


Holy Communion

Hold the bread in your hand.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.

Hold the wine in your hands.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.

Blessed be God for ever.

The Lord be with you,

and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation; in your love you made us for yourself. When we turned away you did not reject us, but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed, at supper with his friends, he took bread, and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him: his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine, he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins; do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him: his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory, send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world we offer you this sacrifice of praise and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

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

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.


Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Blessed are those who are called to his supper.

Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.


We take the bread in our hand.

The body of Christ, broken for you.


We eat the bread. We take the wine in our hand.

The blood of Christ, shed for you.

We drink the wine.

Prayer after Communion

God of Life,
who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
have delivered us from the power of our enemy:
grant us to die daily to sin, that we evermore live with him in the joy of his risen life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Hymn: Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord

Played and sung by Adrian Boynton, Director of Music (recorded before the Cornerstone building was closed)

Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord,
Alleluia, alleluia, give praise to His name.

Jesus is Lord of all the earth.
He is the King of creation. Refrain.

Spread the good news o’er all the earth.
Jesus has died and has risen. Refrain.

We have been crucified with Christ
. Now we shall live for ever. Refrain.

God has proclaimed the just reward:
Life for all men, alleluia! Refrain.

Come, let us praise the living God,
joyfully sing to our Saviour. Refrain.


The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.



Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.


Recessional: Led like a lamb to the slaughter … He’s Alive!

Played and sung by Adrian Boynton, Director of Music (recorded before the Cornerstone building was closed)