Horseman's Sunday

Horseman's Sunday, the 50th Anniversary

The Reverend Peter Murphy

Firstly I must say a big thank you for inviting me to preach this morning on the 50th Anniversary of The Horseman’s Sunday Service. It’s a great privilege and I think I am about as nervous as I was 50 years ago when I preached my first sermon here.

I was here as a deacon being trained for full time pastoral ministry by The Revd Cuthbert LeMesurer Scott.

Horseman's Sunday I: "Favouring the Underdog"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Over the last couple of weeks, in preparation for today, when the playgroups that meet here at St John’s during the week have sung that old favourite, Old MacDonald, they’ve been including the verse where Old MacDonald had a horse, that is when the horse isn’t voted out for a dinosaur. To my surprise, when an explanation was offered, ‘after all we are the horse church’ it was met by some with surprise

Horseman's Sunday II: "The Gold Rush"

The Revd Robin Sims-Williams

Last time I was on a horse the scene couldn’t have been more different than what I see here today. I was in the Yukon, in North West Canada, on a trail into the Klondike. Home, along with Alaska, of the gold rush of the late 19th Century. It was a wide barren land, with mountains round about. Certainly there wasn’t a Cake stall or a Tombola. Looking around I could imagine something of what life might have been like for the prospectors heading North in search of gold.

Horseman's Sunday I

The Revd Brutus Green

10 years ago on the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, the Princess Royal unveiled the Animals in War memorial just a short walk away on Park Lane. Its most famous inscription reads almost like a Hollywood tagline: ‘they had no choice’; a strange choice. The British army of that war was until 1916 entirely voluntary, the second largest volunteer army of all time, but there were certainly many humans who felt through the war a lack of choice.

Horseman's Sunday II: "To the Horses"

Horses in the bible are always key to victory. Famously ‘thrown into the sea’ with the chariots, as the Israelites made their escape from Egypt and in today’s reading it is the white horse and riders who overthrow the armies of hell, led by the naughty four horses of the apocalypse. It is doubtful that Scottish horses contributed to the saving of the Union this week but I’m certain if their opinion had been asked the response would have been ‘neigh’. Not what Richard III had in mind when he famously begged, ‘a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’, but in his case the answer was also no, which leaves us with the Union in tact and Richard freshly buried in Leicester.

Horseman's Sunday: The Address

The Revd Brutus Green

Horses, by and large, get a rough ride in the Bible.

We are also told that the Lord ‘delighteth not in the strength of an horse’, though this is rightly qualified by him also ‘not taking pleasure in the legs of a man.’ For the most part they are associated with war and are very often, with their riders, thrown into the sea.