Tomorrow morning (going live at 11am) is our Fitzroy Pentecost Sunday On-Line Service and I am excited as a lock down disciple waiting to burst out of isolation and turn the world!

Our title for this Pentecost celebration is Bonfire In A Hurricane. It will ripple through the sermon and prayers and will see the first play of our new song written for Pentecost with this very title. I am like a child waiting for Christmas in my impatience. for you to hear this. Jonny Fitch has done an amazing job and John Trinder adds the tastiest of bonfire guitar solos! The price of watching the service - FREE - is worth every penny just for this song!

In the sermon we will remember that God is not safe, with reference to Frozen, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe and Jason Isbell's 24 Frames. We will ask what this has to do with us in lock down but particularly the leadership role of those fired by a bonfire in a hurricane as we come out of lock down - that means ALL of us! I will finish by taking up Charlie Mackesy's challenge to rip up the awful face Christianity shows the world. We are NOT Plodding, Predictable Platitudes BUT a Bonfire in a Hurricane! 

In the evening (going live at 7pm) we have the last in Gary Burnett's astute and insightful teaching on the life of Paul - Paul in Ten. Again the Holy Spirit will be the theme!

Find it all on FITZROY TV


Fitzroy TV

Tomorrow on Fitzroy TV our Sunday Service will go live at 11am.

It is Ascension Sunday and we will ask why such a wow event in God’s salvation history should be less considered then Cinderella!

We will be with the disciples as they go into a lockdown in Jerusalem, told by Jesus to wait and see how the promise they hold in their lockdown is only possible because of the Ascension. 

We will also find lessons for our own lock down and indeed comfort for those who find lockdown tragedy within lockdown.

We will also have a video from India, prayers for India and Bangladesh and our legal authorities in Lockdown. 

Worship will be led by Stephanie Hall and we will have special songs from Erin Humphrey and a Fitzroy special as we do our own version of the UK Blessing!

In the evening at 7pm we go live with Gary Burnett’s Paul in Ten, an amazing series of short ten minute teachings on the theology of the apostle Paul. Tomorrow Gary will look at Paul and poverty. Was Paul just a thinker? Had he any interest in the poor and needy? Gary will throw light.


see tomorrow's... and past services HERE



We all need prayers, benedictions and blessings in these challenging times. I have been writing special benedictions for our Fitzroy on-line worship services that I send out on social media every week. We have caught on as to how important the right song is as people watch our services.

We are also finding as the national surveys statistics tally that more people than usual are watching church services and googling "prayer". Check out Russell Brand's vlog on "Googling Prayer" or singer Tracey Thorn's beautiful piece of spiritual vulnerability in the New Statesman.

It seems the perfect time, therefore, for an Irish Blessing. There have been Irish blessings written, prayed and sung for centuries But what if we took one, Be Thou My Vision, and got the entire island involved in singing it. What if it was performed by local Churches as thank yous to the residential homes around us and then what if an island wide one was sent as a viral blessing on social media to the entire island and beyond.

Well, work is underway for such a musical blessing, going viral on Pentecost Sunday. A link to the details are below. My good friend Fr Martin Magill has been up to his eyes as part of the planning group. Here is his Belfast Telegraph piece about the project that was published yesterday in the Belfast Telegraph...  


Over the past few weeks of the pandemic restrictions we have seen throughout the world an outburst of creativity or certainly more expressions of such creativity in social media. I’ve been particularly interested in the number of choirs who have been able to produce some amazing songs and hymns in virtual performances. 

In some of the more recent developments choirs from various churches at national and local level have shared very impressive and indeed moving examples of a sung prayer blessing such as the recent highly acclaimed UK Churches blessing.

Following on from the incredible response to the UK Blessing, (which at the time of writing has had almost two and half million views on Youtube), a Dublin based Church of Ireland ordinand, Philip McKinley posted on Facebook about the possibility of doing something for Ireland, north and south.

He had a huge response to this post indicating the interest in doing so. A mutual friend then connected Philip and me and over the last week or so we have been meeting virtually each day to co ordinate a sung blessing for this land. We now have a dedicated website ( as well as a social media presence. 

During the week we put out a call to singers and musicians in churches across Ireland to join together to praise God by providing a “virtual” tribute/blessing for frontline workers in recognition of their dedicated service.  The invitation is extended to all churches on the island of Ireland to support this unique opportunity. At a local level participants are asked to choose a facility which provides an essential service and to dedicate their rendition of a special arrangement of the hymn “Be Thou my Vision”.

Today on our website, the backing track with the hymn arrangement as well guidelines on recording and uploading will be available for singers and musicians. 

The team delivering the project recognise it is a tight turn around (the deadline is Friday 22 May at 12 noon) for those who want to be part of the island-wide video.  The time frame needs to be very tight in order to launch it on Pentecost Sunday, 31 May.  

As I reflect on the experience of online worship and prayer, I have been surprised by how many people have found it to be helpful and supportive. As I was writing this article, I was listening to the UK Churches blessing. In terms of my parish online ministry, in a recent survey (online of course) parishioners commented especially on the importance of Compline (Night Prayer) at 9pm to help bring some form of peaceful and reassuring closure to another day during these times. 

With the increase in the numbers tuning into online worship on a Sunday and with the opportunity to watch when it suits, it is my hope that the virtual choir and musicians taking part will be a blessing not only for those who are front line workers but also for the rest of us as we listen or sing along to the words of “Be Thou my Vision”. 

The references in the prayer to armour and sword are thought to be inspired by some of the imagery in St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 6:16-17 such as ‘shield of faith’, ‘helmet of salvation’ and ‘the sword of the Spirit’: 


Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight

Be Thou my armour and be Thou my might

Thou my soul shelter, and Thy my high tower

Raise Thou me heavenwards, oh power of my power


Praying for protection and blessing is particularly apt during these times.


Stocki smiling in pulpit

Tomorrow, Fitzroy is back on YouTube with our Sunday On-Line Service (available from 11am). As has become our two month tradition we will have worship from a Fitzer family home, this week Gareth, Karen and Eleanor Black will lead us with Jonah on production duties! Theo Fitch will read and Karen Smyth will lead our prayers for the work of our Councils. We will get an update on our local Foodbank from Brenda Johnston and an absolute treat as the talented Erin Thompson sings us a song.

I will be following the Lectionary reading from John 14 and suggesting that we are in need of Pneumatology! I will unpack what I mean with the help of the film Tolkien as well as cultural observations from singer Tracey Thorn and the seemingly mad and brash but at times sensitively perceptive Russell Brand.

There is also a special Children's programme to use at the same time.

In the evening two Fitzroy events go live at 7. 

Paul In Ten by Gary Burnett continues. This has been an insightful look into the theology of the apostle Paul. A series of ten talks, each ten minutes long is now at number 7. We will be looking at peace in Paul's thought, not just personal but societal. I have heard Gary on this subject before. It is not to be missed.

Also at 7, the Passion goes out on Instagram, when Jonny Fitch will lead our youth in some informal worship that everyone is welcome to. 

You can of course watch Jonny and then Gary afterwards. Do it all. Fitzroy!


watch this week's service and all our recent services HERE

watch Paul In Ten, with Gary Burnett HERE

watch Fitzroy songs HERE

HOW DO YOU DO THAT? - Writers: Steve Stockman & Gareth Black... Singer: Eleanor Black


I wrote this song with Gareth Black, former guitarist and songwriter with Belfast band Halcyon Days, forgive me but from back in the halcyon days of the 90s. Gareth says that it is his first composition since the band broke up in 1999. I find that a travesty that he hasn't written since but I also feel excited that Fitzroy's fertile field of creativity has him writing again.

I wrote the lyric in a couple of places. It all began in Cape Town, back in the noughties. There with my Chaplaincy students to build houses on the townships with Habitat For Humanity, our family used to stay in a guest house called The Eagles Nest.

It looked out over the Lion's Head and Signal Hill and in the evening from the balcony I was always mesmerised by the beauty of the sunsets and the trees across the hillside. That was when I first asked God how he did that with the same time and colours of sky. Different every single night. Bruce Cockburn might have been playing too!

I then revived the idea in our other favourite scenic place - Ballycastle. I used a longer poem written in Cape Town as a short raptured benediction in Ballycastle last summer -


How do you do that?

With the same time of night

Turn the day’s benediction

Into pretty pastel pixels of light

How do you do that?

In the very same cloth of skies

Tie dye all these colourscapes

With swathes and swirls of surprise

Every night it’s another picture

We click in vain hope of capture

The tossed dust of God’s imaginings

As we gasp in holy rapture.


Gareth was taken by this version and then added a verse. He takes a mantra of mine in Fitzroy that we are all particles of light, shining across the darkness of the city and world. He acts like the McCartney to my Lennon and adds to the piece.

Then when he has the tune and melody to set the words upon Gareth has a gifted daughter, Eleanor, with a wonderful voice to sing the song. Not finished yet and Gareth sets the whole thing into a video of the evening sky. It is effective. 

We used it last Sunday morning, after the benediction to our on-line worship service. It sits beautifully, psalm-like as a post service opportunity for meditation.  









Fitzroy TV

Tomorrow morning (going live at 11am) we have another Fitzroy Sunday Worship Service on Fitzroy TV - HERE.

We will be asking what it means to seek refuge in God, seeing how Jesus took refuge and how taught the disciples too. We will seek light from all quarters including Deacon Blue and Snow Patrol. 

We will see the curve of Refuge, how it is a movement rather than a place and then I'll be asking what God might be saying to us in this physical and spiritual Refuge that we are in and looking at whats shift in the curve might mean. 

Worship from Paul and Talitha Bowman and Chris and Joanna Blake, as well as a band new song for reflection immediately after the benediction!

Then at 7pm Gary Burnett's fabulous series on the apostle Paul, Paul In Ten, continues with Paul's thoughts on women! That will be very interesting! Check out the series up until now. Ten minutes per view, it is an easy catch up and theologically filling!



Loving heavenly Father, 

We give thanks for our young people; for their vibrancy, their energy

their ability to see things as they are, their sense of injustice and their desire to build a better, fairer world.  We acknowledge that they are not merely the Fitzroy of tomorrow, they are the Fitzroy of today, they are precious to us and we love them.  

And we are mindful that their world has changed dramatically over the past 6 weeks.   We remember our young people as they find themselves in this season bearing the sorrow of their separation form friends and relatives.  Lord bring them comfort as they experience the missingness of loved ones.  And as they miss the regular contact of children’s and youth ministry leaders, with teachers and coaches.  

We acknowledge, O Lord that it is a right and good thing to miss deeply those whom we love but with whom we cannot be physically present.  So grant our young people, grant all of us the courage to love well in this time of absence.  And use even the sadness now, to enable us to better love in times of absence and in times of presence alike.

O, Lord grant our young people the strength to handle the pressure of these days, and the ability to keep a proper  perspective through it all.  

Many of them have concerns about how long this will continue, and the long term impact of this virus on their lives and their education.  We remember especially those young people and students who are experiencing disappointment, worry or concern regarding GCSE, A levels, and university exams.  We pray that they will know the presence and peace of Jesus in the midst of their questions, worries and fears.  

O Lord, we are thankful for technology and the various ways we have been able to maintain connection and togetherness even while we are apart.  But we are also aware that in a world so wired and interconnected, our anxious hearts are pummelled by an endless barrage of troubling news and social media.  Give our young people discernment in the face of so much information.  We pray for their mental and emotional wellbeing, guard and protect the hearts and minds of all our children and young people.  

Give them discernment to know when to simply shut off their screens and devices and to sit quietly in your presence casting the burdens of this world upon the strong shoulders of the one who is able to bear them up.  

Lord help our young people to use this time to reflect on life and to give thanks, to find their security in God’s ultimate promises and presence, to evaluate all of life’s priorities or pressures with a fresh perspective.  Help them to grow in their love for Jesus and others, and to draw strength and direction from Your Word. 

Oh Lord, help all of us who are older to remember the adventure and joy of youth as well as the challenges and frustrations; and enable us to help all our young people by our prayers, our example, and our friendship.   Help us to recognise stress and sadness, despair and loneliness; to share the burden in whatever way we can.  

Lord, give our young people what they need today.  May they hang onto the truth that God chose to be with them and for them in Jesus Christ, and that there is nothing that can shake God’s will to love them. May the truth of these words from Zephaniah 3:17 flood their hearts. 

17 For the Lord your God is living among you.

    He is a mighty saviour.

He will take delight in you with gladness.

    With his love, he will calm all your fears.

    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

In the strong name of Jesus we pray 



Jed watching Me

It is a new rhythm in my week... a 22 hour period between recording the Sunday sermon and the Sunday sermon going live. I am going to blog the new ways of the sermon this week so I'll leave the strangeness to a fuller unpacking then but it is a weird feeling when the sermon is in the can and you can't do anything about what comes out the day after!

Tomorrow (going live at 11am) is Sunday Of The Good Shepherd in Fitzroy as it is for so many people around the world. We will be in the Lectionary reading of John 10 where my favourite verse appears (10:10). However, it is a very different societal mood to preach into this time.

We will be looking at the different marks of the preachers in John 9, the Pharisees spiritual abuse of a man healed of his blindness and the mark of Jesus compassion and restoration of his sight.

We will be realising the near violent danger of the context, "thieves who steal and kill and destroy" and will be asking what shepherd we want to see us through this Coronavirus Time.

We will wondering at what the Good Shepherd might be saying to us in what has been a tough week in our marathon journey through lock down. What might we need to carry with us out of lock down as different shepherds pull us one way and another.

We will have Talitha Bowman singing a song to help us on our journey through this valley of the shadow and a brand new Martyn Jospeh video (by kind permission) post benediction to give us some resilience and hope.

There will be prayers for our children and youth, a special video of thanks from Africa to Fitzroy and all wrapped in some homespun worship and a brand new benediction blessing .

It's another corker!

In the evening at 7pm there will be youthful energetic worship on our Passion Instagram page. This week Catherine and Sophie Forde will lead us from their house.

Also going live at 7pm will be Part 6 in Gary Burnett's brilliant series Paul in Ten is called Weapons of Justice. This is a magnificent series of ten short ten minute  teachings on the apostle Paul by the knowledgeable, and so easy to listen to, Gary Burnett. Go quickly and catch up! This week Gary is on Paul's teaching on how he saw believers as being God's justice in the world! 





Fitzroy TV

Tomorrow in Fitzroy (11am) we will be back on Fitzroy TV with our Sunday Service. We will continue to mine the resurrection scenes of the Gospels to find reasons to trust Jesus when he tells us that not to be afraid and that he brings peace. We will be thinking about the shock and awe of disciples who get close to the brutalised body of Jesus as well as the risen one!

Dave and Erin Thompson will lead our worship, Dave will cover Martyn Joseph's Strange Ways and our Children's Ministry will bring us some hope. Prayers will concentrate on our older community. 

If you worship somewhere else at 11 then please feel free to join us later in the day!

At 7pm Gary Burnett continues his series Paul in Ten, ten ten minute teachings on St. Paul. This is a great series. If you've missed it until now, go back and catch up!

There is no Passion worship on Instagram his week.


Fitzroy TV

Tomorrow morning's Video Service (from 11am) will continue to investigate the energetic spaces of resurrection. Last week we concentrated on Mary. Tomorrow we look at Thomas, not so much as a doubter but a demander, realise that God treats all of us as we are and that there is a leap of faith involved in this journey of faith. Stephanie Hall and Livingstone/Guthrie will lead our worship. Shannon and Danny Moore will sing a NeedToBreathe prayer to help us through lock down and in our prayers we will be travelling to Uganda and feature a video our man Trinity in a Kampala slum.

In the evening at 7pm you can join with our youth in some informal vibrant worship. Tomorrow night is being led by Shannon and Danny Moore (wow!). You can find them on Passion_FYM

Going live at the same time on Fitzroy TV is Gary Burnett's brilliant series Paul In Ten (You can flick over after Passion if you wish). This is a series of deep teaching in the apostle Paul in ten minutes. Tomorrow night is on Paul's ideas of Love and is the fourth in the series. take half an hour tomorrow and catch up. It is such good stuff!