The Open Episcopal Church

A member of the International Council of Community Churches & the World Council of Churches

Revd Tess Ward's Eucharistic Prayer

Written for the ordination (sub-conditione) of Revd Mark Townsend.


We are approaching the long day

The day for brightness, for lightness, for life-giving renewal

When the sun burnishes at full strength

Rays flaring like the mane of a lion

With courage and energy at its heart.


On this day we will raise the bread of Christ

like a monstrance of life death and new life

drawing us into the power and transformation of God’s Spirit in the world.

This is the day between Pentecost and the Summer Solstice

when the warm earth is bursting with joy


This is the day for rejoicing and being with friends

for fruitfulness and creativity

for celebrating the fire in our spirits

and finding our compasses set at true

as we venture on in our journeys.


But the longest day is a day that must pass

It is the day that looks toward the shortest day

It is the day when the sun will begin to wane

And we are reminded that

light belongs with shadow

flourishing with diminishment.


So as the sun draws all to its zenith,

we embrace with love all that must fade.

In silence, let us remember all that is broken in our world at this time……

Those whom we know who need our prayers and holding in the light…….


And let us place ourselves in the divine rhythm of life death and new life

as we come to this table now……..


For Christ was born in the milk and moon of earth

pushed from the dark soupy waters

into a wall-less world.


We saw him with our own eyes

Touched him with our hands

We saw road-dust on his feet, smelt sea-salt in his hair,

Toil behind his finger nails


And gathered round a table with those whose faces are like ours

Planted in a particular time and a place

He took a loaf in his hands and blessed it

He broke it open and said “Take eat, this is my body broken for all that is broken. 

Share it to remember me”.


He took a pitcher of wine and poured it into a cup.

He blessed it and said “Drink from this for compassion’s sake for it is my blood poured on this earth so love may flow and heal this troubled world. Share it to remember me.”


And here with the song of the birds

and the abundance of the fruits and flowers

Amongst the orchards and the river and the gentle curve of land


Here amidst the fiery forces of nature

He hung alone upon a tree

rooted in the humus and soil of all that lives.


He gathered all the silence of the mountain times to himself

And let the darkness come upon him.


He plunged down and down and darkly down

through emptiness and chaos, through formless void.

He plunged so deeply and so violently that he touched bottom


And the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep

and shone in the dazzling darkness

and the heavy mass of all that is unhealed was rolled away.


And love carved a space inside the centre

into which a voice might speak


an echo of the first and deepest sound ever made

longing for union


a word issuing forth from the womb of the eternal

a cry so natural it calls us to come to our senses.


For as it was then so now and here

Spirit from the beginning,

breathing through all,

through flame and wave

through land and pore

in the hills and on the shore

and the dear flesh of every one we ever loved.


Come brood over these earthly things

That they may become for us the body and blood of Christ


Breathe peace through the

struggle and the striving


Breathe joy through root and star


Breathe love down to the skin and the sinew,

the blood and the bone,


For you are the lived life.



You dwell within us and among us.

You are here.

You are there.

You are one.