On this page.....

  • About Epiphany - the "Three Kings"

  • Epiphany Mass in church

  • Epiphany Lunch in the pub

  • The Blessing of Chalk

About Epiphany - the "Three Kings"

At Christmas the baby Jesus received visitors - angles from heaven, and shepherds from the hills around Bethlehem; but this baby was meant to be for ALL peoples, across the entire world, and God demonstrated this by guiding foreigners to travel to meet the child. These foreigners are mysterious; we know almost nothing about them, except that they were "wise men", sometimes called "magi", or astrologers. We don't even know how many of them came, although we often guess it was three, because that is the number of presents they brought with them - gifts of gold, frankincence, and myrrh. These mysterious strangers have fascinated historians, whose best guess is that they were from Persia, and probably practiced Zoroastrianism. Whoever and whatever they were, their visit revealed Jesus as being "for all peoples, races, tibes, and nations". They came at Epiphany, which we celebrate every year, straight after the Twelve Days of Christmas have finished.

Three Kings Mass - Thursday 6 January 2022 at 6.30pm

Everybody is welcome at this special mass. Children are invited to dress as wise men (also known as Magi or Kings). The wise men figures will be placed into our Crib scene. There will be a procession of gold, frankincense, and myrrh gifts. We will also hear some beautiful and well-known Epiphany carols. We hope you will join us.

Epiphany Luncheon - Sunday 9 January 2022 at 1.00pm

After our Sunday Mass (on the Sunday after Epiphany) we all journey down to Acton High Street to enjoy a meal together in the King's Head pub. This charming setting is a great place to socialise, and the food is always wonderful. Please contact the parish office for more details, or to book a place.

We regret to announce that the Epiphany Luncheon has been cancelled due to uncertainties over attendance numbers. We very much hope to bring this event to you again next year. Meanwhile, the Three Kings Mass (see above) will continue as planned.

The Blessing of Chalk

Chalk is usually blessed and distributed in church at Epiphany. This short article explains why:

"The blessing and distribution of chalks with which houses are marked with a special logo commemorating the visit of the Magi is a custom that seems to have originated in and spread from Central Europe at the end of the Middle Ages.

On or near the feast of the Epiphany, and conveniently close to the begining of a New Year, the tradition has been to ask God’s blessing on homes and mark the door post or lintel with chalks that have been blessed for that purpose. The doors are chalked with the legendary names or initials of the three Magi, and the numerals of the New Year, connected with a series of crosses. The initials C, M, and B commemorate Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but also stand for the Latin prayer-request Christus Mansionem Benedicat (May Christ bless this house). In this way, in 2022 the door of a house would be marked as follows: 20+C+M+B+22.

This domestic ritual can be performed as a family gathers together around the main entrance of a house, and a senior member of the household does the chalking with appropriate words, such as: “as the three Wise Men followed the star of God’s Son who became man, may Christ bless our home and remain with us through the New Year.” If there is sufficient space over the door, the full names of the Magi are often displayed, and children are invited to decorate the names with three crowns.

This Epiphany ceremony is a simple but meaningful act of witness which symbolises Christian willingness to offer hospitality and shelter to the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem, and also, by extension in today’s world, to welcome all and sundry who love or are seeking the Lord’s Christ.

As a valuable link between church and home & family, this old custom is a constant reminder that Christ is incarnate in the love and care we show each other in our ordinary lives together, and also our relationship with friends and strangers who cross the threshold of our homes in the course of the year.

The Rev'd Canon Terry Palmer