Charles Simeon, Priest, Evangelical Divine, 1836
(Vicar of Holy Trinity Cambridge, Fellow of King’s College)
Lesser Festival
13 November

[Charles Simeon portrait]

Born in Reading in 1759, Charles Simeon was educated at Cambridge University and spent the rest of his life in that city. He became a fellow of King’s College in 1782 and was ordained priest the following year, when he became vicar of Holy Trinity Church nearby. He had evangelical leanings as a boy but it was whilst preparing for holy communion on his entrance to College that he became aware of the redeeming love of God, an experience he regarded as the turning point in his life. Many of the parishioners of Holy Trinity Church did not welcome him, since he had been appointed through his own family links, but his patent care and love for them all overcame their antipathy and his preaching greatly increased the congregation. Charles had carved on the inside of the pulpit in Holy Trinity Church, where only the preacher could see, the words from John 12:21, when Philip brought the Greeks to our Lord, and they said ‘Sir, we would see Jesus.’ These words were a constant reminder to him that people came not to gaze on a great preacher or to admire his eloquence, but to seek Jesus. Charles became a leading Evangelical influence in the Church and was one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society. He also set up the Simeon Trust which made appointments to parishes of fellow Evangelicals. He remained vicar of Holy Trinity parish until his death on this day in the year 1836.


Eternal God,
who raised up Charles Simeon
   to preach the good news of Jesus Christ
and inspire your people in service and mission:
grant that we with all your Church may worship the Saviour,
turn in sorrow from our sins and walk in the way of holiness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


Old Testament Reading: Malachi 2.5–7

A reading from the prophecy of Malachi.

My covenant with Levi was a covenant of life and well-being, which I gave him; this called for reverence, and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in integrity and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. For the lips of priests should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from their mouths, for they are the messengers of the Lord of hosts.

This is the word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 57 vv7–10

R Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,
[and your glory over all the earth].

My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed;
I will sing and make melody.
Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;
I myself will waken the dawn. R

I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord;
I will sing praise to you among the nations.
For your loving-kindness is greater than the heavens,
and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. R

New Testament Reading: Colossians 1.3–8

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Colossians.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

This is the word of the Lord.

Gospel Reading: Luke 8.4–8

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to Jesus, he said in a parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.’ As he said this, he called out, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

This is the gospel of the Lord.

Post Communion

God, shepherd of your people,
whose servant Charles Simeon
   revealed the loving service of Christ
   in his ministry as a pastor of your people:
by this eucharist in which we share
awaken within us the love of Christ
and keep us faithful to our Christian calling;
through him who laid down his life for us,
but is alive and reigns with you, now and for ever.

© copyright 1999 Simon Kershaw
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