United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

18th October 2020 : St Luke

WORSHIP IN AN UNCOMMON SEASON

We are sorry if you missed today’s service! For those who couldn’t get there, our services are a straightforward communion service with no hymns – however, we have some introductory and closing music, as well as some extra music during the service. Communion is offered in one kind, and there is the option of not receiving at all if you feel it is safer for you to let the priest receive on your behalf. Everyone follows the directions of the stewards for going up to receive communion and remain aware of the usual social distancing requirements. Communion is administered in the pews to anyone unable to walk to the altar: if you are thinking of attending and require this, please have a word with the steward on arrival. We are otherwise asked to remain standing to receive the bread.

On leaving the church, service booklets are dropped into the basket by the exit door and we leave by a different door from the way we came in. At St James’ this is via the south door at the front, and at St Mildred’s via the royal chapel.

Please DO NOT take your service sheet away with you!

ONLINE WORSHIP

Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch recent worship via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XfsN_K8Cqo

Alternatively, search on Youtube for St Mildred’s Church and find all previous services.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: the NHS and all care agencies; new church outreach initiatives

Pray for: America’s impending elections; countries at war; refugees struggling with corona virus

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Grace Lane and family; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Ena Young; Brenda; Stuart; Andrew; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Rosie and family; Barbara Blacklock; Hilda Bell; Paul & family; Emily; Lilly; Jenny and Mike Abbott; Gary; Irene and Henry; David Algar

Give thanks for: East Cowes Health Centre; St Mary’s Hospital

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

All whose year’s mind occurs at this season; the recently bereaved

COLLECT FOR ST LUKE

Almighty God,

you called Luke the physician,

whose praise is in the gospel,

to be an evangelist and physician of the soul:

by the grace of the Spirit

and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel,

give your Church the same love and power to heal;

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.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 16 : 6-12(a)

6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them; 8so, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony.

GOSPEL READING Luke 10 : 1-9

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this house!” 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the labourer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

ADDRESS

Do you notice what is common to both of our readings today? Both the disciples and later Paul were called to go out and share their experience of the Gospel. But what was the Gospel? It wasn’t to dragoon people into attending Sunday worship or to criticise them for their life-style. The Holy Spirit seems to be very poor at that sort of controlling influence. For the original disciples, the mission was to go out in pairs and do things that would have been good news: accept hospitality where it is offered, cure the sick and tell them that the Kingdom of God has come near to them. And Paul and Luke, his companion on his journeys, were similarly called to go and help people – to do things – as well as to proclaim the good news. So we might expect the Church now to have a similar preoccupation. Yet bizarrely, down the centuries, the Church has become more and more like a business enterprise, with managers and legal procedures that tend to stifle the freedom of the Spirit, and additionally to place most emphasis on what happens behind closed doors on Sunday mornings. Isn’t that weird? To some extent you can blame the Roman Empire for adopting the Church and imposing huge control: but the good news is that increasingly you find people are looking for God beyond the official structures – the Holy Spirit is like a channel of water that, if you block it in one direction, finds other channels.

That’s both good and bad news, really. It’s good that people are still searching for God, but it’s bad that they don’t always see the Church as the place where they might find him. And it’s bad that there are so many false hopes and superstitious beliefs replacing firm beliefs. On the other hand, there are wonderful and inspiring stories of people who take God seriously and let themselves get drawn into the amazing adventure that is the Gospel. In the wake of our attempt at a 24-7 prayer room, the originators of that enterprise come very much to mind. And while we are hardly equipped to leave our homes and go out in exactly the same way as the disciples did, not least because our situation is very different from that of the early church, we are called to give God serious attention and see what he might be telling the churches now.

It doesn’t take long to find out when you have an event like the pandemic. We have suddenly found out what matters and what doesn’t, and I am very heartened at the amount of community initiatives we have started to come up with. The next step is to begin to put them into practice and find out how we set them up and sustain them. Now that we have asked for God’s Spirit to give us some direction, it behoves us to play our part in bringing them into fruition. This time God has planted the seed, and we are the waterers. It was great when last week the local scouts contacted me, initially about Remembrance Sunday, but then expressed an interest in (and past experience of) being involved with maintaining a community garden. It’s a case of where one thing may well lead to another, and if it is of God it will grow.

But that doesn’t mean our worship life is unimportant, and we shall soon need to give serious thought to a broader pattern of worship than just our Covid-aware eucharist. We might be able to vary our style of communion. While St James’ hall is not being used for anything else, we might be able to make a semi-permanent prayer room available every day to the wider world. We might be able to reinvent café church, not necessarily on a Sunday. And we might be able to run, for instance, Gardening Church at either church, where the time spent gardening concludes with a brief act of worship. One thing is certain, and that is that there will be a lot of lonely people out there, particularly once the weather makes walking and being outdoors a less attractive prospect. They just might turn out for a cup of coffee and the opportunity to light a candle. We could even get a votive candle stand to make it safer. I believe the Gospel is good news, and that healing is a part of it – and that means mental healing as much as physical.

Today is St Luke’s Day, and Luke is the patron saint of physicians and surgeons. We are mostly neither of these things, but healing and helping people to find wholeness is certainly part of our ministry. If we can play our small part in the wellbeing of our communities, we can trust God for the rest. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Sarah Kite)

Father God, we give you thanks for our church community both at St Mildred’s and St James’ and for all the prayers that have been made during this past week . Let us pray that they may bear fruit in our own lives and in the life of our churches. We thank you for the journey of faith we are all making as we travel as Christians in this world.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Generous God, let us give thanks as we feel the silence and peace of this place. As we breathe, let us breathe in an awareness of God, breathing in God and letting our concerns flow out. Please help us to do this as we go about our daily lives. We give thanks for those we love and for those who love us. We pray for those known to us who are suffering in body, mind or spirit, particularly mindful of those known to us who are suffering during this Covid time with the virus and with despair and mental distress. Please surround them with your love and protection.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Guiding God, please help each of us to be a pilgrim journeying through life and sharing your love with others. Help us to speak often of what is important, to be open, to learn, to be kind and patient and to be inclusive and tolerant. To love well. As we journey onwards we don’t know what life has in store for us. We pray that we allow God to be at the centre of our lives so that we make Him our companion on our journey, giving us confidence to pray for ourselves, our loved ones and for the world and its leaders. Amidst all the chaos and greed in the world we pray for your will to be done.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Loving God, please help us to reflect your love in all we do as we follow Jesus’ teaching: we are so thankful that he taught us how to live well, help us to follow Jesus’ example. Come and cleanse the springs of my being that I might know you in every corner of my life and set God always before me. We pray this prayer for each of our brothers and sisters here today and for those we love at home.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Merciful God, mindful that we are all very different people, that some come to God like Mary and others like Martha we give you thanks for our differences. Let us take time to think of the activities, the work and the voluntary occupations that we do and the opportunities that they give us to share ourselves, our love, our faith, our constancy and let us gently and quietly give thanks for them and ask God to guide and lead us in how we use our gifts. And now Mary – like as she sat at Jesus feet, let us think of significant moments in our walk with God and help us to use these quiet times in His presence to inspire and feed us whether they be when we are weeding the garden or walking or sailing , reading a book ,sewing, singing, making music or just quietly in God’s presence, we thank you for those times. Help us to recognise the leading of the Holy Spirit as we take future steps, as individuals and as the church in our own communities. We pray for our clergy and church leaders as they seek to find new ways forward in these ever-changing times.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Healing Father, as we continue to think of prayer being in each step we take, each breath we breathe we thank you for our own individual pilgrimage through life and ask you, loving Father God to bless, direct and guide our own journeys through life, help us to live life to the full, to love well and to be kind and generous in all our undertakings, that we journey with you at the very centre of our lives.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Holy Father, send, we pray, your Spirit. Let the peace of your presence fill us. Let your healing word inspire us: in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

PREPARING FOR SPIRITUAL COMMUNION

In union, Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church, where the Holy Eucharist is celebrated, I offer you praise and thanksgiving. I present to you my soul and body with the sure hope that I may always be united to you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I ask you to come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you and embrace you with all my being. Let nothing ever separate you from me. May I live and die in your love. Amen.

You might like to sit in silence for a while, then pray:

O Lord God, the source of truth and love,

Keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,

United in prayer and the breaking of bread,

And one in joy and simplicity of heart,

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence.

NOTICES

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The café at St Mildred’s is open from 10.00am – 4.00pm, Mondays to Thursdays. Social distancing is in place, and although it is preferable for folks to eat outdoors, it is perfectly possible to have a table indoors for tea, coffee and cakes. The church is also open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Refreshments are available after Sunday worship.

APCMs

The APCMs have been delayed this year because of the lockdown, but provisionally are now set for the following dates:

St Mildred’s ~ 7.00pm on Tuesday 20th October

St James’ ~ 7.00pm on Thursday 22nd October

To comply with social distancing, each will take place in the relevant church rather than in the hall. Masks will be required, but we hope to keep meetings as short as possible.

HARVEST THANK YOU

Both churches received a letter from the Foodbank following our recent harvest festivals, thanking us for a total of 123.35kg of food, plus a donation of £10, and adding the following update about the Foodbank:

Your compassionate contribution helps us continue helping serve those who are in hunger poverty.

The foodbank is continuing to make a big difference to people in need on the Island, and we have certainly been busy here particularly during the current pandemic. Since April this year we have fed a total of 2228 people and we have only been able to do this through the continued support of the public’s donations both of food and money.

While at the moment we are doing fairly well for food it is vital to have financial donations too. These enable us both to purchase the staple food items needed if there is a shortfall and also fund the administration costs of the Foodbank.

In a recent update from the Trussell Trust, they shared the national picture from their foodbanks:

The findings show that there is likely to be a significant rise in levels of destitution in the UK by the end of the year, and at least an extra 300,000 emergency food parcels are likely to be distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network in the last quarter of 2020 – an increase of 61% compared to the previous year. The modelling shows that – depending on factors like the strength of the economy and a second wave of Covid-19 – levels of need could be even higher.

Over 50% of people using food banks in the Trussell Trust network at the start of the pandemic had never needed one before.

72% of people at food banks this summer live with someone who is experiencing a mental health issue.

Families have been the hardest hit, accounting for nearly two in five households needing to use a food bank.

Please therefore accept our appreciation of your support.

Yours sincerely

Hannah King

Foodbank Manager

Thank you to everyone who took part in giving such a substantial volume of food – well done! Rev Susan

24-7 PRAYER ROOM

Thank you to everyone who took part in this prayer focus week. A total of 24 people took part from both churches. So although it wasn’t actually open for 24 hours of the day, it was 24 people over 7 days! It is hoped to re-use some of the materials as prayer stations in each church. This will be particularly important if we are to set about making our buildings available for the local community and raising the church profile locally.

On a separate note, does anyone want to have the leather chair and stool we used this last week in the prayer room? It is admittedly tatty, but also extremely comfortable, and would be fine with a throw over it…. Freely we received it, and freely we will give it away – but it would be good if the recipient was not the local tip! Delivery no problem!