United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

1st November 2020 : All Saints

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=98VIiQGgiqA

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

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: all who keep our church buildings clean; our police and emergency services

Pray for: all in Tier 3 of the Covid restrictions; all who need to travel

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Irene and Henry; 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

Give thanks for: volunteers who offer themselves for Covid trial drugs

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

All whose funerals have taken place this year, including:

Elsie Newbury; Rose Sloper; John Dell; Bob Moore; Sheila Silvester; Betty Streets; Frank Sellman; Kathie Marsh; Roy Jouning; Ken Heath; Beryl Carpenter; Graham Britton

COLLECT FOR ALL SAINTS

God of holiness,

your glory is proclaimed in every age:

as we rejoice in the faith of your saints,

inspire us to follow their example

with boldness and joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING Revelation 7 : 9-end

9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’

11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12singing,

‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honour
and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ 14I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. 16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17 for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

GOSPEL READING Matthew 5 : 1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

ADDRESS

There was once a vicar, who was a keen golfer. One Sunday morning he woke up and realizing it was an exceptionally beautiful and sunny early spring day, decided he just had to play golf. So… he told the curate that he was feeling ill and persuaded him to take the services for him that day. Then he headed off to the mainland to a golf course – that way he knew he wouldn’t accidentally meet anyone he knew from his parish. Setting up on the first tee, he was alone. After all, it was Sunday morning and everyone else was in church! At about that time, Saint Peter leaned over to the Lord while looking down from the heavens and exclaimed, "You’re not going to let him get away with this, are you?" The Lord sighed, and said, "No, I suppose not." Just then the vicar hit the ball and it shot straight towards the pin, dropping just short of it, rolled up and fell into the hole. IT WAS A 430 YARD HOLE-IN-ONE! St. Peter was astonished. He looked at the Lord and asked, "Why did you let him do that?" The Lord smiled and replied, "Who’s he going to tell?"

Humour is infectious, isn’t it? It has been proved that making people laugh is good for them. Yet I would guess that if I had asked you to name things that are good for us, you might not immediately have come up with it – you might well have said, a healthy diet, having friends, being loved… all of which are perfectly valid responses. Well, here’s another one of the things that are good for you: saints. Now you might automatically glance at one of the stained glass windows and the images there and think, “What? Really?” – because we seldom manage to capture the essence of saintliness in art. Instead we rather clumsily put a circle of light round the head of some really solemn-looking person and think that’s a good enough representation. If you look at the pew bulletin closely today, you will see that out of the 38 saints depicted, only one is smiling.

But if you stop thinking about saints as being distant icons and start thinking about them in terms of people we actually know now, we get a rather different impression. Because saints are people through whom the light of God shines. More often than not it is through their actions more than through their words: people who are kind, generous, encouraging, all tend to evoke in us the response of smiling. People who make us feel better about ourselves rather than people who make us anxious because they are critical of us. Enablers who bring out the best in us make us happy, and when we are happy we smile more. So I would say there is a window into the nature of God in those people, because the qualities I have just mentioned – kindness, generosity, encouragement, bringing out the best – are exactly the nature of God himself. That’s how he wants us to live, as that sort of person, reflecting his own nature.

But it’s not all about smiling and laughter. Sometimes our best friend is the one who enters into our deepest and saddest emotions, who will sit silently alongside us, without having the right words to say, but just sharing where we are until it feels better. That too is of God – the God who himself knows pain and suffering, rejection and loss, through Jesus. So compassion and mercy are also signs of saintliness that are good for us.

But what do we make of other emotions such as anger? There is, after all, a righteous anger, such as the anger we feel when someone vulnerable is abused, the revulsion we feel when we experience true evil in the world. In a way, that too is of God – the God who yearns for justice. It is the consequence of being a God of love that the same God will undoubtedly judge those who live in opposition to him and generate cruelty, fear and oppression. But St Paul makes things very clear when he writes to the church in Rome that vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12 : 19) : we need to overcome evil with good, and a quick re-reading of the Beatitudes that form today’s Gospel turns out to be a recipe for that kind of saintly response. Just as perfect love casts out fear, so evil can be overcome by good.

We are very blessed, in that every Sunday we have the opportunity to surround ourselves with good people and to encourage each other in growing closer to God. But we also have six other days in which we can choose actively to go out and seek out goodness in other people and rejoice whenever we find it. Those are also days when we might find it extra hard to remember that God is already there ahead of us and that he is our helper in all things good. So as we remember all the saints today, past and present, let’s use the time to ask God for his strength to resource ourselves in the week ahead, so that we can both find people who are a blessing and be a blessing ourselves, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Robin Mainstone)

Holy Father, today we rejoice in the holy men and women of every time and place. May we who aspire to have a part in their lives be filled with the Spirit that blessed them, so that, having shared their faith on earth, we may also know their peace in your kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We pray for the life of the Church:

Strengthen Christopher our Bishop, Peter our Archdeacon, Susan our Rector, and all your church in the service of Christ; that those who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We pray for the needs of the world:

Thank you, Father, for all peace makers and those who strive for justice and reconciliation; thank you for those who work to relieve suffering and manage the world’s resources more fairly.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen, and give wisdom to all in authority.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We pray for the well-being of our community:

Thank you Lord for the blessing and hope of each new generation; for the richness of good friends, the happiness of those in love, and the comfort of prayer and support.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours; that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Thank you for the care and attention given to those in pain and ill health; for the example of those whom it is always a pleasure to visit, in spite of their suffering; for those who allow their suffering to be used to some good. We pray for people in special need, remembering all those on our prayer sheet and the prayers of our visitors.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We pray for the departed:

Thank you for the love and encouragement we have received through the years for those who have died in faith and are remembered with great affection. And those whose anniversaries fall around now, also those who have almost no one to remember them.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Thank you for all the saints of heaven who join us as we praise God in all his holiness.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, 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:

God, the source of all holiness and giver of all good things:

may we who have shared at this table

as strangers and pilgrims here on earth

be welcomed with all your saints

to the heavenly feast on the day of your kingdom;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence.

NOTICES

ELYAS SHAHRESTANI

Those of you who know Elyas will be delighted to learn that he has established himself at a church in London who have been preparing him for confirmation. This is no small commitment, as he has to cycle half an hour to get to his church! The confirmation is set for a fortnight’s time. It is sad that it could not happen here on the island, but please pray for him as his faith continues to grow and be nourished at St John’s, Stratford.

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The café at St Mildred’s is now open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Music will also continue with Inspire in church on Wednesday afternoons. A warm welcome awaits you – and we are very grateful to Sue Richmond and the catering team for continuing this valuable service to the local community out of season.

ALL SOULS SERVICE

This afternoon at 3.00pm there will be a special service of loving remembrance at St James’ church for All Souls. Many people who lost loved ones this year will have been denied the opportunity to attend funerals: the intention is to offer them a chance to remember by lighting a candle and thanking God for their loved ones’ lives. The service is also, of course, open to any others who wish to remember loved ones.

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 8th NOVEMBER

This year the services will be as follows:

St James’

9.30am Holy Communion for the Third Sunday before Advent

10.50am Wreath laying and 2 minutes silence outside at the war memorial in the churchyard. Please notify us if you are planning to attend this short service as space is limited. No uniformed groups will be attending.

St Mildred’s

10.45am Remembrance Service in church, attended also by Friends of Osborne. We can accommodate approximately 25 regular congregation members as well as our guests, making a total of 45-50 with social distancing. Wreaths will be presented at the altar rail and moved later to the war memorial.

ADVANCE NOTICES

The island’s evensong choir, Cantus Vesperi, have offered to provide music for a carol service in St James’ church on Sunday 13th December at 4.00pm. Admission may have to be by ticket, but you are invited to express your interest in attending in advance of any tickets going out more widely than our two congregations. This is, of course, due to limited space. Cantus Vesperi are regular winners in island choral competitions, and we can expect a most enjoyable hour of music, even if we are not currently allowed to sing as a congregation. There will be a retiring collection.

The following day, Monday 14th December, marks the opening of a new venture at St Mildred’s – the Whippingham Church Christmas Tree Festival. Look out for further details very soon!