United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

20th September 2020: St Matthew (transferred)

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.

ONLINE WORSHIP

Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch last week’s worship via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTznaO5-I3k

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: productive and positive PCC meetings last week

Pray for: all suffering from wildfires in California; all seeking work; those who are lonely

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; Norma Britton; Lilly

Give thanks for: Grace’s continuing recovery

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

Graham Britton; Beryl Carpenter

COLLECT FOR ST MATTHEW

O almighty God,

whose blessed Son called Matthew the tax collector

to be an apostle and evangelist:

give us grace to forsake the selfish pursuit of gain

and the possessive love of riches

that we may follow in the way of your Son Jesus Christ,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READING Proverbs 3 : 13-18

13 Happy are those who find wisdom,
and those who get understanding,
14 for her income is better than silver,
and her revenue better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honour.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called happy.

GOSPEL READING Matthew 9 : 9-13

9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 12But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

ADDRESS

A little story for you…It’ set in Mexico, but it could be anywhere.

A very successful businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied with a wide grin across his face and explained that he only fished for about three hours every day.

Dumbfounded, the businessman asked the fisherman why he didn’t stay out longer and continue catching more fish. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman, “you should be working harder and catch more fish!”

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.

The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time?

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; after that I’ll relax on the beach sir.”

Now the rich businessman decided he needed to teach this fisherman a thing or two. He scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”

“But what then, sir?” asked the fisherman.

A little irritated with the fisherman’s question, the businessman replied, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But sir, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, sir?”

Getting angrier, the businessman raised his voice, “When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”

“Millions, sir? Then what?”

Now the businessman was red with rage and yelled, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You would then retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up, nodded and said, “And what do you think I am doing now?”

I think you would agree that the fisherman was wiser than the businessman. He had already got his quality of life because he didn’t allow his greed to take priority over his happiness. It’s quite a simple lesson, but it’s one that St Matthew had to learn as well. Although he was financially doing quite well out of collecting taxes, at heart he knew that something wasn’t right. And when Jesus challenged him, he had no hesitation in leaving behind his security, comfort and all the trappings of a somewhat dishonest but wealthy life and made a complete change. From a financial point of view, it was madness – but it saved his soul. Furthermore, he didn’t go home, put the shutters up and feel good about himself: his next recorded act was to invite Jesus to come to his house and meet all his friends. The natural consequence of having committed to a new way of life was to want to share it with other people. And Jesus accepted.

Now we are very bad at sharing our faith with other people, at least verbally. It’s not a natural part of our culture, and we know perfectly well how embarrassing it can be when someone tries to convert you to their own pet beliefs. But Matthew doesn’t try to tell other people what to do: he simply lets them see for themselves. Jesus doesn’t invite them to the synagogue, either: he goes to where they are. So much as we might like to think that coming to church is the best way for someone to discover faith, actually we might be overrating church attendance as a way of sharing our faith. So it’s not disastrous if our worship can’t happen in the way we would expect it to through habit and our own experience. It’s just as important, if not more so, for people to come to faith by joining us in things we do beyond these walls. A community that is genuinely friendly, helpful and inclusive – even when strangers turn up just as we are shutting up shop, or at some other totally inconvenient time – will attract interest and support. If we were to think of every inconvenience as a good turn done for Jesus, or even as an investment into God’s kingdom, we would find it easier to accommodate change, new ideas and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. As St Francis is alleged to have said: Preach the gospel – use words if you have to.

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Robin Mainstone)

Almighty God Our Heavenly Father,

we pray for your Church during these troubled times.

Strengthen Christopher our Bishop, Susan our Rector, Mike and Peter our assistant priests, 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

Dear Lord,

We pray for the needs of the world. Give wisdom, courage, imagination and kindness to all Governments and those in authority, that all the people of the world may work together to deal with this pandemic, especially in those areas suffering wars, poverty and famine. May you guide us to a better way of living and caring for each other. Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace; that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Gracious Father,

We pray for the well-being of our community and all those who are unwell with Covid 19 and other medical needs. For those who are anxious and in pain. We thank you for our N.H.S. and ask that they would have sufficient resources to do their jobs as well as they would wish to. Please protect all N.H.S. staff, carers and all volunteers during these dark days.

Give grace to 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

Merciful Father,

We pray for people in special need, remembering all those listed on our prayer sheet, and those who are confined to their homes at this present time.

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

Merciful Lord,

We remember all those who have recently died, especially Graham Britton and Beryl Carpenter, and those whose anniversaries fall around now: also those who have almost no one to remember them.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Matthew and all your saints, we commend ourselves and all Christian people to your unfailing love.

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:

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

HARVEST FESTIVAL

Both churches will be celebrating Harvest Festival on 4th October so please bring along tinned and packaged food if you can, which we can pass to the Food Bank. It is particularly important this year as many people are facing acute shortages.

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.

CREAM TEAS AT ST MILDRED’S

Thank you to all who supported the cream teas last Sunday, which raised a magnificent £306. Well done, everyone!

THANK YOU!

Jane Brand and Peter Robinson would like to thank everyone who so kindly sponsored them for the Rise and Stride day last Saturday. Between them they raised £395, which is splendid and will be shared between our two churches and the Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust, from which we benefit.

Also, thanks are due to those who manned the church on such a lovely day.

BERYL CARPENTER

Beryl’s funeral will take place at the crematorium on Wednesday 30th September at 2.15pm. Due to Covid-19 regulations, it will largely be family who attend, but it is hoped to have a memorial service for her at a later date. Meanwhile, as part of the funeral arrangements, I would be grateful for any memories you would like to share with me regarding Beryl’s involvement with the church before my arrival here. If you would like to contribute, please send items to my email address: revspaterson or drop a note through my door. Thank you! Rev Susan

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. It is hoped to produce reports in advance so that the meetings can be kept short, as masks will be required.

MILK BOTTLE TOPS

Ability Dogs 4 Young People, an island-based charity, are looking for (clean) milk bottle tops (the ones marked with a 2 or a 4 on the underside), which they can pass to GHS Recycling in Portsmouth who recycle them. They chop them up and the granulated tops go to make hard plastic toys for children, such as slides and other garden toys. They also go to make more bottle tops! Please bring any you have to church and give them to Rev Susan, or leave them in a bag/envelope on the front pew for her to collect.

24-7 PRAYER ROOM

The 24-7 prayer room will be operating for a week beginning on Thursday 8th October in St James’ church hall. We shall be launching off with a service in church at 6.00pm, at which you will be able to try out some of the prayer ideas, and Archdeacon Peter will be our guest preacher.

How do I take part?

It will be possible to book a slot online, or by phoning Rev Susan to arrange your initial hour. (More details of the process to follow). Please come and explore this opportunity to get God’s attention – and pass the word on to anyone else you know who might be interested.

Once you have arrived at the hall, knock on the door to be let in, as we shall ask everyone to keep themselves safe by having the door locked during prayer times. This is also to stop anyone barging in and disturbing the person at prayer. Ideally, we ask you to book as individuals, rather than with other people: the exception is if you are in need of physical support (e.g. disabled issues). The point is that there are no distractions by way of chatting that might get in the way of focussing on God.

It sounds rather daunting: what on earth will I do for a whole hour?

The hall will be set up with all sorts of different prayer resources, from simple candles and books, to guided meditations and water for placing pebbles. There will be music if you want it, tea and coffee and biscuits, comfortable spaces, art stations where you can try your hand at different kinds of art, from simple colouring to water colours. Not forgetting posters and other visual stimuli and a board on which to pin your individual prayers or poems. Whatever you do in that hour is up to you.

How will I be protected from Covid issues?

Everyone will need to sanitise their hands on entry, and there will be more sanitiser available at points round the hall to clean your hands after you have touched different prayer stations. At the end of your session, we ask you to move whichever chairs you have sat on to one specified side of the hall, so that they are not used again until a few days later. There will be a wipeable comfy chair or two, so please use a wet wipe to clean that as well if you use it. Before leaving, please also wipe over the toilet if you have used it so that the next person can be assured of cleanliness. Leave all used wipes in the designated bin, which will be regularly emptied.

What if I get into any difficulty?

There will be a mobile phone in the hall especially for emergencies so that you can phone for help.

Please feel free to talk to Rev Susan if you think anything has been overlooked!