United Benefice of
St Mildred’s, Whippingham
St James’, East Cowes
4th October 2020: Harvest Thanksgiving
St Francis of Assisi
The food pantry set up round the altar in St Gregory of Nyssa Church, San Francisco
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!
Services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube: you can catch recent worship via the following link:
Alternatively, search on Youtube for St Mildred’s Church and find all previous services.
FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:
Give thanks for: communities that support each other; our farming communities; our 24-7 prayer room; Franciscans
Pray for: all still in lockdown; the people of Belarus; all who live under tyrannical regimes; trade negotiations across the world
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
Give thanks for: agricultural chaplains; aid agencies; church-led foodbanks
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:
St Francis; all dying of malnutrition
COLLECT FOR ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI
O God, you ever delight to reveal yourself
to the childlike and lowly of heart:
grant that, following the example of the blessed Francis,
we may count the wisdom of this world as foolishness
and know only Jesus Christ and him crucified,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
OLD TESTAMENT READING Exodus 16 : 2-15
2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’
4 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.’ 6So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, ‘In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?’ 8And Moses said, ‘When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.’
9 Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, “Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.” ’ 10And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked towards the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12‘I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, “At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.” ’
13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.’
GOSPEL READING Matthew 20 : 1-16
Jesus continued, ‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; 4and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” 7They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” 13But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’
When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right,
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night:
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again:
Winter, spring, summer or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend.
You may well know that song, especially if you have heard Nigel and Jane playing it recently in church. It came to mind when I was reflecting on the origins of harvest festival and what it meant for the people of Israel. Their experience of being far away from home, cut off from all the things they might have found familiar – even if some of those things were downright awful – and not only lonely but also hungry and not knowing where their next meal was coming from: all that meant that once they finally reached their destination, their promised land, they were determined not to forget the God who had provided for them in the wilderness. The feast of tabernacles, or feast of booths, was a reminder to them of the wilderness years. It took place round about this time of year and lasted 8 days, and during that time the people built booths for themselves and lived outdoors in them. Harvest offerings were brought and quite a few sacrifices were made to the God who had saved them from Egypt. The Israelites were both grateful, hence they offered their produce, and also aware that it would be all too easy to forget their dependence on God. And it is significant that, according to John’s gospel, it is right at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus stands up and declares: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7 : 37-38).
You might well say, “That’s fine, but what has it got to do with the song?” The point is that the idea of trusting God and having ones needs met is just like that idea of there being a friend who is waiting, longing, for us to get in touch and ask for help – help that is waiting for us within our reach. All you have to do is call – you’ve got a friend.
As we start to look at the idea of having to ration our resources and take on board the consequences of the economy taking a real nosedive, it seems to me there are two ways we can respond. Either we can try desperately to keep up the good things we remember (or misremember) about the past, or we can call out God’s name with the view that we’ve got a friend. The Israelites in the wilderness looked back with very rose-tinted spectacles on what they remembered as the fleshpots of Egypt, and conveniently forgot that actually they had been slaves, whose agony came to God’s ears so that he rescued them. Only afterwards did they reflect and see how they had been guided and sustained. And having realised that, they found a way of going on remembering in the feast of booths.
We are at a pivotal time in our faith journey – Christianity is being challenged to change seriously for the first time in living memory. So today we celebrate the providence of God, his reckless generosity, as we offer our harvest praise to him and remember his special saint, Francis, who gave up everything so that he could draw closer to God. Our own sort of “Feast of Booths” continues as we camp out in St James’ hall this next week as an act of continuous prayer, 24-7. If you can’t get to an online sign-up, ring me and get your booking in. I can do the online bit for you. And you can get a sort of preview at the launch service this coming Thursday when the Archdeacon is coming as our guest preacher and there will be prayer stations set up round the church as well as in the hall.
But the 24-7 isn’t just about looking back and thanking God for his generosity – it’s also about asking him how he wants us to live out our discipleship from now on. So it’s about our future and what we can offer him for him to mould and bless with new life. So I invite you to take up the invitation to come and receive the generosity of the vineyard owner, to come and drink from the living water. Amen.
INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Robert Hall)
We pray for the life of the Church, especially Bishop Christopher, Archdeacon Peter, Rev Susan, and our associate priests Revs Mike and Peter. We also think of our Churchwardens Rosemary and Colin, Peter and Robin, as well as both the Church Councils. Give them all strength and guidance in these difficult times as they go about the Church’s work.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
As this is Harvest Sunday, we thank you for all the gifts that you have provided by allowing the rain and sun to come. We know that without your hand, these things would not produce. We offer our gifts to the church, so that they can pass them on to people who have a greater need than we do.
We also think, at this time, of people in the world who are suffering through lack of food, water and medical supplies. We trust that you will guide those in power to help these people.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We think of all those people who are troubled, in body, mind or soul. We trust that you will support them in their troubles. We also think of all those people, at this time, who are unable to do what they like due to the Copid19. Give them all strength and courage so that they can see your light at the end of their troubles.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We think of those people who have recently passed into your house, especially Beryl Carpenter. We also think of those whose anniversaries fall at this time. We ask you to support all those who are thinking of these people and mourning them. Please give them strength now and always.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
We think of our Community, keep them all safe and well and we trust that all people will support others at this time.
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:
who gave such grace to your servant Francis
that he served you with singleness of heart
and loved you above all things:
help us, whose spiritual communion with you
has been renewed in this sacrament,
to forsake all that holds us back from following Christ
and to grow into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence. You might like to reflect on the hymn version of the Prayer of St Francis:
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love;
where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
and where there's doubt, true faith in you.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope:
where there is darkness, only light,
and where there's sadness, ever joy
O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
in giving of ourselves that we receive,
and in dying that we're born to eternal life.
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.
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.
Welcome to Harvest Festival, which this year coincides exactly with St Francis’ Day. (It also directly precedes the 24-7 prayer room!)
All harvest donations will be taken to the local Foodbank. It is particularly important this year as many people are facing acute shortages. Urgently needed this month are:
· POTATOES, TINNED
· SPAGHETTI, TINNED
· CUSTARD, TINNED
· CARROTS, TINNED
· MIXED VEGETABLES, TINNED
· PEAS, TINNED (not mushy)
· HAND WASH / GEL
· LAUNDRY TABLETS / POWDER
Thanks to people’s generosity, they DO NOT WANT cereal, baked beans, pasta, soup, jams and spreads, cooking sauces, rice, tomatoes (tinned).
Thank you for supporting this very necessary service. Of course, if we really got ourselves organised, we could have a food pantry like the one on the front cover of today’s pew sheet!
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 (717026) to arrange your initial hour.
How to book online: Easy – just click the following link and choose your time! The sooner you sign up, the greater the chances of getting your preferred time slot!
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!