United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

8th November 2020 : 3rd Sunday before Advent

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY

WORSHIP IN THE KINGDOM SEASON

Our churches being closed for public worshipthis month,we rely on people joining online services if they so wish. The diocesan website www.portsmouth.anglican.org has a direct link to parishes that are streaming live worship, while for those unable to access such resources this pewsheet continues to contain material for offering a “spiritual communion” at home. Since the 24-7 prayer room proved popular a few weeks ago, it has been reinstated at St James’ hall – though for safety’s sake we ask you to book a time rather than just turning up. (See elsewhere in this pew sheet for details of how to book.)

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: our defence services; our democratic freedom; the Queen

Pray for: all who suffer in any way as a consequence of war; justice and peace on earth

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; Oliver; Jenny

Give thanks for: all key workers during lockdown

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

All who have died as a result of war

COLLECT FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY BEFORE ADVENT

Almighty Father,

whose will is to restore all things

in your beloved Son, the King of all:

govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,

and bring the families of the nations,

divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,

to be subject to his just and gentle rule;

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 1 Thessalonians 4 : 13-end

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

GOSPEL READING Matthew 25 : 1-13

Jesus continued, ‘Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” 9But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” 12But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

ADDRESS

Today is a day when we stand at a curious turning point. We are recalling with infinite gratitude the sacrifices made by so many in the course of the two World Wars and many other conflicts, and thus we are looking back: yet at the same time, we are looking forward in the Kingdom season to that time when war shall be no more but justice shall reign and we shall see God face to face. It’s tempting to say that only the Church does this looking forward, and that since the rest of the country is in Remembrance mode we too should put the Kingdom aside today: and yet looking ahead is vital to our mental and spiritual wellbeing. It was, after all, a supreme act of looking ahead that led to the great sacrifice we commemorate today: When you go home, remember us and say, For your tomorrow we gave our today”. That tomorrow is only possible because of the historic sacrificial giving of life. It won’t have felt heroic at the time: most of the fallen had totally different plans: they were going to come home for Christmas, marry their sweethearts, see their families, be part of a community that could form a new future despite the desperate poverty and rationing, and so on. Dying was not part of Plan A. The war was not glorious. Only some of them survived to see the fruits of so much bloodshed – the close bonds forming across Europe, the new political leadership, the valuing of democracy, the newly formed NHS, and so on. The rest had to take it on trust that there were values worth fighting for and making the ultimate sacrifice to attain.

Spin the clock on, and decades later we are facing a new enemy, more dangerous than terrorism even. Today’s enemy is invisible. It does not discriminate, knows no boundaries. It can only be overcome by a communal decision to make sacrifices and act for the common good. We are perhaps less good at seeing this wider picture, because post-modernism has brought with it a cavalier disregard for community life, and insistence on the rights of the individual, often without any corresponding sense of the responsibilities that go with that freedom. Post-Covid, there will have to be profound analysis of the many factors that have led to the birth of this virus, just as post-war sociologists have explored how monsters such as Hitler arose and were able to acquire so much unquestioned power: but currently we are still fighting the battle, and we dare not relax our vigilance.

One of the most disabling features of lockdown is that it takes away future hope. With no diary engagements, no events to plan for, there is no purpose to our lives, it seems. We exist rather than living, while the relentless biological clock ticks on. We have a fundamental need to live beyond the moment and beyond the past, to project ourselves into the future. But all is not lost. We can use this time to prepare ourselves for life beyond Covid. To borrow an analogy from the Gospel reading, we can stock up on oil for our lamps while we patiently wait.

So what sort of “oil” can we find? Well, there is the oil of friendships that can nowadays be sustained through technology – the phone, if nothing else, but for many the possibilities of Facetime, Zoom, Teams, etc. The ancient art of letter-writing is also still there for us. Nobody would claim this is as good as physical contact, but it is better than nothing. Furthermore, communities have begun to form in defiance of post-modernism: neighbours are more aware of each other, and local help groups have sprung up. Unable to travel, people have found beauty on their own doorstep and no longer take it for granted. No longer able to worship in the local church, many have found new ways to pray online through streamed services, and prayer rooms have also opened up for individual prayer. We have time to read, to develop hobbies, to devise new ways of keeping fit. Much of this falls by the wayside when we are rushing busily around planning our lives to the full.

But perhaps the ultimate oil is that of knowing that we have a God who, whether we are looking back, finding creative ways through the present, or actively planning for the future, is there in all three realms and will never leave us. The Kingdom of God cannot be banished by evil: on the contrary, we can banish evil by good deeds, we can overcome hatred with love, we can learn new ways of living as citizens of God’s Kingdom. It may be that eventually we all have to have less so that others can have more, and there will undoubtedly be sacrifices to be made. But as we are unquestionably all in this together, let us pray for the same mind that was in those we commemorate today, so that we too may look in faith to the future of our world and continue in good spirits and generosity of heart to make sacrifices for the greater good, trusting firmly in the eternal promises of God. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(supplied by Robert Hall)

Heavenly Father, on this Remembrance Sunday we think of all those who ‘failed to return’ from the two World Wars, as well as all those who have not returned in wars since. We also remember all those in our Armed Forces who have died whilst keeping us safe since. We remember all these people, ones that we know, ones known to their families and those known only to you. We know that they are all in your house Lord Jesus. We also think of all those whose lives have changed as a result of injuries, both in body or mind. Give them, and their families, strength in their troublesome times.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we pray for the life of the Church, especially Bishop Christopher, Archdeacon Peter, Rev Susan and our associate priests Mike and Pete. We also think of our Churchwardens, Rosemary, Colin, Robin and Peter. Give them all strength and guidance in these troublesome times as they go about the Church’s work.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father We think of all people that are troubled at these times either in body, mind or soul. We pray that your healing hand will help them help in their troubles and guide them on the way forward. We also think of all those people who are awaiting hospital treatment, that they can wait with patience and calm at this time in their lives, and that the waiting will soon end.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, as we have entered into a new Lockdown, we hope that all people will think of others, that will be unable to go about their normal business. Give guidance and strength to them and also guidance to their friends and neighbours that they will be able to support them.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, we think of all those in the Emergency Services who have to go about their work in this time of lockdown. We also think of all the civilian workers who support them in times of trouble. Keep them all safe and well so that they can return to their families safe and well.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer.

Heavenly. Father, as we think of All Souls Day that is just past, let us remember all those that we no longer see, but remember the joyful times that we had with them, as they join you in your heavenly house.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Finally we think of our community and ourselves. Keep us all safe and well.

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 of peace,

whose Son Jesus Christ proclaimed the kingdom

and restored the broken to wholeness of life:

look with compassion on the anguish of the world,

and by your healing power

make whole both people and nations;

through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

To conclude, rest quietly in God’s presence or listen to hymns from Jane by opening the attachment to this email.

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 NEXT WEEKEND. 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

Discussions are ongoing as to whether we can open the café at all as a takeaway service during lockdown, for the benefit of walkers in the area. Watch this space for further updates!

CHURCHES OPEN FOR PRIVATE PRAYER

TODAY both churches are open for private prayer:

St James’ ~ 9.30-11.30am St Mildred’s ~ 10.00-11.30am

DURING THE WEEKS AHEAD:

St James’ – open on Wednesday mornings 9.30-11.30am

Prayer room in St James’ hall open daily 9.00-5.00, including weekends. Please book either by phoning Rev Susan (717026) or directly online via this link:

https://www.24-7prayer.com/signup/432475/

St Mildred’s – open 2.00-4.00pm Monday-Thursday, and also Sundays 11.00-12.00 noon

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY FILM

We are very grateful to Karl Love, who recorded on video our outdoor Remembrance ceremony just before lockdown as part of a longer Remembrance tribute. You can find this on his Facebook page. Meanwhile, individuals will be laying wreaths at both churches informally today.

ARCHBISHOPS’ CALL TO PRAYER

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York would like November to be seen as a month of prayer and suggest everyone prays on Thursdays at 6.00pm. A further suggestion is that we should fast as well, so if that is your personal discipline, please fell encouraged to do so. However, there are plenty of further suggestions to be found on the Church of England website, including a daily prayer suggestion. So here is the prayer for this week:

Loving God,
at this time of crisis
when so many are suffering,
we pray for our nation and our world.
Give our leaders wisdom,
our Health Service strength,
our people hope.
Lead us through these parched and difficult days
to the fresh springs of joy and comfort
that we find in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

For more ideas go to the section A Call to Prayer for the Nation on www.churchofengland.org

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. Seats are now only available in the side aisles and the balconies, due to a number having been reserved last week. Contact Rev Susan (717026, or email revspaterson) if you wish your name to be added to the list of reserved places.

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!

FOOD BANK

The boxes for Foodbank donations are in church and we invite you to drop in your donations during one of the times when the churches are open for private prayer. Below are this month’s most needed items: