United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

12th December 2021 : The Third Sunday of Advent

CURRENT AND FUTURE WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

Please continue to be vigilant and to observe social distancing measures at all times. Cases on the island are heading in the right direction, but we still need to maintain due caution, especially remembering that to have had two vaccinations does not stop people from carrying the virus.

Meanwhile the diocesan website www.portsmouth.anglican.org still 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. You must do whatever feels right and safe for you.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: the work of food banks and other charitable organisations working to alleviate poverty

Pray for: the homeless; those with low or no income; all those affected by the new Covid variant

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Emergency prayers needed for: Paul and family; William and family; Alistair; Lusia; David.

Long term, please pray for: Charles; Stuart; Reg and Eileen; Irene and Henry; Richard G; Bob; Beryl; Joy and Dave; Margaret; the family of Emily and Sammie; Richard S; Peter; Mike; Marie

Give thanks for: all people involved in producing and administering the Covid vaccines

If you wish particular names to be added to the prayer list, please inform Rev Susan. All names are reviewed on a monthly basis. Please keep Rev Susan updated if you would like a name to stay on the list beyond the current month.

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

John Rowell; all those whose anniversary falls at this time.

******************

COLLECT FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

God for whom we watch and wait,

you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:

give us courage to speak the truth,

to hunger for justice,

and to suffer for the cause of right,

with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READINGZephaniah 3 : 14-end

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgements against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing as on a day of festival.

I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.

GOSPEL – Luke 3 : 7-18

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptised by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’

And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptised, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptise you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

From the book of Zephaniah

The prophet tells the people to be glad, as God’s judgments against them have been lifted. Do you think God might be leading by example here? If He is no longer judging us, should we ourselves still be judging others? Is there somebody in your own life that you might consider releasing from persistent blame or reproach?

From the Gospel of Luke

In this passage, John the Baptist warns his listeners not to rest on their laurels while others struggle, but to engage actively in charitable giving. Do you think he would say anything different today? As Christmas approaches, might you be focusing too much on your own comforts and pleasures whilst neglecting the essential needs of those less fortunate? If you were to receive a surplus of gifts, food, or money, what would John tell you to do with it?

John uses the imagery of a grain harvest to explain how Christ will distinguish and sort the good from the evil in the world. How might we take a similar account of ourselves? Which aspects of our life are the ‘wheat’, wholesome and nourishing to our discipleship; and which are the ‘chaff’, interfering with our digestion of God’s word and needing to be thrown out?

INTERCESSIONS (supplied by Robert Hall)

Heavenly Father, as we attend this Advent Period, let us remember all those that are less well off than we are. We pray for all those that are not able to worship you in their own homes or countries due to financial reasons, illness, conflict, or disasters. Give them all strength that they can, with your guidance, see a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

As we remember that Christmas is the celebration of your Son’s birth, and not all the commercial attractions that are around us, let us only take and use what we really need, leaving things for those who have greater want of them, and sharing with others any gifts that we do not keep ourselves.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, please protect Queen Elizabeth and all the Royal Family. Give them strength as they go about their duties. We also ask you to guide and protect HM Government and local governments as they go about their work in these troublesome days. Grant them wisdom to do what is right for the country and the people, so that we can all come through these times to a better future.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, as this time of celebrations leading up to Christmas, we pray that you will protect all those who are on their own this time of year, let them know that you are always there to guide and support them and that they will be able to call on your help at any time.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Father, we think of all those who are unwell in body, mind, or spirit. Give them the strength to meet their troubles with your guiding hand. We pray for all the people who are looking after them, be it professionals, family or friends: grant to all these people strength and the ability to call on help when they need it. At this time, we think especially of Rev Susan and Charles, and pray that his treatment will be successful.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

We remember those that have recently passed into your Heavenly House: those that we know or have heard of, and those that are only known to you. We also call to mind those whose anniversaries fall at this time, and in a period of quiet we remember them.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, we give thanks for all the people who keep us safe: the Emergency Services, NHS, and all the people we take for granted on whom we depend. Keep all of them safe, healthy and able to return to their families. We thank all people who have to work at this time of year when the majority of us all are relaxing.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, finally we ask you to protect ourselves, residents, and visitors that on the Island. Keep all safe, well and healthy so that all of us can enjoy this time of year.

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:

Post Communion

We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts;

kindle in us the fire of your Spirit

that when your Christ comes again

we may shine as lights before his face;

who is alive and reigns now and for ever.

Amen.

To conclude, either follow the links below to our new YouTube channel or simply rest quietly in God’s presence

I, the Lord of sea and sky – AMHS 494 – YouTube

Seek ye first the kingdom of God – HON 442 – YouTube

JOHN ROWELL

John’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 22nd December at 12.00 noon in church. It is currently unclear as to how many people we can accommodate in church, so please wait for further information rather than just relying on turning up.

PEW SHEET ARRANGEMENTS – UPDATE

This week, please can any prayer requests, intercessions, and other notices be sent to Stuart by 10am on Tuesday morning.

His contact details are stuart_mckerracher

THANK YOU!

Well done and thank you to everyone who organised and supported the coffee morning at St Mildred’s last week. It’s good to know we are still able to attract support and to minister to our local friends in the community.

ST JAMES’ CAROL SERVICE

Town carols will start at 4.00pm at St James’, East Cowes, TODAY. We are delighted to welcome The SingAbout Choir to this service. Sadly, due to the Covid situation we are unable to offer refreshments afterwards, but do come anyway and enjoy a foretaste of Christmas!

Once you have got a taste for singing carols, why not also come along to the St Mildred’s candlelit carol service next Sunday at 4.00pm?

ST JAMES’ COFFEE MORNING

A coffee morning will be held at St James’ church hall on Tuesday 14th December from 10.00 to 12.00. Do come along and support us!

EPIPHANY CAROL SERVICE AT ST MILDRED’S

On Sunday 9th January at 4pm, there will be a service of Nine Lessons and Carols for Epiphany at St Mildred’s. Music will be sung by the liturgical choir Cantus Vesperi, who kindly provided us with a carol service at St James’ last year.

ADVENT DEVOTIONS

If anyone would still like to join an Advent study group, All Saints’ Ryde are holding one online via Zoom. Ask Rev Susan for the link.

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS

A few Christmas reflection booklets are still available to pick up from the churches. Have you got yours??

ONLINE PHOTO OF ST MILDRED’S REREDOS

I have received an email from Mr Roger Mechan, a keen septuagenarian photographer who has taken a rather lovely picture of our reredos and is selling framed copies as gifts available online. For those able to access the internet, you can find sight of it at this link:


https://shop.photo4me.com/1079418/framed-mounted-print?o=21&e=12&s=309&u=in&share=true

Roger is donating profits to the church, so if you are still looking for luxury Christmas presents, why not have a look?

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS CALENDAR EVENTS
12th December 4.00pm Town Carols at St James’, East Cowes
14th December 10.00am Coffee morning and Christmas stalls at St James’, East Cowes
16th -18th December 11.00-3.00pm Christmas Tree Festival at St Mildred’s, Whippingham
19th December 1.00-3.00pm Conclusion of Christmas Tree festival, St Mildred’s
19th December 4.00pm Carol service, St Mildred’s, Whippingham
Christmas Eve 11.30pm Midnight Mass, St Mildred’s, Whippingham
Christmas Day 10.00am Holy Communion, St James’, East Cowes
26th December NO SERVICES AT EITHER CHURCH.

Sunday worship resumes on 2nd January

9th January 4.00pm Epiphany Carol Service with Cantus Vesperi at St Mildred’s, Whippingham

We are sorry that the traditional crib service at Whippingham has had to be cancelled this year due to Covid concerns surrounding young children.

Please note that there will be no Midnight Mass at East Cowes this year due to the Covid situation. There is, however, a 10.00am service on Christmas Day instead. Those wishing to attend a midnight service are very welcome to attend at St Mildred’s.

BROWSERS LIBRARY

Have you been along to the Browsers Library at St James’ yet? Do drop in on Saturdays from 10.00-12.00 for a coffee, choose a free book, buy a jigsaw or just have a socially distanced chat.

DOG WALKING VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED

The Cinnamon Trust is the national charity whose wonderful volunteers help people over retirement age and those in the latter stages of a terminal illness by offering all kinds of free pet care. They are looking for volunteers to help a resident of East Cowes whose delightful dog would love to go for a good walk.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you can download a volunteer registration form from their web site appeals. If you would like to have a more in-depth chat about becoming a volunteer, please call during office hours (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm) on 01736 758 701.

FOOD BANK

There is still a need for the following items, if you can help:

URGENTLY NEEDED FOOD ITEMS – DECEMBER 2021

LONG LIFE MILK

LONG LIFE JUICE

CUSTARD

SPONGE PUDDINGS

COFFEE

Due to the generosity of the public we have plenty of:

COOKING SAUCES

BAKED BEANS

TINNED VEGETABLES

TINNED FISH

TINNED MEAT

PASTA

CEREAL

SOUP

TINNED TOMATOES

TEA

Rev Susan