United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

19th December 2021 : The Fourth Sunday of Advent

CURRENT AND FUTURE WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

Please continue to be vigilant and to observe social distancing measures at all times. We need to be particularly wary of the omicron variant, which is highly contagious. At present numbers in church remain unrestricted, but if this changes we will give details on the pewsheet. IT IS NOW COMPULSORY TO WEAR A MASK IN CHURCH, although this may be removed for singing.

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 midwives and all who give support to expecting mothers

Pray for: the victims of the tornadoes in the United States; the victims of the explosion in Sicily; 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; Carol T.

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 FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

God our redeemer,

who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary

to be the mother of your Son:

grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,

so we may be ready to greet him

when he comes again as our judge;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

READINGS

OLD TESTAMENT READINGMicah 5 : 2-5a

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.

GOSPEL – Luke 1 : 39-45

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

From the book of Micah

The prophet draws attention to the humble small-town origins of the forthcoming Messiah. Why do you think this is important? Should we look for the divine hand only in large-scale or unusual events, or might we also be able to discern God at work locally in everyday routines and occurrences? In what ways could you be the hand by which God is acting?

From the Gospel of Luke

In this passage, Luke relates the excitement of the two women at their pregnancies. Given that we are in the Advent season, might there be another sense in which the story can speak to us, whether or not we are expecting new children in our own families? Just as Mary nourished God’s Son to develop in her body, how could we nurture the seeds of God’s word to grow and flourish in our lives?

Elizabeth praises Mary for the strength of her belief in God, even when faced with the prospect of an event completely without precedent or practical explanation. If something similarly unexpected or inexplicable was to occur in your life, could you respond with whole-hearted trust, like Mary? Or if it was to happen to someone you know, could you be there to share the experience and offer support, like Elizabeth?

INTERCESSIONS

God of all hope and joy, open our hearts in welcome, that your son Jesus Christ at his coming may find in us a dwelling prepared for him.

Lord, as we once again prepare for Christmas, help us to make time in all our busy lives for quiet prayer and contemplation; that we may reflect upon the wonder of your love and allow the reality of the Saviour’s birth to permeate our hearts and minds and souls. So may our joy be deeper, our worship more real and our lives worthier of Christ’s incarnation and sacrifice.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Lord, look with loving kindness upon your Church. As we struggle to be a body worthy of Christ’s name, we ask you to help us heal our divisions by focussing on the great panorama of the coming of the Kingdom rather than the minute details of the route we may take.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Lord, we rejoice in the love of our homes. We pray for all who have enriched our lives by their goodness, all who have accepted us and cared for us. We pray for all who are separated from those that they love, either by physical or emotional distance. We pray for all who are alone, that they may not feel lonely.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for all who are hungry for acceptance, who are hungry for love, all who long to be needed. We remember all who are ill at this time, and those who are anxious for them. We pray especially for those known to us.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Lord, you came to earth that in your power and love we might ascend into heaven; bless those whom we love that have departed this life with the gift of life and love eternal. We remember in particular your servant John Rowell, and commend him into your keeping.

Lord, in your mercy . . . hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised saviour: fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation.

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

Heavenly Father,

who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary

to be the mother of the promised saviour:

fill us your servants with your grace,

that in all things we may embrace your holy will

and with her rejoice in your salvation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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

With Mary let my soul rejoice – AMHS 395 – YouTube

Sing we of the blessed Mother – HON 448 – YouTube

THANK YOU!

A special thank you to all who worked so hard for the Christmas coffee morning at St James’. It raised an impressive £317.30, which is a really good result given the circumstances. Well done! (This result will be on the hard copy of the pew sheet next week, but we went to press earlier than usual this week when the result was still unknown!)

ST MILDRED’S CAROL SERVICE

The St Mildred’s Candlelit Carol service will be taking place TODAY at 4.00pm. Do come along for a good sing, but remember to bring a mask!

FUNERAL OF 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.

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?

PEW SHEET ARRANGEMENTS

Pew sheet arrangements continue to be handled by Stuart. Please can any prayer requests, intercessions, and other notices be sent to him each week by Wednesday evening. His contact details are stuart_mckerracher

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?

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 an urgent need for these items, if you can help:

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 tomatoes

Tinned fish

Tinned meat

Tinned soup

Pasta

Cereal

Tea

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS CALENDAR EVENTS
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.

Rev Susan