United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

19th September 2021 : Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

CURRENT AND FUTURE WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

Our current service pattern is now set to continue – but the bad news is that with the recent outbreak of Covid within St James’ congregation although we will be able to serve coffee after the service, Café Church has to be put on hold for a little longer. Please continue to be vigilant and to observe social distancing measures at all times. With the summer season, cases on the island are increasing, and we 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: increasing ecological awareness in the world; the beauty of creation

Pray for: visitors to the island; the people of Afghanistan, in whatever situation they find themselves

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: Reg and Eileen; Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Beryl; Joy and Dave; Margaret Perkins; Paul and family; William and family; Gemma; the family of Emily and Sammie; Beccy and family, Richard Sewell, Jemma

Please also continue to pray for Sheila Dunn and Mary Blow. Sheila is now home, Mary doing well on the ward at St Mary’s.

Give thanks for: the recent wedding of David May and Carolyn Osman

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:

Elizabeth Langridge

COLLECT FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Lord of creation,

whose glory is around and within us:

open our eyes to your wonders,

that we may serve you with reverence

and know your peace at our lives’ end,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING James 3 : 13 – 4 : 7

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

4Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

GOSPEL Mark 9 : 30-37

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know it; 31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.’ 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the way?’ 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’ 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

ADDRESS

True or false? You can buy the right to have someone else give birth to your child.

True or false? You can buy the right to upgrade your prison cell to something comfier.

True or false? You can buy the right to shoot endangered species such as black rhinos.

Believe it or not, those are all true. Surrogate pregnancies have been around for a long time. And though I am not sure whether real money changes hands for better prison cells, it is not impossible, and certainly prisoners can earn certain privileges for good behaviour, so why not a better class of cell? And some people do argue that by culling certain species, you protect the rest. But what all those decisions rely on is the inherent greed of individuals.

Whether we like it or not, our western society at least is based on the idea that our rights are the most important thing – and those rights are usually based on greed, on getting something we feel entitled to have. That doesn’t go for all rights, of course: everyone, for instance, has the right to be treated humanely, and both human and animal rights have been increasingly seen as a sign of a civilised society. But rights such as the ones I mentioned a few moments ago are definitely self-centred, and I am sure St James would agree that entitlement and greed are at the root of an unjust society. When he wrote his letter to the church, warning against greed and selfish ambition, and urging them to seek true wisdom, surely he was responding to problems they were already having. I would say that he knew from his own experience that Christians are called to demonstrate a better way of living. He was, after all, one of the ones who had wanted the best seats in the kingdom of God for himself and his brother. And he had learned, through the example of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, that God simply doesn’t have the same ideas about kingdom and power that we tend to have.

Jesus’ teaching about power and greatness is absolutely radical. In the culture of his time, children were completely unimportant members of society. They had no rights and no status. Yet Jesus taught that whoever welcomed a child in his name was welcoming both him and God himself. And he says it in the context of a debate about who is the greatest among the disciples. To be great, you have to not want to be great. You have to work with humility and not pay attention to selfish ambition. That is one thing that the great saints all have in common. The thing about them is that they are themselves unimportant: what matters is how the light of God has shone through them. A friend of mine (now dead) once said, when he knew he was dying, that whenever he sang the hymn “For all the saints” where it speaks of “the saints triumphant pass in bright array” – he wanted to add, “And just think – one of them is ME!”

We so seldom think of ourselves as saintly. We think there must be some further exam to pass before we can be called saints, that we aren’t holy enough, that it’s “them” and “us” as if the saints never had the same problems we have, or suffered in the same way. Ah yes, I too would be a saint if it wasn’t for x or y or z, which all combine to stop me. If I wasn’t married to that woman or man, I could be a better person. If I didn’t have to spend so much time doing that job, I could do more for God. If I didn’t make all those mistakes, I would be more saintly – and so on. But God puts us in particular places, and we are not saints despite those circumstances, but because of them. They are what make us who we are. They are the ways in which God shapes us, chiselling us gently into shape, bringing out our unique qualities like a carpenter working with the grain of the wood. We would never say, “That carving would be perfect if only there wasn’t any grain in the wood” – instead we say “Look how he – or she – has used that feature to make the piece special”.

Knowing that we are special, loved by God to an unimaginable degree, gives us confidence to go on working for that topsy turvy kingdom where the first will be last and the last first. It’s not about being better than anyone else: it’s about doing whatever God has called us to do, as the people we are, in the place where we are called to be. It’s not about appearing successful in the world: it’s about being faithful. It’s about the tiny mustard seed becoming the largest tree. By the grace of God, may we continue to grow.

Amen.

INTERCESSIONS (Supplied by Mary Marsh)

Dear God, we see signs of summer’s passing in golden leaves, shortening days, misty mornings, autumn glow.
We sense its passing in rain that dampens, winds that chill, harvest’s bounty placed on show. Creator God, who brings forth both green shoot and hoar frost, sunrise and sunset, we bring our thanks for seeds that have grown, harvests gathered, storehouses filled, mouths fed.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

As our lives become less restricted, we think about the effects the pandemic is having on the mental health of so many people. We pray for children and young people struggling with the effect on their young lives, interrupted educations and concerns about their futures.

We pray for adults of all ages coping with loss of employment, bereavement, loneliness, ill health, lack of confidence and anxiety.

We pray for health and community workers in mental health teams providing support, advice and treatment whilst faced with increasing demand for their services; and we pray for ourselves that we may be watchful for those in mental distress and be prepared to lend a listening ear.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

We pray for our own country, the Queen, her ministers and all who hold authority. Help the nation to not forget its Christian heritage of charity and service. In this time of heightened security we remember those who put their lives on the line for our security – police, firefighters, lifeboat crews and members of the armed forces. We pray for them and their families.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Our planet is struggling under the burden of the impact of humankind. We see devastating weather events. Unite our prayers with all people of faith and pray for mutual cooperation between governments to reduce harmful emissions and curbing our wasteful ways of life.

Hear our prayer Lord for those whose lives have been shattered by natural disaster. We hold in our hearts the families forever changed by grief and loss. We ask for your blessing on all those who have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security and their hope and we pray for the work of the relief agencies and those providing emergency assistance.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Hear our prayer Lord, for people who are ill, in hospitals, at home, or wherever they may be. Give them courage, hope and peace, and the knowledge that you are present in their weakness, pain and suffering. May the skills and knowledge of those who care for the sick be fully used to help and to heal.

We pray especially for those who have no one to help them, that in their loneliness they may know that you are with them. May we be good listeners when friends and neighbours need us. Give us the right words and help us to know what simple acts of kindness may help someone else. Comfort with your presence those who suffer in body, mind or spirit and give them courage and hope in their troubles

We pray for those named on our pew sheet ……………………………..Bless all that is being done for their good, and surround them with your healing love and power for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

As we go from your house today to start the week ahead, we ask that in all that we do and all that we say, we may walk more closely with you at our side, safe in the knowledge that your fatherly love and care know no bounds.
You turn our darkness into light, and in your light shall we see light.

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:

Almighty God,

you have taught us through your Son

that love is the fulfilling of the law:

grant that we may love you with our whole heart

and our neighbours as ourselves;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

To conclude, either listen to the music links below or simply rest quietly in God’s presence

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 235 I, the Lord of sea and sky.MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 73 Brother, sister, let me serve you (1).MOV

FRIENDSHIP GUILD

St James’ Friendship Guild meeting scheduled for this month has been postponed. Please look out for further details of when we can resume.

COFFEE MORNINGS AT ST JAMES’

We have reluctantly decided to postpone the return of our popular coffee mornings for another month, as we wait to see whether there is a further Covid spike in the wake of the Island Festival. Please bear with us as we try to keep everyone safe and be aware of potential dangers…..Thank you!

BROWSERS LIBRARY

Have you been along to the Browsers Library at St James’ yet? Do drop in on Saturday from 10.00-12.00 for a coffee, choose a free book, buy a jigsaw or just have a socially distanced chat. All visitors please wash your hands on entry: all returned stock is kept separate until it is safe to return it to the shelves. (Not that you have to bring them back, of course…!) We can always use more volunteers – it isn’t arduous, but it is unfair to expect Gillian, Margaret and Rita to bear the brunt of the work unaided. Please sign up on the list by the exit door.

HARVEST ARRANGEMENTS

Both churches would welcome donations of tinned or dried harvest goods for Harvest Thanksgiving on 3rd October. If you can help decorate the church as well, please see the wardens to find out when this is due to happen.

SINGABOUT

Singabout will be resuming on Thursday 7th October at St James’ church hall at 2.00pm. If you like community singing, why not give it a go?

FINALLY…

A message from Rev Judith Swaine, our Island prison chaplain:

Prisons Week this year is 10 – 16 October 2021.

This is the week we are asked to pray especially for those who live and work in prisons and their families as well as those who are victims of crime and the catastrophic and far-reaching effects. If you would like to take part in the prayer week there is a prayer sheet that can be downloaded from the Prison Week website; https://prisonsweek.org/

Anyone who feels they may have a discernment toward serving God through (pastoral) ministry to those in prison and has a couple of hours free each month might be interested in volunteering to become an Official Prison Visitor. This is a scheme run by the National Association of Prison Visitors and seeks to provide visitors for those prisoners who would not otherwise receive visits. It is so important for prisoners to have contact with the ‘outside’ world to help with their rehabilitation and prepare them for when they leave prison.

If you would like to find out more about being an Official Prison Visitor, without obligation, I would love to hear from you at HMP Isle of Wight.

Please contact me by e-mail on Judith.Swaine

God bless and thank you

Rev Judith Swaine

Anglican chaplain

HMP Isle of Wight

Anyone who does not have access to email or the Internet is welcome to ask me to obtain details and resources!

Rev Susan