United Benefice of
St Mildred’s, Whippingham
St James’, East Cowes
20th June 2021 : Third Sunday after Trinity
CURRENT WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS
A general feeling seems to have crept in that we can now relax and put Covid behind us. If only! But as things stand, please continue to be vigilant and to observe social distancing measures at all times. This particularly applies to the time after services when it is tempting to chat in groups, leaving some folk apprehensive. With the summer season, cases on the island are increasing, and we need to maintain due caution, especially as the government has not deemed it safe to abandon restrictions just yet.
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.
Previous services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube via the following link:
Today’s service will appear on YouTube later this week.
FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:
Give thanks for: fine weather; visitors to the island; families and friends; all fathers
Pray for: NHS and care home staff; migrants trying to cross the channel in unsafe boats; all who have poor experience of fatherhood
PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:
Please pray for: William and family; Reg and Eileen; Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Beryl; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Oliver; Thabani Maposa and family; Maureen; Catherine; Marie and family; Chloe Paton; James; Margaret Perkins; Jane Brand; Bishop Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells; Rajiv Sidhu and family; Paul and family
Jane Brand is recovering after surgery for a new knee, and we wish her a speedy return to full mobility!
Give thanks for: all ordinations taking place at this time, and especially for Rajiv Sidhu and his new parish of St Cuthbert, Copnor (Incumbent: Rev Allie Kerr)
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. The deadline is Wednesday 30th June.
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:
Jenny’s funeral will take place in St Mildred’s at 1.30pm on 22nd June, followed by an interment at Ashey cemetery
Anyone from the congregation who wishes to attend is welcome.
COLLECT FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
look on this wounded world
in pity and in power;
hold us fast to your promises of peace
won for us by your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
NEW TESTAMENT READING 2 Corinthians 6 : 1-13
As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! 3We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, 4but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labours, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8in honour and dishonour, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. 12There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. 13In return—I speak as to children—open wide your hearts also.
GOSPEL Mark 4 : 35-end
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ 36And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ 41And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
I was interested when I read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, to see how he begins by linkingthe grace of God with working together. The grace of God is something we don’t often pay much attention to. It’s the first line of the prayer “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, evermore”, but we rattle that off almost without thinking. Then there’s that heretical sentence, “There but for the grace of God go I” – which suggests that God has got it in for some people but not for others. But the grace of God is something we might usefully think about. What do we mean?
That’s usually a question I ask couples when they bring their child for baptism. There is a prayer in the service for the child to know the riches of the grace of God poured out upon them. All it means is that the love of God should be surrounding them, the unconditional, boundless love of God which we don’t do anything to deserve and we cannot earn. All parents get instantly what it means when I point out that their little baby can never earn nor automatically deserve to be loved, but yet their own love for the child is unquestionable. Whereas human love can wear a bit thin, especially at 4.00am after yet another sleepless night of childcare, God’s love never wears out – and that is grace. So maybe the prayer about the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God is overly repetitive, because they are virtually one and the same thing. Though I have heard it said that love is the source, grace is the course and fellowship is the flow, if you want a fine distinction.
But talking about the flow of God’s love brings us to that connection that Paul makes between grace and working together. Grace doesn’t work in isolation from anything else: where there is grace, there is effect. Just as the sunlight has an effect on the planet, so the grace of God has an effect on all that it touches. There is a connection, a joining, a response. So when we experience the grace of God, we are immediately empowered to grow beyond ourselves and to reach out. I have a money plant in my lounge that is rather on the slant because it has reached out to the light rather than just continue to be a static plant that goes straight up. Of course, it also needs water to feed it, but the point is that it responds to the sunlight. When we respond to the spirit of God’s grace, working in us and upon us, we too become less self-centred and we begin to interact with each other. That’s why there is no such thing as a solitary Christian: our faith demands that we reorient ourselves towards the source of divine grace, and we do that best when we recognise that grace working in the lives of other people. Any church that does not relate beyond itself is doomed to wither and die away. But when we forget our own self-importance and let ourselves be drawn into God’s love, we find new strength, new vision and new growth.
Isn’t that something every church would want? Of course there are always going to be some aspects of church life that are local, when people relate to a particular place and context, but the fact that every Sunday we claim to believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church is a reiteration of our belief in something greater than ourselves. Catholic in that context means universal: we believe in a united, universal church that is sent by God into the world, just as the original apostles were sent to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
The key to being part of that amazing faith community is in our willingness to trust God and let him lead us. In the wake of the lockdown it is easy to lose our nerve and want to huddle away, but the grace of God, like sunlight, calls us into new life. It is highly likely that that new life will involve us discovering new partnerships and new patterns of being church. I very much hope so. But to tap into that new life, we need to nurture ourselves with the water of prayer and commitment, to take our faith seriously and to be open to all the opportunities God provides that play to our strengths. He has given us two church buildings in close proximity: it would be good to spend some time exploring how we might best complement each other. He has given us two communities that can support each other. Before we get set back into our previous patterns of worship and fellowship, of events and procedures, we could usefully look at each other’s ministries and learn from each other. That would stand us in good stead for reaching out together even further.
I am ending by going back to St Paul, who knew all about the churches’ propensity for sliding into apathy and unhealthy ways of living. Look how he exhorts the church at Corinth: See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! And I want to say, yes, Lord, let’s find out by your grace what we are called to do. And let’s do it now. Amen.
INTERCESSIONS(Supplied by Jane Brand)
Father God, we approach your throne of Grace with our concerns, our burdens and our thanksgiving for all your people throughout the world. Help us to put our trust in you and in our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us that you love us as a parent and only wany what is right for us.
As we continue to pray for peace and goodwill towards all people, we also pray for the innocent victims and their families caught up in conflicts which are not of their making.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Bless our Queen, as she enters another year of her life and duty, and all the Royal Family.
Give wisdom to all those who have attended the G7 summit. May they make new good decisions about climate change, world poverty and the pandemic.
Give courage and integrity to all those in authority, the armed forces, police, N.H.S and all key workers.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Great Healer, look on all your children who are suffering with illness in mind or body, bless them and give them fortitude that like St. Paul they may endure their sufferings in the sure knowledge that you love them.
Give care, patience and love to all their carers.
We praise you for all those involved in medical research.
Bless all those who have recently died, especially Jenny Abbott, and all those who mourn, that they may know your divine comfort and love.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Father of all, as we celebrate Fathers’ Day give Grace to all fathers that they may follow your loving example. Help all those men, who because of their problems find it difficult or impossible to be kind, enthusiastic and loving fathers to their children and partners. Especially bless and care for all young men growing up in an era of social media, porn and # Me Too, guide them in becoming considerate, loving partners, friends and good fathers.
Those of us blessed with loving Father figures – PRAISE YOU.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Lord, we ask you to lead us into this coming week, help us to believe you are close by us, keep us from making mistakes and help us never to disappoint you.
When we face hard decisions or difficult work, when we enjoy ourselves and have fun with others, may we know that you share these times with us.
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:
and whose power we cannot comprehend:
show us your glory as far as we can grasp it,
and shield us from knowing more than we can bear
until we may look upon you without fear;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
To conclude, either listen to the music links below or simply rest quietly in God’s presence
FOOD BANK MOST NEEDED ITEMS THIS MONTH
URGENTLY NEEDED FOOD ITEMS – JUNE 2021
- SPONGE PUDDINGS
- COOKING OIL
- SHAVING FOAM / GEL
- MEN’S SHOWER GEL
- PART-BAKED BREAD (WITH AT LEAST 2 WEEKS SHELF LIFE)
- CLEANING PRODUCTS (KITCHEN & BATHROOM)
- TOOTHBRUSHES (SINGLE)
- TINNED VEG (NOT SWEETCORN OR MUSHY PEAS)
- FEMALE & MALE DEODORANT
- WASHING CAPSULES / POWDER
- LONG LIFE MILK
DUE TO THE GENEROSITY OF THE PUBLIC WE HAVE PLENTY OF
- COOKING SAUCES
- BAKED BEANS
- TINNED SOUP
- TINNED MEAT
- TINNED FISH
ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ
The Café is now open on Mondays to Thursdays from 10.00am – 4.00pm. Please contact Sue Richmond (297883) for up to date details! The church is again open for visitors from during café hours.
ST JAMES’ BOOK OUTREACH
The Browsers’ Library will open on 10th July, from 10.00 – 12.00 in church. Volunteers need to be there from 9.30am, and we expect to be packed up by 12.30. If you would like to offer to help out at this new community venture, please have a word with either Margaret Prior (07849 191817) or Gillian Jackson (01983 281633). We also hope to offer tea and coffee, and to sell a few jigsaws. Come along and see!
STOP PRESS The start date may need to be revised due to the continuation of restrictions by the government. Watch this space for updates!
COFFEE AT ST JAMES’ CHURCH
One reason why we have to be slow about reintroducing coffee after our morning service at St James’ is that we have VERY FEW VOLUNTEERS! Just think for a moment – what does it say about us if we are unwilling, even once every six weeks, to pour out a cup of coffee into a disposable cup for our fellow Christians? Please pray about whether you can help with this ministry of hospitality. Your church needs YOU!
DIOCESAN UPDATE **IMPORTANT NEWS**
There are plans across the diocese to reorganise the ministry of all churches so that groups of churches can function more as a cohesive entity than as small individual parishes. The scale of the proposed reorganisation, and the very tight time schedule that has been imposed, have made this restructuring somewhat problematic, but the current thinking is to reduce the number of parishes across the island to just 7, with churches working in much larger groups than ever before. On the island, we would lose (at the latest count!) 2 clergy posts, and the vision is for clergy and laity to work as teams together, assisted by paid staff who would enable the administration to become more centralised and streamlined. As yet nothing is set in stone, but please pray for all those most closely involved in this major programme.
From our perspective, we are likely to be asked to partner with Wootton (St Edmund’s and St Mark’s), who have previously been in a plurality with Havenstreet and Binstead. These latter two would become part of a much larger grouping also encompassing Ryde, Seaview, Brading, Yaverland, St Helen’s and Bembridge. Other proposed teams are also much larger than our proposed group would be. If the move goes ahead, Wootton would look to appoint a half-time priest in addition to the post here.
In view of this, a meeting has been set up for the PCCs of East Cowes, Whippingham, Wootton and the Archdeacon to begin to explore what might be possible. PCC Members – please put in your diaries Wednesday 21st July at 7.00pm. The meeting is to be at St James’, in the church rather than the hall as it is more spacious. If you are a PCC member, please make this a priority, as we need to make sure as many people as possible are involved in discussions and planning. It is also an excellent opportunity to begin to get to know each other better.
Thank you! Rev Susan
Below is an article from last week’s Church Times, which might give pause for thought…. My thanks to Rev Peter Hutchinson for drawing it to my attention! Rev Susan
This traumatised nation needs open churches
11 JUNE 2021
Keeping the doors unlocked shows pandemic-scarred parishioners that they are not alone, argues Pip Martin
THIS past year, most church buildings have been closed. At the outset, there were plenty of voices to suggest that this might be no bad thing; that here was a reminder that Christianity resides in people, not in stone.
I recall our Archbishops, in one of several letters to clergy in which advice was couched in imperative if not threatening terms, expressing such a view (News, 27 March 2020). We were being recalled to a supposed better time, before church buildings, when Christians met together simply and faithfully in one another’s homes, as we were about to do, albeit via Zoom.
I won’t presume to speak about the Early Church, although I believe that sacred places were set apart for Christian worship almost as soon as synagogues were not. Instead, I plead a different lesson to be learned from the past 14 months: let us open the doors of our church buildings whenever and however we can.
Since my ordination in 1984, my ministry had always taken place in parishes where the churches were left unlocked: first, in the (then) mining town of Pontefract, followed by the market town of Wantage and its satellite estate of Charlton, and then in a large but still rural Dorset village. In each of those varied contexts, the open church was a place of prayer, a refuge for those with troubles, a meeting place — and, perhaps most of all, an architectural parable: the open doors a vivid and practical symbol of Christ’s arms opened wide for us in life and in death.
My present ministry is exercised in an urban area of Poole, and it was, on arriving in 2017, my first experience of having a church that was locked, except for services or other occasional uses. Opening the doors was the most significant change that I was able to initiate during my first 12 months; its effect has been profound and positive.
TO PRAY daily in church is the great bonus for a priest who lives close by, but locking the door afterwards felt like a denial of the words of the Angelus with which I concluded. How can a church’s closed doors proclaim that the Word dwells among us? Now, leaving the doors open as I leave, my usually solitary morning prayers are but the overture to the day’s quiet symphony of intercession, made by people of all kinds, most of them not regular worshippers, and many perhaps unable to articulate why they come.
Prayer requests, always heartfelt and sometimes deeply moving, are left, now more than ever, and I share these with two reliable, wise souls. We promise to remember all of them each day for a month. Thus, intercession has become a daily work of the church. Most passers-by, as may be expected, do not enter, but still they notice. When asked which is my church and I describe it, people now are as likely to exclaim, “Ah, the one with the ‘Open for Prayer’ sign!” as they used to with the realisation, “Oh, that place opposite Lidl’s, I always wondered what it was.”
Opening the doors has also profoundly affected the congregation. I had noticed, before, two distinct groups — those who (for current or historic reasons) had keys, and those who did not. Now, all have equal access. I attribute to that, and their sense of renewed pride in the building and its benefits for others, both an improved atmosphere when we gather for worship and a much greater willingness to help improve the fabric and the church grounds.
THERE will, naturally, be worries about theft, rough-sleepers, and vandalism; and, in a very few individuals, a holy place can provoke a macabre or unpleasant response.
Against that, consider the insurance companies’ advice that a locked church, in which an intruder is safe from disturbance, is less safe than one that is open and often visited. Note, also, that donations by visitors more than compensate for occasional damage. Making discreet use of CCTV (or placing signs suggestive of it) may help. Have a clear-out of the vestry to make secure space for precious items. Advertise that the church is open, so that both more will visit and the local community to whom you are entrusting the church will rally to help if “their church” is abused.
Some readers will, none the less, consider it impossible to open the churches to which they belong. They may be correct, but all I plead is that opening the doors should be seen as the norm and keeping them locked as a reluctant decision made only after exploring every alternative option.
As England emerges from a period of indescribable trauma and untimely death for so many, our closed buildings convey the message that our parishioners are on their own: God has retreated and may, at best, be encountered via Zoom. Oh, that our church buildings might proclaim a different, more welcoming, inclusive, and hopeful assurance: these doors are open as a sign that Christ’s arms are open for you!