United Benefice of
St Mildred’s, Whippingham
St James’, East Cowes
30th May 2021 : Trinity Sunday
CURRENT WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS
As we are now allowed to gather in groups of 6 or less indoors, there will be coffee and tea available in the Parish Centre itself at St Mildred’s after the Sunday service!
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: fair weather; the success of tourism on the island; the hard work of all volunteers
Pray for: our new proposed book outreach at St James’ church
Eital Biran, aged 5, the only member of his family to survive a cable car accident that killed 14 including his parents and brother
PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:
Please pray for: Kim; Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Dave; Reg and Eileen King; Beryl; Maureen & Gordon; Joy and Dave; Oliver; Rita; Stuart; Thabani Maposa and family; Paul and family; James; Maureen; Chrissie; Jill; Catherine; Marie and family;
Give thanks for: Catherine, now home from hospital. Alleluia! Ann Garner would like to thank you all for your prayers. Please keep praying, though, as there is a long journey ahead for Catherine for full recovery.
If you wish particular names to be added to the prayer list, please inform Rev Susan. All names will be 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 Tuesday 1st June.
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:
Molly Lewis; Jenny Abbott; all those who died in the cable car crash.
Molly’s ashes were buried in our churchyard at East Cowes this week.
Jenny passed away on Monday 17th May, peacefully at home. Our condolences go to Mike and family. The funeral date will be announced in due course: there has been a delay due to the need for an inquest.
COLLECT FOR TRINITY SUNDAY
faithful and unchanging:
enlarge our minds with the knowledge of your truth,
and draw us more deeply into the mystery of your love,
that we may truly worship you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
OLD TESTAMENT READING Isaiah 6 : 1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3And one called to another and said:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.’
4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ 8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’
GOSPEL John 3 : 1-17
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 ‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 ‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.’
Everyone comes to faith in a different way. For some it is an immediate and dynamic experience, like St Paul on the Damascus road, while for others it is more a gradual conviction which may even have its roots in year after year of pure habit, being made to go to church as a child and only slowly finding out what it means. Today’s readings show us two other people experiencing what happens when God calls. Isaiah’s experience is through a vision – might we call it a dream? – when he sees God as an almighty, transcendent presence, high and lifted up. There is a glorious church anthem by Stainer that conjures up the image so beautifully that you actually feel scared when you reach the climax that the house was filled with smoke. That is one way of seeing God.
By comparison, Nicodemus is so timid about approaching God that he comes by night to Jesus to ask his tentative questions. He doesn’t want anyone else to know as he confesses his ignorance and lack of understanding. After all, he has some standing as a teacher of Israel, and it won’t do to show anyone else what a fragile grasp he has on the things that matter. But his trust in Jesus is rewarded. He becomes a faithful disciple, and at the crucifixion he is one of the two who bravely take Jesus’ body to bury it. I think there are more Nicodemuses in the world than there are Isaiahs.
And because we are so very shy about our faith it is good to be sensitive about how we share it. I don’t know many people, for instance, who in our culture greet Jehovah’s Witnesses with great joy when they arrive on the doorstep. We all rather fear being targeted. And I suspect by and large people feel the same about any upfront coercion, and it doesn’t really matter if it is a sect or a mainstream faith. Resistance to force is inbuilt.
Yet the very people who want so urgently to convince others are often the ones who believe most in an interventionalist god who breaks the rules of the physical world and accedes to the demands of his children for a miracle. Miracles are rightly few and far between: we have no idea why some healings happen and others don’t, for example. The suffering in the world that is caused by sin isn’t going to be alleviated by magic answers. It simply doesn’t work that way. Suffering is alleviated when ordinary people act kindly, compassionately and with their neighbour’s interests at heart. It is in copying Jesus that we become more fully human.
You might ask then, what sort of God do we worship, if he is not all-controlling and interventionist? And the best answer we can come up with is to say that our God, as we perceive him, is Trinitarian: he is known to us through his power, but it is a strange sort of power. He is known to us through Jesus the King – but a king wearing a crown of thorns, whose kingdom is a long way away from any of our ideas about royal kingdoms. He is known to us through both the mighty outpouring of the Spirit that we celebrated last week, but also through the still, small voice that whispers to us in the depths of our being and stirs us into action. That’s why Trinity Sunday, which is a pretty obscure sort of celebration, comes at the climax of the Easter celebrations, as we try to sum up our experience of God. One day, when we finally see our God face to face, we shall laugh our socks off at the hopeless attempts we make to pin God down and examine him on our level. Or we might, if we weren’t simply too bowled over by the great tide of radiant love that will flood through us in his presence. I have to say that while I am fully convinced we shall find many we know and love in heaven – and not a few surprise faces – that will be totally irrelevant compared to that radiant and irresistible love that draws us into a worship that we can only so dimly reflect here on earth.
So given how unconditional and liberating the love of God is, we do well when we spot the slightest spark of faith in anyone else and manage to encourage it into a glowing faith and then a steady burning flame. We do that best by always looking for opportunities to improve on what we already offer by way of welcome and encouragement in our churches, and just as much when we show in our daily lives that our faith matters to us. An evangelist shouldn’t be someone to be feared, to make excuses to on the doorstep: an evangelist can be a small child who makes us realise what a wonderful world God has made as we see it through his or her eyes. It can be a person whose character, formed by God, is so attractive that others take a second look and want to hang out with us. It can be a Nicodemus who explores their faith and shares their findings. It can be an Isaiah whose life is led in such a deeply spiritual way that God’s power is revealed. It can be you or me, as we make a conscious effort to reflect Jesus in our daily lives. It turns out that the Holy Trinity isn’t some static academic thing out there somewhere: the Holy Trinity is an image that diffracts and sparkles and draws God’s children into a whole new understanding of the One we worship, who is holy, holy, holy indeed. Amen.
INTERCESSIONS(Taken from the Church of England website)
We come boldly to the throne of grace,
praying to the almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
for mercy and grace.
We plead before your throne in heaven.
Father of heaven, whose love profound
a ransom for our souls has found:
We pray for the world, created by your love,
for its nations and governments …
Extend to them your peace, pardoning love, mercy and grace.
We plead before your throne in heaven.
Almighty Son, incarnate Word,
our Prophet, Priest, Redeemer, Lord:
We pray for the Church, created for your glory,
for its ministry to reflect those works of yours …
Extend to us your salvation, growth, mercy and grace.
We plead before your throne in heaven.
Eternal Spirit, by whose breath
the soul is raised from sin and death:
We pray for families and individuals, created in your image,
for the lonely, the bereaved, the sick and the dying …
Breathe on them the breath of life
and bring them to your mercy and grace.
We plead before your throne in heaven.
Thrice holy! Father, Spirit, Son,
Mysterious Godhead, Three in One:
We pray for ourselves,
for your Church, for all whom we remember before you …
Bring us all to bow before your throne in heaven,
to receive life and pardon, mercy and grace for all eternity,
as we worship you, saying,
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest. 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:
you have revealed yourself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
and live and reign in the perfect unity of love:
hold us firm in this faith,
that we may know you in all your ways
and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory,
who are three Persons yet one God,
now and for ever.
To conclude, either listen to the music links below or simply rest quietly in God’s presence
FOOD BANK MOST NEEDED ITEMS THIS MONTH
The Foodbank would be most grateful for any of the following:
Part-baked bread (at least 2 weeks’ shelf life)
Tinned mixed vegetables (NOT sweetcorn or mushy peas)
Cleaning products (kitchen/bathroom)
Female and male deodorant
Thanks to the generosity of the public they have plenty of: cooking sauces, baked beans, tinned soup/meat/fish, biscuits, cereal, pasta, rice, tea).
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. Yippee!
TEDDY CLUB – COMING SOON!
Teddy Club will resume on Thursday mornings after half-term, as the lockdown restrictions are easing. We are grateful to those who regularly volunteer: if anyone else would like to do so, please have a word with Jean Kirby or Beryl Harrison.
We look forward to other community groups restarting as soon as is viable with the changing regulations.
WAITROSE COMMUNITY APPEALS
Advance notice: Waitrose have shortlisted Teddy Club as one of their three community appeal recipients in August. We are very hopeful that we will be accepted, so we will keep you posted.
ST MILDRED’S APCM
St Mildred’s APCM will be on Sunday 20th June after the morning service. To accommodate this, the service will be held at 10.00am instead of the regular 11.15am time. It should be possible by then to hold the APCM in the parish centre with a cup of coffee on hand.
ST JAMES’ BOOK OUTREACH
We have a number of books from the library, which we are planning to offer as a “Browsers’ Library” at St James’ on a Saturday morning, possibly offering coffee/tea as well. We are also considering selling a few jigsaws, maybe some pot plants, maybe a children’s storytelling slot as well. All ideas welcome! 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 have yet to finalise arrangements and set a start date, but do come on board and let’s see what we can do!
VACCINATION CENTRE VOLUNTEERING
Amanda Collinson (Assistant Area Dean) writes:
With many of the volunteers returning to work, IW Community Action are now looking for new people to help out with the Vaccination Centre at the Riverside in Newport. All you need to commit is 4 hours a week and its great fun working with an awesome group of people! It’s been the best thing I have done all year…..
Please do look at the website below and sign up if you can and support your local community!
Alternatively phone Community Action IW on 01983 524 058 for full information. – Rev Susan
ROYAL SCHOOL OF CHURCH MUSIC
Next Sunday is RSCM Music Sunday, and a special online service is being prepared…. Here is their publicity email: