United Benefice of
St Mildred’s, Whippingham
St James’, East Cowes
4th July 2021 : Fifth Sunday after Trinity
Jesus contemplates past historical events and his plans for sending out the disciples….
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:
FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:
Give thanks for: measures to reduce the virus impact; the NHS; those married this week.
Pray for: the mentally ill; anti-mask, anti-vaccine advocates; all in denial; countries desperate for a vaccine
PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:
Please pray for: Reg and Eileen; Irene and Henry; Richard Gray; Bob Hitchens; Beryl; Joy and Dave; Maureen; Margaret Perkins; Jane Brand; Paul and family
Jane Brand is recovering after surgery for a new knee, and we wish her a speedy return to full mobility!
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.
NB Very few people asked for names to be retained, so the list is somewhat depleted this week!
PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:
send down upon your Church
the riches of your Spirit,
and kindle in all who minister the gospel
your countless gifts of grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
NEW TESTAMENT READING 2 Corinthians 12 : 2-10
2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— 4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. 5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
GOSPEL Mark 6 : 1-13
Jesus left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him. 4Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honour, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.
Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
What is being described here?
This is the way in which you are to eat it: have your belt fastened, sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand, and you must eat in urgent haste. It is…. ???
The answer is “the Lord’s Passover”, that final meal when the Israelites were in Egypt, before Moses led them out to escape from Pharaoh. But the staff, the sandals and the belt all made me think of today’s gospel reading, when Jesus sends out the disciples on their mission. I would say there are distinct similarities between the two events. The Exodus is a flight from an unbearable situation where the Israelites have been trapped by the cruel regime of Pharaoh, and the preaching of the gospel is similarly urgent. The regime is dictated now by the Pharisees and the whole Temple system, which exploited the poor and set impossible burdens on the people. The urgency of the gospel is to bring the good news of being saved, not only from legal oppression but from sin itself which lies behind any oppression.
The urgency of the gospel. How often do you hear that mentioned? To my shame, it’s not something I have ever preached on. It’s not something we notice much, because in 2,000 years we have (in this country at least) got used to a rather cosy form of Christianity. Now that’s not necessarily wrong in itself – like you, I enjoy our seasons, our traditions, the security of worshipping in an ancient building (or at least a Victorian one!) rather than making do in a secular environment such as McDonalds. I love celebrating the glory and transcendence of God in a place where prayers have been offered over a long period of time. I love feeling at home here.
But at home here is only a fraction of my life. And I realise that it is all too easy to compartmentalise my faith into the Sunday bits and the rest of the week, whereas actually those two things need to be deeply entwined. That’s why some churches stagnate and become irrelevant, whereas the gospel of Christ and the work of the Spirit are vibrant, active, alive, dynamic, exciting. What is cosy and attractive to us may well seem just quaint and possibly tedious to the wider world. We may not be in the entertainment and distraction ministry, but we are definitely in the ministry of sharing the life-giving nourishment of the Holy Spirit in daily living.
So I am always on the lookout for ways in which we can visibly share our faith and communicate something of that life-giving Spirit to the wider world, and equally I am always on the lookout for signs of that Spirit already being active and vibrant in contexts well outside our Anglican heritage. I find it whenever people get together to celebrate the community or to help people whose lives are far more stressful than mine. I find it when someone takes the trouble to write me a little note saying how they have felt close to God, as someone did earlier this week. I find it when I notice a particular blessing that I might otherwise have taken for granted. I find it when people are forgiving, or grateful, or encouraging. Once you start looking and noticing, the Spirit is moving in so many places. But often I am too busy rushing around to notice.
It’s important to make time not to rush. The whole diocesan reorganisation plans have the hallmark of panic reactions to a financial crisis, whereas we need to reflect and act wisely. The whole business of mission is too important to be a botched job. When Jesus sent out his disciples, if you read between the lines, Jesus did a lot of advance planning, working out where he wanted them to go. But then they went with urgency and they travelled light. That’s what we need to do as a Church.
Maybe if we see the diocesan haste to reorganise as a sign of that longing to travel light we might be a little more enthusiastic about what is being proposed. But it has been pointed out that there needs to be some groundwork done to determine whether we are going about things the right way, and the fact that our new area dean is trying to run a pilot scheme is a good example of that groundwork being done. But the groundwork that is not being mentioned is the less obvious one of prayer, and so I have suggested that every proposed hub commits to running a week of 24-7 prayer to seek God’s will on the way forward. Of course, as the person who suggested it, I have now to take a lead on that organisation, so you might see a bit less of me in September when we are hoping to start. I very much hope you will all feel able to commit to a prayer room, wherever we choose to set it up. Or the prayer room might move between several venues, who knows? But I think it is important that we make the effort to go out and do this together, rather than saying “I can pray at home” – because we are making a communal effort to discern God’s will, not just acting as individuals. Jesus didn’t send his disciples home to pray: he sent them out, and they must have felt pretty inadequate and under-equipped. But they went in faith and returned rejoicing. I hope that we too will rejoice at the fruits of our mission and share it widely with other people. Then we will know what we mean when we end our worship by saying “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord”.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
INTERCESSIONS(Supplied by Robert Hall)
Holy Father, as we go about our lives on a day to day basis, let us remember that Jesus started his work by going from village to village teaching about the Holy Father. He accepted, as we must do, that not everyone will believe the Holy Word or the way that we live but some people will believe your word and will come to receive the Holy Word, remembering that Jesus loves us all.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Holy Father, we think of all the people who cannot return to their homes through wars, disasters, or political unrest. Give them all strength that, one day, they may return. Give all their leaders the wisdom to try and resolve differences, and. try to live in peace—-even if they don’t always agree.
We also ask you to keep safe Queen Elizabeth and all the Royal Family.
Give our government the wisdom to rule fair and strong, listening to all opinions, and decide what is best for our country. Locally, we ask that the local Council, as they start their term of office, rule fairly.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
As more visitors come to our wonderful island, we hope that they will enjoy themselves, rejoicing in the beauty of this island and will return home safely and well. We also think of all the islanders that cannot go away, let them all also enjoy this beauty and able to relax so that they can recharge themselves, remembering that all this beauty is in your hands, Holy Father.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Holy Father, as the island is discussing future plans, we trust that all PCCs will speak honestly and openly so that full discussion can take place. We also pray that the panel electing the new Bishop will come to a decision based on what they know and be guided by your hand.
Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Holy Father, let us remember our family, friends and ourselves as we go about our daily lives, giving us the strength trying to remember to do it the way you would like. We also remember that those that have recently gone before us, some we know, some we hear about and some only known to you. We also remember especially those whose anniversary fall at this time. Give us all the strength to follow their good example.
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:
that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered
by your governance,
that your Church may joyfully serve you in all godly quietness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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
- 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
Maureen Moore is currently staying at the Gouldings, Freshwater, Tel: 01983 752135
Margaret Perkins is currently staying at Little Hayes Rest Home, Totland Bay, Tel: 01983 752378
In both cases, visits are welcomed, but only if pre-booked by phoning the numbers above. Limited information is available from the homes, but patient confidentiality prevents detailed information being given. Please continue to pray for them both.
ST JAMES’ BROWSERS’ LIBRARY
The Browsers’ Library will open on 24th 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!
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 14th July at 7.00pm. NOTE CHANGE OF DATE. 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
SERMON FOLLOW-UP NOTICE
At an Area Deans and Archdeacon’s meeting last week I raised a concern of mine that all the deanery planning so far seemed to be lacking a vital ingredient – prayer. I then backed up this self-evident truth with some personal evidence relevant to the situation – and here it is. I have sent the following article to every incumbent on the island!
In a previous post, I was responsible for mission in a deanery of some 62 churches, covering an area not dissimilar to the IOW. We were looking to reorganise the diocese into what we called “Mission Partnerships”, and it seemed that our deanery was best suited to being one huge mission partnership, in which every benefice (while technically separate) committed to working together as often as was practicable and kept in touch with each others’ mission ideas by means of a deanery website with a page for each benefice. (I was the website co-ordinator/editor).
To launch our Mission Partnership, we decided to run, during Lent, a series of 24-7 prayer rooms in consecutive weeks. At the end of each week, the prayer room location moved to a new area, and all the assorted prayers etc moved with it, so that by the end of the series we had a massive assortment of prayers, drawings, poems, meditations, etc.
We began our four weeks with a launch service, at which the assistant bishop was the guest preacher, and I duly drew up a rota of time slots, the idea being that individuals would commit to an hour (minimum) of prayer, night and day. That made for 168 possible hours, so I was a little disappointed when, at the start of the opening service, only three had been filled. I nearly gave up there and then. Quite simply, everybody had an excuse why they could not take part! However, I held my nerve, and during the service we invited people to move around various prayer stations to see what sort of things were on offer. To my astonishment, by the end of the service, we had filled every slot for the first 24 hours! Furthermore, it continued in that way for the whole four weeks. We celebrated with a final service also led by the same assistant bishop.
What happens in a prayer room
A prayer space needs to be found that has access to both tea-making facilities and a loo. Once the space has been identified, you fill it with every conceivable prayer resource. Here are some of the items you are likely to find:
· A comfy chair, so that people can chill out with God and a cup of coffee
· Means to play CDs and a selection of varied music offerings to listen to
· Writing materials and paper
· Art materials – pastels, watercolours, collage, charcoal, modelling clay….
· A litter bin!
· Candles – nightlights especially
· Meditations on an assortment of themes
· A selection of devotional books
· A hard surface to work on
· Fixers such as pins, Sellotape, blu-tack, etc
· Display boards on which to pin up the art, prayers, etc.
· A Pay As You Go mobile phone for emergencies
The idea is that you pray in any way that makes sense to you and explore new ways of praying. During the hour you are there, you can lock yourself in and be guaranteed total privacy. (Especially if you want to sing and dance!!) But it is important NOT to go in in pairs, or the entire hour will vanish in chat rather than engaging with God.
How to operate the prayer room
There needs to be a central person who will take responsibility for maintaining the rota and if necessary persuade people to fill gaps. Nowadays we can do this online, but it does help if there is a central list in the prayer room as a hard copy so that people who are not online can still book in. The key thing is that any bookings made on the hard copy are only provisional until they have been confirmed by the person with the rota. This will need regular cross-checking on a daily basis. Also, the room needs to be checked daily for milk replenishing and stray bits of washing up – though using disposable cups makes this a lot easier.
Why do this at all?
A pattern emerged when we first did this. First of all, people would only sign up because the vicar twisted their arm. After all, an hour seems like a long time. However, most were astonished when they found how much there was to explore in the prayer room. They would emerge saying they felt they had only scratched the surface and promptly sign up again. And again, for longer, because they found it made them feel good. But during the sessions something changed in them: it stopped being about feeling good and they started asking “So what does God want me to do?” And so the focus moved from “me” to “mission”. By the end of Lent, we had acquired a new warden, treasurer, Bible study leader, and assorted other workers, including churchyard maintenance! And I stopped worrying about how a load of small, elderly rural churches were ever going to survive. Prayer is for everyone. What happens when we pray, literally, God only knows. It’s exciting. It changes us by opening us up to God.
The Area Dean and Archdeacon meeting thought this was worth attempting here on IOW, as we continue our anxious discussions on how to reorganise. Let’s commit to making space for God. We wondered about running consecutive 24-7s across the island, starting in September. I would be happy to enable others to set these prayer rooms up and as far as possible take a hand in co-ordinating them. We could do one in every proposed Team area. An unbroken chain of prayer gives us the reorientation we need away from preoccupation with money and structures. It sets us free for mission.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5 : 16-23) Amen!! Rev Susan Paterson
Scenes from a prayer room set up in a church chancel