United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

5th September 2021 : Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

CURRENT AND FUTURE WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

Our current service pattern is now set to continue – but the bad news is that with this weekend’s 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. Currently there is no guidance on resuming use of the chalice, so please be patient!

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: all setting up aid centres for refugees; councils who have been compassionate to Afghans arriving in this country

Pray for: the people of Haiti; the people of Afghanistan, especially the family of Elyas Shahrestani; all teachers and classroom assistants as the new term gets underway

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 pray for Sheila Dunn and Mary Blow, both of whom are now in hospital with Covid STOP PRESS: Sheila is now home!

Give thanks for: the recent wedding of James Jolliffe and Alison Oke; for the success of our Autumn Fayre at Whippingham

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:

Peter Butler; Elizabeth Langridge

COLLECT FOR THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Almighty God,

whose only Son has opened for us

a new and living way into your presence:

give us pure hearts and steadfast wills

to worship you in spirit and in truth;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING James 2 : 1-17

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favouritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

8 You do well if you really fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ 9But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11For the one who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, also said, ‘You shall not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13For judgement will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

GOSPEL Mark 7 : 24-end

24 From there Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 28But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ 29Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’

ADDRESS

How very fitting it is that today we should be reminded of Jesus’ humanity, that he was not a superman who had all the answers straight away, but that he could be challenged and learn and grow, just as we do. The woman in today’s gospel who approaches him is frankly desperate. She breaks the rules by making her request. She comes from a different faith group, a different culture. But none of that matters alongside the fact that she has heard that this Jewish healer might be able to help her little girl. She is first and foremost a mother, and she will do anything, swallow any insult, if there is a chance of getting what her daughter needs.

And Jesus is downright rude to her. His instinct is to keep his ministry for the Jewish people. He calls her a dog. And you can forget the lovely domesticated pets that we have here: Jesus means the type of scavenging flea-infested stray that is a downright nuisance. The woman’s answer to his putdown is admirable. Even the dogs eat the crumbs under the table. And it stops Jesus in his tracks. It makes him re-think. He knows instantly that she is right, that she should be heard and helped. I love that sign of his fallibility, of his very human limited knowledge. Even Jesus had to go on learning and developing his ministry. And so he relents and perhaps even applauds the woman’s reply: ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ And it was so.

I say that it is fitting for us to have that reading today as our Gospel because our television screens are full of images of those poor refugees from Afghanistan, who quite rightly have a claim on us and who are arriving at centres across the country with absolutely nothing but the clothes they are wearing. How easy it would be to say, Don’t take our food, our housing, our resources. And doubtless racists in many places will be doing just that. Many of the arrivals will be Muslims, but equally many will have lost any sense of faith at all. They are just glad to be alive. Doesn’t your heart go out to them? On the screen they are just nameless crowds: but we know that actually they are people like Elyas, whom we were blessed to help here. For all I know, his family might be among the arrivals. When you feel a personal link to a situation, it makes helping seem all the more natural and easier. But what about those times when we feel no personal connection?

Well, there are various responses we might make. First of all, when we hear of disasters in places like Haiti we might want to make a donation to whatever charity is most involved in helping them, either as individuals or through our churches’ charitable giving. Secondly, if we are thinking of a local situation, we have to ask why it is that we don’t have any personal connection and ask if there is anything we could do about that? For instance, if we find there is a local need for (say) a Cruse bereavement group we might think about offering our hall as a venue for one to start up and some people being there to offer hospitality. The key thing is to identify the need before we worry about what we might have to do to meet it. If we never open our eyes to the community around, we shall never find out if we can help, and our faith will remain both untested, unpractised and irrelevant. We would then just be a Sunday Club for likeminded people. Hmm: why does that not appeal to me? Or to you? Thirdly, and it is at the heart of both of the first two, we can and must pray. Prayer changes things if we take it seriously. It doesn’t mean we get everything we ask for, or we would all become spoilt brats and find ourselves with a new barrier to reflecting God’s image. Prayer helps us to remain outward-focussed, so we need to make opportunities for it whenever we can.

One such opportunity is coming up this Wednesday, when the diocese has requested that we have a day of prayer to lay before God the crisis that the C of E finds itself in and to ask for his guidance. I am planning to be in church at St James’ all Wednesday morning and I invite you all to drop in, light a candle and just stay for, say, ten minutes at one of the prayer stations. At St Mildred’s, I am hoping to have prayer cards on the back of all the churchyard seats so that people can have a similar experience there, all being well weather-wise, or just to light a candle in the prayer corner if it is wet outside. Personally, I think we would have done well to pray properly before we all started making new arrangements for parish mergers and so forth: but better late than never.

Now I realise that there is an element of self-serving in the diocesan prayer idea – we expect to receive, although what God gives is not up to us to determine. It is up to us to discern, though.

You might have noticed that so far I have said nothing about the second half of the Gospel – the healing of the deaf and dumb man. That’s because I want to focus on the result of what happens when someone receives a miracle. The result is not only an opening up of his ears and mouth, but an immediate sense of thanksgiving and a need to share what has happened. When we are aware of receiving God’s blessings, we want to talk about it. Good news is easy to share, isn’t it? And just maybe one of the reasons we are so shy about sharing our faith is that we don’t feel in our hearts that it is good news. If we had good news stories to tell, wouldn’t it make a difference? Maybe – just maybe – we could have a Good News Story spot in our magazine for starters! Maybe that is the missing piece in our Jigsaw. And maybe it is God-shaped.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS (Supplied by Gillian Jackson)

Help us Lord to strengthen our faith and to trust in your healing power. As we walk together with you through our lives, help us to build a close relationship with you, and a right relationship with others.

Lord hear us . . . Lord, graciously hear us

We pray for justice in the world and help for the poor, the marginalised and the voiceless, for prisoners, the homeless and the elderly. We ask for your guiding hand to act, Lord, in places where there is climate change, political unrest, child malnutrition and the Coronavirus.

Lord hear us . . . Lord, graciously hear us

We pray for all churches and clergy and for all congregations. For us at St James’ and St Mildred’s ­ as we seek to follow the Diocesan directive to join together the parishes of Whippingham and East Cowes and Wootton. Help us, Lord, to make new friends and to support one another.

Lord hear us . . . Lord, graciously hear us

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen and our politicians. Give wisdom to all in authority and those who bear the responsibility of leadership. God of all hope, we pray for peace in all nations of the world.

Lord hear us . . . Lord, graciously hear us

We pray for the safety of all young people returning to schools and colleges. We ask Lord that you will give courage to those starting out in places of education that are new to them. We pray that, as we try to resume some sort of normality in our daily activities outside the home, we remain considerate of others who may be feeling more cautious.

Lord hear us . . . Lord, graciously hear us

God of all compassion, we bring our anxieties to you, for you to comfort, reassure and console us. In a time of quiet we ask you to be close Lord to anyone we know who may be in difficulty, sick or dying, sorrow or need.

Lord hear us . . . Lord, graciously hear us

Help us Lord to be faithful to you, to act with fairness and to be forgiving of others in the same way you forgive us when we get things wrong. Thank you for listening when we pray and for working for our good.

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:

Lord God, the source of truth and love,

keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,

united in prayer and the breaking of bread,

and one in joy and simplicity of heart,

in 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 73 Brother, sister, let me serve you (1).MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 422 Praise my soul.MOV

ST MILDRED’S CHURCH FAYRE

THANK YOU!

£1,500.30 raised! Well done!

Special thanks to Peter Robinson and Sue Richmond in particular, plus Beryl and Peter Harrison for a splendid barbecue!

ST MILDRED’S CREAM TEAS

Cream teas will be served at St Mildred’s on TODAY from 3.00 – 5.00pm. Come and be entertained by singer Jo Walkden, whom we are delighted to have back with us.

NB We are short of helpers – can you lend a hand?

RIDE AND STRIDE

There is still time to sponsor Peter Robinson for the Rise and Stride event next Saturday…! We benefit from this event, organised by Historic Churches, whose help in maintaining our beautiful churches is invaluable. Please give generously!

CLARENCE ROAD EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH

Clarries Club recommences this Friday 10th September at 10.30 and will meet fortnightly, starting with a coffee morning. Do support this venture by our neighbours in Christ! Telephone Derek or Myra (717895) for further information.

ARCHDEACON’S VISITATION

The Archdeacon’s Visitation takes place on 7th September, when our church wardens will be formally sworn in at the Minster. Please pray for them all as they begin another season of duty in their busy and important roles.

ST JAMES’ WI

The next WI meeting is on Tuesday 7th September, 7.00pm for 7.30pm start.

ST JAMES’ EAST COWES PCC

St James’ PCC meets on Wednesday 15th September at 7.30pm. NB THIS MEETING WILL NOW TAKE PLACE BY ZOOM.

FRIENDSHIP GUILD

St James’ Friendship Guild is looking for volunteers to lead or act as treasurer to this very worthwhile group as we recommence activities. Talk to Wendy Farrow if you are interested, and see the Jigsaw magazine for details of a special meeting due to happen on 6th October. Lockdown has shown us the value of companionship, and as a church we are very well placed to offer outreach to the lonely as well as sharing our own friendship with each other.

OTHER SEPTEMBER DATES

Coffee mornings at East Cowes resume on 21st September. This time we need volunteers for two crucial tasks: to set up in the church hall on the morning of the day before, and to bake cakes for the cake stall. Please see Rose if you can help with either of these tasks.

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…!)

DIOCESAN DAY OF PRAYER

Portsmouth Diocese have arranged a Day of Prayer on 8th September (next Wednesday). The following is their bulletin from the regular diocesan email briefing:

Join us in prayer for the future of our diocese, and for our diocese’s Live | Pray | Serve vision. We want to ask God to enable his Church to grow in the depth of discipleship, our impact on society and in numbers.

Wednesday 8th September 9am to 8pm

St Mary’s Fratton and online:

Service at the start and end of the day will be livestreamed via Youtube and Facebook

9am ~ Morning Prayer

7pm ~ Sung Eucharist

Resources to help you to pray, and links to livestream, available online: portsmouth.anglican.org/liveprayserve

However, as many people do not go online for services, St James’ church will be open from 9.30 – 12.00noon for anyone to drop in and light a candle, with some prayer stations round the church. At St Mildred’s, there will be prayer cards at the many churchyard benches and around the circle area where the cairn cross stands. Please take a moment to commend the diocesan plans into God’s hands and to reflect on how we might play our part in the venture.

FINALLY…

We want our churches to remain safe places, so please stay vigilant in terms of social distancing and respect the concerns of the more vulnerable among us. If you feel unwell, please do not risk meeting other people until you have had a flow test. These are freely available in chemists: if you would like Rev Susan to bring you a kit, please let her know. This may be safer than you venturing into the shop yourself!