United Benefice of

St Mildred’s, Whippingham

and

St James’, East Cowes

9th May 2021 Sixth Sunday of Easter

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

CURRENT WORSHIP ARRANGEMENTS

As we are allowed to gather in groups of 6 or less outdoors, there will be coffee and tea available in the Parish Centre garden at St Mildred’s after the Sunday service if the weather remains suitable!

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.

ONLINE WORSHIP

Previous services at Whippingham are now being shown on YouTube via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVSctvWxFgk

Today’s service will appear on YouTube later this week.

FOR YOUR PRAYERS THIS WEEK:

Give thanks for: freedom to hold elections; all called to serve in local government

Pray for: the people of India; all whose lives are decimated by the corona virus; Christian Aid

PRAYERS FOR THOSE IN NEED:

Please pray for: 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; Jill; Catherine

Give thanks for: the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions; the return of visitors to the island

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.

Message from Ann Garner: Ann’s daughter Catherine is making substantial progress, and is off the ventilator during the day. She has been able to speak, and thanks to a special piece of medical wizardry, can now eat. Deo gratias!!

PRAYERS FOR THE DEPARTED:

All whose anniversaries occur at this time

COLLECT FOR THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Risen Christ,

by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples:

help your Church to obey your command

and draw the nations to the fire of your love,

to the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

READINGS

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 10 : 44-end

44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptising these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ 48So he ordered them to be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

GOSPEL John 15 : 9-17

Jesus said, 9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

ADDRESS

It seems it is far easier to set up a new church than it is to reorganise an existing one! So at least you might think from the reading from Acts today. Peter is invited to speak to a houseful of people who are seekers, wanting to know more about faith: hardly has he started, with a potted history of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, when the whole roomful of people has a remarkable spiritual experience and finds the Holy Spirit has been poured out on them, just like that. Peter then has just a few days to arrange for them all to be baptised and (presumably) to teach them and set up some basic arrangements for the future, before he goes back to Joppa. Just like that. God doesn’t make things unnecessarily complicated.

Unlike us, who have inherited an extremely complicated system of churches and management, with all the problems of financial arrangements and a legacy of beautiful old buildings which we are expected to maintain! No wonder house churches are burgeoning and pioneering congregations are sprouting across the country and across the world.

There is, of course, a pattern in all this: a new church is born, and the members support it increasingly, so numbers grow. From that it is a short step to there appearing rules, regulations and set ways of doing things, if only because the new congregation settles into a pattern that they are comfortable with. Eventually there will be an in crowd and an outer circle, and those on the edge will either fall off or form a breakaway group. It seems to be a natural sequence of events, but increasingly you get a good deal of clutter in terms of redundant buildings, members who “belong” but who no longer seem to contribute anything, as their energy wears out. Everyone gets older!

The good news is that the Holy Spirit does NOT get older! The Holy Spirit, whose ability to get inside the tiniest crack in the hardest of hearts, is both wild, untameable and unfathomable. You only have to look at the growth of the 24-7 prayer movement to see that when people are fired up with the Spirit remarkable things can happen. Not only do the most unlikely people find themselves drawn into repentance and faith, but old die-hards like you and I can be utterly renewed and able to find new depths in our existing faith.

Which brings me to the words Jesus spoke to his disciples, which we heard last week: 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Our reading today is a continuation of that train of thought: Abide in my love.

So what does it mean to abide in the love of Jesus? It’s easy to get carried away with the enthusiasm of the moment and to make rash promises to God (and indeed to other) which we then regret. Retailers and suppliers know this, so they often allow for a cooling off period after a decision is made. But Jesus is speaking not about a hasty decision, but about something altogether more permanent. He is speaking about abiding.

It’s not a word we commonly use nowadays, except in the hymn Abide with me, where again it has that sense of permanence. But in any relationship there needs to be a sense of it, a sort of stickability that sees friends, couples and families through the rough patches in their relationships because they have something bigger invested than they would in just a chance encounter. Faithfulness matters. It is the faithful servant who is rewarded, perseverance that pays off.

That’s where Psalm 84 hits the nail right on the head when it says how happy are those who, going through the vale of misery use it as a well – and the pools are filled with water. The ability to be faithful in bad times as well as good is an example of abiding in Jesus, the source of our strength.

But of course, being human and fallible, there are always going to be times when we fall short and don’t manage faithfulness or perseverance, often because we might be tired, or stressed or we are damaged ourselves. That’s why forgiveness is the other central tenet of Christian faith. We believe in a God who forgives our weaknesses, who is always ready to welcome us back and to help us live with the consequences of our sin. It may not be possible to undo the harm of sin, but it is always possible to repent and learn from it and make a stronger and better commitment for the future. And that is a lasting fruit, a mature and committed relationship with God that acknowledges our own weakness and enables God to work with us.

And then we are blessed indeed, maybe with a vibrant and obvious joy, maybe with a quieter and deeper peace of mind. My prayer is that we may know both and show both to the world. Amen.

INTERCESSIONS(Supplied by Jean Kirby)

The great thing about walking with God in life is that there is always the opportunity to start anew. God always offers us a new day and a new dawn, not what has gone before.

Lord God, you are the Father of all people, and we come before you today with our prayers knowing that you will hear us, help us and guide us.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

We pray for your church and give thanks for Revd Sue, Mike and Peter and all who minister to the needs of your church in this place. We pray for their unique and individual ministry, that they may be continually encouraged by the Holy Spirit.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Let us pray for all people in your church throughout the world, especially those who live in areas where it is hard to be a Christian, we pray for all areas of crisis, for those orphaned, crippled or dispossessed by war, for refugees wandering the earth in search of a home. For all those who have dedicated their lives for peace and reconciliation.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Creator God, during this time of a pandemic we pray for wisdom and resources for those in local and national authority, for all frontline and key workers here in Britain and across the world, as these workers put the welfare of others before their own, staying away from their family and loved ones, comforting the concerned and bereaved, reassuring the anxious and the vulnerable Lord be their guide, strength, wisdom and hope as they work for the health and wellbeing of us all.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Caring God, we pray for all people who are ill, those afflicted by physical, emotional or mental illness. Help them to have confidence in those with medical knowledge to diagnose and care for the sick. Give them hope in the knowledge that you are present in their weakness, pain and suffering.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray for those whose hearts have been saddened by the death of someone close and dear to them, for members of our families who have died and for those whose anniversaries fall at this time. Help us to experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit within us, and the fellowship of the church family around us. Jesus Christ is the light of the World, a light which no darkness can quench.

Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Be with us Lord in the week ahead as we go out onto the world. May the lips that have sung your praises always speak the truth, may the ears which have heard your word listen only to what is good and may our lives as well as our worship be always pleasing in your sight for the glory of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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:

God our Father,

whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life:

may we thirst for you,

the spring of life and source of goodness,

through him who is alive and reigns, now and for ever.

Amen.

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

..\Jane’s recorded music\HON 53 Be still, for the presence of the Lord.MOV

..\Jane’s recorded music\Hon 535 We pray thee, heavenly Father.MOV

COLLECT AND READINGS FOR ASCENSION DAY

Grant, we pray, almighty God,

that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ

to have ascended into the heavens,

so we in heart and mind may also ascend

and with him continually dwell;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 1 : 1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, he said, ‘is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

GOSPEL READING Luke 24 : 44-end

44 Then Jesus said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

POST COMMUNION PRAYER

God our Father,

you have raised our humanity in Christ

and have fed us with the bread of heaven:

mercifully grant that, nourished with such spiritual blessings,

we may set our hearts in the heavenly places;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

NOTICES

ASCENSION DAY

This coming Thursday marks Ascension Day, and there will be just one service of Holy Communion across the benefice. This year it takes place at St James’ Church, East Cowes at 7.30pm. The congregation of St Mildred’s Whippingham are specially invited to come along and join your brothers and sisters in Christ for this joint service! Not a regular worshipper? Do come anyway!!

ZOOM EVENING PRAYER

There will be a Celtic service of evening prayer on Wednesday 12th May, which you are encouraged to attend to support those wedding couples currently unable to visit the island for services but who need to attend to qualify for marriage at St Mildred’s. Please try and help with this: it will be tempting not to, with Ascension Day the next day, but both services are important! The link wi9ll be sent out on Tuesday!

ST MILDRED’S CAFÉ

The Café is now open on Mondays to Thursdays from 10.00am – 3.00pm. Please contact Sue Richmond (297883) for up to date details! The church will again be open for visitors from Monday 17th May.

TEDDY CLUB

At the recent APCM, St James’ agreed to restart the Teddy Club this term, and the hope is that sessions can 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.