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Sunday, 14 January 2018
This morning our 10 am was a Eucharist, and Father Stephen was the Celebrant. Unfortunately our Director of Music, Joanna, was unwell, but we were fortunate that Miss Beryl Rodd was available to play the Piano for the service.
The Gospel this morning was from St John, and described the call of Phillip and Nathaniel to be Disciples. Our Lord promises Nathaniel that he will see great wonders, Angels ascending and descending from Heaven. In his Sermon Father Stephen developed the theme of this poetic vision of the reconciliation of man with God that is achieved in Christ Jesus.This vision is sustaining for us in such difficult and fractious times.
We were joined by the Sunday School for the distribution of communion. After the service we had coffee in the Rooms.

Sunday, 7 January 2018
The first Sunday of the Year, and of the Month, our 10 am service was a family service. It also being the Feast of the Epiphany, we sang Carols associated with the arrival of the Magi, and the children and young people gave us a presentation about the story. Three youngsters took up the roles of the three camels who carried Caspar Melchior and Balthazar to see the Young Messiah. Although these names are traditional rather than biblical they, and their presents of Myrrh, Frankincense and Gold, represent the future of Jesus, who was a King, a Messiah and who's death on the cross is foreseen, in the gift of Myrrh used to prepare the dead for burial. The Narrator, in the Pulpit, Joseph Mary and the baby Jesus and the Kings themselves were all played by members of the Congregation, with a fine announcement from the Angel standing in the Organ loft, making a totally engaging story for everyone.
During the Offertory while we sang 'We three Kings of Orient are' Three Kings took up their gifts to the Altar.
After communion the Choir sang 'Nativity Carol' by John Rutter as the Anthem, and we closed our worship with the traditional,  'As with gladness men of Old'

There was coffee in the Rooms after the service.

Our next Social event will be a Moroccan Supper, once again Hillary and her Team will be producing a selection of delights, this time from North Africa. Tickets available from the Church Wardens, for this event on the 10th of February!
The Kings have arrived!!

Having Fun in Church!

Some Kings

More Kings

The Holy Family Receiving gifts!

Sunday, 31 December 2017
This morning our Eucharist was celebrated by Father Roger, as Father Stephen is away for a few days. We sang Carols and listened to the story of the shepherds arriving at the manger from St Luke's Gospel.
Father Roger reminded us of the importance of the whole Church Family worshiping together and that the message the Angels bring is for all people and for all times.

There was no Choir, but there was coffee after the service in the New Rooms.

Sidlesham St Mary will be the subject of prayers at Evensong in the Cathedral on Tuesday 2nd of January, to which every one is invited.  A visiting Choir from Ontario will be singing the office.

We had two services on Christmas Day. At 10:00 am a Family Gift Service was held, at this service, the children donned costumes and acted out the Christmas story, and bought with them gifts for those with no presents.
At 11:15 a said Eucharist with Carols was held,at which Father Stephen was the celebrant, and we were able to sing O Come All ye Faithful including the last verse! With our thoughts full of the singing of the angels we left church in a spirit of joy at our Saviour's birth.
Happy Christmas to every one!!

We came together for our Eucharist for the first Mass of Christmas at 11:00pm on Christmas Eve.
The Church was lit by candlelight and with all the candles on our Advent wreath now lit we felt the move to a joyful welcome for our Saviour.
The Church was full of people starting their Christmas celebrations with this central element of the Christmas story.
 Father Stephen was the celebrant, and the choir sang 'Away in a Manger' and Ding  Dong Merrily on High after the communion.
We left the Church wishing each other a Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 24 December 2017
Our Service of Nine Lessons and Carols was held  at 6:00 this Saturday. The service followed the traditional form of Lessons and a mixture of Congregational Hymns and Choir items.
The Church was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the Service opened with the Hymn 'Once in Royal David's City. The first verse sung by two of the Junior Choristers, Lucy, and Emily, in Candlelight made an atmospheric opening.
After the opening prayers the lessons told the story of the Nativity starting with Adam in the garden and God's promise to Abraham, following the prophesies of Isaiah, the Gospel nativity stories of Matthew and Luke, and finishing with the opening of St John's gospel placing Jesus there at the beginning of all things with God.
The Hymns interspersing these readings were, Long ago Prophets knew, O come O come Emmanuel, In the Bleak Midwinter, While Shepherds watched their Flocks, O come all ye faithful and Hark the herald Angels sing.

The choir sang;
 'The Lord at first did Adam make' by David Willcocks, the first verse of which was sung by Lucy as a solo,
'Joseph and the Angel' by Richard Terry 1865-1938. Terry is now chiefly known for the nineteenth century revival of Tudor church music, but he also wrote many carols, as well as being the first Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral.
'Our Blessed Lady's Lullaby' by Christopher Chivers b 1967
This setting of the 16th century text was written by Christopher Chivers, a former Precentor of Westminster Abbey and now principal of Westcott House Cambridge, for the choir of Magdalen College Oxford
'It came upon a Midnight Clear' Willis 1819-1900 arr Rose b 1934.
This tune by Richard Storrs Willis, is that which is commonly used in the USA. Barry Rose, formerly Master of Music at St Paul's and St Alban's cathedrals, has made a charming arrangement to enhance the simple melody.
'Welcome Yule' by C.H. Parry 1848-1918
A lively setting of a 15th century text by the composer of Jerusalem
'Ding dong merrily on high' arr Malcolm Williamson 1931-2003.

After the service we enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine in the New Rooms. An excellent beginning to our Christmas celebrations.

Sunday, 17 December 2017
Being the third Sunday, today was Matins. Our Old Testament reading was from Isaiah and the New Testament reading was echoed in the anthem sung by the choir "This is the record of John" by Orlando Gibbons.

Father Stephen reflected on some of the words from Isaiah, "Bind up the broken hearts". Could this be a bit of a tall order? We should bring comfort and balm to those in distress.  Father Stephen remembered listening to a Radio 4 programme where a man who had had extensive surgery on his heart was speaking to a medical doctor. The "patient" had a literal interpretation of a "broken heart" whilst the "doctor" took a more metaphysical response. However it transpired that the heart can show signs of physical deterioration at the time of severe distress, so bereavement and psychological upsets do have physical effects on the heart.  Received wisdom has now to be reassessed.

There are many broken hearted in the world today; refugees, wounded, the traumatised.  Father Stephen saw 3 appeals on TV during one advertisement break, 2 for the UK and 1 for abroad, all legitimate and worthy causes in a few minutes. There is a tsunami of need in the world today. So how do we even start to bind up the broken hearted.

There is a story of a father and son walking on the beach. They came across a shoal of fish that had been washed up onto the shore, some were already dead, but others were gasping.  The son started to throw the gasping fish back.  His father told him why bother, there were too many, but the son continued saying "I will do what I can".  So what the son achieved was only a small effect, but it was a start.

The church had been decorated with evergreens and berries from the countryside and looked lovely without any flowers.

Remember that next Saturday is our Carol Service at 6pm to be followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the parish rooms.   Christmas eve there is no 8am service with a said Eucharist at 10pm.  Midnight mass will be at 11pm.