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Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Please note that from  Sunday 9th August,  face coverings will be mandatory in places of worship.  So please remember to bring and wear your mask (or face covering) when visiting St Mary's as this is a government requirement.


Sunday, 2 August 2020
The first Sunday in August brings us to our first family service since we have been able to have services. Although being August there were not many families around. The celebrant was Father Stephen, and Chris Field took this opportunity to tell us about the resources that the Sunday School leaders used when preparing the sessions, they have been continuing with the work in lockdown using the internet to provide activities for the children and parents to do together. A big thank you to all the sunday school staff, and to the parents and children for keeping going during these difficult times!

As has become our custom, social distancing and face masks were all in place, and the communion was given only as the bread. Once again Joanna provided music during the service, but still no singing. Good news from the Plant and Book Sale a splendid result, in total the two sales, Cakes and Jam the week before and Books and Plants this week have raised £900! a great help towards filling the gap left by not having a Fete this year.

If you would like to order a christmas cake, or pudding, Hilary Platts is taking orders now, please let her know.
Source Lesley Bromley






‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’ FROM THE REVEREND STEPHEN GUISE, PRIEST IN CHARGE – EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 2 AUGUST




Tintoretto, ‘The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes’, 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Dear Friends

Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 14:13-21) depicts Jesus wanting to be alone for a while to think: the execution of John the Baptist represents a turning-point in the narrative and Jesus needed to have some time to consider the implications.  But neither the crowds following him, nor the disciples, could leave him alone – they were a ‘flock without a shepherd’.

How would Jesus deal with this situation?  It was clear that people needed to eat and rest, so he delegates this need to his disciples, who are at a loss, and seem ill-equipped to meet its demands – let alone to understand its deeper meaning, whereby the basic human need to assuage hunger is symptomatic, also, of a spiritual hunger.

So Jesus, with the foreknowledge which had drawn them all out into the wilderness in the first place, turns things around through the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes.  The subsequent twelve baskets-full of scraps point to the abundance of God’s mercy and are, at the same time, a sign and foretaste of the banquet of the kingdom.  The story should also be interpreted as a pattern for the Holy Eucharist.

Fr Stephen

PS: The 10.00am service on the first Sunday of the month is usually a Family Communion, although at the moment it will not be possible to involve our Sunday School children in a presentation, so we are very grateful to Chris (Field) who will be providing a talk, as well as taking the intercessions, this week.


Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Almighty Lord and everlasting God,
we beseech you to direct, sanctify and govern
    both our hearts and bodies
in the ways of your laws
    and the works of your commandments;
that through your most mighty protection, both here and ever,
we may be preserved in body and soul;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Romans 9:1-5

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans.

I am speaking the truth in Christ—
I am not lying;
my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—

I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed
and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people,
my kindred according to the flesh.

They are Israelites,
and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants,
the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;

to them belong the patriarchs,
and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah,
who is over all,
God blessed forever. Amen.


Gospel Matthew 14:13-21

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

When Jesus heard that Herod had beheaded John the Baptist,
he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself.
But when the crowds heard it,
they followed him on foot from the towns.

When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd;
and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.

When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said,
"This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late;
send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages
and buy food for themselves."

Jesus said to them,
"They need not go away;
you give them something to eat."

They replied,
"We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish."

And he said, "Bring them here to me."

Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass.
Taking the five loaves and the two fish,
he looked up to heaven,
and blessed and broke the loaves,
and gave them to the disciples,
and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

And all ate and were filled;
and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces,
twelve baskets full.

And those who ate were about five thousand men,
besides women and children.
Sunday, 26 July 2020
This Sunday our 10 am Service was a celebration of the Eucharist. Father Stephen was the celebrant, and as is our current practise, we spread out around the church at suitable social distance, and wearing face coverings. Joanna provided music from the organ, but there was no singing, the service was said. The readings were from St Paul's letter to the Romans, and from St Matthew's gospel, continuing the theme of past weeks of Jesus's sayings about the Kingdom, Father Stephen explored some of these sayings in the sermon, which you can read below. We were all delighted to hear that the Cake and Jam sale organised yesterday by Angela and Becky had, despite the rainy weather, raised over £300 for the Church, a marvellous effort all round! Please do come to the Plant and Book Sale to be held next saturday in the Church Hall Car park, details on the poster !




THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’ FROM THE REVEREND STEPHEN GUISE, PRIEST IN CHARGE – SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 26 JULY



Circle of the Master of the Legend of St Ursula, ‘St Lawrence showing the Prefect the Treasures of the Church’, c1510,
National Gallery


Dear Friends

Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 13:31-33 and 44-52) represents a collection of parables about the Kingdom of Heaven, continuing a few of the themes which we have explored during the previous two weeks. The collection seems, at first sight, to be piling up a wide range of images – some to do with growth (as in the mustard seed and the yeast), others to do with value (the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price) and a further one (the dragnet) which returns to the idea of judgement and resonates more closely with the story of the wheat and tares which featured last week.

I would like this time to focus on the images concerned with value – the treasure and the pearl. The idea of buried treasure is probably irresistible for most of us, whether or not we pursue ‘metal detecting’ as a hobby! In this story, the chap who sells all and buys the field where he believes the treasure is buried must have been certain that it was there, and had more than enough wealth already, to be able to pay for the field. Nevertheless, he is convinced that the treasure is worth every sacrifice and must be obtained at all cost.

Similarly, the merchant in search of pearls is sure that he has found just one which is worth obtaining, even at the expense of everything he has previously owned.

It is easy to assume that these parables are meant to instruct us to search for the Kingdom, and to make this a priority in our lives, and this is probably not incorrect. Many commentators, however, interpret them differently, suggesting rather that the ‘treasure’ and the ‘pearl of great price’ are us! God is the purchaser of the field, or the merchant, who sacrifices everything, including his own dear Son, to find us because we are precious in his sight. British people especially might find this hard to accept – we are usually so self-deprecating that we can’t believe anyone would think so highly of us as to sell everything in order to save us! There is a famous story about St Lawrence who, when pressed by the Roman Prefect Decius, to give up the ‘treasures of the church’ (ie the silver vessels etc used for Communion), gathered together a group of the poorest and most humble members of the congregation and presented them instead. This parable encourages us to understand that we, too, are the ‘treasures of the Church’ in God’s eyes.

God is so unbelievably generous and wishes to lavish on us all and more than we can desire – we have only to ask in a spirit of faith and trust (think of the story of Solomon who asked for wisdom to govern his people well, rather than wealth or power, but who was blessed not only with great wisdom but also with wealth beyond compare).

We think there must be a catch – but, as last week’s Collect reminded us, God has prepared for those that love him ‘such good things as pass our understanding’ so that, loving him in all things and above all things, we may obtain his promises, ‘which exceed all that we can desire.’

Fr Stephen


Collect for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity

Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same:
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.


Romans 8:26-39

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans

The Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes
with sighs too deep for words.

And God, who searches the heart,
knows what is the mind of the Spirit,
because the Spirit intercedes for the saints
according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good
for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.

For those whom he foreknew
he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,
in order that he might be the firstborn
within a large family.

And those whom he predestined he also called;
and those whom he called he also justified;
and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?

He who did not withhold his own
Son, but gave him up for all of us,
will he not with him also give us everything else?

Who will bring any charge against God's elect?
It is God who justifies.

Who is to condemn?
It is Christ Jesus, who died,
yes, who was raised,
who is at the right hand of God,
who indeed intercedes for us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written,
"For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height,

nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Gospel  Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew

Jesus put before the crowd another parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that someone took and sowed in his field;

it is the smallest of all the seeds,
but when it has grown
it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree,
so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."

He told them another parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour
until all of it was leavened.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,
which someone found and hid;
then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has
and buys that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
in search of fine pearls;

on finding one pearl of great value,
he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a
net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;

when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down,
and put the good into baskets
but threw out the bad.

So it will be at the end of the age.
The angels will come out
and separate the evil from the righteous

and throw them into the furnace of fire,
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Have you understood all this?"
They answered, "Yes."

And he said to them,
"Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven
is like the master of a household
who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
Sunday, 19 July 2020
This morning our 10 am Service was Mattins, and on a dull and rainy day it was lovely to be in church again. We were able to spread ourselves out to suitable social distance but were not able to sing the canticles and psalms. We said the Venite and the Benedictus together, the Te Deum in alternate versus between Father Stephen and the congregation, and the set psalm for the day was sung by Joanna from the organ loft. Father Stephen led the service and the prayers from the altar to ensure proper distance was kept. We were delighted to welcome some visitors, as not all local churches have been able to open, it is a pleasure to welcome worshipers to our services.
Janet Harland read both of the lessons, taken from the St James Bible, and Father Stephen preached a sermon on the Gospel, which you can read below.

We will not be having our Church Fete this year, which is a great loss to the Church Family, and the Village and our many loyal visitors. However to try to make up, in a small way, for its absence we have a number of events and offers for you to join in!
The first of these is Next Saturday details below!! The second event is on the 1st of August so watch out for details next Sunday!!!


‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’ FROM THE REVEREND STEPHEN GUISE, PRIEST IN CHARGE – SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 19 JULY





Taken from Roger Wagner, ‘The Reapers’, c2000

Dear Friends

Today’s Gospel, from Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43, speaks even more overtly about the Kingdom of Heaven than the passage which we looked at last week – but still retains the farming and agricultural analogies.  As with last week’s parable, Jesus begins this one with the image of a sower who is sowing ‘good seed’ in the field.  Then, tellingly, ‘while everybody was asleep’, someone comes along and sows weeds alongside the good crop.  The ‘slaves of the householder’ ask their master what they should do, and how this could have been allowed to happen.  The master replies with the memorable words, ‘An enemy hath done this’ – and the enemy is, of course, the Evil One, the ‘spoiler’, so to speak.

Being a practical man, when the slaves ask him whether they are to gather up the weeds, the master replies that they should be left until harvest-time, since if they attempt to uproot them now, the good plants might also be damaged.

Once back in the house, with the crowds left behind, the disciples ask Jesus for an explanation and, as we have noted previously, this pattern of telling a parable to the crowd, followed by a private exposition of the meaning to the disciples, occurs several times in the gospels.  Some commentators believe that the explanations were added later, but this need not necessarily have been the case, and the details provided resonate with Jesus’ overall message concerning the Kingdom.  In this instance, the one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom.  The weeds are the children of the Evil One, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.

The reference to the Evil One working ‘while everyone was asleep’ could be seen as a call to vigilance – a warning, in other words, to be on our guard against the forces of evil, and all temptations which might lure the unsuspecting astray.

Last week, we considered the way in which Jesus emphasised the need not only to ‘hear’ the word, but also to ‘understand’ it, and this message is repeated here, in a different way, with a stress this time upon eschatological judgement, with the promise that ultimately ‘the upright will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father’.

Fr Stephen


Collect for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Merciful God, who hast prepared for those who love thee,
such good things as pass our understanding:
pour into our hearts such love towards thee that we, loving thee in all things,
may obtain thy promises which exceed all that we can desire;
through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever.  Amen.


Romans 8:12-25

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans.

Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, 
not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 

for if you live according to the flesh, 
you will die; 
but if by the Spirit 
you put to death the deeds of the body, 
you will live. 

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, 
but you have received a spirit of adoption. 
When we cry, "Abba! Father!" 

it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit 
that we are children of God, 

and if children, then heirs, 
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—
if, in fact, we suffer with him 
so that we may also be glorified with him. 

I consider that the sufferings of this present time 
are not worth comparing with the glory 
about to be revealed to us. 

For the creation waits with eager longing 
for the revealing of the children of God; 

for the creation was subjected to futility, 
not of its own will 
but by the will of the one who subjected it, 
in hope 

that the creation itself 
will be set free from its bondage to decay 
and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 

We know that the whole creation 
has been groaning in labour pains until now; 

and not only the creation, 
but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, 
groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, 
the redemption of our bodies. 

For in hope we were saved. 
Now hope that is seen is not hope. 
For who hopes for what is seen? 

But if we hope for what we do not see, 
we wait for it with patience. 


Gospel Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus put before the crowd another parable: 
"The kingdom of heaven may be compared 
to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 

but while everybody was asleep, 
an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 

So when the plants came up and bore grain, 
then the weeds appeared as well. 

And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, 
"Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? 
Where, then, did these weeds come from?' 

He answered, "An enemy has done this.' 
The slaves said to him,
"Then do you want us to go and gather them?' 

But he replied, "No; 
for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. 

Let both of them grow together until the harvest; 
and at harvest time I will tell the reapers,
 Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, 
but gather the wheat into my barn.' " 

Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. 
And his disciples approached him, saying, 
"Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." 

He answered, 
"The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 

the field is the world, 
and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; 
the weeds are the children of the evil one, 

and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; 
the harvest is the end of the age, 
and the reapers are angels. 

Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, 
so will it be at the end of the age. 

The Son of Man will send his angels, 
and they will collect out of his kingdom 
all causes of sin and all evildoers, 

and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, 
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. 
Let anyone with ears listen! 
Sunday, 12 July 2020
This Sunday for the first time since March, we were able to hold a service at St Marys, following the guidance on social distancing, hand sanitising, and with out any singing or exchanging the peace we non the less celebrated the Eucharist! About 20 people gathered at 10 am, and using alternate pews, we said the service, and Father Stephen was the celebrant. His homily is presented below for those who could not come!

It was a wonderful thing to be together again and we praise God that we are able to meet in his presence at the Eucharist. We were not able to have refreshments afterwards, but it was joyful to meet and see each other, to resume our worship and to hear Joanna play the organ.

Next week we will meet again for Matins, many thanks to Chris and Janet for organising this 'new normal' service!



‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’ FROM THE REVEREND STEPHEN GUISE, PRIEST IN CHARGE – FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 12 JULY





Vincent van Gogh, ‘The Sower’ (two versions, both completed during 1888)

Dear Friends

Vincent van Gogh painted two pictures entitled ‘The Sower’ during 1888.  Both show a large sun behind the central figure and we can imagine him sweltering in the ‘heat and burden of the day’, although in one of the paintings the sower is depicted beside a river, with a large tree perhaps offering a little shade.

For van Gogh, the one-time lay preacher in Holland, the Gospel reference to the parable of the sower would almost certainly have been uppermost in his mind as he worked on these paintings.  And, of course, the Gospel set for today (Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23) provides one of the versions of this parable, describing the sower who liberally sprinkles the seed of God’s word, which falls indiscriminately over the ground, with some falling on the edge of the path, some on patches of rock, some among thorns, and only some on the good soil, which, as every Sunday School child knows, brings forth a rich harvest, whether thirty-, sixty- or a hundred fold.

Jesus’ parables of the Kingdom, of which this is one, tend to be very concise – every word counts – and in this case we are offered an explanation of the details.  Thus we learn that the seed that is sown in good soil represents those who hear the word of God and understand it.  I must have preached on this passage at least thirty, sixty or even a hundred times in my ordained life, but it has never struck me before that it is only those who understand the word who produce the crop.  We know that any preacher Sunday by Sunday will only be able to ‘broadcast’ the seed of God’s word to a limited number of people – perhaps forty or fifty on average – although these days, with the increased streaming of services, perhaps this might be more.  We can never know what effect our preaching will have on those who listen, but we trust that the Holy Spirit will come to our aid, so that those who hear God’s word may also receive it with understanding, and bring forth a good harvest within their own lives and situations.

Fr Stephen


Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God,
by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church
is governed and sanctified:
hear our prayer which we offer for all your faithful people,
that in their vocation and ministry
they may serve you in holiness and truth
to the glory of your name;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God now and for ever.  Amen.



Romans 8:1-11

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans.

There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

For God has done what the law,
weakened by the flesh,
could not do:
by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh
set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit
set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

To set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God;
it does not submit to God's law—indeed it cannot,

and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh;
you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

But if Christ is in you,
though the body is dead because of sin,
the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies
also through his Spirit that dwells in you.


Gospel.  Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake.

Such great crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat there,
while the whole crowd stood on the beach.

And he told them many things in parables, saying:
"Listen! A sower went out to sow.

And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path,
and the birds came and ate them up.

Other seeds fell on rocky ground,
where they did not have much soil,
and they sprang up quickly,
since they had no depth of soil.

But when the sun rose, they were scorched;
and since they had no root, they withered away.

Other seeds fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew up and choked them.

Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain,
some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Let anyone with ears listen!"

Hear then the parable of the sower.

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom
and does not understand it,
the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart;
this is what was sown on the path.

 As for what was sown on rocky ground,
this is the one who hears the word
 and immediately receives it with joy;

yet such a person has no root,
but endures only for a while,
and when trouble or persecution arises
on account of the word,
that person immediately falls away.

As for what was sown among thorns,
this is the one who hears the word,
but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth
choke the word, and it yields nothing.

But as for what was sown on good soil,
this is the one who hears the word and understands it,
who indeed bears fruit and yields,
in one case a hundredfold,
in another sixty, and in another thirty."
Friday, 10 July 2020

Dear All,

This is such a welcome email to be writing!  Our first service post lockdown will be at 10am on Sunday, 12 July!

For the immediate future we will not be holding the 8:00am service as the logistics of preparing the church for a further service within such a short period of time are not practical.  I am afraid Sunday School will not be restarting this term but, please, come along to church as a family. We will be following the usual pattern for 10am services and so the service this Sunday will be a Parish Eucharist taken by Father Stephen.  Janet and I will ‘sidesman‘ this service to see if everything runs smoothly or if anything needs rethinking.

The practicalities are -
  1. We must remain 2 metres apart from other family groups at all times –coming to church, in church and leaving the church.  For this reason we will be sitting in alternate pews, no-one should sit in the front pew or rear pew in the front half of the church and in the front pew in the rear section of the church. No one should sit within 2 metres of the ends of the pews. We will put chairs in the transepts to increase seating as much as possible but we may run out of space in the church.  You might like to put a garden chair in the car and then we will transmit the service into the churchyard for those who can’t get into church or who pprefer to sit in the churchyard.  If you do choose to sit in the churchyard you must still maintain social distancing at 2 metres.  If you wish to wear a mask, please do. Please wait to enter church if necessary to maintain that 2 metres.  Please avoid touching surfaces unless necessary.
  2. Please use the hand sanitizer provided on entry to the church and when you leave. 
  3. If you wish to visit the toilets the door opposite the south door of the church will be open. Again, please use the sanitizer on entry and on exit.  Please use the surface cleaner provided on any surfaces you have touched including taps and the toilet seat and flush.
  4. We cannot sing or exchange the Peace.  We are asked to make all responses quietly and not raise our voices.
  5. We will use our service booklets as usual and they will then be quarantined for 7 days.
  6. We will have a collection but the collection bags will not be used. We will place plates by each exit for your donations and these will be quarantined for 72 hours before being processed
  7. Father Stephen will explain the arrangements for receiving the host on Sunday but basically we are allowed to receive the host in one kind – the bread.  However we must come up to receive in single file (2 metres apart) and receive standing.  We will not respond.  We will go up to receive by the centre aisle and peel off as appropriate to the side aisles to return to our seat.

Please be patient with these measures , we do reassure you that they are there in order to keep everyone safe. We are aware that this is gong to feel very different but it will be so good to be back in church worshipping together!  If you have any questions do, please, ring either me (01243 641493) or Janet (01243 641698). 

If you wish to see St Mary’s Risk Assessment relating to services at church, please contact me.

Looking forward to seeing you on Sunday,

Chris

Sunday, 5 July 2020
Audio files are available on "The Message" page.


‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’ FROM THE REVEREND STEPHEN GUISE, PRIEST IN CHARGE – FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 5 JULY





Rembrandt (1606-1669), ‘Moses Smashing the Tablets of the Law’, 1659, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

Dear Friends

Last Sunday, the ‘thought for the week’ focused upon St John the Baptist, who features in the Gospel narrative for this Sunday.  So this time I shall be taking a look at another reading set for today, taken not from the principal service but from what the Common Worship lectionary describes as the ‘3rd service’ (i.e. the readings set for Mattins).

It is Deuteronomy 24:10-22 and it is an interesting passage because it confounds some of our preconceptions concerning the ‘Old Testament’, or ‘Hebrew Scriptures’.  ‘Humane’ is perhaps not a word which immediately springs to mind in this context, since so many narratives within these books of the bible seem to be concerned with ‘divine wrath and punishment’.  Nevertheless, this passage is just that, humane, a fact which might at first glance seem remarkable in that it comes from the Torah, or the Jewish Law.

The text makes it clear that if you make a loan to a neighbour and take a pledge in exchange, perhaps a cloak, for example, then you should not keep it overnight, for your neighbour may get cold – so you return it to him for the night.  That way, you will receive a blessing rather than resentment.
Likewise, one is not to withhold the wages of poor and needy labourers, whether Israelites or aliens.  This runs very much counter to the practices of some employers today – especially as we hear lately that the wages of furloughed staff are being kept back and unscrupulous companies are keeping the Government money for themselves.

Similarly, provision is made for those who glean the edges of harvest fields, ie those who were usually the most marginalised groups of society such as widows, aliens and orphans – landowners are to ensure that, as the crops are harvested, the stubble around the edges should be allowed to remain, and that grapes are to be left on the vine, and olives on the trees, so that these vulnerable groups have something to take away with them.  The purpose is to keep reminding the people of Israel that they too were once an enslaved and vulnerable people in Egypt, prior to the Exodus.

Most of us at times in our lives have experienced hardship of various kinds, and this passage in Deuteronomy is a salutary reminder to us to respond with compassion to the needs of our neighbours.  Although now part of the Law, Deuteronomy was a later addition to the four books which had previously made up the Torah – the compilers were clearly coming to that greatest of realisations that ‘love is the fulfilling of the Law’.

Finally, it has been good to receive, within the last few days, not only the latest Government advice concerning the resumption of public worship, but also Bishop Martin’s very helpful Ad Clerum which gives practical and detailed suggestions for the ways in which our services can be conducted in as safe a way as possible over the next weeks and months.  I shall be meeting with our Churchwardens to discuss things during the course of next week and, once we have come to a common mind on these matters, we shall, of course, let you know the outcome as soon as possible.  There is much to think about to ensure that the arrangements are right for St Mary’s, so please bear with us in the meantime!

Fr Stephen


Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity

O God, the protector of all who trust in you,
without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal;
grant this, heavenly Father,
for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever.  Amen.


Romans 7.15-25a

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans.

I do not understand my own actions.
For I do not do what I want,
but I do the very thing I hate.

Now if I do what I do not want,
I agree that the law is good.

But in fact it is no longer I that do it,
but sin that dwells within me.

For I know that nothing good dwells within me,
that is, in my flesh.
I can will what is right,
but I cannot do it.

For I do not do the good I want,
but the evil I do not want is what I do.

Now if I do what I do not want,
it is no longer I that do it,
but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good,
evil lies close at hand.

For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self,

but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind,
making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Wretched man that I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!


Gospel  Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

At that time Jesus said,

"But to what will I compare this generation?
It is like children sitting in the marketplaces
and calling to one another,

"We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.'

For John came neither eating nor drinking,
and they say, "He has a demon';

the Son of Man came eating and drinking,
and they say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'
Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."

"I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because you have hidden these things
from the wise and the intelligent
and have revealed them to infants;

yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father;
and no one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."




Service Times

10:00am Sunday Service

Useful links


Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:


  1. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  2. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  3. Prayer for today.
  4. The C of E youtube channel.
  5. We will be updating Fr Stephens Message page on a regular basis.
  6. Hearing You is a new phone help line launched by the Diocese of Chichester in partnership with Together in Sussex in response to the impact that Covid 19 has had on Just about the whole community. It aims to provide pastoral support and a listening ear to the recently bereaved and people directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  7. COVID-19 advice from the Diocese of Chichester here.