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Sunday, 24 September 2017
This morning we met at 10 am for the Eucharist in lovely late autumn sunshine. Today's gospel was from St Mathew and told the story of the workers in the vineyard. This story only occurs in St Mathew, tells of the workers being hired all through the day but at the end of the day every one received the same pay! In his Sermon Father Stephen suggested that this approach to industrial relations was unlikely to be very successful, but of course the story, which seems so unfair is in fact a demonstration of the fact that God's grace is available to all who come to him, whether at the beginning of the day or the end. It is not about what we deserve, but the fact that God gives us his grace, when we turn to him, whether we have been good or not, not an excuse to behave badly however!!

The Choir sang the Ave Verum in the setting by W.A. Mozart as the anthem.
There was coffee after the service in the new rooms. Next Saturday the Choir will sing in Chichester Cathedral at 10:30 at a Eucharist in celebration of the Prayer Book Society, do come along and support them. Next weekend is also our Harvest Festival. The Harvest Supper in the Church Hall will be on Saturday night, tickets available from the Church Wardens. Next Sunday we will have a Family Eucharist of Harvest Thanksgiving at 10 am. Please note this is the only Harvest Service this year.

A touch of Autumn in our flowers this week
Friday, 22 September 2017
As it is the third Sunday, we had Matins.

Father Stephen's sermon was about forgiveness, echoing the readings today.

If someone does something horrible, human nature wants revenge. But as Christians, we should not want revenge.  Revenge is up to God. Christ spoke of forgiveness.  In recent years we have witness amazing acts of forgiveness.  Gordon Wilson lost his daughter Marie in the Enniskillen bomb attack. Marie's last words were "Daddy I love you very much". He prayed for the terrorists every night, drawing on his deep Christian faith to forgive.  It can seem impossible to forgive, but as we are forgiven, we can also forgive.

In the parables, Jesus uses exaggeration to show forgiveness.  We must forgive "77 times", echoing Genesis cursing 77 times. Jesus is the second Adam, restoring us to God.

Forgiveness is a free gift from the Lord, there for us to take.

The Anthem was "O Lord My God" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
Sunday, 10 September 2017
This morning at our 10 am Eucharist  we felt 'back to normal' after the excitement of the visit from the Bishop last week! The gospel reading from St Mathew included those words so important to us 'where ever two or three are gathered together I am with you' Father Stephen in his sermon reminded us that we are still in the Year of the Bible. He told us something of the assembling of the Bible as we now have it at the beginning of the 4th century, the test for inclusion being that the book  gave sight of the real Jesus. There were many other accounts circulating at the time, but the 4 Gospels and Acts, the Epistles and the Revelation of St John were decided on by the Holy Fathers as meeting these criteria. Worship in a community we are promised makes Jesus present with us in Word and Sacrament, although private prayer is commended to us in other parts of the Gospel. We strive to have Jesus present in our lives every day and to be guided by Him to a christian life.

The Choir sang 'A New Commandment' an anthem by Peter Nardone during the distribution of Communion.
One of the delights of having the new Rooms open is that the Sunday School were able to join us at Communion and stay with us to the end of the service. We then all repaired to the Rooms for coffee and to look at the work the Sunday School have done during the morning.

Our good friend Tom Cooper will give us a recital of Russian piano music on the afternoon of the 15th October from 3 pm followed by Tea in the Rooms. A retiring collection will be made. Tom has dedicated this concert to Alfred Lytton, who recently died, and the collection will be divided between St Wilfrid's Hospice and St Mary's. Please do come along.

Sunday, 3 September 2017
This morning we were truely blessed to reach a moment that sometimes seemed as though it would never arrive! Bishop Martin came to St Mary our Lady, to celebrate the Eucharist, and to bless and officially open the new Parish Rooms. It was also our celebration of the birth of our Patron, St Mary Our Lady, and finally as the first Sunday in the month it was very much a family service!
Bishop Martin pointed out to us that the Bible didn't mention much about committees, but was very keen on the creative and artisan activities that lead the Israelites from their tabernacle of the exodus to Solomon's Temple and the glory of God. All these activities which had contributed to our new building, but of course committees have their place, especially when issues of fairness and justice are to be decided. He also told us of the tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church that St Mary was educated in the Temple, and was involved in the weaving of the Veil that separated the public area from the Holy of Holies. This veil was riven in two pieces at the time of the Crucifixion symbolising that the Holy is no longer separated from us, Our Lord is amongst us, in the Eucharist, and every day through the Holy Spirit, this is our belief and by this we pass along our Christian Journey.

After his sermon the congregation followed the Altar Party to the door of the new Rooms, where Bishop Martin blessed the threshold, and marked it with the sign of the cross with Holy Oil, we then all entered the building and the main area, the Kitchen, the Office, and the 'facilities' were all in turn blessed. We then returned to the Church, with the peace, and our Eucharist proceeded.  During Communion the Choir sang Ave Maria, setting by Ricard Dubra, The service ended and everyone repaired to the Parish rooms for a Champagne  Reception, Chris Field said a few words of thanks to everyone who had helped, with activities, donations, design and building skills, to produce these new facilities. She told us that the earliest reference to providing lavatories at St Mary's was in a PCC minute from 1974! She was followed by Dame Jenny, who thanked both Chris and Janet our Churchwardens for all they had done and they were given flowers and presents. A call for three cheers for Dame Jenny and the two Church Wardens jolly nearly took off the new roof!!
As is traditional at Sidlesham, there was plenty to eat to soak up the champagne!!

The Bishop stayed and spoke to members of the congregation of all ages, and at the end we were able to test out the new dishwasher!!

Congregation members from the youngest to the most senior!

Janet, Chris and Jenny without whom non of this would be here!
Monday, 28 August 2017
This morning we met at 10am for our Parish Eucharist, on a beautiful sunny, warm day. We had a said service, as Joanna is on holiday, but Beryl Rodd kindly played the piano for the hymns. The lessons today were from Romans, and St Matthew. The Gospel passage related the conversation between Our Lord and his disciples in which he asks who people think he is. Peter replies that he is the Messiah, and characteristically Jesus acknowledges this, but tells the disciples not to reveal this truth as his time has not yet come. In his sermon Father Stephen connected this story to the reading from last week where the Canaanite woman had also realised who Jesus was. Father Stephen discussed how the Faith of these followers was demonstrated by their reactions to the question 'who do you think I am' a question we are selves are asked by the Lord, and how our faith in him guides us through our earthly journey.

There was coffee after the service in the North Transept, for the last time! Next week we are joined by Bishop Martin to give thanks and bless our new Parish Rooms, this service will be followed by a champagne reception! All are welcome to join us at the service to give thanks for this great work which will, among other things, allow us to prepare and serve our coffee in a proper kitchen from now onward! The Rooms are available for use by all, and can be booked by contacting the Church Wardens.

Monday, 21 August 2017
This morning, a fine summer's morning, at 10 am we had Mattins. As it is August there was no Choir, but we sang the Psalm and Canticles to familiar chants. The Old Testament lesson was from Isaiah and the New Testament lesson was the story of Jesus curing the Canaanite woman's daughter. In his sermon Father Stephen also called to our minds the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel 'all night' He enlarged on the theme of perseverance as part of our Christian life, especially in prayer. The Church has 4 elements, ideas, words, actions and endurance. We ask in prayer for peace in our world, but it doesn't seem to happen, but we must continue and endure, and in the end, like the daughter of the Canaanite women we will be healed and our prayers answered. This is our Christian faith, and for it to grow we must keep on keeping on.

There was coffee after the service, the penultimate coffee session using the urn in the church, as we are now within a fortnight of using our new rooms!  Bishop Martin will be with us at our Eucharist on the 3rd of September, when he will also bless the new rooms and officially open them . Please join us for this joyous occasion at 10 am, refreshments will be provided after the service.

A date for the diary, Tom Cooper  will give us a recital of Russian piano music on October 15th at 3pm followed by tea, retiring collection for St Mary's. We are delighted to welcome Tom back to Sidlesham for what has become one of our great treats!

Before that the weekend of the 30th September, 1st of October is Harvest. On the Saturday morning the Choir will again sing in Chichester Cathedral for the annual Prayer Book Society service, which is open to everyone. In the evening we shall have the Harvest Supper, tickets available from the Churchwardens, pay on booking no tickets will be reserved, for this very popular event. On Sunday the 1st of October we shall have our Harvest Festival Service at the 10 am Eucharist, please note this year the 10 am service will be the only Harvest Festival. There will not be an evening service. Elements of the former evening service including presentation of gifts by representatives of the Farmers, growers and gardeners in the Parish, and by the children will be in the 10 am service. We look forward to seeing you there.


Sunday, 13 August 2017
On a glorious summer morning we met to celebrate one of the Feasts dedicated to our Patron Saint, St Mary. Today we celebrate her arrival in Heaven, In September we again celebrate, marking her birth. The readings today included Luke's account of the visit of the Angel Gabriel. Father Stephen, who was the celebrant, preached about Mary's role of protector of the young Jesus, of the role of protection of the young in age and in faith, and how now Our Lady helps protect us from Heaven. There was a hymn after communion, as it being August, there was no choir.
The Church was filled with beautiful garden flowers, which had been placed there for the funeral of our dear friend Alfred Lytton on Friday. We shall miss him, but are confident he is safe in the hands of God.

There was coffee after the service. Our new rooms are very nearly ready to be handed over to us, the Bishop will formally bless and open them on the 3rd of September.

Monday, 31 July 2017
The annual Church Fete was held this year in a different location, and in very wet weather! We were unable to use the Vicarage Field this year for technical reasons, and as it turned out we were glad to be in our different location, the Chamomile field further down Church Farm Lane. This field was allready harvested, but the smell of chamomile accompanied every movement and was lovely. Adverse weather conditions, both wind and rain resulted in setting up the tents on Saturday morning from 7 am! Fortunately this was done in the dry and we were all set for the opening when the rain started, gently at first but heavy at times! Non the less the fete went on, the Chichester City Band played, Commander Marshall opened the proceedings and gave us a commentary of events. Lots of people came, the dog show was well attended, teas were served and the mini show was also well attended. As many of our stalls and events were under canvas we were able to keep people from getting too damp, and the bigger field allowed parking adjacent with was very helpful. At 4 pm the Grand Draw and other prizes were announced and the 2017 Fete closed. The tents were too wet to put down, so after packing tables and chairs into a dry (ish) place we departed to return on Sunday afternoon to strike camp! Unfortunately a high wind had damaged some of our smaller tents but the larger ones survived, and the field was clear by 5 pm!
We feel very blessed to discover that our loyal supporters have resulted in a small decrease in takings, but not nearly as great a reduction as might have been feared!!

On Sunday Morning we came to church in sunshine, with the threat of a shower, and quite a high wind! Our Eucharist was celebrated by Father Stephen, and we were thrilled to discover how well the fete had done despite the weather. Our readings were from Romans and St Mathew, continuing the parables of Our Lord, with the descriptions of the Kingdom of Heaven. Father Stephen in his sermon reminded us of the story of David Koresh and the Branch Dividians who were an extreme group who focused on the book of Revelation, they were killed in the final events of the 50 day siege at Waco in Texas. We read together as a Church and in common with the other major churches the whole Bible in a three year cycle, by reading and considering together we can distill the important messages with out being lead into extremest interpretations.
The ladies and young choristers sang Panis Angelicus setting by Cesar Franck as the anthem. There was a treat at the end of the service when Joanna played the Bach Toccata and Fugue in B minor, and we enjoyed a cup of coffee before returning home to recover from our efforts!

An enormous thank you to Chris and Janet our Church Wardens, who managed the whole changing scenario of the Fete and without whom we could not manage!

Sunday, 23 July 2017
We met today at 10 am for a Sung Eucharist celebrated by Father Stephen. Today's readings were from St Paul's letter to the Romans, and St Mathew's Gospel. They continued the theme of sowing and growing seed. Today's parable was the story of the wheat field which was full of weeds, the workers wanted to remove the weeds, but the owner told them to leave them and only separate them from the good plants at the harvest. Father Stephen enlarged on this parable in his sermon. We are told that disturbing the weeds, a metaphor for evil and wicked people, might disturb the roots of the good wheat. Are we to then accept that evil is among us and God does not act against it until the day of Judgement?  How hard this seems on those who are affected by the deeds of bad people, but we have faith and can strive against that which is wrong, we are not passively growing like plants, we can choose to counteract the bad things in the world.
The Choir sang the Ave Verum in the setting by W.A. Mozart as the anthem. There was coffee after the service. We are counting the weeks now until we can use our new rooms with a fully equiped kitchen for our coffee!

The annual Church Fete is next Saturday from 2 to 4 pm, on the Vicarage meadow and in the Church. Setting up on Thursday and Friday if you can help, but do come along on Saturday afternoon and join in the fun.

Monday, 17 July 2017
This morning at 10 am we had a Sung Mattins as our main service. The service was conducted by Father Roger, as Father Stephen was attending the Baptism of his Grandchild elsewhere. Our readings today, from Isaiah and St Matthew's Gospel were about the sowing of seed. This parable in St Matthew is unusual in that the explanation of the story is given in detail. Father Roger confided in us that he had preached on this reading on  both of the last two occasions it had occurred in the Lectionary, 3 and 6 years ago! On this occasion he still found much for us to think about during the week.
The Choir sang 'Thou Visitest the Earth' by Maurice Green as the anthem. There was coffee after the service.
2 weeks to the fete!please look for contributions, consider entering the mini show and most of all come along on the day!

Monday, 10 July 2017
The sermon today was taken from the gospel reading, with the final 2 verses,

"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."

Father Stephen posed the question " How joyful are these words when there is so much gloom in the world"? He related to his recent holiday in Vienna, which happened to coincide with so many bad news stories in the press.  Joy is a gift from heaven.  When looking to beatification, there is a search for joy in the life of the person under consideration. It is also necessary to have a sense of humour to become a priest. We were told that Martin Luther could be a "bit of a tease" over mealtimes with his family.

Father Stephen mentioned that the Viennese were a "joyful lot".  Vienna is a land of music, both instrumental and opera. There is constant loud birdsong in the city which may be a cause of the musicality. Whilst on holiday, the feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated. In church, everyone joined in the service with joy and young hussars drew their sabres in salute which glinted in the light.

They also had a trip on the famous Ferris wheel, used in "The Third Man" reminding us of the Second World War and the oppressive occupation by the Russians.

When attending services abroad, particularly when in a different language, you can pick out bits of the gospel as the same readings are generally used at the same time of the year. This gives us a sense of unity throughout the world. Language and cultural barriers can become wafer thin in Christ.

The church fete is getting ever closer and there are still calls for assistance. Have a look in the magazine for the contact details of various stall holders.  Don't forget your entries for the Mini Show.

Sunday, 2 July 2017
This morning as the first Sunday in the month, we had our Family Communion service. We celebrated Sea Sunday, when we think about those who work on or around the Sea. We had a guest speaker from the Mission to Seafarers, John Attenborough, the Chaplain to the Port of Southampton, who told us about the work of the Mission in our ports with seafarers. He took as an example our love of chocolate, providing a box for the children to share! When we look at the ingredients we discover how they and so much of what we eat, and use is bought to the UK by ship. These ships are crewed by people from all over the world and when they are in foreign ports the Mission is there to provide practical assistance. Our collection today was in aid of the Mission to Seafarers. We sang some splendid nautical hymns and the Choir sang 'Never weather beaten sail' setting by Charles Wood, as the Anthem. During the Communion James one of our junior choristers sang his solo of 2 verses of All Things Bright and Beautiful.
Regular followers of this page will remember the Knitathon which took place back in March, when we did a sponsored knit of woolly hats, the sponsorship money was for the New Rooms project, and the hats for the Mission to Seafarers. This morning at the end of our service, Father Stephen blessed the 75 hats that were produced by the knitters of the Parish!  These were then given to John Attenborough  to take with him back to the port, to be put to good use by the seafarers.

This afternoon, we were treated to a marvellous concert of  Summer music by the choir Chichester Voices. The church was full as we listened to a selection of music from English folk songs through to
Pallestrina. The encore was 'Tea for Two' and was followed by a splendid Sidlesham Tea. Following our Sea Sunday theme this was in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute,  with a retiring collection for the New Rooms.
Chichester Voices

The Fete is only 3 weeks away, and stall holders are ready to receive any contributions you may have for them, list in the Magazine!    
Monday, 26 June 2017
This morning our 10 am service was a Parish Eucharist and the celebrant was Father Roger. The Gospel reading today was one of the more difficult passages where Our Lord talks of dividing families and bringing a sword to the world. In his sermon Father Roger talked about Radical Extremism, pointing out that this description has become associated with acts of terror, where as in its true meaning, Radical implies returning to the roots of the issue and Extreme can be either extremely bad or extremely good! In this context Christ himself was a radical extremist!! Certainly to the First century Jewish people, who had lost sight of the spirit of the 10 commandments, encircling their lives with over 600 small rules and regulations based on the teachings of Moses,His simple instructions Love the Lord thy God and your neighbour were both radical and extreme. Father Roger also spoke about the roots of Islam and that we should be clear that Islam in its true practice is a peaceful religion, Jihad is a holy war conducted internally against the temptations to stray from the path, and that acts of terror are not part of the religion, as shown by the refusal of Imams to say burial prayers for the perpetrators of these acts. Father Roger gave us much to think about in this sermon.

The Choir sang 'God so Loved the World' Setting by J Stainer as the anthem. There was coffee after the service.

The Fete is rapidly approaching! Saturday 29th of July! The fete committee would be glad of help on the preceeding days to prepare the site and afterwards to clear, If you can help please contact the Church wardens.

There is a PCC meeting on Thursday evening, preceded by a said Eucharist at 6:30.

Our Patriotic Flowers reflect Armed Forces weekend

Sunday, 18 June 2017
No photos this week as Dr Lesley was not in church today and I had not brought my camera. Many apologies.

Father Roger preached as Father Stephen is still away.

Being Matins we had Psalm 100 "O be joyful in the Lord" which was repeated in the choir anthem as they sang Stanford's "Jubilate Deo" from his Morning, Communion and Evening Service in B flat, Op 10.

Father Roger's sermon reflected the second reading from Matthew outlining 3 things the church requires, Mission, Staff and Clear Priorities. We should be saddened that people are lost and have lost direction. Christian faith was a less alien concept in centuries past.  Few now have insight into the meaning of Christmas and Easter.  They now lack confidence in God to bring good from evil, life from death. The Christian teaching of children now has to compete with myriad other activities. Christians should 1) proclaim the good news, 2) teach, baptise and nurture, 3)give loving service, 4) challenge unjust structures in society and 5) safeguard creation and the life of the earth.

We are all sinners, but sin has different meaning to different people depending n where they are in society.  Tolerance needs scrutiny.  Life is not easy and we are called to value all, but not to tolerate everything. Sin is about a tarnished creation, not a list of naughty deeds, the less than perfect, but we may not be to blame for it.  It is more about what we do with the hand we have been dealt.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
This morning our 10 o'clock Eucharist was celebrated by Father Roger, as Father Stephen is on leave. It is Trinity Sunday, and so we were thinking about the mystery of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In his sermon Father Roger talked about the image of the three concentric rings, he gave us each an example of the image on paper, two rings together makes a chain, but the three rings together intertwine in a more complex way, a good analogy of the Trinity! The Choir sang a setting of 'Holy holy holy' by Tchaikovsky  as the anthem. There was coffee after the service.

Do get your tickets for the Chichester Voices concert on the 2nd of July, they are available from Janet Harland. Proceeds to the RNLI.

Sunday, 4 June 2017
This morning, the first Sunday in June, was our Family Service. We celebrated Pentecost, but also took the opportunity to have our Rogation Walk. As the boundaries of our Parish stretch from Selsey up to Donnington and over to Birdham  we modify our walk to the environs of the Church! We started in the Church, with our notices,and an opening hymn and prayer. We then walked, first to the barn in Church Farm Lane, then to the new extension of the grave yard, which is adjacent to Mr Spiby's land, where some calves came to see us. We then walked down to Russetts where Mr Harland's fish were blessed, into the garden of Scantlands, and finally into the Fete field thanks to Mr Torrance, where Jane Robinson's horses were grazing. At each stop we had a reading from Genesis, a prayer and a verse of All things Bright and Beautiful. We walked through the Vicarage drive, past our nearly completed new building to the South door of the Church for our final hymn and prayers. Rogation comes from the Latin 'Rogere'  to ask, and our prayers for a successful harvest are made on this day. Many thanks to all who took part, who allowed access to their land, or animals, and to Miss Beryl Rodd who accompanied us on the Piano.

Service Times

Services for the month are as follows:

First Sunday in the Month
8:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
8:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
8:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Mattins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
8:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Other services and variations are listed in the Calendar Section on this page or in the Parish Magazine

Click here to go to calendar.

Local News

From the Chichester Observer
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