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Monday, 30 December 2013
This Sunday, the first of Christmas, was clear and frosty and the wind had died down. The Sunday after Christmas is traditionally a celebration of the Holy Family, but also in the Gospel today the story of the Massacre of the Innocents. This theme was taken up by Father Stephen in his sermon, discussing the horror of Herod's act of killing all the boy children under 2 years to try to prevent Jesus growing up. He reminded us that children are killed every day in the conflicts going on in Syria and in Africa, but that we must be the lights of Christian faith in such a dark and dreadful world.
In keeping with our thoughts of the devastation of war the Choir sang 'This Christmas Night' words by Mary Wilson music by Malcolm Williamson
' Where Mary kneels with in the lantern glow
To watch her baby lying in the hay
And think about the wonder of his birth
And as he sleeps to fold her hands and pray
For peace to come upon this troubled earth'

Our closing hymn, 'It came upon a Midnight Clear' completed our service following the same thoughts.
And so the year draws to a close, and we wish everyone a Peaceful and Joyful New Year.

Frosty grass and winter sun

Christmas Candle and our Christas glass plate

Friday, 27 December 2013
Despite horrendous weather, the congregation convened at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve for the First Mass of Christmas. The Church was lit by candles and the displays of greenery were now supplemented by white flowers. Even the organ was decorated with Christmas cheer! The traditional carols and Christmas hymns were sung, and the Choir sang 'Away in a Manger' and 'Ding Dong Merrily on High'.
In his sermon Father Stephen spoke of the perfect timing of Jesus' birth, at a time when the Roman Empire was at peace so that the news could safely be sent out. There was a common language Greek, that also allowed the whole Roman world to hear of the Saviour's birth. and still more than 2000 years later the wonderful message goes out again with the celebration of Christmas.
preparing for the Midnight service

Joanna with the decorated organ

From the Organ Loft

Candles lit ready to go

Joanna and James with the organ
On Christmas morning the Children came to tell the story of the nativity and to have their presents blessed. Their performance in full costume of the story of Jesus birth started Christmas Day beautifully. At 11:15 we had a well attended said Eucharist with Carols, the choir sang 'Away in a Manger'.

We wish every one Joy, Peace and Happiness at this Christmas tide, the Saviour is born, we will be redeemed!
Christmas morning

Our Crib

Festival flowers amongst the greenery
Monday, 23 December 2013
This Sunday our Eucharist included the lighting of the last of the four Advent candles, Christmas is nearly here! The church has now been decorated with greenery, in anticipation of Christmas, and looks festive. In the Sermon today Father Stephen spoke f the importance of listening to God's voice, and how the frantic activity of the pre Christmas season can prevent us from finding those quiet moments needed to hear the message God has for us. Mary had listened to this voice and had accepted the role of mother of the Christ child for us. The Choir sang 'A song of Mary' as the anthem.

In the evening we had our traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The readings, telling the story of the Messiah from beginning in Genesis through to St John's opening treatise on the nature of the incarnation were taken from the King James version of the Bible. The Choir sand 'Up! good Christen folk and listen', Words and Melody by G.R.Woodward, 'Adam lay ybounden words traditional Setting by Peter Warlock,
'Away in  Manger' arrangement by Nigel Short, in this item the Junior choir sang the first verse. The Junior Choir also sang the third verse of 'Once in Royal Davids City' Words Mrs C F Alexander, Music by H.J. Gauntlet. Other Choir Items included the Coventry Carol set by Philip Stopforth, Tomorrow shall be my Dancing day English traditional arranged by David Willcox , and Gaudete also traditional words and music.The Congregation and Choir together also sang traditional Advent Hymns and Christmas Carols. The service was a very successful start to our Christmas celebrations!
A Wintery view of rhe Church

A rare flash of winter sunshine

Just before the 9 Lessons and Carols

All the Advent Candles lit

Monday, 16 December 2013
This Sunday, the third in Advent is also the third Sunday in the month. Matins was our 10:o'clock service, and we sang the alternate canticles, Benidicitie and Jubilate Deo. We continue to remember in our prayers the people of Syria and of Afghanistan in these troubled times, and on the day of his funeral we gave thanks for the life of Nelson Mandela. Father Stephen spoke about John the Baptist and his witness to the coming of the Messiah
The choir sang the anthem 'Rejoice in the Lord Alway' words from Philippians 4: 4-7 and music by Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

In the evening the Village Carol Service included a selection of well known carols and was well received and enjoyed by a full congregation. The choir of Sidlesham County Primary School sang 'Stary Night' as a special feature of this service.

Three Candles of the Advent Wreath are now lit

Our Advent plate

Next Sunday the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols will take place at 6:00pm  do come along and hear the story of Christmas interspersed with Christmas Music old and new.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Another busy weekend with the Christmas Fair in the Church Hall on Saturday. The Stall holders were all ready at 2:00pm when the Fair opened, and a pleasingly large number of people came to spend their money and carry off goods of all sorts including bundles of greenery, table decorations household items, Christmas decorations, books and toiletries! A great big thank you to all who helped in any way, especially those who set up on Friday and helped return tables to the ceiling of the church hall on Sunday morning. See the pictures below.

In Church on Sunday the Eucharist for the second Sunday in Advent was proceeded by the lighting of the second Advent Candle. In his sermon Father Stephen, using some Christmas decorations he had bought at the Fair for illustration, talked about the Jessie Tree as a tool for teaching all of us, old and young of the background to the coming of the Messiah. Starting with the family of Jessie, and picking up on the lesson from Isaiah, and going through to the story of John the Baptist, looking forward to the Nativity to come.
The Choir sang 'How beautiful upon the Mountains' words from Isaiah music by Stainer. We wished Joanna a very happy birthday in the traditional way after the service!
Christmas decorations stall

Guess the number of sweeties

Guess the name of the one on the right!!!

Stalls in and out of the Tent!!
Sunday, 1 December 2013
This has been a busy week for St Mary our Lady. On Thursday the 28th of November, Father Stephen, with 3 of the Congregation attended a special service at Westminster Abbey in thanksgiving for the Churches Conservation Trust on its 60th anniversary. Our beautiful Church had been nominated as a favourite church on the Trust's website, so we were invited to attend the service. The Abbey was filled with about 1000 people who support their work. The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester represented the Queen, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the address and the work of the Trust was presented in the form of three interviews with representatives of churches who had received grants from the Trust. These were conducted by Huw Edwards of the BBC news.
Our Representatives outside the Abbey

Sunday the 1st of December, Advent Sunday was our Family Service. We  also celebrated  Christingle at the Service,
The Service opened with the lighting of the first Candle on the Advent wreath, followed by the Choir singing the Advent Responsary set by Palestrina. The Sunday School told us about the work of the Children's Society and then the Christingles were lit and distributed during the singing of the Christingle Hymn.
We welcomed three new young Choir Members, Lucy, Hazel and Seth, who are the first of the new Junior division of the choir. They will be joining the Senior Choir for the Family Services and for special events, they will be an important part of the Nine Lessons and Carols on the 22nd of December.

Distribution of the Christingles.

This afternoon we continued our Advent Celebrations with our Advent Wreath making activities in the Church Hall. 16 Wreaths were prepared and placed on the table for Father Stephen to bless before we had a splendid tea provided by Anne and Marilyn . It was a lovely relaxing afternoon and the resulting wreaths were all beautiful. Many thanks to Anwyl Allistone for organising this event once again. In addition we raised £138 for the New Annex project.

working on the wreaths

The first Candles are lit

Father Stephen blesses the wreaths

The finished wreaths

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Variations can be found in the Parish Magazine or the Calendar at the bottom of this page.

Useful links

Here are some links to resources you may find helpful:

  1. St Mary's Facebook page
  2. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  3. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  4. Prayer for today.
  5. The C of E youtube channel.
  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.

Please note that St Mary's are not responsible for the contents of external links

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