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Monday, 28 December 2015
With Christmas Eve falling on a Thursday, we have had a very busy weekend celebrating the Nativity of Our Lord. The Midnight Service on Thursday  at 11 pm, was the traditional Eucharist of Christmas, The church was full of people, despite the heavy rain, and looked lovely with the 4 Advent Candles joined by the white candle of Christmas, the Crib set up at the front of the Church, and the candles all lit. We started our service in candle light, bringing up the main lights during the first hymn. The sermon was given by Father Roger, who con-celebrated with Father Stephen. The Choir sang 'Oh Little One Sweet, and 'Ding Dong Verily On High ' We sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing as our final Hymn. We left Church wishing each other a Merry Christmas.

On Christmas morning we had two services, first a Children's Service with nativity tableau, and blessing of gifts, followed by a Eucharist with Carols, at which the choir sang 'Away in a Manger'

On the 26th of December the Feast of St Stephen, there was a said Eucharist, and on the 27th the first Sunday of Christmas there was a 10 am Eucharist, all joyful celebrations of this happy festival of the Nativity.
We wish every one a Happy and Peaceful Christmas season
Monday, 21 December 2015
This Sunday morning our 10 am Service was Mattins. The readings were from the Prophet Micah and St Luke's Gospel.  In his sermon Father Stephen pointed out that during Advent we have had readings from the Prophets at each of our services. This is to emphasis that the story of the coming of Our Lord was not a surprise, but had been foretold over many hundreds of years in the Old Testament, indeed the Jews were expecting their Messiah to come as a King and political leader to lead them to freedom. They had not listened closely enough to realise that the kingdom of the Messiah was not a temporal state but a spiritual state. The reading from Micah foretold that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, and our Lady Mary was to deliver Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem, the  anniversary of which is now only days away.

The Choir sang 'the Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came' an old basque carol (Birjina gaztetto bat zegoen) arranged by Edgar Pettman.

At 6 pm we held our Service of 9 Lessons and Carols. We follow the traditional set of readings, from the King James version of the Bible, each reading by a member of the community, after the bidding prayer, our first lesson, the story of Adam and Eve, was read by two of the Junior Choristers, to be followed by a sidesman, PCC member, Parish Councillors,a minibus driver, a Church warden and Father Stephen. The Choir sang 'The Truth From Above' an English carol collected from Herefordshire, music arranged by Raph Vaughn Williams, Up good Christen Folk, and Listen, from Piaes Cantiones harmony by G.R. Woodward. I sing of a maiden a Middle English lyric poem set to music by Patrick Hadley. Resonemus Laudibus, a 14th century English Carol arranged by Sir David Willcocks. Rocking, a traditional Czech carol translated by Percy Dearmer, arranged by Sir David Willcocks,  was sung by the Junior Choristers with an underlying harmony from a demi choir of adults. Tomorrow shall be my Dancing Day a traditional English Carol arranged by Sir David Willcocks and finally 'I saw Three Ships' a 17th century carol also arranged by Sir David Willcocks..

 In addition the Choir and Congregation sang a selection of hymns and carols including an unaccompanied rendition of Away in a Manger, a lively version of the First Nowel, and finishing with God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen. It was a splendid start to our Christmas celebrations, many thanks to all who prepared the church, lit the candles, prepared and performed the music and read the lessons, and acted as sidespersons!

Our next Christmas Service is on Christmas eve at 11:00 pm (please note the time).

Monday, 14 December 2015
We have reached the third Sunday in Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. On this Sunday we have a break from our penitential Advent mood to Rejoice (Gaudete is the Latin word for rejoice) in the imminent coming of Our Lord at Christmas. The Candle on the Advent wreath is pink, and the vestments worn by Father Stephen were also pink as a mark of the mood of rejoicing. We had a special reason for rejoicing as part of our Eucharist today included the baptism of Sebastian, the newest member of our Church Family. 
In his sermon, Father Stephen told us of John the Baptist coming to tell us about the coming of Jesus. He was a herald, or perhaps in today's way of thinking a 'warm up act'!! John prepared the way, and smoothed the path before Jesus, just as we hope to smooth the path for Sebastian by bringing him to Baptism.
During Communion the Choir sang a Plainsong setting of the Office Hymn 'O heavenly Word from God on high'
 After the service the Sunday School held a coffee morning and sweet sale in the Church Hall, this was a lovely event, made special by the children singing carols as we drank our coffee and ate the delicious cakes they had made.

Next Sunday at 6:00pm we are having our 9 Lessons and Carols do come along!!

Monday, 7 December 2015
The Second Sunday in Advent is also the first Sunday in December, so this week our 10 am Eucharist included the children of the Sunday School. 
We opened our Service with the lighting of the second Advent candle, representing the Old Testament Prophets, showing us the story of Our Lord's birth was predicted long before it occurred.  We heard again the message to “make straight the way of the Lord”, reflected in our opening hymn Long ago, prophets knew, sung to the old tune Personent Hodie.
 This was also our Christingle service: In the late 19th century, Edward Rudolf was worried about 2 boys who suddenly did not attend Sunday School.  He went looking for them, and found them begging as their father had died and had no income.  He was so concerned by this he saw his Archbishop who also agreed that the Church of England should help children in this situation and then began the Children's Society, who are the instigators of Christingle. Father Stephen spoke about the modern day work of the Society with those children who are pushed to the margins of life.  At the Offertory those members of our parish community who keep a collecting box for the Society brought them up to the altar.
 The Choir sang the Anthem 'How beautiful upon the mountains' setting by John Stainer  reflecting the role of  John the Baptist as a messenger sent to be the fore-runner of Jesus and to begin preaching the message of peace: 
 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 
We  look forward to a world when peace will reign over all and people of every faith acknowledge that God is above and over us all
Joanna, our Musical Director was presented with gifts, flowers and balloons as she celebrates a "significant" birthday later in the week. The congregation all sang her a "Happy Birthday" and she treated us to a few words before playing the organ voluntary, the Fantasia in G minor BWV 542: by J.S.Bach, the work has long been accorded the subtitle ‘Great’ and is regarded as one of the crown jewels of the organ repertoire.

Our Sunday School are holding a special sale next Sunday after the10 am service in the Church Hall of sweets and coffee in aid of their 3 chosen charities:
The Sussex Snowdrop Trust (local)
Teenage Cancer Trust (national)
Goodwill Villages in South India (International)
so please go along next week and support the Sunday School.
 The Church Christmas fair raised just under £1800.  Well done everyone who helped.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The first day of the new church year, Advent Sunday. Our 10 am Eucharist opened with the choir singing the 'Matin Responsory' by Palestrina. The solemn season of Advent, looking forwards to Christmas is a time of quiet contemplation. The first candle of the Advent ring was lit and the service began. In his sermon Father Stephen told us that time and patience were required to be ready for Our Lord. Modern society wants everything now. Impatience is a modern phenomenon. Advent is all about waiting, focusing our minds on the second coming and judgement.  "Oh come quickly" we sing in an advent hymn, but do we really mean it? The prophet Isaiah looked for the coming like a watchman - looking from afar and looking out for a sign. Advent is a time of anticipation, when every tear is wiped away, salvation, death destroyed forever.Forgiveness was at hand for the Jews if they would repent. Not a remote angry God but a loving brother - "I will give you rest".
The anthem after communion was Farrant "Call to remembrance O Lord".  

In the Afternoon we had our now traditional making of advent wreaths and tea. This lovely event took place in the Church Hall, where we gathered to assemble our own Advent Rings, to take home and light a candle each Sunday until Christmas all materials were provided, and a fantastic choice of 'greenery' to add to the ring! After everyone had finished their ring they were all placed on the central tables and the first candle lit, We gathered around and Father Stephen blessed the rings. We then were treated to a splendid tea, many thanks to Anwyl who organised the rings and prepared them, and all who contributed greenery, and to the tea team, Anne and Marilyn. This lovely event marks the beginning of our Advent preparations.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

This Sunday at our 10 am Eucharist, we celebrated the two feasts of Christ the King and St Cecilia.  The  reading from the Book of Revelation about the new Jerusalem, reflected the theme of the coming of Christ as King of all.

 St Cecilia, is the patron saint of music and musicians. Father Stephen told us what is known about her life: a roman matron who married and was martyred, with her husband, for her faith. It has never been clear why Cecilia is associated with music, but in art she is traditionally shown either with a small portative organ or with a stringed instrument like a violin.
There is a saying, sometimes attributed to St Augustine of Hippo, that “those who sing pray twice”: certainly from earliest times music has been used to enhance worship and to emphasise parts of the service – this is true not only of Christianity but of almost all religions, from the sonorous voices of cantors in synagogues to the call of the muezzin from a minaret to the low chants of eastern religion. Father Stephen reminded us that our worship at St Mary Our Lady is enhanced by the work of our choir, and in the intercessions we prayed for our choristers and the work that they do. 

Our Director of Music then came forward and told us that there were four members of the choir who between them have been singing in church choirs for over 250 years: she then sprang a huge surprise by asking Marjorie Lytton, Barbara and Martin Halfacree, and Beryl Rodd to come forward. Joanna and Father Stephen then presented each of them with a special Medal of the Royal School of Church Music to recognise their dedication and service and the congregation gave them a well-earned round of applause.  Of course, after that the only suitable hymn at the offertory was Angel voices, ever-singing round thy throne of light.
The anthem after communion was Above all praise and all majesty by Mendelssohn and the voluntary, again reflecting the theme of Christ the King, was Crown Imperial,  composed by William Walton for the coronation in 1937.

Next Sunday is Advent Sunday, the beginning of the Church's Year, and the Season of expectation of the coming of Christ. On Sunday afternoon there will be the annual making and blessing of Advent Rings followed by Tea.
The following Saturday 5th of December at 2pm in the Church Hall we have the Christmas Fair don't forget to come along and enjoy refreshments, and buy your christmas pressies!

Photos of the presentations and the lovely autumnal flowers kindly provided by Hilary Platts.
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The third Sunday of November brings us to Matins as our 10 o'clock service.The New Testament reading, from St Mark's Gospel, tells of the coming of the end of time, with warfare and earthquakes predicted, which in the light of the events of the last week seemed very relevant, In his Sermon Father Stephen told us about his grandmother, who disliked changes such as motor cars and much else in the modern world. Many of us find change frightening, and many of our readings in Advent are rather grim, but we look beyond it to the promise of Christmas. We must fix our sights on this hope in the face of suffering and remember that nothing can separate us from God's Love.

The Christmas Fair will be held on Saturday 5th December in the Church Hall 2pm to 4 pm please come along!

In the North Transept there is a display of poppies made by the Sunday School. Each poppy has the name of a person from the War Memorial honouring those from Sidlesham who gave their lives for our freedom.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

This Sunday, being Remembrance Sunday, instead of our regular 10 am service, we had our service of Remembrance  at 10:45. This short service in the church included the keeping of the 2 minutes silence at 11am, a reading of the Roll of Honour, an act of Commitment to the peace and welfare of nations, and the National Anthem. The Choir sang 'My Soul there is a Country far beyond the Stars' by Hubert H Parry as the anthem. Father Stephen in his sermon recalled that 100 years ago in November 1915, the country was in the midst of the First World War, with no hope in prospect and in fact as we now know the further horrors of the Battle of the Somme to come in 1916. Mechanised war was established and the countries of Europe and beyond remembering the Galipoli campaign in 1915 were locked in terrible conflict. Many of the veterans who paraded in front of the Cenotaph from both world wars are now gone, but sadly replaced by those who have had to fight in more recent conflicts. War is evil, but God is good and humans can show great compassion, courage and love in he face of the worst we can do to one another.
At the end of the service in church, representatives of the Services and village organisations processed out to the War Memorial by the North Gate, followed by the altar party and the congregation, where wreaths of Poppies were laid to remember those from Sidlesham who  gave their lives for our security and peace.

Events in the next few weeks!!
Sunday 29th November Advent Ring Making in the Church Hall, from 3 pm, including Tea. Please sign up on the list in Church so we can have numbers for catering. Each ring including all materials £12:50, In aid of the New Rooms project. Max number 20 so sign up soon!!

St Mary's Christmas Fair Saturday 5th December 2pm in the Church Hall.
Monday, 2 November 2015
This Sunday morning the church was decorated with beautiful white flowers for All Saints Day.In our Family Communion the Sunday School told us of the work they had been doing about Saints. They told the story of Blind Bartimeus who was healed by his faith in Our Lord. The Choir sang 'Give us the wings of faith' by Bullock as the anthem and there was coffee after the service. 

In the evening the mood changed from joyous to sombre as we had our Requiem service for All Souls Day. At the beginning of the service there was a dedication for the legilium fall which has been donated in memory of Valerie Thorncroft. The service included the setting of the Requiem by Gabriel Faure, sung by the Choir plus other singers who joined us for the occasion. The soloists were Sarah Amos (Soprano) and Peter Webster (Baritone) Peter also conducted the choir. The Organ was played by Joanna Chivers Gibbs. There were about 80 people in the congregation, many of whom had relatives who had died recently. A list of the departed was place in repose on the altar during the service. This moving service is a great comfort to them, and has become a valued part of our year at Sidlesham. Many thanks to all who took part.

Our Baritone Soloist and Conductor Peter Webster

Candles for the departed

Autumn is with us

Wednesday, 7 October 2015
We have had a busy weekend at St Marys, with both Saturday and Sunday taken up with activities. On Saturday morning the choir were once again singing in Chichester Cathedral for the annual Prayer Book Society service of Holy Communion. The setting was that by H. Darke in the key of  F major. The choir also sang an Anthem 'Tatum Ergo' setting by Vienne. This was a very enjoyable event especially appreciated by our young choristers and their families.
In the evending we enjoyed our Harvst Supper, once again a triumph of organisation, feeding all the people and of entertainments with the traditional readings and sketches. A big thank you to all involved.
On Sunday morning at our Harvest Eucharist, which as it is the first Sunday in the month was a family service, we had a special presentation to two of the Sunday School team, Mary and Judy, who have reluctantly decided to 'retire' after many, many years of service.  Mary has quite exceptionally worked with the young people of St Mary's for certainly 40+ years and probably 50+ years but no-one, including Mary, knows for sure!  The young people, past and present, of the parish decorated personalised a bowl and jug for Mary and Judy to show their appreciation.
The church was wonderfully decorated with produce, and this was a most joyful service. The choir sang 'Look at teh world' by John Rutter.

On Sunday evening the village harvest service took place, with a wonderful contribution of two songs by Siddlesham Primary School choir. In this service gifts were presented and the traditional Harvesy hymns were sung.
A Busy weekend indeed

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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