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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.

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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