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Sunday, 31 December 2017
This morning our Eucharist was celebrated by Father Roger, as Father Stephen is away for a few days. We sang Carols and listened to the story of the shepherds arriving at the manger from St Luke's Gospel.
Father Roger reminded us of the importance of the whole Church Family worshiping together and that the message the Angels bring is for all people and for all times.

There was no Choir, but there was coffee after the service in the New Rooms.

Sidlesham St Mary will be the subject of prayers at Evensong in the Cathedral on Tuesday 2nd of January, to which every one is invited.  A visiting Choir from Ontario will be singing the office.

We had two services on Christmas Day. At 10:00 am a Family Gift Service was held, at this service, the children donned costumes and acted out the Christmas story, and bought with them gifts for those with no presents.
At 11:15 a said Eucharist with Carols was held,at which Father Stephen was the celebrant, and we were able to sing O Come All ye Faithful including the last verse! With our thoughts full of the singing of the angels we left church in a spirit of joy at our Saviour's birth.
Happy Christmas to every one!!

We came together for our Eucharist for the first Mass of Christmas at 11:00pm on Christmas Eve.
The Church was lit by candlelight and with all the candles on our Advent wreath now lit we felt the move to a joyful welcome for our Saviour.
The Church was full of people starting their Christmas celebrations with this central element of the Christmas story.
 Father Stephen was the celebrant, and the choir sang 'Away in a Manger' and Ding  Dong Merrily on High after the communion.
We left the Church wishing each other a Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 24 December 2017
Our Service of Nine Lessons and Carols was held  at 6:00 this Saturday. The service followed the traditional form of Lessons and a mixture of Congregational Hymns and Choir items.
The Church was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the Service opened with the Hymn 'Once in Royal David's City. The first verse sung by two of the Junior Choristers, Lucy, and Emily, in Candlelight made an atmospheric opening.
After the opening prayers the lessons told the story of the Nativity starting with Adam in the garden and God's promise to Abraham, following the prophesies of Isaiah, the Gospel nativity stories of Matthew and Luke, and finishing with the opening of St John's gospel placing Jesus there at the beginning of all things with God.
The Hymns interspersing these readings were, Long ago Prophets knew, O come O come Emmanuel, In the Bleak Midwinter, While Shepherds watched their Flocks, O come all ye faithful and Hark the herald Angels sing.

The choir sang;
 'The Lord at first did Adam make' by David Willcocks, the first verse of which was sung by Lucy as a solo,
'Joseph and the Angel' by Richard Terry 1865-1938. Terry is now chiefly known for the nineteenth century revival of Tudor church music, but he also wrote many carols, as well as being the first Master of Music at Westminster Cathedral.
'Our Blessed Lady's Lullaby' by Christopher Chivers b 1967
This setting of the 16th century text was written by Christopher Chivers, a former Precentor of Westminster Abbey and now principal of Westcott House Cambridge, for the choir of Magdalen College Oxford
'It came upon a Midnight Clear' Willis 1819-1900 arr Rose b 1934.
This tune by Richard Storrs Willis, is that which is commonly used in the USA. Barry Rose, formerly Master of Music at St Paul's and St Alban's cathedrals, has made a charming arrangement to enhance the simple melody.
'Welcome Yule' by C.H. Parry 1848-1918
A lively setting of a 15th century text by the composer of Jerusalem
'Ding dong merrily on high' arr Malcolm Williamson 1931-2003.

After the service we enjoyed mince pies and mulled wine in the New Rooms. An excellent beginning to our Christmas celebrations.

Sunday, 17 December 2017
Being the third Sunday, today was Matins. Our Old Testament reading was from Isaiah and the New Testament reading was echoed in the anthem sung by the choir "This is the record of John" by Orlando Gibbons.

Father Stephen reflected on some of the words from Isaiah, "Bind up the broken hearts". Could this be a bit of a tall order? We should bring comfort and balm to those in distress.  Father Stephen remembered listening to a Radio 4 programme where a man who had had extensive surgery on his heart was speaking to a medical doctor. The "patient" had a literal interpretation of a "broken heart" whilst the "doctor" took a more metaphysical response. However it transpired that the heart can show signs of physical deterioration at the time of severe distress, so bereavement and psychological upsets do have physical effects on the heart.  Received wisdom has now to be reassessed.

There are many broken hearted in the world today; refugees, wounded, the traumatised.  Father Stephen saw 3 appeals on TV during one advertisement break, 2 for the UK and 1 for abroad, all legitimate and worthy causes in a few minutes. There is a tsunami of need in the world today. So how do we even start to bind up the broken hearted.

There is a story of a father and son walking on the beach. They came across a shoal of fish that had been washed up onto the shore, some were already dead, but others were gasping.  The son started to throw the gasping fish back.  His father told him why bother, there were too many, but the son continued saying "I will do what I can".  So what the son achieved was only a small effect, but it was a start.

The church had been decorated with evergreens and berries from the countryside and looked lovely without any flowers.

Remember that next Saturday is our Carol Service at 6pm to be followed by mince pies and mulled wine in the parish rooms.   Christmas eve there is no 8am service with a said Eucharist at 10pm.  Midnight mass will be at 11pm.
Monday, 11 December 2017
A very blowy December day was brightened by Father Stephen's sermon.  He was remembering how we learnt to cross the road many years ago, look, right, look left, look right again etc.  Not sure what the up-to-date version of this is, but it moved to The Green Cross Code - Stop, Look, Listen.  He feels this is good advice for our spiritual life, especially in Advent when we anticipate the coming of our Lord.

STOP rushing around
LOOK at where we are and take stock of our spiritual life
LISTEN to what God is saying to us, and this may be via other people.  Our interior life can only grow in silence.

©Department for Transport (Open Government Licence)
We hear a lot from the prophet Isaiah at this time of year.  Prophets may have predicted the future - but more importantly were interpreting the signs of the time.  Isaiah was confident at listening for the genuine word of God.  Prophets were often despised as people did not like what they were saying.

John the Baptist paid for speaking out against Herod.

Stop.  Look.  Listen.  We may not like what we hear, but that is what happens when we place ourselves in God's hands.  Life is wonderful but full of danger.  We have to slow down and take stock.  Listen to God.

The service was followed by a coffee morning with a sale of sweets organised and made by the Sunday School, proceeds to a charity of their choosing. The sweets did look very inviting!
Sunday, 3 December 2017
Advent Sunday falling on the first Sunday of the month we had our Family Service and combined it  with Christingle. The Children of Sidlesham Primary School were with us and they sang 'Silent Night' for us. The Sunday School then gave us a presentation of how Jesus is the Light of the World, following which the intercessions were lead by Emily, one of the Junior Choristers. The Christingles were then lit and distributed and we sang the Christingle hymn. During the Offertory the Children's Society collection boxes were brought forward and placed in front of the Altar.  
After communion the Choir sang 'Gabriel's Message' based on a Basque carol arr. Edgar Pettman .

There was coffee and mince pies in the Rooms after the service.

St Mary's Christmas fair was held on Saturday afternoon in and around the Church Hall. Visitors approaching the Hall were accosted by the wonderful Christmasy smell of roasting chestnuts, and the sight of  a selection of wreaths and bunches of Holly all for sale. Inside the stalls were all beautifully decorated, with a fine selection of cakes, and lots of suitable gifts for everyone including pets!! Refreshments included mulled wine, tea and coffee and all sorts of  cakes and mince pies. We welcomed lots of customers and closed with the draw for the Christmas hamper and the meat raffle.  A splendid afternoon with a good financial result too nearly £200 more than lat year!

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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