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Thursday, 27 December 2018
A busy few days as we celebrate the nativity of Christ here in St Mary's. We started on Sunday 23rd with a quiet and contemplative Parish Eucharist in the morning, the last Sunday of Advent and a real feeling of anticipation of the days to come. This was followed by coffee in the rooms.

We reconvened at 6 pm for the Service of 9 lessons and Carols. Following the traditional service as originally described by the Bishop of Truro, and thinking particularly of those who worship but on another shore, a sentence added after the First World War, we listened to the readings from the Old and the New Testament recalling how Christ's coming was foretold, and described in the Gospels and finally given Universal context by the words of St John. Interspersed were Congregational and Choir carols. The Choir sang, Benedicamus Domino set by Peter Warlock, Small Wonder by Paul Edwards,
In Dulce Jubilo words attributed to Suso and setting by Pearsell, Torches by John Joubert, Lulli Lulla Thou Little Tiny Child arranged by Kenneth Leighton, Sarah Amos sang the solo. and lastly The Echo Carol by Alfred Whitehead. Lucy and Emile sang the first verse of Once in Royal Davids City as a solo. The whole congregation sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing to close the service.
A full Church for the 9 Lessons and Carol Service
On Christmas eve we had a traditional First Eucharist of Christmas, held at 11 pm. The first service of the Christmas period was a joyous occasion, with the singing of the Gloria again after the austere services of Advent. Father Roger preached at this service and spoke of the true meaning of Christmas, Christs- Mass, and how it brings a message that is for all times and all places. 
We left the church on a clear starlight night, wishing each other happy Christmas and filled with joy.

On Christmas morning at 10 am the Sunday School held a service of prayers, carols and tableaux vivant telling the Christmas Story and a bringing presents to share with others. At 11:15 a said service of the Eucharist and carols was held, and enjoyed by all.

On the 26th of December, St Stephens Day, Father Stephen held a Eucharist for the Holy Innocents.


Monday, 17 December 2018
This morning our 10 am service was Sung Mattins, as we have reached the third Sunday of the month, and the third Sunday of Advent. We started by lighting the third Advent Candle, this year we are remembering St John the Baptist on this day. The Venite, and the psalm appointed for the day were sung by everyone.
 After the Old Testament reading we sang the Benedicite omnia opera . The word benedicite means blessing, and the text, taken from the apocryphal book The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Children. This canticle is sung during Advent and Lent and calls on 'Oh all ye works of the Lord, Bless ye the Lord.'
The New Testament reading was from Luke and told the story of St John the Baptist. The Anthem, sung by the Choir, accompanied by Joanna on the harpsicord, was 'This is the Record of John' by Orlando Gibbons. Barbara Green was the soloist, and James Roriston conducted.

In his Sermon, Father Stephen discussed the role of St John the Baptist, and told us that we now move to the second part of Advent, were our thought turn from repentance and reflection to hope and anticipation of the arrival of the Christ Child.

After the Service there was coffee in the Rooms, and an opportunity to see the new wall hanging now in pride of place.

The service of 9 Lessons and Carols will be next Sunday evening at 6:00 pm do come along.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Today we lit the second candle on our Advent wreath.

Father Stephen's sermon was about St Luke's telling of the birth narrative. St Luke took great pains to put it into historical context and geographic position. If it were happening today, he might have said something like "In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the Second, when Theresa May was Prime Minister and Donald Trump, president of USA".  John the Baptist was out int he wilderness in order to more clearly hear the word of God.  Israel was under the yoke of Rome. Faith and national identity went together.  Advent is a time when the bible readings become more challenging. We have drifted from God's purpose and become slack. Advent says Holiness is what God wants us to share.  The world need to be restored to his beautiful creation. We, who were created in God's image, have been "doodled" over.  We need a good "polishing" and clean up.   Sir David Attenborough's recent speech on climate change is an example of a secular prophet.  Will he be heard by any other than the already converted?

Following the service, we had coffee, tea and mince pies supplied by the Sunday School and an opportunity to buy their home made sweets for their charities this Christmas. The sale on Sunday made £203.26. Added to the the children's weekly collections and a donation of £18 they handed over a total of £388.83 to their chosen charities which are, Sussex Snowdrop Trust, Teenage Cancer Trust and Goodwill Villages, Southern India.  I think we should all applaud their amazing achievement.

A sample of the Goodies on sale!

Sunday, 2 December 2018
Despite the dreadful weather, the fayre was well attended and the hard workers who produced and sold the wares on offer made a magnificent


Well Done!
We had a very busy Sunday today!  Being the first Sunday in December, it is the first Sunday in Advent and so the first Advent Candle was lit in the Advent ring.

The children from Sidlesham Primary School sang Away In A Manger and Silent Night accompanied on a guitar.
The children from Sidlesham School

We also had the distribution of the Christingles and collection of The Children's Society boxes.

Lighting the Christingles

We sing the Christingle hymn after the Christingles have been lit.

The children of the Sunday School gave the address

As Father Stephen has said, today is Advent Sunday and we have lit the  first  Advent candle. The advent wreath is a symbol of the whole meaning and purpose behind Christmas. Christmas isn’t just about Jesus as a baby. There’s much more to it than just that. The dictionary’s meaning of “advent” is “the coming or the arrival of something important.”
  Jesus didn’t come to this world just to be adored as a cute little Baby and give us a chance to celebrate His birthday every year.  It was so we could celebrate our OWN spiritual birthdays.
We have the Advent wreath, to remind us WHY Jesus came and that He is coming again.
The green symbolizes the new and everlasting life that we can have through Jesus.
And the circle reminds us of God, Who is eternal, Who has no beginning or end, and who has an endless amount of mercy and love for everyone.
The light from all the candles symbolizes the light of God coming into the world. Jesus is the Light that takes away the darkness of our lives and brings us new life and hope.
The candlelight also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we tell other’s about Jesus.

The three purple candles represent royalty.  Jesus is God, AND came from royalty on earth.  Jesus came from the family of King David and is the rightful heir to the throne of Israel. But Jesus was rejected as king, and was crucified.  So Jesus will be coming again some day to fulfill this promise.
We don’t know WHEN, but we do know that He WILL.
The first candle that we have lit today stands for hope and we remember the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the ancestors of our faith. We hear the message of hope told to Abraham from the book of Genesis.

The LORD had said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’’

Abraham was obedient to God and left his home to go to a distant land. God told Abraham that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed. This blessing would come because he trusted and put his hope in God. The Gospel writer Matthew traces the ancestry of Jesus back through the Old Testament to Abraham.
So it was that the promise was fulfilled, that all the nations of the world were blessed through the obedience of Abraham.

The Second Candle stands for peace.  
It reminds us of the prophets who spoke of the coming of Christ. They told of how a Saviour would be born, a king in the line of King David. The prophet Isaiah called Christ "the Prince of Peace" and told us how he would rule the world wisely and bless all the nations.

The third candle to light is the pink candle of love and we remember John the Baptist. 
In their old age God gave to Zechariah and Elisabeth a son called John. John spoke to the people bravely in the desert denying his own comforts and was prepared to die for what he believed. John taught that we should share what we have with others, treat each other kindly and show God’s love. He did this because he cared for people and wanted them to repent and find God's forgiveness.  

St Matthew’s Gospel.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of
Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." This
is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one
calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight
paths for him.'

The final purple candle is to reflect JOY – as in the celebration of Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection and His Second Coming. When this candle is lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent we will remember Mary the Mother of Jesus.
Mary had been told by the angel Gabriel that she would bear Jesus, a holy child, the Son of God. We are told that Mary rejoiced and sang a song which glorified God. Just as the birth of Jesus gave great joy to his mother, so his presence in the world gave joy to those who had none before. He healed them and gave them hope and peace when they believed in him. 
St Luke’s Gospel.

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

The white candle in the centre is called the Christ Candle, which will be lit on Christmas Eve.
Jesus is the centre of what we are celebrating and should be the centre of our lives.

We speak of hope - because God keeps his promises to us.
We work for peace - because Jesus is the ‘Prince of Peace’ and he calls his children to work for peace in his name.
We show love - because Jesus gave everything for us and led us to know the forgiveness of God.
We share joy - because the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and minds with the presence of God
When we light our last candle we remember the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ which we celebrate on Christmas Day.  So hope, love, peace and joy all come from Jesus which brings light to us and to all the world.

The children also read the intercessions. 

Before the Peace, Aleks was admitted to the choir and as is tradition now, the junior choir a few of the adults sang "Lead Me Lord".

Aleks makes his promises.

Aleks is now wearing his cassock

Mrs Chivers and Miss Rodd will now help Aleks on his choral journey .

After the service, we all followed Father Stephen into the Parish Rooms for the blessing of the new wall hanging.

The new wall hanging is blessing and sprinkled with Holy water.

The finished hanging, simple and beautiful.

Sunday, 25 November 2018
This is the last Sunday of the Church's year, and we celebrated the feast of Christ the King. This feast was only instituted in the 1930's as a day on which Christian people can put aside secular ideas and concerns and focus on Christ and his Kingdom, here in the world but not of it. A very good activity for the last Sunday of our year, preparing us to look forward to our New Year starting on Advent Sunday next week.

The service at 10 am this morning was a celebration of the Eucharist, and Father Stephen was the Celebrant. Instead of the Gradual Hymn we sang Psalm 96. In his sermon Father Stephen spoke of the difficulty in this 'post truth' society of discerning what the Truth is. for us one thing is sure Yesterday, today and forever, Our Lord Jesus Christ is the source of truth and love, and we must hold to this throughout our lives.

The Choir sang the Anthem 'Above all Praise' by Felix Mendelssohn. There was coffee after the service in the Rooms.

Dont Forget the Christmas Fayre in the Church Hall next Saturday, come and find Christmas gifts, food and activities , have a cup of tea or a glass of Mulled wine!

Sunday, 18 November 2018
Our 10 am service today was Sung Mattins. We had a beautiful sunny morning , with a cold wind reminding us of the season. The Canticles and Psalm 16 were sung, and the choir sang the Benedictus in the setting by C V Stanford in C major. The Anthem was ' O Saviour of the World' by Sir Arthur Somervell.
The readings from the King James version were from the Book of Daniel and St Mark's Gospel. In his sermon Father Stephen spoke about the book of Daniel as the first example in the Bible of Apocalyptic writing. The word apocalypse comes from the Greek and means revelation, and these parts of the scriptures, including some Gospel passages and the Revelation of St John the Divine,  show us what is to come and helps us focus on the future and be ready, We can learn from the past, look up to God for grace and guidance and look on to the future as it is revealed. All very appropriate for the approaching season of Advent!

There was coffee after the service.

The Christmas Fayre is not far off!! Contributions for the hamper for the grand draw, the bottle stall, and bathroom stall can be left in Church. The Fayre itself is on the 1st of December in the Church Hall.

Sunday, 11 November 2018
This year we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with our traditional service of commemoration and remembrance. The Church was full when at 10:45 we started our service of hymns, prayers, and readings incorporating the 2 minutes silence at 11:00 am. Father Roger preached the sermon, reminding us that very few families were not touched by losses in both World Wars, and as we honour the sacrifice of those who died, we must ensure that the Peace of our Lord Jesus comes to all the world, and that those of many faiths and of no faith may in fact contribute to peace.

The Choir sang 'My Soul there is a country' a poem by Henry Vaughn, entitled Peace which was set by C.H.H. Parry in his Songs of Farewell. They were accompanied by Joanna Chivers-Gibb on the piano, and conducted by James Roriston.

After the Blessing the congregation processed to the war memorial in the church yard for the laying of wreaths. A bright sunny autumn day greeted us and the laying of poppy wreaths and posies and from the Sunday School some rocks painted with poppies took place.

Monday, 5 November 2018
This morning at our family service we considered our 'local' Saint, St Richard. The members of the Sunday School told us about his life, how he became Bishop of Chichester, and the miracles attributed to him. His Shrine in Chichester Cathedral contains some of his bones, which were rescued at the time of the reformation when many such shrines were destroyed.

The Junior Choir sang 'Mathew Mark Luke and John' accompanied by Joanna on the piano,
During the Communion the whole choir sang the Ave Verum in the setting by Charles Gounod.
There was coffee after the service in the Parrish rooms.

At 6 pm we celebrated a Eucharist in memorial of All Souls. This service was the setting for Faure's Requiem. The Choir were joined by guest singers and our Baritone Soloist was our friend Peter Webster   This service, which has become a tradition at St Mary Our Lady, is a most moving occasion. The names of those who are specifically remembered are placed on the alter during the services, and candles are lit. The congregation and choir leave in silence at the end, and this was particularly thought provoking as we have our silhouettes in church reminding us of those who died in World War One. Next Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, and we will again be thinking of those who gave their lives for our peace.
Please note the service next week begins at 10:45.

On a less sombre note, we are fast approaching the Christmas fayre! Stall holders are waiting to receive your contributions, please look in the Magazine for more information!
Sunday, 21 October 2018
The third Sunday of October, so our 10 am service was Mattins. Another glorious sunny autumn day as we met for our worship and prayers. The Readings were from Isiah and St Mark's Gospel, and continuing the theme of examining Jesus' sayings this morning we were thinking about the vision of the Kingdom where the first and last and the last first. In his sermon Father Stephen developed this concept, looking at the Church and the world and reflecting on how difficult it was for us to retain humility when leading. In particular the difficulty for world leaders and local leaders to keep focused on leading by love and not getting above ourselves as St Paul cautions us to beware!

The choir sand the Benedictus in the setting bu C V Stanford in B flat. They also sang an Anthem 'Teach me O Lord' by Thomas Attwood.
There was coffee after the service, here are some pictures from our current flowers and some more of the splendid harvest decorations.
The list for the names of the departed to be remembered for All Souls Day is now in the Church. Do add your own loved ones. The service for All Souls, to include a liturgical performance of the Faure Requiem, will be on November 4th at 6 pm.

Monday, 15 October 2018
After the excitement of last week's Harvest Celebration we returned to our regular Sunday 10 am service of Sung Eucharist this week. On a wet autumn morning we gathered to celebrate the eternal love of God. The Gospel told the story of the young man who, though he obeyed all the rules could not take the final step asked of him by Jesus and give up all his worldly possessions. Father Stephen  expanded on this theme in his sermon, it is common to be attached to the earthly and hard to keep the spiritual in mind, the final words of the gospel tell us the answer, all things can be accomplished through God!
The choir sang the AveVerum in the setting by Elgar, For more details about this and the other music sung at St Mary's see our Music Blog.

There was coffee after the service and Birthday Cake, and we sang happy birthday to Father Stephen who's birthday was on last Friday. We were also given the fantastic news that the Bishop has agreed that Father Stephen can stay with us for the next few years!

Don't forget the Service including the Faure Requim on the 4th of November, If you would like the names of your loved ones who have gone on ahead to be added to the list which reposes on the alter during the service please speak to Father Stephen.

Sunday, 7 October 2018
The church was awash with the most fabulous flower arrangements to celebrate Harvest.

Because this was a children's service, they gave us the talk reproduced below. We started with an extract from TURN!TURN!TURN! by The Byrds:

To Everything There Is A Season

Winter, a time of darkness, cold and snow.

I am January,
A time for looking back over the old year
A time for looking forward to the new year
A time of regrets
A time for resolutions

I am February
A time to sit by the fire in the warm
A time to wait for the warmth of spring and the new growth
A time of hunger

God's promise to Noah
As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.#God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and fill the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the seas; into their hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants I give you everything".

Spring, a time of lighter, warmer days

I am March
A time to get ready for the new crops
A time to plough and prepare bare earth
A time to prune and a time to plant

I am April
A time for new growth and new life
A time when green shoots sprout through the earth

I am May
A time away from the fields while the crops grow
A time for travel
A time for pilgrimage
And sometimes for battle

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the heart, all to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart.

I am June
A time for cutting the hay
A time for storing up food for the animals

I am July
A time for summer fruits
A time for strawberries and cream
A time for sunbathing

I am August
A time for harvest and threshing the wheat
A time for storing the grain for flour

Then Jesus told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself "What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?" The he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones and there I will store my grain and goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry". But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?"  So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God".

Autumn, a time for shorter days and cooler weather.

I am September
A time for trees to bear fruit
A time to pick the apples, pears, plums and grapes

I am October
A time to fatten the pig on acorns
A time to pick grapes and make wine
A time to celebrate the harvest

I am November
A time to kill the pig for bacon and make sausages
A time to salt, preserve and freeze for the winter store

The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to provide yo with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly is every good work.

Winter, a time of darkness, cold and snow

I am December
A time for celebrating Christ's birth
A time for feasting and festivity
A time to rejoice and be thankful

Oh Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. These all look to you to give them food in the season, when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

Dates for your diary

Faure Requiem November 4th 2018  If you want to sing, rehearsal at 3.30pm, with the service at 6pm.

Nine Lessons and Carols  23rd December 6pm.

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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