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Sunday, 29 December 2019
Yesterday was the feast of the Holy Innocents.  In the sermon preached by Father Roger he spoke of this in relation to the Christmas Story.  He told us the Christ's birth is spoken of in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew's version is not so pretty. Jesus was born into a tough world. The Wise Men visited.  Herod wanted to kill Jesus. This was nothing to him who had murdered various members of his family. Herod killed all the children under 2 years of age in the area around Bethlehem.  The Holy Family managed to escape to Egypt. The Wise Men arrived not as portrayed in all nativity scenes when the child was still lying in a manger, but when Jesus was probably a toddler (hence the killing of the under twos) and the Holy Family would be living in a house. Nowhere in the Gospels does it say that the Wise Men were kings.

These events which happened during the very early years of Jesus reflect Old Testament events, Moses was hidden from Pharaoh, Herod's murders were like those of Pharaoh's killing of children. The murder of the Holy Innocents today would possibly be called collateral damage. Children have always been valued by their families. In days gone by, children were the insurance policy for their parents, They would work once old enough and then look after their parents in their old age.   Today, children matter even more.  In the long list of Herod's atrocities, the murder of children would hardly make a footnote in history, but our Church and God remember them. They have their own day, 28th December, very close to that of St Stephen (26th) who was the first Christian martyr.

When Mary and Joseph returned from Egypt, they moved north to Galilee, well away from Jerusalem, the political centre at that time.

The choir was officially "off duty" today, but those, not suffering from the dreadful virus, came to join in the worship and mixed up their seating arrangements! Despite the small number in church today, we still had our coffee and tea after service. Thank you to the people who make us our beverages every week. Some of the many unsung heroes who make St Mary's go like clockwork!
Thursday, 26 December 2019
After a full church for the 10 am service done in the main by the Sunday School, a smaller group gathered for the 11.15 Eucharist.  Unfortunately the winter bugs have severely affected the choir and only 6 of us made it this morning.  Joanna was able to put in the bass line for Away in a Manger.

We had a very brief message from Fr Roger as Fr Stephen is still unwell.  We pray for his swift recovery.  The Gospel reading was from St John. This attempts to unfold the Great Mystery. The reader attempts to sound very intelligent. However, it is not completely understandable or solvable. John blends philosophies from the Greeks and  Hebrews to try and understand the indecipherable.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all, and a swift recovery to all the unwell.

Monday, 23 December 2019
This morning we celebrated the Eucharist for the 4th Sunday in Advent. Father Roger was the Celebrant as Father stephen is unwell, we wish him better very soon.
The 4th Sunday in preparation for Christmas brings us to the story of the Annunciation, but in this case the gospel tells the story of how Joseph was told in a dream that Mary was to give birth to our Saviour. Father Roger in his sermon talked about the role of Joseph as the earthly father of our Lord, and about his dedication and faith in taking in Mary and bringing up Jesus and seeing to his education, religious and practical.

The Choir sang 'The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came'  the traditional Basque carol arranged by Edgar Pettman.

There was coffee after the service int he rooms..

At 6 pm we came together again for the service of 9 Lessons and Carols, again taken by Father Roger . The full congregation sang together with the choir, some well known Christmas Music, and the readers were drawn from all aspects of the community.
The Choir sang 6 individual items, including 'Adam Lay abounded by Ord, In the Bleak Mid Winter setting by Darke, Still still still, John Rutter's Nativity Carol, and a resounding version by David Willcocks of I saw Three Ships. Emily and James, 2 of the Junior Choristers sang 'The little road to Bethlehem as a solo. Congratulations to all our soloists, Sarah, Val, Jerry, Nigel and the 2 youngsters, and also to Maggie for her reading.
We left the Church ready for the beginning of Christmas

For full details of the music at this and all other services look at our music blog on this site.

We hope to see you over Christmas:

11pm on the 24th Midnight Mass
10 am on the 25th Childrens gift service
11:15 Eucharist with Carols

A Happy and Peaceful Christmas tide to all!

Sunday, 15 December 2019
This morning we came together at 10 am for Mattins, as we have reached both the the third sunday of December, and the third sunday of Advent. We started our service by lighting the third candle of the Advent wreath. We have reached the Sunday where both St John the Baptist, and St Mary our Lady are in our thoughts.

Our Advent season involves different canticles, we sang the Venite, The set psalm for the day Psalm 146, the Benedicite Omnia Opera (setting by Lloyd) and the Jubilate Deo (setting by C.V.Stanford in B flat) was sung by the choir.

In his Sermon, Father Stephen spoke of the transition of St John the Baptist's ministry from that of a Prophet in the old testament style, to a Harbinger, a visionary of the light to come in the form of Our Lord. He told us that the committed christians look forward to the second Advent, when Jesus will return in Glory, but in the meantime we have to work in the here and now for social justice for all.

The Choir sang the Magnificat in B Flat by C.V. Stanford, remembering the second theme of this third sunday, St Mary Our Lady.

After the Service we moved across into the Rooms for the Sunday School Sweet and Cake Sale. This year the proceeds of the sale will be shared between the 3 Charities supported by the children, The Snowdrop Trust, The Teenage Cancer Trust and the Goodwill Villages.  The event was well attended and the raffle, cakes, sweets, and Jewelry on sale were well patronised and the stalls looked quite empty at the end!

 Next Sunday we shall have our normal 10 am Eucharist and in the early evening at 6pm the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, all are welcome to start the christmas period with this traditional service.

Monday, 9 December 2019
After the hard work and enjoyment of the Christmas Fair, we met at 10 o'clock for the second eucharist of the Advent season in slightly more solemn mood. After lighting the second Advent Candle we proceeded with our service

The readings were from Isaiah and St Matthew's Gospel. In his sermon Father Stephen talked about St John the Baptist and his role to prepare for the ministry of Our Lord.
The choir sang 'How beautiful upon the Mountains' words from Isaiah as set by John Stainer as the anthem.

There was coffee after the service in the Rooms.

Do look at the Calendar for our Christmas Services, we hope to see you there!

Our Annual Christmas Fair took place between 2 and 4 on Saturday afternoon in the Church Hall. All the usual stall were there, cakes, books, bathroom goods, presents and treats, a bottle tombola and 2 raffles! On the way in you could buy your christmas greenery and get some roasted chestnuts for a snack. There were refreshments and cakes, and also Mulled Wine in side!! It was a very jolly afternoon with a lovely community spirit. A big thank you to all the stall holders and especially to the Church Wardens, Janet and Chris, for the organisation. At the end of the day the grand total raised was just a little more than last year.

Sunday, 1 December 2019
Next Saturday the 7th of December is the Christmas Fair, 2pm to 4 pm in the Church Hall

This morning we combined our Family service with the Christingle service, and lit the first candle of the Advent wreath.

Advent Sunday is the start of a new Church year, and it was lovely to welcome the children and parents of Sidlesham County Primary School to our service.
Father Stephen opened the service by saying the prayers and lighting the first candle on the Advent wreath, to remind us of the Patriarchs.  We then proceeded to the Gospel for the day and this was followed by the Primary School singing to us. Mrs Field then explained the story of the Christingle, in a very visual way as you can see from the pictures below!! After Father Stephen had blessed them,the candles on the christingles were then lit and each child received one. During the offertory the Children's Society boxes were taken up and placed in front of the altar.

We then proceeded with the Eucharist, and the choir sang 'Oh thou the central orb' by Charles Wood as the anthem.

After the service there was tea and coffee in the rooms.

A lovely happy family event to start off our thinking about the coming of Our Lord at Christmas .

Next Saturday the 7th of December is the Christmas Fair, 2pm to 4 pm in the C
Church Hall

Sunday, 17 November 2019
We had a beautiful Autumnal morning today.

Fr Stephen preached the sermon today.  He talked about the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. With the first reports we didn't fully realise the extent of the damage.The French government have now agreed to fund the cost of the rebuild. The total loss of Notre Dame would be unimaginable. Our rich tradition of church music started in Notre Dame during medieval times. We know about the destruction of Herod's temple in Jerusalem, but its potential loss foretold by Jesus  was unthinkable by the Jews in Jerusalem. But in a few years it had gone leaving only the foundations, now the Wailing Wall. That sense of loss has been real in recent years in parts of the Middle East and Africa due to war. It is shattering to the faithful.  Jesus had been a faithful pilgrim, but knew not to put his trust into buildings, but in God.
The devastating fire at Notre-Dame - Wikipedia

Notre Dame was built so beautifully to represent Heaven, not to be worshipped for itself.

Religious art and architecture are much loved by Fr Stephen, but churches are there for us to be able to worship in relative comfort so we are not rained upon.  We cannot consider the loss of our church building, but it likely to come to an end eventually.

The Sunday School had also been very busy, learning about God being always with us.
Sunday, 10 November 2019
Today our service started later at 10.45am, so that we could observe the two minutes' silence at 11am.  We had a packed church today, but the sun shone so we weren't too chilly when we moved out to the war memorial at the end of the service for the laying of the commemorative wreaths.

Although Fr Stephen officiated, Fr Roger gave the sermon. He told us that the first reading was from the beginning of the bible and told of Abram (later to be called Abraham).  God told him to go into the unknown about 4000 years ago. He heads towards the Holy Land and retreats to Egypt, when he seems to go off the rails a little. He returns to the Holy Land a rich and prosperous man and becomes embroiled in war. Abraham divides his lands with Lot. Lot has spotted the rich plains around the plains of Jordan and claims them. He then gets in with a bad crowd and is captured and loses all the best land. Abraham get a force of his men and friends and they rescue Lot and his family. Abraham finds he is good at war, and wonders if that is the path God has planned for him? However he decides against it. Abraham refuses this share of the spoils of war.  A stranger appears who is a priest of God Most High and offers Abraham gifts of bread and wine.  He accepts these rather than gold, reflecting the bread and wine which are to come. Jesus joined in with the life of the people around him, but kept himself apart from the badness of people.
We also have to try and make these distinctions.
Belief tends to arise when society becomes organised and civilised. We need a shared belief in God for society to hold together. As belief lessens, society starts to fracture. Jews, Christians and Muslims all come from Abraham and should unite in our similarities rather than fight over our differences. A British architect is designing for the UAE, a church, synagogue and mosque on the same site, with a shared garden when the people of the three different faiths can mingle.

Video of  trio of temple designs for multifaith complex in Abu Dhabi

We remember today the meaning of peace. We relate to people of God. We think of the members of our armed forces who put themselves in harm's way for our benefit.

Representatives of various organisations from Sidlesham laid their wreaths at the memorial.  The children of the Sunday School had painted poppies onto rocks which were also laid at the end of the service.

Monday, 4 November 2019
This morning at our Family Eucharist we celebrated All Saints day with a presentation by the Children's Church on St George. They told us that he wasn't English, but came from present day Turkey, that he was a roman soldier and not a knight, he was a martyr and that the story of the dragon was added in medieval times!
The Choir sang Oh for the Wings of Faith by Bulloch as the anthem. There was coffee after the service

At 6 pm, after an afternoon rehearsal, A Eucharist of Remembrance for All Souls Day was held. As in previous years Faure's Requiem was sung Liturgically and the names of those to be remembered were placed on the alter during the service, and votive candles were lit for them. We were fortunate to have our good friend Peter Webster as the baritone soloist and Sarah Amos from St Mary's choir sang the Pie Jesus during communion.

This service was particularly important to the choir who recently lost one of their number, and was greatly appreciated by all who attended.

Peter and Sarah our soloists with James one of the basses.

Joanna, oranist and choir leader

Sunday, 27 October 2019
Today we had a splendid sunny day after the gloom and greyness of the last week. The church was resplendent as usual with lovely flower arrangements in the church.

Father Roger gave us the sermon his week and rushed off immediately afterwards as his ministry was needed elsewhere.

Fr Roger told us that his 55 years of meetings with church hierarchy usually do not go well. This was also the theme of the Gospel reading of the Pharisee and tax collector. The Pharisee is a man at the top of his game, he is well respected in his religion.  The Tax collector is almost a betrayer of his people, a Jew who works for the Roman conquerors, collecting money from his neighbours. The Pharisee goes above and beyond what his religion requires.  He fasts more than he needs, he gives away more alms than is required and sticks absolutely to all the rites of his religion.  The tax collector is nowhere near as devout. At the start of the parable, people would think that the Pharisee is  the "good guy" of the tale, but he is boastful when he prays to God in the temple. He glorifies his wonderful behaviour.  He focuses on himself and how he looks. He is not leading his people. His attitude is incorrect. The Tax collector on the other hand, knows he is falling short of what God wants from him and humbly appeals to God. His attitude is correct.

St Paul says we should be justified by faith and not by works.

Next week as well as our Family Communion at 10am we also have a special service for All Souls at 6pm.  There is a Requiem for All Souls' with Fauré's Requiem setting. There is a list of names in church.  Please add the names of those you wish to be remembered during the service.  The list will be placed on the High Altar during the service.  Also after receiving communion, you will have the opportunity to light a candle of remembrance adjacent to the sanctuary.
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
This Morning our 10:00 am service was Mattins. Father Stephen took the service, and preached the sermon. The lesson from the Old Testament concerned the story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, and having his hip dislocated, and the New Testament reading was about the dishonest Judge who gave a Judgement to the lady who pestered him. In the sermon Father Stephen spoke about the lesson from St Luke that God would always listen to our prayers and that we should bring things to him, because if the corrupt judge listened eventually, how much more would our Loving Father listen to us.

The Choir sang The Te Deum in the setting by C V Stanford in B flat. and the anthem 'O Lord increase our Faith' by Henry Loosemore.

There was coffee after the service.

In the Afternoon at 3:00pm we were treated to a fantastic concert of piano music by Tom Cooper. Tom played works by Bach, Clementi and Beethoven, but the main focus of the afternoon was the work of Chopin. Tom's virtuoso performance of some extremely complex works was a delight to all who heard him. We were give a real treat. This was followed by a traditional Sidlesham Tea, also a treat of a different type. We were very grateful to Tom for coming to play and were able to dedicate this concert to the memory of Guy Borer, a choir member who recently died.

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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