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Sunday, 12 April 2020


Piero della Francesca, ‘The Resurrection’, c1463-5, Museo Civico, Sansepolcro

Dear Friends
Looking at my diary, I see that the last public service I conducted was a baptism which took place on Sunday, 15 March.  Thereafter, the Lent Group and a Guild of the Servants Sanctuary Stations of the Cross had to be cancelled as, of course, were our Mothering Sunday services.  To say that we feel bereft, when we cannot even enter our churches for quiet prayer, especially during Holy Week and Easter, is truly an understatement.
However, I was very grateful to receive, from a member of our St Mary’s congregation, an article by Tim Stanley which was published in The Daily Telegraph on Maundy Thursday, describing how churches are reaching out, through the live streaming of services and the provision of other online resources, to all sorts of people who would not normally attend church, or who have ‘lapsed’ from doing so.  So perhaps, in God’s providence, this situation is being used for good in unexpected ways, and maybe we can trust that, what feels at the moment like a ‘continuous Lent’ will be turned eventually to Easter joy.
Certainly, the message of the liturgies we would normally be holding in church at this time during the Easter Triduum (Maundy Thursday through to the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday) is, precisely, that God’s salvation for all humankind is effected through events which, at first sight, appeared to represent the triumph of the forces of darkness.  People sometimes say to me, ‘Why is Good Friday called ‘good’?’ and, of course, the answer must be that the passion and death of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, were permitted for our sake.  As Bishop Melito of Sardis puts it in one of his sermons on the Pasch:-
‘He (ie Jesus) is the Passover of our salvation.  He was present in Mary so as to endure many things; in Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound; in Jacob a stranger, in Joseph sold; in Moses exposed; in David persecuted; in the prophets dishonoured.  He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary.  Not a bone of his was broken on the tree.  He was buried in the earth, but he rose from the dead and was lifted up to the heights of heaven.  He has brought us from slavery to freedom.  He delivered us from darkness to light, from death to life, from tyranny to an eternal Kingdom.’
It is my prayer that we’ll all be given grace to rejoice in, and give thanks for, these eternal truths this Easter, whatever our circumstances.
With Easter blessings,

Fr Stephen

If you would like to listen to the readings, move to The Message where you can click to hear.

Acts 10.34-43

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

Peter began to speak to those assembled in the house of Cornelius.
"I truly understand that God shows no partiality,

but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right
is acceptable to him.

You know the message he sent to the people of Israel,
preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.

That message spread throughout Judea,
beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power;
how he went about doing good
and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,
for God was with him.

We are witnesses to all that he did
both in Judea and in Jerusalem.
They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;

but God raised him on the third day
and allowed him to appear,

not to all the people
but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses,
and who ate and drank with him after
he rose from the dead.

He commanded us to preach to the people
and to testify that he is the one ordained by God
as judge of the living and the dead.

All the prophets testify about him
that everyone who believes in him
receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

John 20.1-18

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Early on the first day of the week,
while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb
and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.

So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple,
the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them,
"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him."

Then Peter and the other disciple set out
and went toward the tomb.

The two were running together,
but the other disciple outran Peter
and reached the tomb first.

He bent down to look in
and saw the linen wrappings lying there,
but he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.
He saw the linen wrappings lying there,

and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head,
not lying with the linen wrappings
but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in,
and he saw and believed;

for as yet they did not understand the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.

Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;

and she saw two angels in white,
sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying,
one at the head and the other at the feet.

They said to her,
"Woman, why are you weeping?"
She said to them,
"They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have laid him."

When she had said this,
she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her,
"Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?"
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,
"Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him,
and I will take him away."

Jesus said to her, "Mary!"
She turned and said to him in Hebrew,
"Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her,
"Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and say to them,
"I am ascending to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.' "

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
"I have seen the Lord";
and she told them that he had said these things to her.


Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
to praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity.

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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