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Sunday, 31 May 2020

Audio files are available on "The Message" page.


Pentecost’, Giotto di Bondone (1266-1336), Scrovegni Chapel, Padua

Dear Friends

Although not so numerous as those for Christmas and Easter, the Feast of Pentecost has a number of hymns for the season, mostly invoking the Holy Spirit to come upon us – ‘Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire’ is a particularly well-known example, composed by John Cosin (1594-1672), and based on the Latin Veni, creator Spiritus. It is quite often sung at confirmations and ordinations.

Another ‘responsory’, based on a psalm, goes ‘Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people, and kindle in them the fire of your love; send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.’

As I write, we are still in ‘lockdown’, and one unforeseen beneficial side-effect of this has been the ‘renewal of the face of the earth’. The enforced relaxation of human activity has given nature a chance to renew itself – skies are less cluttered with vapour trails, and the reduction of vehicles on the roads has given towns and cities cleaner air. I’m sure you can think of other benefits of this kind. Of course, we are also aware, conversely, of deleterious effects on the economy, but it does raise the question as to whether we need to, or should, return to our previous frenetic ways – do we really need, for example, to make so many journeys in gas-guzzling vehicles, or to continue to be such ‘frequent fliers’?

The present crisis has given us pause to reflect more deeply on how much we depend upon our planet’s natural resources, and whether we might organize our lives in more ‘eco-friendly’ ways – no longer simply as consumers, but as responsible stewards of God’s creation.

Perhaps this Pentecost, we might ask the Holy Spirit to come upon us afresh, as individuals, and as a community of faith, so that not only we, but the whole face of the earth, can be renewed?

Fr Stephen

Collect for the Feast of Pentecost

God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Acts 2.1-21

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

When the day of Pentecost had come,
they were all together in one place.

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound
like the rush of a violent wind,
and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them,
and a tongue rested on each of them.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other languages,
as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven
living in Jerusalem.

And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered,
because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

Amazed and astonished, they asked,
"Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia,
Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

Phrygia and Pamphylia,
Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene,
and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

Cretans and Arabs—
in our own languages we hear them speaking
about God's deeds of power."

All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another,
"What does this mean?"

But others sneered and said,
"They are filled with new wine."

But Peter, standing with the eleven,
raised his voice and addressed them,
"Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem,
let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.

Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose,
for it is only nine o'clock in the morning.

No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

"In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.

And I will show portents in the heaven above
 and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.

The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord
shall be saved.'

Psalm 104.25-35, 37

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

Yonder is the great and wide sea
with its living things too many to number,
creatures both small and great.

There move the ships,
and there is that Leviathan,
which you have made for the sport of it.

All of them look to you
to give them their food in due season.

You give it to them, they gather it;
you open your hand and they are filled with good things.

You hide your face and they are terrified;
you take away their breath
and they die and return to their dust.

You send forth your Spirit and they are created;
and so you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in all his works.

He looks at the earth and it trembles;
he touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will praise my God while I have my being.

May these words of mine please him;
I will rejoice in the Lord.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

1 Corinthians 12.3b-13

A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians.

No one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord;

and there are varieties of activities,
but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom,
and to another the utterance of knowledge
according to the same Spirit,

to another faith by the same Spirit,
to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

to another the working of miracles,
to another prophecy,
to another the discernment of spirits,
to another various kinds of tongues,
to another the interpretation of tongues.

All these are activated by one and the same Spirit,
who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

For just as the body is one and has many members,
and all the members of the body, though many, are one body,
so it is with Christ.

For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—
Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—
and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Gospel John 20.19-23

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

It was evening on that day, the first day of the week,
and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked
for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
"Peace be with you."

After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again,
"Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
"Receive the Holy Spirit.

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

Service Times

First Sunday in the Month:
10:00am Family Service

Second Sunday in the Month
10:00am Parish Eucharist

Third Sunday in the Month
08:00am Holy Communion (said)
10:00am Sung Matins

Fourth Sunday in the Month
10:00am Parish Eucharist


  • The 8:00am said Holy Communion will recommence for all Sundays beginning Sunday 2nd May 2021

  • 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. Chichester Cathedral will be live streaming services. For the Eucharist and order of service Click here before 10:00am Sunday and follow the instructions.
  2. The BBC Daily Service is available here.
  3. Prayer for today.
  4. The C of E youtube channel.
  5. 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.
  6. 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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