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Sunday, 23 August 2020
This morning our 10 am service was a celebration of the Eucharist, Father Stephen was the celebrant. Observing the guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks we spread ourselves out in the church. Joanna played the Andante from Louis Vierne's first organ symphony before the service. This movement in 3/8 time has a gentle pastoral rhythm resembling the third movement actually titled pastoral. The muted and slightly melancholic air  set a suitable sense of tranquility as we awaited the start of the service.

We are already at the eleventh sunday of Trinity, Janet Harland read the set readings for the day, and Father Stephen preached. The readings and sermon are both below

During Communion we listened to a recording from Westminster Cathedral firstly of O Salutaris hostia (O saving victim) by Rossini, followed by Mawby's arrangement of the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria.

We are not able to offer refreshments at the present time, so we left the church after the recessional voluntary the small fugue in D minor BWV 680 by J S Bach.

We are pleased to say that individual volunteers have made an excellent job of keeping the churchyard looking lovely over the lockdown and the summer. We are now able to organise a socially distanced churchyard working party on  saturday 5th of September. Please bring your own refreshments!!


Francisco de Zurburán (1598-1664), ‘St Francis in Meditation’, 1635-9, National Gallery, London

Dear Friends

Isaiah had once said to his ‘audience’: ‘Look to the rock from which you were hewn (and to the quarry from which you were dug.’  In today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 16:13-20) Jesus also makes use of a rock analogy, as he describes Peter as the rock on which he will build his church.  Is Jesus being ironical by likening Peter to a rock in this way?  In other passages it is clear that he knows only too well that Peter has feet of clay – of all the disciples, he is the one who is most liable to ‘run off at the mouth’, and to ‘put his foot in it’ (if that is not mixing metaphors too much!).  Jesus knows, however, that, Peter, although flawed, is basically loyal, and that is why he is a good example to discuss with Sunday School children and others – because, just like us, he is clearly very human.  He wants to do the right thing but often fails (there is a useful evening prayer which implores the Lord to ‘fight with us against our weakness’ which comes to mind in this context).

In some ways, St Paul, from whose letter to the Romans (Romans 12:1-8) today’s epistle is taken, might seem like a better candidate for being called ‘the Rock’.  He’s not 6’6” tall and muscly like the Hollywood actor who was given that as a nickname; on the contrary, St Paul is characterized as being of small stature, and yet resilient – one who endures many hardships for the sake of the Gospel.

St Paul perhaps exemplifies the prayer of St Ignatius of Loyola as one who is given grace to ‘fight and not heed the wounds, to toil and not seek for rest, to work and not ask for any reward’ save that of knowing that we do God’s will.  This total commitment and dedication were depicted in much Counter-Reformation art – for example, the 17th-century Spanish artist, Francisco de Zurburán, provides a powerful evocation of the single-mindedness and deep prayer of monks and nuns in his painting, ‘St Francis in Meditation’.

Perhaps we feel that such dedication is beyond us, and that our discipleship can never be like that of St Paul, or even of St Peter?  But we can take heart that God is fully aware both of our strengths and of our weaknesses, and that he has called us to serve him as best we can, using our varied gifts, as St Paul himself says, ‘according to the grace given to us’, for the purposes of building up Christ’s body, the Church, in the situation in which we have been placed.  

Fr Stephen

Collect for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen,

Romans 12:1-8

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Romans.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, 
by the mercies of God, 
to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, 
holy and acceptable to God, 
which is your spiritual worship. 

Do not be conformed to this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, 
so that you may discern what is the will of God—
what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you 
not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, 
but to think with sober judgment, 
each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 

For as in one body we have many members, 
and not all the members have the same function, 

so we, who are many,
 are one body in Christ, 
and individually we are members one of another. 

We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 

ministry, in ministering; 
the teacher, in teaching; 

the exhorter, in exhortation; 
the giver, in generosity; 
the leader, in diligence; 
the compassionate, in cheerfulness. 

Matthew 16:13-20

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

 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, 
he asked his disciples, 
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"

And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, 
but others Elijah, 
and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." 

He said to them, 
"But who do you say that I am?" 

Simon Peter answered, 
"You are the Messiah, 
the Son of the living God." 

And Jesus answered him, 
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! 
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, 
but my Father in heaven. 

And I tell you, you are Peter, 
and on this rock I will build my church, 
and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,
 and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, 
and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 

Then he sternly ordered the disciples 
not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

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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