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Sunday, 25 October 2020
This morning our service was a Parish Eucharist. and Father Stephen was the celebrant. The Choir sang 2 hymns, and an Anthem, 'A New Commandment I give to you' by Peter Nardonne. This is the last Sunday of Trinity, and now we begin the sundays preparing for Advent.

After the service we held our Annual Parish Meeting. which would normally have been held in April, but was postponed due to the covid outbreak. We were delighted that our two churchwardens were prepared to stay on for the rest of the year, and Father Stephen was able to swear them in having been given authority to do so by the Archdeacon. The annual reports were accepted, and a new PCC elected and immediately met to re-elect the Treasurers. Votes of Thanks were minuted for the churchwardens for their  excellent work in keeping everything going in these difficult times, to Gloria Jupp, who is retiring as our Safeguarding Officer after some 19 years, and to the Website team for their work in maintaining the website and providing the liturgical prayers and readings while the church was shut.

Christmas Grand Draw.

We will not be able to hold our christmas fair this year, due to the pandemic restrictions, but we are going to hold a Christmas Grand Draw. Tickets will be £1 each, and can be obtained from the Church Wardens and we will have books of 5 tickets each for every one to sell. There are lots of lovely prizes, a gourmet hamper, a child's scooter, A magnum of Champagne, and many more, so do buy some tickets! The draw will take place in mid December! 

A socially distanced Annual Parish Meeting


Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), ‘Jesus and the Pharisees’

Dear Friends

One would think, following a set lectionary as we do in the Anglican Communion, that there would be little doubt as to the readings to use for Sunday service.  Well, most of the time that is true – except for today!  One can use the readings for the Last Sunday after Trinity, or for Bible Sunday, which are nearly the same.  Or one could use those for Dedication Sunday (which are quite different) – that is, if one doesn’t know the actual date of a church’s consecration.  

At Sidlesham, we are tantalizingly close to knowing that the year was 1200, and certainly the chancel was being used by then, but we don’t know the month or the day.  Hence we use the last Sunday after Trinity to remember the dedication – but, as we see, that clashes with Bible Sunday.  You can’t win!

So, I had to make a decision, as it were putting a pin in the lectionary, and chose 

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 and, for the Gospel, Matthew 22: 34-end.  That Gospel contains an almost unanswerable question, put to Jesus by the Pharisees: ‘Master, what is the greatest commandment of the Law?’.  On the surface, it sounds like a genuine enquiry but, in fact, it is the kind of question which is intended to be used as a weapon.  It is one of the oldest techniques in controversy, much beloved of John Humphries on the Today programme on Radio 4, intended to wrong-foot an interviewee, usually politicians, who are treated as fair game.  The person on the receiving end often starts to dig him- or herself into a deeper and deeper hole!  The way to deal with such questions is to side-step them.  It’s a sort of power-game between questioner and the person answering.  And, in this Gospel narrative, of course, the Pharisees are hoping to wrong-foot Jesus into an unwise answer, which would make him lose his popularity among his followers.

But the Pharisees, like the Sadducees, never learn!  Time after time, the questions they put to Jesus with a view to catching him out misfire, and they are left lost for words.  In this instance, Jesus affirms that the law of love – love of God and love of neighbour – are the two commandments upon which both the Jewish Law and the message of the prophets hang.  Jesus then goes on to set his interlocutors a question of his own, using a quotation from Psalm 110, to demonstrate his own role as Son of the Father, and Lord of all, including his lordship over King David.  The Pharisees are unable to reply and the passage records that ‘from that day no one dared to ask him any further questions’.  Once again. Jesus’ deep knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures, and his own conviction concerning his unique role as Son of the Father, together with his insistence upon the universal law of love, prove irrefutable.

Fr Stephen


Blessed Lord,
who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:
help us so to hear them,
to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them
that, through patience, and the comfort of your holy word,
we may embrace and for ever hold fast
   the hope of everlasting life,
which you have give us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  

1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

A reading from the first leter of Paul to the Thessalonians.

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, 
that our coming to you was not in vain. 

But thoug we had already suffered 
and been shamefully treated at Philippi, 
as you know, we had courage in our God 
to declare to you his gospel 
in spite of great opposition. 

For our appeal does not spring from deceit
or impure motives, or trickery. 

But just as we have been approved by God
to be entrusted with the message of the gospel. 
Even so we speak, not to please mortals,
but to please God who tests our hearts.

As you know and as God is our witness,
we never came with words of flattery
or with a pretext for greed;

nor did we seek praise from mortals,
whether from you or from others,

though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
But we were gentle among you,
Like a nurse tenderly caring  for her ownchildren, 

so deeply do we care for you,
that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God 
but also our own selves,
because you have become very dear to us.

Matthew 22:34-46

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

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, 
they gathered together. 

and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.

“Teacher, which commandment in the Law is the greatest?” 

He said to him
“ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart 
and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 

This is the first and greatest commandment. 

And the second is like it: 
‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, 
Jesus asked them this question, 

“What do you think of the Messiah? 
Whose son is he?”
They said to him,
“The son of David,” 

He said to them, 
“How is it then that David, by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? saying, 

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand 
until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ 

If David thus calls him ‘Lord,’ 
how can he be his son?” 

No one was able to give him an answer,
nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Sunday, 18 October 2020
This morning at 10 am we had Mattins, and Father Stephen took the service. The Venite and the Te Deum were said by all, the set psalm for the day and the Benedictus were sung by the choir. The anthem
was 'O Lord, my God, to Thee' attributed to Jacques Arcadelt (1510-1568).  Father Stephen's sermon is set out below.
 We parted on a still dry cool autumn day, refreshed by prayer and worship.


Theotokos of Vladimir, 16th-century icon, St Luke Painting the Virgin

Dear Friends

St Luke’s Gospel begins by an address to ‘dear Theophilus’.  ‘Theophilus’ means, of course, ‘lover of God’, and could refer to a particular person or is perhaps a generic name for a group of Christians.

The Acts of the Apostles, also written by Luke, tells us that the evangelist was the constant travelling companion of St Paul, who could be irascible and impatient at times.  Luke was believed to have been unmarried and without family ties, so could therefore devote his full attention to Paul’s needs – which was probably just as well, since, on his missionary journeys, Paul, who could be rather ‘bull at a gate’ at times, got himself into all sorts of scrapes!  In one of his letters, Paul calls Luke the ‘beloved physician’ – the one who used to patch him up after being lashed, beaten, nearly drowned and unceremoniously thrown into prison several times.

Luke stayed with Paul through thick and thin, whereas others drifted away.  So we can deduce that Luke was a loyal and faithful person,  Probably a gentile, it has often been noted that he seems also to have been deeply compassionate – his gospel is full of kindly references to the humble and lowly, the sick and injured, as well as to women, who, as we know, were not always treated well at the time.  Not only did Luke write beautiful and evocative word pictures, especially about the birth and boyhood of Christ, but, tradition has it, he was also a painter, or ‘writer’ of icons.  It is said that the very first icon of the Madonna and Child can be attributed to him.

Today, 18 October, is dedicated to St Luke and is marked out as the day within the Church when healing ministries are particularly, and gratefully, remembered – not just the healing work of doctors and nurses, but also the spiritual healing work of the Church, which is just as vital today as it was 2000 years ago.

In the Church of England, we tend not to ‘make a show’ of this ministry but, instead, quietly respond to need as it arises, co-operating with the medical profession, and administering laying-on of hands and anointing, with prayer, as appropriate.  In addition, listening to the healing words of the Scriptures, on a daily or weekly basis, can act as a balm, especially during anxiety-ridden times such as those we are currently going through.

St Luke, through his writings and the example of his life, demonstrates that God can work through us in unexpected ways when we dedicate our gifts and talents to his service.

Fr Stephen


Almighty God,
who calledst Luke the physician,
whose praise is in the gospel,
to be an evangelist and physician of the soul:
may it please thee that,
by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him,
all the diseases of our souls may be healed:
through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 55

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; 
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! 
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 

Why spend money on what is not bread, 
and your labour on what does not satisfy? 
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, 
and you will delight in the richest of fare. 

Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, 
my faithful love promised to David. 

See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, 
a ruler and commander of the peoples. 

Surely you will summon nations you know not, 
and nations you do not know will come running to you, 
because of the LORD your God, 
the Holy One of Israel, 
for he has endowed you with splendour.”

Seek the LORD while he may be found; 
call on him while he is near. 

Let the wicked forsake their ways 
and the unrighteous their thoughts. 
Let them turn to the LORD, 
and he will have mercy on them, 
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways 
and my thoughts than your thoughts. 

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, 
and do not return to it without watering the earth 
and making it bud and flourish, 
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire 
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; 
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, 
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 

Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, 
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. 
This will be for the LORD’s renown, 
for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

Luke 1:1-4

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

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 

just as they were handed down to us
by those who from the first were eyewitnesses 
and servants of the word. 

With this in mind, 
since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, 
I too decided to write an orderly account for you, 
most excellent Theophilus, 

so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
Sunday, 11 October 2020
This morning we assembled at 10 am for our Parish Eucharist in bright autumn sunshine, quite a contrast from last week! The Celebrant this morning was Father Roger, as Father Stephen is away celebrating his birthday, we all wish him many happy returns!
The Choir were again singing from the South Transept, masked and socially distanced. They sang Just as I am to the setting by Maunder during the offertory, and 3 short hymns. The setting was the Addington service by Richard Shephard. Father Roger discussed the gospel reading and the message it gives us to accept God's invitation but to prepare ourselves for appropriate behaviour! The message of the Gospel is challenging to all of us, laity and clergy, to live the life that Our Lord wants us to do, not necessarily what we want.
At the end Joanna played part of St Anne's Fugue by J S Bach.

We are still enjoying our wonderful Harvest Flowers. 


Philippians 4:1-9

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians.

My brothers and sisters, 
whom I love and long for, 
my joy and crown, 
stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 

Yes, and I ask you also, 
my loyal companion, help these women
for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, 
together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, 
whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always;
again will I say, Rejoice! 

Let your gentleness be known to everyone. 
The Lord is near. 

Do not worry about anything, 
but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, 
let your requests be known to God. 

And the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Finally, beloved, 
whatever is true, whatever is honourable, 
whatever is just, whatever is pure, 
whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable.
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.

Keep on doing the things that you have learned
and received and heard and seen in me,
And the God of peace will be with you.

Matthew 22:1-14

Hear the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Once more Jesus spoke to the chief priests and Pharisees in parables, saying: 

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king 
who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 

He sent his servants to call those 
who had been invited to the wedding banquet
but they would not come. 

Again he sent other slaves, saying
‘Tell those who have been invited 
Look, I have prepared my dinner: 
My oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, 
and everything is ready.
Come to the wedding banquet.’ 

“But they made light of it and went away,
one to his farm, another to his business. 

While the rest seized his slaves, 
maltreated them and killed them. 

The king was enraged. 
He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers 
and burned their city. 

“Then he said to his slaves, 
‘The wedding is ready, 
but those invited were not worthy.

Go therefore to the main streets
and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 

Those slaves went out into the streets 
and gathered all whom they found, both the good and the bad,
and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 

“But when the king came in to see the guests, 
he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe. 

and said to him, 
‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?'
And he was speechless. 

“Then the king told the attendants, 
‘Bind him hand and foot,
 and throw him into the outer darkness, 
where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

“For many are called, but few are chosen."
Sunday, 4 October 2020
This morning in wet and windy weather most of us met indoors for our Harvest Celebrations. Non the less 12 hardy souls, 2 children did process from the Barn,  and at suitable distance we had our procession of  Harvest gifts which were received at the sanctuary steps by Mrs Field. The Choir sang Come ye Joyful People Come as the gifts were placed in front of the Altar. We then proceeded with our family service. 
Mrs Field told us about arrangements for the return of Sunday School after half term, then she talked about the work the children have been doing at home this month. The art work they have produced on the theme of seeds was displayed on the board, and she told us about the many references to seeds through out the Bible Old testament and New. She also asked us to consider that the symbol of the seed might also be used for many things, but especially in these difficult times for Hope. The Choir then sang a Harvest anthem 'Thou Visitest the Earth' with the solo sung by one of our Basses, Fred.
The Choir also sang another Harvest hymn for the Offertory To the Oh Lord our Hearts we Raise, with the excellent tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
Following the communion our final traditional hymn 'We Plough the fields and scatter' sent us back out into the wind and rain for another week.

 Matthew 6:25-33

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

Jesus said to his disciples:

 "Do not worry about your life, 
what you will eat or what you will drink, 
or about your body, what you will wear. 
Is not life more than food, 
and the body more than clothing? 

Look at the birds of the air; 
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
 and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
 Are you not of more value than they? 

And can any of you by worrying 
add a single hour to your span of life? 

And why do you worry about clothing? 
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; 
they neither toil nor spin, 

yet I tell you, 
even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, 
which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, 
will he not much more clothe you—
you of little faith? 

Therefore do not worry, 
saying, "What will we eat?' 
or "What will we drink?' 
or "What will we wear?' 

For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; 
and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 

But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be given to you as well.

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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