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Sunday, 2 May 2021
This morning, being the first of May, we had our Family Eucharist. We are maintaining social distancing so we cannot have every one in Church, and the Sunday School has not yet returned, although it is planned that they will come back next week. They will meet in the bubbles they are in at school in the new rooms, and then come into church for the communion and return to the rooms afterwards. This morning we had Father Roger as the celebrant, and Mrs Field gave us an update on the Sunday School and talked to us about the Gospel, her address is below.
The choir sang the hymns, but the Gloria was said by all. During communion the Choir sang the responses, and whilst the congregation were receiving the Choir sang 'Now the green blade Riseth'  as a motet.
We left in the sunshine, anticipating the rain and wind to come!









The 5th Sunday of Easter – Godparent Day

Today’s reading from St John’s Gospel is such a delightful reading for Family Service and, in normal circumstances, would be such a good reading to talk about with the help of the Sunday School members.  But, of course, we can’t do that this year. A number of you have asked why the children aren’t  leading the Intercessions or taking part in the Talk at Family Service.  The reason is the pandemic. We must abide by the Government’s general regulations regarding distancing, sanitising and the wearing of masks and we must also follow the regulations for Places of Worship.  In the recent survey that was carried out, there were questions asked about the lack of involvement of different members of the laity for the readings and the intercessions as there used to be.  The reason for this is the same.  We are required to restrict the number of voices speaking at a service to one or two and to minimise movement around the church to only that which is necessary. The churchwardens are responsible for ensuring that the church is covid secure and they feel that they should not delegate that responsibility to other sidespersons at this time and are therefore carrying out these duties themselves at each service.  We shall return to normal ‘service’ as soon as possible! And laity will be involved in services as they were before.

Sunday School is now allowed to return and we shall we restarting next week. Sunday School must follow the same regulations as those for services in Church but must also follow the regulations applicable to the school the children attend.  School is still in bubbles and so we must be. We wanted to tell you that the children will again come in to receive communion or to receive a blessing on 2nd and 4th Sundays but they will not remain in church for the end of the service as there just would not be room with social distancing in place. They will follow a one-way system into the church, to Father Roger at that altar and back out by the other door to return to the Parish Rooms.  The PCC has agreed this plan and if anyone has any questions or concerns about this arrangement, please speak to one of the churchwardens.

Now, back to today’s reading. 

The vine was one of the most common plants in Israel.  It would grow almost anywhere: it grew up walls, up trellises, around the doors of houses; it grew up sticks. It also grew in the wild. For the vine to grow well, it needed the ground to be prepared carefully and it needed regular attention.  If you wanted good fruit, you could not just leave it to chance.

Could it be that with Jesus who says, I am the vine’, we need the same attention? There is no one in whom he will not grow if only the preparation of the ‘soil’ is properly done and then the new growth must be nurtured. Today we expect instant results, instant responses, instant changes in people, instant conversions.  But they do not always happen because we have ignored what is going on at ground level.  We tend to ignore the weeds, the poor environment, the lack of sustenance; we want growth without having to make an effort.

We must remember Jesus’s analogy of the vine.  First we must prepare the ground, to see that the atmosphere is as good as possible for growth.  We need to make sure that it will not be choked by weeds or die from lack of attention.  Many who are young in the faith are lost because they do not receive the sustenance they need.

The Sunday School team and the parents of the Sunday School children do what they can and we are delighted that, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had 12 new members of Sunday School.  The parents are giving the children wonderful support – two have volunteered to join the Sunday School leaders’ team and, helped by their parents, many of the children have been working on the resources that we have been sending each week during lockdown.  That is quite remarkable since children and parents have been coping with home learning all week!  But it’s not just the young who need help and nurture to grow in their faith.  We all need help. 

CH _ _ CH

What letters are missing from this word?     
Yes, ‘U R’! 

All those new to the faith, of any age, need our support if their faith is to grow. According to my Churchwarden’s handbook, today is Godparent Sunday.  Perhaps some of you have godchildren and perhaps today’s reading reminds us that we haven’t been in touch with them lately?  Maybe we could this today?

Many returns of our recent survey said that you want our church to grow.  It will only grow if we all nurture new life in the church and continue to do so.  Jesus calls himself the vine and says that we are the branches – we are one with him and one with each other.  We need each other to thrive.  We are expected to bear fruit together, to grow in the faith together however old we are.  
A Native American was taught the Lord’s prayer.  He began by saying, ‘Our Father’, then he stopped in amazement. He turned to the priest and asked, ‘Is God my Father?’ 
‘Yes’ was the reply. 
‘And God is your Father?’ 
Again the reply, ‘Yes’. 
‘This is truly wonderful. God is your Father and mine – that means we are brothers!’.
There is an old legend that tells of Jesus returning to heaven and the angels asking who will continue his work. Jesus points to the disciples.  ‘But they are so weak, so human.’ Protest the angels. Jesus replies, ‘I trust them and know they will not let me down.’

St Teresa of Avilla puts it so well:
Christ has no hands, but your hands to do his work today.
Christ has no feet but your feet to speed men on his way.
Christ has no lips but your lips to tell men why he died.
Christ has no love but your love to win men to his side

Chris Field Church Warden


 John 15.1-8

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

Jesus said to his disciples:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 

He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. 
Every branch that bears fruit 
he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 

You have already been cleansed
by the word that I have spoken to you. 

Abide in me as I abide in you. 
Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself 
unless it abides in the vine, 
neither can you unless you abide in me. 

I am the vine, you are the branches. 
Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, 
because apart from me you can do nothing. 

Whoever does not abide in me 
is thrown away like a branch and withers; 
such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, 
ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

My Father is glorified by this, 
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.


Collect

Almighty God,
who through your only begotten Son Jesus Christ,
have overcome death and opened to us
    the gate of everlasting life:
grant that, as by your grace going before us
    you put into our minds good desires,
so by your continual help
we may bring them to good effect;
through Jesus Christ our risen Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
one God, now and forever.
Amen

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. 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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