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Sunday, 22 August 2021
This morning our 10 am service was a Parish eucharist, and Father Roger was our celebrant. We were also delighted to welcome our new Rural Dean, the Rev Martha Weatherill to our service.

We continue to take precautions against the spread of covid 19 with hand sanitizer, and masks in church, although we are now using more of the pews. We sang some well known hymns, as the congregation is now allowed to sing we are enjoying singing some of our favourites! All appropriate to the theme of our service.

Father Roger preached, picking up the readings, you can read his address below.

We had the opportunity to meet our new Rural Dean after the service and chat to her. 

We left church to a lovely summer's day, an improvement on recent weeks.

We will be celebrating our Patronal Festival on the first Sunday in September, the 5th. This will be a Family service, the Choir will be back in action, and the Archdeacon hopes to be with us, so a lovely occasion to start the new term!

Our Harvest Service will be on the 3rd of October at 10 am, this year we are holding a Harvest Tea on the afternoon of the 3rd, tickets will be available from the Church Wardens from the beginning of September.

Father Roger, the Church Wardens and the Rural Dean

Ephesians 6:10-20

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Ephesians

Be strong in the Lord 
and in the strength of his power. 

Put on the whole armour of God, 
so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 

For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, 
but against the rulers, against the authorities, 
against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, 
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 

Therefore take up the whole armour of God, 
so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, 
and having done everything, to stand firm. 

Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, 
and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 

As shoes for your feet 
put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 

With all of these, take the shield of faith, 
with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 

Take the helmet of salvation, 
and the sword of the Spirit, 
which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times
in every prayer and supplication. 
To that end keep alert and always persevere 
in supplication for all the saints. 

Pray also for me, so that when I speak, 
a message may be given to me 
to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,

for which I am an ambassador in chains. 
Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

John 6:56-69

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

Jesus said to the crowd:

Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, 
and I in them. 

Just as the living Father sent me, 
and I live because of the Father, 
so whoever eats me will live because of me. 

This is the bread that came down from heaven, 
not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. 
But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 

He said these things 
while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, 
“This teaching is difficult; 
who can accept it?” 

But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, 
said to them, “Does this offend you? 

Then what if you were to see the Son of Man 
ascending to where he was before? 

It is the spirit that gives life; 
the flesh is useless. 
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 

But among you there are some who do not believe.” 
For Jesus knew from the first 
who were the ones that did not believe, 
and who was the one that would betray him. 

And he said, 
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me 
unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back 
and no longer went about with him. 

So Jesus asked the twelve, 
“Do you also wish to go away?” 

Simon Peter answered him, 
“Lord, to whom can we go? 
You have the words of eternal life. 

We have come to believe and know 
that you are the Holy One of God.”


The whole armour of God in Ephesians. 

We were, for some long time, focussed on PPE, and on how many pieces of PPE you should wear in certain situations. Different grades of masks, visors, aprons, gloves and so on. Some have had difficulty in getting what was thought necessary. It all seems to be about protecting yourself, both for the sake of yourself, and for the sake of others, as you can’t continue to help them if you go under. And others are protected if you put a barrier around yourself and can’t pass your problems on.

As the need for PPE recedes somewhat for most of us, the readings tell us to put on the spiritual PPE which God freely offers us. It is whole armour, a panoply, a full kit, not little bits and pieces. 

There are ancient ideas of God as a great warrior, and his people being the army of soldiers he leads. He is the Lord of Hosts, the host being an army. Sometimes there’s a host of angels. The idea in our reading seems to be that God, the great warrior, offers his own armour to his people. 

But in Ephesians, of course, the big conflict, and victory, has already happened - in the life and resurrection of Jesus. That has happened, and it is something which can never be repeated or undone. It is a complete assurance to us that good and God will have the last word over us. 

But Ephesians suggests to us that, although Christ has won the decisive battle, we still live in a flawed and uncertain world and have lesser battles to fight for Christ and with Christ. Whilst Christianity says that we are ultimately safe, we ought to actually use the armour, which God freely provides, to help ourselves and others. We are to be strong in the Lord, not by our own tactics. We are not in conflict with flesh and blood, with people – but with the darker things in our lives and society. 

So how does that work out? Six bits of kit. 

Firstly truth. We are to protect ourselves with the belt of truth. That is, we must embrace genuineness and reliability. Those are God’s qualities. To the Greek mind, truth meant genuine and real, to the Hebrew mind, truth was about whatever was experienced as reliable. If we try to stand with God in our ways, that is going to protect us. Yes, but …. Immediately we get into the tough side of the Gospel. Jesus, who got things right, was not spared times of suffering, and said that his followers wouldn’t be either.

Secondly, the breastplate of righteousness. That will mean uprightness and justice - again God’s qualities. 

Thirdly, we are to go to others equipped to bring ideas of peace. ‘Peace’ in the Bible is not something quiet and dull. Peace is when all is alive, and thriving. We, who know that God has come to help us in Christ, can have a fuller, richer life through that, and take that with us, and share it. 

Fourthly, the shield of faith. This is another gift of God. If we actually do what we think God wants of us, - actually use what faith we have, - then we may be given more faith. Perhaps faith is like muscles: you have to exercise it to make it stronger. If it is strong, we are less likely to succumb to pressures to go in the wrong direction.

Fifthly, the helmet of salvation. The assurance that we are ultimately safe. Nothing can ever succeed in finally separating us from God and life. That conviction helps us go forward with confidence. 

Lastly, the sword of the Spirit. God’s Spirit at work deep within our very selves helping us to find the right words as we engage with people, and also helping us to pray. 

If we go around in elaborate PPE, or maybe in armour like Henry VIII, we will be noticed, and people may wonder what we are claiming to be. Likewise, those who appear Godly may look a bit stupid. We are obviously not all that special. 

Austin Farrer, was one of my favourite writers. He died suddenly a few days before the end of 1968. Shortly before that, he ended a sermon about ordination by saying that there’s something absurd about being a priest ‘because what we stand for is so infinitely greater than our poor little selves.’

‘But (he added) there’s the same absurdity, really, about being a Christian at all. None of us can be let off being Christ in our place and our station: we are all pygmies in giants’ armour.’ He goes on, ‘If Jesus is willing to be in us, and to let us show him to the world, it’s a small thing that we should endure being fools for Christ’s sake, and be shown up by the part we have to play. We must put up with such humiliation of ourselves – or better still, forget ourselves altogether.’ 

Fr Roger

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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