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Sunday, 26 September 2021
This morning at our 10 am Parish Eucharist we also had a baptism. The friends and family of Jacob gathered to join our church family at a combined service. Father Roger performed the baptism and celebrated the Eucharist.

The Choir sang the anthem Ave Verum in the setting by W.A. Mozart as the anthem, and Joanna played a variation on a Lutheran baptismal hymn during the communion. We were joined by the Sunday School at communion and for the latter part of the service and the giving of a lighted candle to Jacob's Father
                        'Shine as a light in the World' 

It is always a great joy to have children in church, we have 'happy bags' of toys and books to entertain them and we love to hear them joining in whenever they feel the need, the sound of children in church is always good!!

Harvest next week! Decorating the Church on Saturday morning, our thanksgiving service on Sunday morning and the Harvest Tea on Sunday afternoon (tickets from the church wardens!)

A more solemn event is the Memorial Service for our friend David Barron at 12:30 on Saturday early afternoon.

The Baptism of Jacob

The Sunday School have been making vegetables out of lentils
 for harvest! 

The Sunday School joining the service

James 5.13-20

A reading from the letter of James.

Are any among you suffering? 
They should pray. 
Are any cheerful? 
They should sing songs of praise. 

Are any among you sick? 
They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, 
anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 

The prayer of faith will save the sick, 
and the Lord will raise them up; 
and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 

Therefore confess your sins to one another, 
and pray for one another, 
so that you may be healed. 
The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. 

Elijah was a human being like us, 
and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, 
and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 

Then he prayed again, 
and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

My brothers and sisters,
if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 

you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering 
will save the sinner’s soul from death 
and will cover a multitude of sins.

Mark 9:38-50

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

After Jesus had finished teaching the disciples,

John said to him, 
“Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, 
and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 

But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; 
for no one who does a deed of power in my name 
will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 

Whoever is not against us is for us. 

For truly I tell you, 
whoever gives you a cup of water to drink 
because you bear the name of Christ 
will by no means lose the reward.

“If any of you put a stumbling block 
before one of these little ones who believe in me,
it would be better for you 
if a great millstone were hung around your neck 
and you were thrown into the sea. 

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; 
it is better for you to enter life maimed 
than to have two hands and to go to hell,
to the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; 
it is better for you to enter life lame 
than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell.

And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; 
it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye 
than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell,

where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

"For everyone will be salted with fire.

Salt is good; 
but if salt has lost its saltiness, 
how can you season it?
Have salt in yourselves,
 and be at peace with one another.”


Looking at the last part of that reading. Those who treat children badly are pictured by Jesus as deserving a sea-side experience with a mill stone. And not just the little mill stone which women used at home, but a great mill stone, the large industrial one! So, we see firstly, then, that Jesus values children.

That might seem obvious, but children often weren't greatly valued in the ancient world. Valued mainly, sometimes, just for their potential. They might grow up in a few years’ time to earn money for the family, and eventually support their poor old parents in their declining years.

For us, and for Jesus, mercifully, children matter far more than that, right from their earliest days.  And I react when people say, 'children are the Church of tomorrow.' Through baptism children are part of the Church of today, as much as any of us.

Whilst we rightly have our Sunday School for the children, they must always, also, be welcome at services. And, in the weightier services, I think that at least some small provision for them ought to be built in, and some ways included for them to contribute!

The second half of the reading sounded quite gruesome. There is a grim tale of a hapless young cleric over fifty years ago, who chose this passage when giving a reflection to a small group of older clergy. He suddenly realised that two of the small group had actually lost limbs, and one of them was an archdeacon! I wonder what happened to him?

If we are wondering what someone is up to, we might look at their face, their expression, their eyes, to try to work out what’s going on in their head. We talk of affairs of the heart, and although our hearts might race a bit, it’s likely to be all mainly in our heads.

In Biblical times, however, it seems, they didn’t always think in terms of heads.  If you were wondering where someone was thinking of going, you would look at their foot and wonder, ‘what is it planning?’ Or look at their hand and ask, ‘what is that hand planning to do?’

The reading is not about chopping us up, but about managing our activities, keeping them healthy, and in balance. Just as we might aim for a healthy balance when we prune a fruit tree. Any branch of a tree might well need a bit of disciplining to avoid chaotic, unhealthy growth, and to make it fruitful.

If we have a job to work at, a family to care for, friends and relatives to keep in touch with, a home to maintain, finances to plan, things to study, cars to look after, leisure activities, various communities and social concerns to engage with. These may all seem like branches of our lives, and are, surely, best kept in balance, with none of them let to run completely out of control in our enthusiasm and attention, to the detriment of the other important parts of life. 

God, surely, normally calls us to disciplined, balanced, and, thereby, fruitful lives. We must thank God for all those good branches of our lives, but keep them in a balance with his help. Not ignore him and let some part of life become central - become an idol - damaging other important activities.

We welcome Jacob to the Church of God, the whole Church of history, today, in the hope that he will find joy and purpose, strength and hope in it, and we must pledge ourselves to do what we can for him under God.

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. 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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