Coronavirus daily prayer June 27

Today’s daily prayer comes from the Rev Deacon Corinne Smith, from the parishes of All Saints, Godshill, St Alban’s, Ventnor, Good Shepherd, Lake, and St Saviour-on-the-cliff, Shanklin, who reflects on using all five of our senses. Spend a moment praying alongside her as you start this new day.

Every morning at 8am while our churches are closed for public worship, we’re sharing a one-minute video prayer from one of our clergy team. You can join in with those prayers on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or on our website here – https://bit.ly/33GRRqD. We’ll end this feature on July 4, when our churches are allowed to re-open for worship services.

Saints Peter and Paul

Dear Friends,

you will have seen the Government announcement that churches are to be allowed to open for services again from July 4th. However, in his advice to clergy and churchwardens, the Bishop has stressed that the ability to hold public worship is permissive, rather than mandatory; i.e. that 4th July is the earliest date for services to resume, and that they can only do this where it is practical and safe to do so.

Fr David is able to open Good Shepherd, Lake, and St Saviour’s, Shanklin from Sunday July 5th, and Sunday mass will be said at 9.30 and 11.00 in those churches respectively.

Unfortunately, All Saints’ and St Alban’s are in a different position from this. We are currently in a vacancy so, in addition to undertaking a risk assessment, ensuring the churches have been thoroughly cleaned and that appropriate distancing-signage is put in place, we also have the challenge of finding a male priest to preside for us at each mass.

This situation is further complicated by the fact that, as things currently stand, clergy and readers who are over 70, are only allowed to exercise any public ministry with the express permission of the Bishop, via the Archdeacon. This also applies to volunteers, so all sides-people and others who assist in church must be under 70, too, unless they have been given specific permission by the Archdeacon.

In consultation with the churchwardens, and in agreement with the Archdeacon, it has been decided that sadly, for a number of reasons, it will not be feasible to reopen St Albans at the present time. However, at All Saints’, once we have had the risk-assessment signed off by the Area Dean, and have put all practical safety measures in place, we will hope it will be possible to put a regular pattern of Sunday worship in place.

In order to provide something sustainable though, given all the constraints under which we will be working, the Churchwardens and the Archdeacon have agreed that we need to be realistic. To this end, we will work towards the possibility of providing Sunday mass at All Saints twice a month, initially, with no weekday masses. This will not be ideal but, as I have said, we are fortunate that Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s will have a mass every Sunday; and those who wish to maintain a weekly pattern of attendance would be very welcome at either of these churches.

Depending on the guidance we expect to receive from the Church of England in the next few days, the earliest All Saints could expect to be open for worship will be July 19th; but I will get in touch with you again when we have more definite information. I would love to be able to open the church as soon as possible, and am working hard to make that happen, but we have to stick to the C/E Guidelines.

Things will be very different from the way they used to be; but I will keep in touch with you, as we receive more guidance about the steps we’ll need to take, in order that people can receive Holy Communion safely.

If you have any questions about this, please contact the Area Dean, or the Archdeacon, whose messenger I am!

On another subject, this weekend sees the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, and is one of the times in the year when ordinations usually happen. Ordinations have had to be postponed this year and will take place in the autumn instead; but I ask your prayers for those preparing for ordination and for those who are celebrating anniversaries of ordination at this time.

I am grateful to Alan Swanborough for providing our Gospel reflection this week.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Saints-Peter-and-Paul-Readings

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

Saints-Peter-and-Paul-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

The image is “Christ between Saints Paul and Peter” by Pietro Lorenzetti (c.1280/1290-c.1348) – From the Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston upon Hull, https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/christ-between-saints-paul-and-peter-233360

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Next Wednesday the Church remembers and gives thanks for the life, ministry and legacy of John The Baptist.

John the Baptist was the son of Zechariah, a priest of the temple, and of Elizabeth, a relation of Mary the mother of Jesus. His birth had been foretold by an angel, who instructed Zechariah the he should be called John.

John was a fearless man of uncompromising beliefs, a prophet with a clear mission to prepare the way for Christ.

Once again, this would have been a day when we would have gathered for mass, but it might be worth spending time reading the scripture passages for that day (Is 49:1-6; Acts 13: 22-26; Luke 1”57-66, 80) and pondering the significance of John the Baptist for the life of the Church today, as Covid restrictions begin to be eased and we move into a new phase in our life together.

I have recently become part of a National “Catholic and Sacramental Evangelism” group, which has been looking at ways in which we can grow as churches, in terms of numbers, depth of discipleship and impact on our communities.

I would say that John the Baptist offers us an excellent “lens” through which we can start to do some thinking about what this might look like for our own Churches; so I will offer a few “hooks” for your thinking, based on John’s example.

Firstly, John was uncompromising in his call to holiness. He challenges us to ask ourselves how, as followers to Jesus Christ today, can we rediscover our confidence, so that we can also be distinctive and live by the values of our faith?

Secondly, John challenged the status quo. All traditions can get stale, yet many people are craving an authentic spirituality and a genuine way of living for God. What does our tradition have to offer? Why does it matter to us? How can we breathe new life into all that is good about our tradition to bring renewal and freshness and to draw people into our Eucharistic communities?

Thirdly, John led people to Christ. That was his single purpose. The two great commandments Jesus gave to his disciples was to love God and to make disciples. Are we doing that? How are we doing that?

Fourthly, John opposed injustice. if we wish to show our commitment to Incarnational Mission, we need to be asking ourselves how we as churches can seek transformation in our community? What does transformation look like for us in our context?

These are all big questions to consider as we move into the “new normal” as, again, we ponder the question posed at our PCC away day last year, “What is the church for”?

Any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to tell me, or Fr David.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

12th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

(Download the Scripture Readings)

Scripture Readings – Commentary

12th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings-Commentary

(Download the Scripture Readings – Commentary)

A Reflection

12th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

Corpus Christi

Dear Friends,

I expect you will have heard that the Government has said that churches may open for private prayer from June 15th. The Bishop has told us, however, that the announcement gives permission to open church buildings, but it does not require us to do so; and that we can only open if it is practical and realistic.

In order to reopen, churches are required to undertake a (lengthy!) risk-assessment, and to put in place measures for church-cleaning, preferably a one-way system into and out of the building, social-distancing and hand hygiene.

In consultation with CWs at St Albans and All Saints, Alan and Dennis, we have agreed that it is not practicable for our churches to be opened; so, for the time being at least, our churches will remain closed.

Last week, I visited St Alban’s and was greeted by three rooks, flying around the church. Since the building has been closed, they have taken up residence in the church and clearly didn’t enjoy being disturbed by me!

All Saints’ has fared better during the lockdown, with no feathered inhabitants, thank goodness; but it will certainly need a good clean before it can be opened in due course.

However, the other two churches where I serve, St Saviour on the Cliff, Queen’s Road, Shanklin; and Good Shepherd, Sandown Road, Lake, will be open twice a week for limited periods for private prayer, to which any of you would be very welcome.

Parking is available around the church at St Saviour’s and in the vicarage driveway at Good Shepherd.

Specifically, we will be providing an hour’s Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Fr David and I will officiate on a rota basis.

From Sunday 21 June:

Church opening times will be:
Sunday 10:30 – 11:30 in both churches
Wednesday 10.00 – 11.00 St Saviour’s
Wednesday 18.00 – 19.00 Good Shepherd

If you have any questions, do get in touch with Alan Philpott, Dennis Owen or me.

Thanks to Fr Gregory for this week’s homily.

Blessings,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Corpus-Christi-Readings

(Download the Scripture Readings)

Scripture Readings – Commentary

Corpus-Christi-Readings-Commentary

(Download the Scripture Readings – Commentary)

A Reflection

Corpus-Christi-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

The image is a Medieval stained glass window (13th century) discovered in 2019 behind the Corpus Christi altarpiece of the chapel of Sant Francesc and Sant Martí of the Cathedral of Girona (Girona, Catalonia), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vitrall_del_Corpus_Christi.jpg

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday

Dear Friends,

One of the benefits of Lockdown being eased somewhat is that it has become possible to see people outside – and I have found this to be a great way of doing pastoral visiting. It is such a joy to be able to see people face to face, rather than just hearing a disembodied voice at the end of a phone, or seeing someone on a screen.

So far, in the last two weeks, I have had a socially-distanced walk with a parishioner from the Shanklin cliff-top down to the sea and then along the esplanade; 2 socially distanced games of crazy-golf; two walks over at Quarr Abbey and three visits which have taken place in parishioners’ gardens.

Next Thursday the Church gives thanks for the life and ministry of St Barnabas. His name means, “Son of encouragement”; and Barnabas travelled widely with St Paul, investing time and energy in Paul, helping him to live up to his new name of apostle.

As it says of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:22 they put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith”.

These past challenging weeks, when we haven’t been able to gather together as worshipping communities, life has been very difficult for some people; especially when they’ve been facing additional problems, such as health concerns or bereavement, or those who live alone.

We all need a bit of encouragement from time to time; and Barnabas is a living example of what Jesus calls every Christian to do. As I have been making pastoral phone calls, I have been hearing how members of our congregations have been “being Barnabases” to one another, caring and showing support in a very impressive way.

However, if God seems far away, or you’re having difficulty praying and would like a bit of encouragement; or if you just feel a bit “down” and would like a chat, I’d be very happy to visit, or to go for a walk (keeping of course to the safety guidelines). Just let me know.

This Sunday is another major Festival of the Church, Trinity Sunday. I am very grateful to +John Hind for saving me from drifting into heresy by providing the homily for us for this day!

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Trinity-Sunday-Readings

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

Trinity-Sunday-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

The image is Luca Rossetti da Orta, The Holy Trinity, fresco, 1738–9, St. Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea (Torino), Italy, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Luca_Rossetti_Trinit%C3%A0_Chiesa_San_Gaudenzio_Ivrea.jpg