17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

It is a great joy that this Sunday, July 26th we will be back in church for mass at 11.00, with Alan Swanborough presiding and me preaching.

As things currently stand, we will be able to have mass twice a month, on second and fourth Sundays of the month.

Fr Gregory-Clifton-Smith has generously agreed to preside for us on second Sundays, and Alan Swanborough will preside on Fourth Sundays.

As things currently stand, we will not be having any services during the week, but it may be possible to reinstate the Thursday mass at some point in the autumn.

As you may know, I have recently been appointed Diocesan Dean of Deacons, to exercise a pastoral ministry to the Distinctive Deacons in the Diocese and to have a role in the discernment of vocations and training; but, just before he retired, Fr John suggested that the Bishop might make me Deacon-in-charge at All Saints’ and St Alban’s, to provide leadership and continuity of care during the vacancy.

The exciting news is that the Bishop decided he would do this and, at a low-key service in the Archdeacon’s garden on 12h July, I was given my Bishop’s Licence to a half-time stipendiary appointment. This post is for a maximum of two years or, as it says on my license, “until the appointment of a priest-in-charge, whichever should occur first”.

It won’t really change anything about the way I have been trying to serve our communities for the past three years, and we are still in a vacancy, but it was a great joy to receive this new mandate for my ministry among our constituency.

In addition to ministering at All Saints’ and St Alban’s, I will continue my work in the other two Anglo-Catholic churches on the island, Good Shepherd, Lake and St Saviour on the Cliff, Shanklin and to promote the Anglo-Catholic tradition on the island.

I am looking forward very much to seeing many of you at mass again, albeit sticking to the new guidelines about how we manage the logistics of this(!); but I am conscious that there will be some people who are still shielding and who will not able to be with us. If this applies to you, please be assured you will be in our prayers and that you will be very much with us in spirit.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

17th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

17th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflections

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The image is of a pair of stained glass windows depicting the Parable of the Hidden Treasure (left) paired with the Parable of the Pearl (right) in Scots’ Church, Melbourne, Australia.

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

A group of willing volunteers, including Jean Peters who is featured in the photo, spent two hours in church this week getting the building ready for welcoming you back into church on Sunday 26th July at 11.00.

Alan Swanborough will be presiding on that day and I will be preaching. We are fortunate that, just before he left, Fr John bought a hymn-playing machine. This means we can listen to hymns during the service, as we are not allowed to sing in church due to current restrictions.

There will be other changes, which I will outline here, but I will go through them again when we meet in church on July 26th.

For example, hand- sanitiser will be available at the door, which you are required to use before you enter and leave the building.

Brian Haynes, our safeguarding officer, has put tape on the floor to indicate a one-way system for entering and exiting the church; and he has put tape at 2m intervals to indicate where people are to stand whilst waiting to receive Holy Communion. Please follow this signage.

When it comes to receiving Holy Communion, this will be in one kind (bread only). Prior to the distribution the priest will raise the host and say “The body of Christ”, to which the congregation will reply “Amen”; and then no further words will be said during the distribution.

Dennis, our Churchwarden, will have hand-sanitiser available if you wish to use it, prior to reception of the sacrament.

When you receive the sacrament, you are asked to hold your hands right out in front of you, so that the communion wafer can be dropped into your hand with no additional physical contact from the minister.

Please follow the arrows on the floor in order to get back to your seat.

If you wish to light a candle, there are sanitising wipes available for cleaning the candle lighter. Please clean the lighter handle before lighting your candle and then place the used wipe in the box provided.

It does all sound like a huge palaver, but it is easier to do than to describe!

It is also all worth it, as it enables us to come together again, safely, to meet our Lord in the sacrament, and once again be the Body of Christ.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

16th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

16th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflections

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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

I am happy to be able to tell you that, all things being equal, All Saints’ will be allowed to reopen for public worship on two Sundays per month from Sunday July 26th at 11.00.

We are very fortunate that Fr Alan Swanmore, who is a much-loved member of our worshipping community, and Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith, have each agreed to say mass for us once a month.

Alan will be presiding on fourth Sundays from July 26th, and Fr Gregory will preside on second Sundays, starting on August 9th.

At the moment, we will stick to a pattern of two celebrations per month on Sundays only, but it might be possible to introduce a weekday mass later in the year.

I am very grateful to Dennis, Brian and the team of volunteers who have done the risk-assessment, cleaned the church and helped get the signage in place to enable this to happen.

You will notice when you come to church again that things will be rather different than they were before; but we have to comply with all the safety measures in order that people can feel confident about coming back to church.

For example, hand sanitiser will be available for use at the church door and, in order to maintain social distancing, there will be notices indicating where to sit. Instructions will also given about how we will manage the reception of Holy Communion.

More detailed instructions will be given nearer the time, but I thought you would be pleased to know the progress we have been able to make to reopen before the end of the month – some churches won’t be reopening until September!

There may be people who will not feel ready to come back to church yet, especially those who have been, or still are shielding, so I will continue to put resources week by week on the website.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

15th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

15th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image is the “Parable of the Sower”, a stained glass window in Canterbury Cathedral and dates back to about 1180, Public Domain, http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54265

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

As we start to move toward the churches being open again for public worship, I just wanted to say a few things about that.

Firstly, I’d want to encourage people to come back to church in due course, where it is possible and where it is safe, and for it to be a positive and a joyful experience; but with all the safety regulations we have to follow, including the needful social distancing, it will take some time for us to become accustomed to the new and required arrangements.

There are those who will say, “But church is not the same as it was”. My only answer can be “But nothing is the same as it was – and the church is doing its utmost to come safely into the new light”.

We are at the very beginning of Phase 3, and the Government’s Guidelines, as adapted and applied for use in churches, are designed to help everyone move forward safely. Patience will be needed; and care and kindness towards one another, too. Coming out into the light will be a new experience for us all.

Some might ask, “What will it be like to be back in church?” We’ll need to wait and see. However, especially for those with health problems, it is important that you should be at ease with the decision you make whether to come back sooner, or leave it til later.

In the meantime, I suggest we all prepare spiritually and prayerfully as well as practically and strategically for coming back to church; and I encourage you to pray for churchwardens, clergy and one another each day, as we prepare for the great day when we can come back to mass.

I offer you this prayer, which comes from The BCP. It is a prayer for a Dedication Festival of a church, but the words would seem to be very apposite at this time, as the prayer invites us to look for God, in the eager expectation of finding God in our churches. It also asks of God that we, being filled with the Holy Spirit, become a living temple.

Almighty God,
to whose guidance and glory we offer the re-opening of churches in these days,
we praise you for the many blessings
that you have given to those who worship in our churches,
and we pray that all who seek you there
may find you, and, being filled with the Holy Spirit,
may become a living temple acceptable to you
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

14th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

14th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image is “Come Unto Me” by Carl Bloch (1834-1890), Public Domain, https://www.flickr.com/photos/waitingfortheword/6881127521