1st Sunday of Lent

1st Sunday of Lent

Dear friends,

At Deanery Synod last week, it was confirmed that Godshill Parish will now be part of the new grouping of churches in the South of the island, so that we can support one another in mission and encourage our churches to grow in depth, impact and number.

The Area Dean also mentioned that, although the 3 Society Parishes will be in different groupings, it is expected that they could still come together from time to time. +Norman has expressed his willingness to come to the island once lockdown is lifted, so it may be possible to do something jointly then.

We are not the only churches who will have an informal link across geographical partnerships with others of similar churchmanship, as a connection is being established between Mark Williams and his evangelical churches in Shanklin and Sandown and the people of St Paul’s Barton.

It is my hope that with an Anglo-Catholic presence in two different church partnerships on the island, this will give an opportunity for us to raise the profile of the richness of our tradition, and to demonstrate what we have to offer to the island and the Diocese as a whole. As +Norman said, we need to find our “value-added”!

Although we are, of course still in lockdown, and we will have to wait until that is lifted before we can meet to hold a PCC meeting face to face, please do start to have a think about what the strengths of our churches are. Dennis Owen, Alan Philpott or I would be very happy to hear about any ideas you might have about steps we could take to make the Diocesan Live Pray Serve mission strategy a reality in our churches.

I am very pleased to confirm that, once we are able to resume Public Worship, Fr Gregory will be able to restart his commitment to preside for us on 2nd Sundays in the month, starting on April 11th, travelling between St Alban’s and All Saints’ as before.

It remains to be seen when it will be possible for Messy Church to be able to start up again but, when it does, this will continue to be part of St Alban’s missional outreach into Upper Ventnor.

I do hope you have a blessed and rewarding Lent. I will continue to provide resources as we go through; and it is my hope that it will be possible to have a Parish mass at All Saints’ on Easter Day.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

1st-Sunday-of-Lent-Readings

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Reflection

1st-Sunday-of-Lent-Reflection

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The painting above is The Temptation of Christ by Juan de Flandes (1450–1519) painted circa 1500 and can be seen in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Creative Commons CC0 License

A Journey through Lent 2021

ASH WEDNESDAY AT HOME
A solemn act of penitence for use at home

We begin by making the sign of the cross

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We keep a period of silence before saying the collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
You hate nothing that you have made
And forgive the sins of all who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
That we, worthily lamenting our sins
And acknowledging our wretchedness,
May receive from you, the God of all mercy,
Perfect remission and forgiveness:
Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever. Amen.

We keep a period of silent reflection on our sins before saying:

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
We have sinned against you and against our neighbour
In what we have thought, in what we have said and done,
Through ignorance, through weakness,
Through our own deliberate faut.
We have wounded your love
And marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins,
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ
Who died for us, forgive us all that is past:
And lead us out from darkness
To walk as children of light. Amen

A Journey through Lent 2021

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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

At our clergy Chapter meeting on Feb 9th, the Area Dean shared with us the results of the comments she has had from the churches across the island about the Deanery Plan, and the consequent decisions she has made about the new groupings into which the various churches will be placed.

These decisions are not set in stone, but are based on feedback from members of our congregations about their wishes. If you don’t agree with the decision she has reached with regard to Godshill Parish, please contact her via your Deanery rep, Alan Philpott at: iowtv@hotmail.com

Amanda stressed that she is trying to avoid Pastoral reorganisation, as this can be such a painful process, fraught with difficulties and is likely to involve forced redundancies of sitting clergy. By drawing churches into partnerships, however, current Parish structures will remain as they are. The intention is that through these partnerships the churches can support one another in their mission, reduce duplication of services and be better placed to respond to the Bishops’ call to the churches to grow in depth, impact and number.

She also shared with us where it will be possible for her to make savings. The Deanery Plan will be presented at our Synod next week, before it goes to the Bishop for final approval.

Amanda stressed that, although she is very grateful to those churches who have paid their share in full, the fact remains that the Diocese only collected 56% of the expected total last year. Monies collected go into a central pot and, for churches in a vacancy, the decision to recruit (or not) to a post lies with need, rather than the individual churches ability to pay their share.

The good news for the 3 Society Parishes is that they will be protected, and an appointment will (in due course) be made for a Society priest who will serve across all 4 churches in our constituency; and I will continue to receive a half-stipend to carry on serving across the four churches for at least another year.

With regard to the grouping into which Godshill Parish will be put, Amanda took account of the differences of opinion expressed by our congregants about where we should “sit” in relation to the partnerships which she has been drawing up.

Whilst there were some who wanted to link with Ventnor and the other churches which will now be added to that group (St Lawrence, Whitwell, Niton and Chale), there were also strong voices rejecting the idea of Godshill Parish being included in any Ventnor grouping. Some people also expressed a strong desire for Godshill Parish to be in the same “hub” or “Partnership” as the other Society churches.

In light of all this, Amanda has decided that Godshill Parish should be put in the same group as Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s. As these churches have already agreed to join in Partnership with the other churches in the Bay, Amanda told us that Godshill Parish will therefore, along with Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s, join the Partnership with St Blasius, Shanklin; St Paul’s, Shanklin; Christchurch, Sandown; and St John’s, Sandown.

The Bay clergy have now met several times and have been exploring some potentially exciting mission opportunities; and the PCCs for Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s are also very much on board with these plans. With Godshill Parish joining the Partnership it is hoped that they will also wish to get involved.

I must admit to being somewhat saddened that Godshill Parish doesn’t wish to join with the Ventnor group of parishes; as, indeed, +Norman was when I discussed it with him because, if this decision is ratified, it will have some, perhaps unforeseen, negative consequences for us.

Firstly, the provision of Messy Church in Upper Ventnor will be affected. This venture has up to now been run by St Alban’s and the Ventnor churches as part of their joint missional outreach. However, if Godshill parish are in a group with the Bay churches, we will obviously no longer be an integral part of the missional activity in Ventnor and this relationship will sadly have to come to an end.

Secondly, Ventnor and the surrounding churches, as described above, will be served by Hugh Wright, with Tony Lawrence (currently training at St Stephen’s House) as his curate from the summer, plus Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith and some readers.

Tony, who used to be Churchwarden at St Saviour’s, is a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic; and it had been my hope that as part of his curacy he might, once he has been priested, be able to help at All Saints’ and St Alban’s during our vacancy. However, with the Parish’s decision that they do not want to be part of Ventnor, this will not now be a possibility.

Thirdly, Fr Gregory, who lives in Ventnor and is a member of Hugh’s Team, had been generously giving us one Sunday a month. With the new grouping of the Ventnor area churches, he will necessarily have more calls on his time from those churches. In light of this, it will remain to be seen whether he will be able to continue to support All Saint’s and St Alban’s liturgically.

However, James Cook holds the list of retired clergy who are willing to conduct worship for the many churches currently in vacancy. I know he will help as much as possible in finding priests who can say mass for us although, unfortunately, they are unlikely to be from the Catholic Tradition.

If you are happy with the decision about being in the Bay Partnership, no further action neds to be taken. However, if you wish to deviate from the current position which has been requested, please liaise with your Deanery rep, Alan Philpott, who can then gather a parish outlook and inform Amanda ahead of Synod on Feb 16th.

It was good to speak to +Norman during the week. He sends his love and said he was disappointed that his proposed trip for the weekend of 19th – 21st had had to be cancelled due to the lockdown. He said he hopes to be able to come to the island before too long.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

6th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

6th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The pen/brush and ink above is Christus geneest een melaatse (Christ heals a leper) by Rembrandt circa 1650-1655 and can be seen in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Creative Commons CC0 License

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

With the sad news of the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore last week, who inspired the nation and helped us through the tough days of the last year, it is worth taking a moment to consider his optimism and resilience.

Too often these days, we are inclined to forget the wisdom and life experience of older people. Yet those who, like Captain Tom, lived through the war and other challenging times in our nation, learned lessons for life which we could all do well to learn from and to adopt.

There’s a joke which goes, “If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, you obviously don’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation!” Captain Tom’s optimism wasn’t a denial, though, of the realities of the situation we were facing with Covid, nor was it an escape from them. Rather, it was that he stepped up to the challenge, and set us an example of all that is best in humanity.

His simple action, in walking up and down his garden, with absolute focus and resolve, to raise money for the NHS, was an example to us all. His characteristics of stoicism, enthusiasm, warmth, kindness and humour shone through every interview he gave, and offered us light at a very dark time.

I suggest that, as we remember Captain Tom, let us resolve to use what he taught us to live our lives with the same integrity of purpose and love.

Other news: Clergy Chapter will be meeting on Tuesday 9th to discuss the Deanery Plan, before it goes to Deanery Synod the following week. Please pray for all involved in the difficult decision-making process, as we seek to find a way through the challenges currently facing the churches in the Diocese and, especially on the island.

I hope many of you by now will have had your first vaccination. I am delighted to say that serving clergy were invited to go to St Mary’s last week to receive theirs, so I have now been Pfizered!

As more and more people receive vaccinations, we will start to see a way out of lockdown, and I hope and pray it won’t be too long before we can get back to public worship again.

In the meantime, please be assured of my love and prayers. Please give me a ring if you’d like a chat.

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

5th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

5th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The pen and wash above is Heilung der Schwiegermutter des Petrus (Christ Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law) by Rembrandt circa 1650-1660 and can be seen in the Fondation Custodia, an art museum in the 7th arrondissement of Paris Creative Commons CC0 License

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

With the grim milestone of over 100,000 deaths to date having been reached last week, it is good to see that the numbers of infections and deaths on the island are slowly beginning to come down.

It is also very encouraging to hear how many of you have now received your first vaccination!

Sadly, we cannot open our churches for public worship yet, but I wanted to draw your attention to an important festival of the Church which is coming up on Tuesday, namely Candlemas; also known as The Presentation of Christ in the temple, or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Candlemas marks the end of 40 days since we celebrated Christ’s birth at Christmas, and the three titles given to this day give us a clue to the three things which are being remembered on this day.

Firstly, the recollection of the prophecy of Simeon in the Temple that the infant Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to the people Israel”; the Jewish rites surrounding childbirth for women, and the offering of a first-born Jewish child to God for His service.

Candlemas provides us with a sort of “hinge”, between the birth of Jesus at Christmas and our starting to look towards the cross; and the liturgical colour changes after the Eucharist at Candlemas from the white of Epiphanytide to a more penitential colour as Lent approaches.

Normally, we would have had a mass, with a candle-lit procession, as we remember that we were once presented at church for our baptism. At our baptism we were dedicated to God, and given the name, “Christian.” We received a lit candle from the paschal candle, at which the priest said, “God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light. You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life.

Although we cannot be together to celebrate this Feast, let us spend some time on Feb 2nd pondering our own baptism and what it means to us in our daily discipleship and how we carry out this instruction to “walk in the light of Christ”.

Feb 2nd will also see the funeral of Eileen Jones, who used to be a faithful member of All Saints. Her coffin will be received into church at 4.30pm on Monday Feb 1st and will remain in church overnight. It will leave church at 11.00 on Tuesday Feb 2nd.

Her funeral will be at the crematorium at 12.00, but it will be immediate family and close friends only. However, we hope to have a memorial requiem and the interment of her ashes in due course. If you would like to attend the reception of her coffin, or to be there when she leaves church, you would be very welcome.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

4th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

4th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is of a Romanesque fresco in the former bell house of Lambach Abbey. Christ heals a man possessed in the synagogue of Capernaum. Two groups of men are looking at what is happening, the twelve people on the left are probably the twelve apostles. It dates to the 11th century Creative Commons CC0 License