Easter 4

Dear Friends,

It is lovely to be starting to get back into a rhythm of regular Sunday worship again, after all these months of lockdown. We are very fortunate to have priests who are willing to assist us with mass; and we hope that, after May 17th it will be possible to restart a monthly HC service at St Margaret’s Hall, Lowtherville.

In the meantime, we can all find ways of deepening our spiritual lives by drawing on a variety of sources: from the good old BCP to on-line worship, TV or radio, there are now many ways of accessing additional prayer resources.

I am currently following a series entitled, “Prayer: where to start and how to keep going”. It is based on a book by Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and is available from Church House Publishing, or you can listen to ++Stephen’s daily reflections as part of the Radio 4 Daily Service at 9.45LW daily from now until April 30th.

One of ++ Stephen’s suggestions is to use you hand as a model for prayer.
Start by holding your clenched fist in front of you, and then slowly opening it up to receive from God the blessings and wisdom God longs to give you.
In this way – your hands open before God – your hand itself can be a basic pattern and reminder of how to pray:

1. Thumb
When something is good you give it the “thumbs up”. So start with thanksgiving. Count your blessings. What are the good things in your life? Thank God for them.
2. Index finger
This is the finger you use to point. Pray for direction in your life; the decisions you need to make; the things for which you are responsible; the things you are concerned about. Pray for direction in our world and for the challenges we face.
3. Middle finger
This is the tallest finger. Pray for the important people who have power in the world; national and local politicians; the Royal Family and other world leaders and their governments.
4. Ring finger
If you are married, you wear your wedding ring on this finger. It is also the weakest finger. It can’t do much on its own. Pray for your family and friends. Pray for the people upon whom you are dependent, and the people who are dependent on you.
5. Little finger
This is the smallest and the last finger on your hand. Pray for the poor, the weak, the helpless, the vulnerable, the excluded, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved. Remember those who have died.
And finally – lifting both your hands to God in thanksgiving – pray for yourself

The sign of the cross
This leads us to probably one of the most basic ways of praying of all, also using your hands. Making a sign of the cross on your forehead or your body. It is one of the ways many Christians begin and end a time of prayer.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-4-Readings

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Reflection

Easter-4-Reflection

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The image is “The good Shepherd” mosaic in mausoleum of Galla Placidia. UNESCO World heritage site. Ravenna, Italy. 5th century A.D. Creative Commons CC0 License

Easter 2

Dear Friends,

For some people Monday is being regarded as “the glorious 12th”, with the easing of some of the lockdown restrictions, and “non-essential” shops reopening, as well as hairdressers and other establishments; and outdoor service restarting in pubs, restaurants and cafes.

For many people this will come as a welcome end to some of the restrictions we have been enduring over past months, but the Government is rightly urging us all to maintain social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing, in order to limit the numbers of infections which are likely to follow as more people are out and about and mixing more freely.

For others, this will be an anxious time and it will take time to build confidence about starting to go about daily life outside the confines of home once again. For those who have been shielding, this will be especially challenging and I ask your prayers for those known to us in our church family to whom this applies.

Monday will also be the funeral of Tony Steele, much-loved member of Good Shepherd congregation, and also known and loved by many people at Godshill. His funeral will be conducted by Anne Davis, at Good Shepherd church at 10.30, followed by burial at Bridgecourt Cemetery.

Please pray for the repose of Tony’s soul, and remember Janet and all the family at the sad time.

Last week, the funeral of Sue Goff’s mother, Doreen, took place at St Alban’s, followed by burial at Ventnor cemetery. Please pray for the repose of Doreen’s soul, and remember Sue and all her family, as they mourn Doreen’s loss.

Although death of course brings such sadness, as we remember those whom we will no longer see again in this life, we can take comfort from the message of Easter; that through his life, death and resurrection Christ conquered death and opened the way for us to everlasting life.

This won’t stop us feeling sad, but we can mourn our loved-ones in the knowledge that death does not have the final word. Jesus’ resurrection shows us that our earthly death is, in fact, the gateway to eternal life with him; and so we can rightly sing, ”Thine be the glory”, with tears pouring down our faces.

All Saints’ will be open daily for private prayer from Wednesday 14th.

Christ is risen, alleluia, alleluia! He is risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia!

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-2-Readings

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Reflection

Sunday-Reflection-to-come

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The image is the beginning of the Gospel of St John in the “Coronation Gospels” (Cotton MS. Tiberius A. II, f. 162r). The manuscript was damaged by fire in 1731, the parchment leaves subsequently being mounted in paper frames. It is to be found in the British Library. Creative Commons CC0 License

HRH Prince Philip 1921-2021

HRH Prince Philip

Announcement

Today we join with the whole nation and friends across the world in expressing our sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. Amidst the pain and grief we also lift prayers of thanksgiving for his life, service and example to our nation and to the world.

Statement from Bishop Christopher

The Duke of Edinburgh has lived as an exemplar of public service and devotion to duty. His commitment to the Queen and to the nation has been steadfast and his down-to-earth persona has been coupled with deep loyalty and service. I pray today with gratitude for his life, for Her Majesty and the Royal Family in their loss, and with compassion for all who mourn.

Life of HRH Prince Philip

HRH Prince Philip was born Philip, Prince of Greece and Denmark, on June 10th, 1921. After being exiled from Greece as a young child, Philip grew up in France, Germany and the UK, and joined the Royal Navy in 1939, serving in the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets during the Second World War. In 1947 he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, taking the name Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents, so that he could marry Elizabeth, and was given the title Duke of Edinburgh. He left active military service when Elizabeth became HRH Queen Elizabeth II, and was later endowed with the title HRH Prince Philip.

He retired from royal duties in 2017, having completed over 20,000 solo engagements. During his long service as consort to the Queen he became patron to over 800 organisations, including being President of the World Wide Fund.

The Queen and Prince Philip had four children – Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex – as well as eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

HRH-Prince-Philip-prayer

Read the announcement from Buckingham Palace

Easter Sunday

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter! It is such a joy that we can be back in church again for the great annual celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord; and we owe a debt gratitude to the priests who will be presiding and preaching in our churches. We also give thanks and pray for our churchwardens, Dennis and Alan, and other church officers, as they continue to keep our churches running smoothly.

There will be mass next Sunday April 11th at both St Alban’s and All Saints, at 9.30 and 11.00 respectively, with Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching.

At the Chrism mass on Maundy Thursday last week, when this year clergy and accredited lay ministers had the opportunity to renew their commitment to ministry, this year via live-stream, the Bishop said this to his Deacons,

“At your ordination as a deacon
you received the yoke of Christ,
who came not to be served but to serve. Will you continue faithfully in this ministry, to build up God’s people in his truth
and serve them in his name?”

Our response was, “With the help of God, I will”.

As I have renewed our commitment to ministry and dedicated myself afresh to living out my calling as I serve the churches of our constituency, I ask your prayers to help me to do this, as I will pray for you; especially as we continue in our vacancy and start to work more collaboratively with other churches.

However, the call to ministry is not just about clergy! It is a calling for the whole people of God and starts at our baptism, as each and every one of us is called into ministry and discipleship, and to participate in the missional life of God according to our gifts and circumstances, whether we have a particular designated “role” in the church or not.

By virtue of our baptism, God places his mark on us to be co-workers with Him in building of the Kingdom of God in our daily lives, in our relationships one with another, in the values we hold and the choices we make about how we live.

It is therefore a duty and a privilege for each one of us prayerfully to consider the vocation of our churches and how we can respond to the challenge to grow in impact, depth and number, so that the Good News of the Gospel of Christ can be made a reality in the communities in which we are set.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-Sunday-Readings

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Reflection

Easter-Sunday-Reflection

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The image is a print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations in the possession of Revd. Philip De Vere at St. George’s Court, Kidderminster, dated January 1 1970 Creative Commons CC0 License