Easter 7

Dear Friends,

With the good news that from Monday we will be able to meet more freely face to face indoors, and are getting back to a regular rhythm of Sunday worship, I have decided not to continue with my weekly pastoral letter.

I’ll still write a letter from time to time, when there’s something I’d like to share with you; but, for the time being, this will be my last one.

Alan and Colin will continue to put information on the websites, but we will also make sure that those without internet access are kept up to date with any important news.

I think this last lockdown has been harder than the previous ones, and I know some of our people have been, and are, going through particularly challenging times. It is therefore good to be able to do more visiting in people’s homes, so please let me know if you are unable to get to church and would like to receive Holy Communion at home.

Some other good news is that we will be restarting a monthly Tuesday Holy Communion service at St Margaret’s Hall, on Tuesday May 25th at 11.00.

These will usually fall on the third Tuesday of the month but, as it will be St Alban’s day on June 22nd, we will have our service on that day. The service in July will be on July 20th.

I will let you know in good time what the dates will be after that.

I hope it may be possible to restart the Thursday mass at All Saints’ in due course, but we are unable to offer that at present.

I also heard last week that +Norman has decided to make his postponed visit to the island over the weekend of November 27th/28th.

He will be at St Saviour’s, Shanklin, on the Saturday evening for a Vigil mass with Confirmation and will be with us at All Saints’ for a Parish Mass at 11.00 on the Sunday morning, Advent Sunday.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-7-Readings

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The image is Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles by Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255–1319) dated between 1308 and 1311 and is to be found in the Museo dell’Opera Metropolitana del Duomo, Siena, Tuscany. Creative Commons CC0 License

Easter 6

apostles

Dear Friends,

Next week sees three Rogation Days. Rogation days are days set aside to observe the change in the seasons and are tied to spring planting. The ones which fall next week, known as the Minor Rogations, are celebrated on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday immediately before Ascension Day, which falls on Thursday.

Rogation days are intended to be days of prayer, which also used to include fasting, and were instituted by the Church as a time of penitence for our sins, to ask God’s protection against calamities and to pray for a good and bountiful harvest.

The word comes from the Latin “rogare”, which means “to ask”; and the primary purpose of Rogation Days was, and is, to ask God to bless the fields and the Parish that they fall in.

Rogation Days used to be marked by the recitation of the Litany of the Saints and, after Our Lady had been invoked, the congregation would walk the boundaries of the parish (Beating the Bounds) whilst reciting the rest of the Litany, sometimes with the addition of verses from the psalms.

In this way, the entire parish would be blessed, the boundaries of the parish marked, and the procession would end with a Rogation mass.

Although this tradition has largely lapsed these days, it is good, nonetheless, to remind ourselves of how the Church’s liturgical year is tied to the changing seasons.

You may like to celebrate Rogation Days by yourself, by reciting the Litany of the Saints and, although be might be too much to walk round the whole parish, you could perhaps have a prayer walk round a portion of the boundary, or simply by remembering all who live in that area and praying for good weather and a fruitful harvest.

On Friday 14th the Church remembers St Matthias. He was the disciple chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot, but apart from that very little is known about him. Like many of Christ’s followers, he was not famous, so his Feast is an appropriate day to remember all unsung faithful followers of Christ and give thanks for them.

Matthias is also the patron saint of alcoholics, so please pray for all who are suffering from this illness, for their families and friends, and for the work of AA and Al Anon.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-6-Readings

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Reflection

Easter-6-Reflection

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The image is a medieval (12th century) Byzantine fresco in a Cappadocian rock-cut church at Göreme depicting Jesus Christ with the twelve apostles. Creative Commons CC0 License

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

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

Palm Sunday

Dear Friends,

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, so I hope you will be able to find some time to consider the themes which are uppermost at this time.

Holy week is a time for us to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the Cross, beginning with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and concluding with his lonely trek from the Upper Room through Gethsemane and ultimately to Calvary and the empty tomb.

Maundy Thursday (from mandatum, ‘commandment’, because of the use of John 13.34 in the Antiphon) contains a rich complex of themes: humble Christian service expressed through Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet, the institution of the Eucharist, the perfection of Christ’s loving obedience through the agony of Gethsemane.

Thursday passes into Good Friday, recalling the death of the Son of God. What other response can we have than other than silence in the face of a sense of desolation. But within the silence there grows a sense of peace and completion, and then the rising excitement as the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and the glories of Easter Day draw near.

All Saints’ will be open for private prayer from 10.00 on Palm Sunday; and I have left a sheet with readings for the day and a reflection on the gospel, written by Allan Procter, Reader emeritus at St Saviour’s. There will also be palm crosses available for you to take away.

Please will you remember Ted and Jackie Holden in your prayers? Ted has been diagnosed recently with a leaky heart valve and pneumonia. He was in hospital last week being treated for the pneumonia and, happily he’s been responding to treatment for that. He is now home and will be building up his strength in order to have a heart operation in due course.

Please also remember Tony Steel and all the Steele family in your prayers. Tony’s funeral will be at Good Shepherd at 12.00 on April 12th, followed by burial at Bridgecourt Cemetery.

Please pray, too, for the repose of the soul of Doreen Castle, Sue Goff’s mum, and for Sue as she mourns her loss. Doreen died recently and her funeral will be at St Alban’s at 11.45 on April 9th.

Dennis will be opening All Saints’ every day from 10.00 during Holy week, except Saturday, when the church will be closed for cleaning, so please drop in for a time of quiet reflection and to light candles.

It will be wonderful to be together again on Easter Day for a Parish mass at All Saints’ at 11.00, with Alan Swanborough presiding and preaching. He will also baptise Albert Squibb during the mass, so please pray for Albert and his parents, Charlotte and Jack.

On April 11th, there will be mass at St Alban’s at 9.30 and at All Saints’ at 11.00, with Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Palm-Sunday-Readings

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Reflection

Palm-Sunday-Reflection

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The image is from the Cappella Palatina and is the work of the Master of the Palace Chapel in Palermo dating from around 1150 Creative Commons CC0 License

4th Sunday of Lent – Mothering Sunday

Dear Friends,

Next week we have two important saints to remember! On Wednesday it will be the Feast of St Patrick, Patron saint of Ireland; and on Friday 19th it will be the solemnity of St Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

St Patrick was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th Century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he endured many hardships and faced opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Nevertheless, he worked hard to conciliate, to evangelize, and to educate local chieftains and their families. He is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to the very people who had enslaved him in his youth.

We pray for Ireland, its leaders and people. For the Church in Ireland and its ongoing ministry of reconciliation and the leaders of the Protestant and Catholic churches. We give thanks and pray for all missionaries and those who teach the faith.

Nothing is known about St Joseph except what is said of him in the Gospels. He was a carpenter; he accepted the will of God; and he supported Mary and brought up Jesus. From the human character of his son we can see that he must have been a good and responsible father. He is widely venerated as a patron of artisans who use their God-given gifts honourably, and of workers in general.

We pray for all carpenters and craftsmen, especially any known to us. For all who exercise the role of adoptive parent, whether formally or informally.

Just a reminder that All Saints’ will be open for private from 10am on Sunday 14th, (Mothering Sunday) and again on Sunday 28th (Palm Sunday). All Saints’ will then be open daily for private prayer from 10.00 throughout Holy week.

We will be back in church on Easter Day, April 4th, with Fr Alan Swanborough presiding and preaching at a Parish mass at All Saints’ at 11.00. During this mass, the Sacrament of Baptism will be conferred on Albert Jack Peter Squibb. Please pray for him and his parents, Charlotte and Jack, and all Albert’s family.

The following Sunday, April 11th, there will be a mass at St Alban’s at 9.30 and one at All Saints’ at 11.0, at which Gregory Clifton-Smith will be presiding and preaching.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

4th-Sunday-of-Lent-Readings

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Reflection

4th-Sunday-of-Lent-Reflection

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This enamelled terracotta of the Madonna with Child, the Holy Spirit and two cherubims, is to be found in the Louvre in Paris. It is from the workshop of the Della Robbia and dates back to the early 16th century Creative Commons CC0 License

3rd Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

It is so good that from Monday 8th, it will be possible to meet with one person outside again.

For those who are shielding, of course, this will continue to the end of the month, but it does seem as though we are at last beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We had some sad news this past week, which is that Tony Steel sadly died on Sunday February 28th in St Mary’s Hospital. He had had a fall at home and then, unfortunately, contracted pneumonia and sepsis. Tony and Janet have been well known to All Saint’s, as well as to Good Shepherd church, over many years and he will be very much missed.

We don’t have a date for his funeral yet, which will be held at Good Shepherd, but please keep Tony, Janet and all the family in your prayers.

Thank you to all who have contributed their thoughts to our church reps about the skills you wish to see in the next Bishop of Portsmouth. The reps will be meeting with the Area Dean to feed back your suggestions to the Vacancy in See Committee, so that a Diocesan Profile can be drawn up.

Please pray for all involved in this process, that the right person will be called to serve the Diocese of Portsmouth as its Bishop, at this crucial time in the history of the Church in general and in the Diocese in particular.

Next Sunday, March 14th will be Mothering Sunday. Dennis will open All Saints’ on that day for private prayer from 10.00; and then from Palm Sunday, March 28th, the church will be open daily throughout Holy Week from 10.00 for private prayer, with resources available for people to use.

Fr Alan will preside and preach at a Parish mass at All Saint’s on Easter Day; and the following week, April 11th, Fr Gregory-Clifton Smith will preside and preach at St Alban’s at 9.30, followed by mass at All Saints’.

This will, hopefully, re-establish our pattern of masses on 2nd and 4th Sundays. St Alban’s will have a mass on 2nd Sundays, and it is hoped to be able to re-establish the monthly Communion service at St Margaret’s Hall in due course.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

3rd-Sunday-of-Lent-Readings

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Reflection

3rd-Sunday-of-Lent-Reflection

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The painting above is Christ driving the money-changers from the Temple by Cecco del Caravaggio (1589–1620) and is dated 1610. It is to be found in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. Creative Commons CC0 License

2nd Sunday of Lent

Dear friends,

The main Feast coming up next week is on Monday, which is St David’s day.

St David, or Dewi, was a saint who lived in Pembrokeshire, on the south-western tip of Wales. He was born into a noble family and was educated at Hen Fynyw, before studying to become a priest.

He founded 12 monasteries, including Menevia, which is known today as St David’s, and Glastonbbury.

David settled at Menevia, where the monks lived in extreme hardship, following the example of those in Egypt. They tilled the land by hand plough, were only allowed to speak when necessary, and ate only bread, vegetables and salt. David’s nickname was Aquaticus, because he and his monks only drank water.

David is remembered for his preaching and teaching. His last words are said to have been, “Brethren, persevere in the things you have heard from me”.

In your prayers, please remember the Church in Wales, all religious communities and all those who preach and teach the faith.

At our Society clergy zoom meeting with +Norman recently he told us that, although there won’t be a Society Chrism mass in a cathedral this year, and our clergy will be reaffirming their vows via Zoom on Maundy Thursday morning, the plan is for us to have a Society Chrism mass in Winchester in 2022. It is hoped that a good number of people from the island will attend, as by then we will have two Society clergy serving here – Tony Lawrence and me!

+Norman is still intending to come to the island once we are back into a regular rhythm of public worship. He hopes to use that as an opportunity for us to receive our oils, and for lay people to reaffirm their baptismal vows.

From next Sunday, the Sunday readings will be taken from the Common Worship Lectionary, instead of the Roman one. This will take us into line with the Church of England as a whole and, once we are back in church, will make life a lot easier for visiting clergy.

I hope you are finding a way to make Lent an enriching time for you. If you’ve not been able to decide on a Lent book, you could try reflectively reading one of the Gospels and listen for what new things God might be wanting to say to you, as you read the familiar passages with new eyes.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

2nd-Sunday-of-Lent-Readings

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Reflection

2nd-Sunday-of-Lent-Reflection

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The painting above is Transfiguration, by Raphael, which was unfinished at his death in 1520. It is part of the Pinacoteca Vaticana Collection in Vatican City. Creative Commons CC0 License