A message from churchwarden Alan

Hello Friends,

Since the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, where Chris and I were re-elected to the Deanery Synod and I am again one of your Churchwardens, we have had yet another lockdown and Chris and I have had to learn the mysteries of the Zoom internet meeting facility. I had heard Zoom mentioned a lot during the pandemic, but I must admit to not having a clue how it works or what it looked like, so some fast learning was needed so we could join the online Deanery Synod meeting and I could swear in as Churchwarden at the Archdeacon’s online visitation. All very clever stuff and hopefully I will learn to use properly as time goes by.

The Deanery Synod was attended by some 75 people online, or do we call them Zoomers? The meeting highlighted some of the main problems facing our Diocese and individual churches. The shortage of clergy to fill vacancies such as our own will no doubt lead to a reduction in the number of parishes on the island and we will have to “fight our corner” to ensure we get treated fairly along with the other three Anglo Catholic churches.

Of course, finance was a major issue, with the Diocese currently taking advantage of a Government covid-19 loan which of course will have to be paid back. With lockdown restrictions, churches have all had huge reductions in income and a large majority are finding it impossible to pay their full parish share (quota). The benefits of the Parish Giving Scheme were explained and it was clear that parishes using the scheme were doing far better during the pandemic. A major problem facing us and the whole Diocese is the low numbers in our congregations and closure of churches is something that is going to be the cause of much soul searching and discussion in the near future. However, it was heartening to hear some saying that closure really should be the last option, although we will have to find good reasons to support the case that Anglo Catholic Churches such as ours are needed by people on the island to ensure their spiritual wellbeing is cared for and that transport issues in rural areas such as the island do justify the need for churches that would not be so essential in an urban environment.

If anyone would like more detailed information about the issues discussed at the Deanery Synod, please contact me by email at iowtv@hotmail.com and I can supply copies of the reports, Powerpoint presentations etc.

As one of your Churchwardens and I am sure that Dennis would agree, that although Covid-19 has taken an awful lot of effort and time, we do not forget that as soon as we are permitted to, it is important that we are ready to move forward with finding a new Parish Priest. In February we will have the visit of +Norman, Bishop of Richborough and we must take the opportunity to impress on him that we need all help possible to find a priest who will continue the Anglo-Catholic traditions of this parish.

Best Wishes to you all for Christmas
& I hope the New Year brings better news for us all.

Alan Philpott

A Letter to the Nation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York

welby-cottrell

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have invited the nation to join them in prayer, in a message encouraging ‘calm, courageous and compassionate’ responses to the difficulties of the second national lockdown in England.

Dear Friends,

These are deeply challenging and difficult times for us all. When we are surrounded by fear and suffering, it can be hard to feel hopeful. This coming winter feels like it will be longer and darker than usual.

There is a story in the Bible where Jesus and his disciples are caught in a storm. The disciples are understandably terrified as the wind and waves threaten to overpower them. ‘Why are you so afraid?’, Jesus asks. This year, we too have been caught in a storm which often feels overwhelming. And yet we can look to Jesus, in the boat with us, who calms the storm and comforts us in our fear.

We are writing to share our belief that whoever you are, and whatever you happen to believe, you are loved by God. Beyond measure. We also want you to know that we are praying for you, particularly asking that Christ’s love will comfort us, calm our fears, and lead our nation and our world through this terrible pandemic. Starting this week, we have asked every church to pray each day at 6pm. We invite you to join with us. You’ll be able to find simple resources on the Church of England website and social media channels.

There are three other responses that we want to encourage everyone to consider –

First, let’s be calm. By only buying what we need and not hoarding, or by reaching out to our neighbours as we did during the first lockdown, we can be stronger together in ways that are impossible if we go it alone. When things go wrong – as they always will with such complex challenges – let us look for good and right ways forward together.

Secondly, let’s be courageous. There are many reasons to be fearful at the moment, but the story of Christ calming the waves calls us to give our fears to Jesus and have faith in Him. The British willingness just to get on with things is one of our very best characteristics – let us not be paralysed by fear. We will all need each other’s courage in the months to come.

Thirdly, let’s be compassionate. So many of us are holding so much pain – our own and the pain of those we love. We will need to be gentle, kind and patient with each other. In the first wave we showed we are a nation of compassion and kindness. Let’s dig deep and keep that love for our neighbours strong in this second time of struggle.

Even though there is much darkness around us, there are also many points of light in the weeks ahead.

This Sunday is Remembrance Day. As we remember the courage and sacrifice of those who gave everything for this nation in war, we are also reminded of the possibility for hope after destruction, of new life after suffering. In the coming weeks, there are great religious ceremonies. For Hindus, Sikhs and Jains there is Diwali, the festival of light. Sikhs will celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak. The Jewish community will observe Hanukkah. Many Muslim communities have just celebrated Eid-e-Milad, the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad.

Soon it will be Christmas. At his birth Jesus was also called Emmanuel. It’s a word that appears in lots of carols. It means ‘God is with us’. And this is the message of Christmas: in Jesus, God is with us, sharing our darkness and our struggles, bringing comfort and joy. It is the source of our hope. As the Bible says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5) Let us shine in the darkness of this winter.

May God bless you and keep you, and all those you love.

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

The Most Revd & Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York

Arrangements for the lockdown period

Dear Friends,

With another lockdown beginning on Thursday, from which day no corporate acts worship will be permitted, these two special masses have been a lovely boost to sustain us through the challenges we will be facing over the next weeks and months.

Unlike the last lockdown, though, churches are encouraged to remain open for private prayer, where possible. In a letter to clergy on Nov 1st the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of London, say that “the best way we can serve our nation now is by pouring our energy into doing the things that we can do, which is to pray and serve.”

Obviously, the suspension of public worship will mean that our plans to commemorate Remembrance Sunday have had to be cancelled. However, All Saints will be open for private prayer on Sunday 8th and every Sunday from then on, from 10.00am until 5.00pm. The church will also be open from 10.00 – 5.00 pm on Wednesdays. I will leave various prayer resources, including a list of the fallen from our parish, at the back of church to aid you in your individual reflection.

Of course, it is very important that we maintain Covid security, including social distancing, at all times; so please do be very careful to observe the protocols which, sadly, have become all too familiar to us.

Alan Philpott is hoping that it may be possible to open St Alban’s from time to time, but the logistics for this are complicated – watch this space!

Thank you to all who contributed to the retiring collection for the Ventnor Food bank. I am delighted to say we raised £65. This will, I’m sure, be much appreciated by the Food Bank, which has become an essential lifeline for many. Please consider buying an extra item when you go shopping to donate to the food bank. Most local supermarkets have a collection point in-store.

The next period of lockdown will be especially challenging for those who live alone, or who have additional health problems. I will try to keep in touch with those who are anxious or lonely, but it would be really good of we can all continue to look after one another in whatever ways we can.

Please be assured of my love and prayers. Do feel free to phone me if you’re struggling, or would just like a chat! My number is 07775628593

Deacon Corinne

All Saints

corinne and john hind

On Sunday we had a wonderful Patronal Festival at All Saints, with +John Hind presiding and preaching; and yesterday we were privileged to have the Bishop presiding and preaching at our All Souls’ Requiem at St Alban’s.

Revelation 7.9-17 / Psalm 34.1-10 / 1 John 3.1-3/ Matthew 5.1-12

Today we celebrate the triumph of God’s grace in the lives of his saints – of all his saints, a word which means of course God’s holy ones. That includes of course all what we might call the “big” saints, those in the church’s calendar, but also and today most especially those countless thousands of men, women and children whose life stories and even names are unknown to us, in whom God’s grace triumphed and whose heavenly reward is God’s own secret at present. Their very hiddenness is a an encouragement to us. If they could become saints, why not you and I? And it’s also a challenge. If they could become saints, why not you and I?

We call them saints not just because of what they did in all their striving to live as good Christians, but mainly because the grace of God touched, moulded, filled them, took them over, so that they could truly be the “good trees bearing good fruit” that Jesus spoke of, or so that they could say, with St Paul, “I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2.20)

The saints remind us that we are “to be holy as our Father in heaven in holy.” Being a saint may well be something out of the ordinary – unusual even – but it is not weird or unnatural. On the contrary it is or should be the most natural thing in the world. It is to be what we were created to be.

This is always true, but we have special reasons for pondering on the saints just at the present moment of global crisis.

What does it mean to be holy – or at least to try to be holy – when so much seems to be collapsing around us, when the stability and security most of us in these privileged parts of the world are being challenged and we are all anxious about the future? Part of the answer lies in the basic meaning of holiness in the Bible: that is to say, being apart, separate. It is fundamentally a quality of God himself.

We can think of this in terms of God, as Creator, being apart from his creation. Well, that’s true, but only up to a point. There is obviously a difference between everything in the universe that has been made and the infinite wisdom that lies behind it all and keeps it going But the very fact that God is the Creator means that there is an inseparable bond between them and that everything that exists bears the imprint of God’s wisdom. So God’s apartness certainly doesn’t mean God is disinterested or uninvolved. And of course nothing could prove this more conclusively than the fact that God became human in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary – he became flesh and dwelt among us, and by sharing our world made it possible for us to share his.

Or we can think of God’s apartness, his holiness, in terms of his separation from sin and evil. This might seem obvious when we think about the commandments and above all about his promise of forgiveness. But once again, the very fact that God cares about how we behave shows that his apartness certainly doesn’t mean God is disinterested or uninvolved.

If God’s apartness is of this very special kind, so too must ours be. Being holy, being a saint, or even just trying to be a saint, means that each one of us is called to share the ambiguous kind of apartness that is God’s own. We are creatures, but are invited to share in his work of creating. God has created us to care for the world he has made, to make the most of what he offers and, of course, at the moment to discover more and more of the possibilities he has given for confronting the present pandemic and care for its victims. Similarly, we are sinners but always have the possibility of being forgiven, the privilege of forgiving and so to have a share in God’s own righteousness. Being holy as God is holy, cannot therefore mean floating serenely above everyday struggles and difficulties.

On your patronal festival during this strangest of years, renew your commitment to serve God as his saints, living with one foot on earth and one in heaven and knowing that the God of earth and heaven is with you in both. Pray for the wisdom to know in your everyday lives what it means to be citizens of heaven and for the grace to live on earth in a way that befits the citizens of heaven.

Ronald Taylor

Ronald Taylor passed away peacefully on 23rd May, aged 88. Ronald and his wife Rosemary who died in 2016, were long time residents of Godshill.

The funeral will be a short service at Bridge Court Cemetery on Friday 5th June at 1:00pm. Current restrictions dictate that only a minimum number of mourners can attend. The family would welcome others to participate remotely in prayer for both Ron and Rosemary at that time. June 5th would have been their 55th wedding anniversary.

At a future date there will be a memorial service at All Saints.

[Photos are of Ronald and Rosemary on their 50th wedding anniversary and their wedding day]

Gwen Ayton

Gwen Ayton, a long time resident of Godshill and much-loved member of All Saints church, passed away peacefully on 10th April, aged 97. Much loved mother, grandma and wife of the late George Ayton.

The funeral will be a short service at the crematorium on Tuesday May 5th at 3:45pm. Current restrictions dictate that only a minimum number of mourners can attend. The family would welcome others to participate remotely in prayer at that time.

At a future date, hopefully in the autumn, her ashes are to be interred at All Saints at a memorial service to celebrate her life. Any inquiries to her family via gwenthanksgiving@gmail.com

26 APRIL: There is an extensive obituary in the County Press which also tells of the wide range of activities to which Gwen contributed to the Godshill community over many decades. CLICK/TAP to go to the County Press obituary.