29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

This is just a reminder that the Annual Report and the Accounts are now available on the Websites. Please do have a look at them ahead of our APCM on 25th October, which will take place immediately after the 11am service.

Also, please note that the clocks will go BACK on 24th October. You will therefore need to set you clocks accordingly, otherwise you’ll find yourself in church an hour too early!

According to the latest Covid guidelines from the Government we are still in tier 1 on the island. This means we will not need to make any amendments to our current Covid arrangements for the time being. I will let you know if this changes.

The latest pastoral guidance we have received from the Diocese is that Clergy are now allowed to take Holy Communion to people who are vulnerable and unable to come to church. Please let me know if anyone would like to receive Holy Communion at home and I will gladly take it to them.

As you will know, our churches finances have suffered as a result of lockdown, although we have been grateful that many regular givers have continued to make their contribution to the church.

We are also grateful to Dennis for keeping All Saints’ open during the week, through which we have received a good sum from tourists’ donations.

However, it will still be a struggle to meet our Parish Share this year so, as part of our Patronal Festival on November 1st, where we give thanks for all that All Saints’ church means to us, we will be having a retiring collection.

At St Alban’s, we will have a retiring collection after the 10.00 All Souls’ mass on Monday 2nd November.

The gospel reflection this week is by Michael Moore, who is a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

With my love and prayers,

Corinne

Scripture Readings

29th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

29th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above dates from the 17th century and is by Joachim Wtewael (1566–1638) Creative Commons CC0 License

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

It will be good to gather for worship again this Sunday, with Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching in both churches.

Those of you who were at church the last time we met on September 27th will have heard that Fr David Lawrence-March, who for the past three years has been Priest in Charge at Good Shepherd, Lake, and St Saviour’s, Shanklin, will be leaving the island some time in December, to take up a post in Derby Diocese.

You may remember that, before Fr John retired, it had been the expectation that the four Society churches on the island would be brought under the leadership of one priest. Now that all four churches will be in vacancy by the end of the year, and as all churches come under the alternative episcopal oversight of the Bishop of Richborough, I’m hoping he will get in touch with us before long to discuss the future of our churches with regard to recruitment. I will, of course, continue to serve across the four churches.

We are fortunate, though, to have the ministry of Frs Gregory Clifton-Smith and Alan Swanborough, to keep us ticking over twice a month; and we will have the special treat of +John Hind (former bishop of Chichester), who will be with us at All Saints’ for our Patronal Festival on November 1st at 11.00, and All Souls’ at St Alban’s on November 2nd at 10.00.

The PCC will be meeting at St Alban’s at 9.30 on Monday 12th October; and the APCM will be at All Saints’ on Sunday October 25th, immediately after the 11.00 Parish mass. In accordance with the Archdeacon’s instructions, the APCM will be chaired by one of the Churchwardens.

Remembrance Day, is on November 8th. At St Alban’s things will be as usual, with an Act of Remembrance at 9.30, followed by mass; but at All Saints’, things will be different, as you would expect given the current restrictions. This is what the latest Bulletin from the Diocese says:
Q. Are there any particular considerations for Remembrance services? If the service is in the Church or Churchyard, then you can go to the assessed safe capacity of the building/churchyard.
If the service is to be elsewhere (eg. a High Street or village green war memorial), then the Rule of Six and the full need for social distancing etc. will apply.
As our Act of Remembrance traditionally takes place at the War memorial before we then go up to church for the continuation of our Act of Worship, we are not yet sure what will be possible this year. I will let you know as soon as I have had further guidance about this.

My love and prayers,

Corinne

Scripture Readings

28th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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The image, Beatrice meeting Dante at a marriage feast, denies him her salutation, was painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882) in 1855. It is to be found in the Ashmolean Museum. Creative Commons CC0 License

Harvest Festival

Dear Friends,

This pastoral letter is for the next two weeks, because I will be taking Annual Leave from Monday 26th – Sunday 4th October inclusive, and will not be putting anything on the website over the weekend of October 4th.

If there are any pastoral emergencies during this time please contact the Acting Area Dean, Hugh Wright, on 01983 853729.

You will all no doubt be saddened that, in order to stem the rising tide of Covid numbers, restrictions on numbers of people gathering have had to be reintroduced by the Government. I’m happy to say that church services and meetings will not be affected, at least for the time being, but guests at weddings have now been reduced from 30 to 15. Please pray for Hayley and Alex, who will be getting married in All Saints on Oct 17th.

In the Church’s calendar next week there is an important date to which I would like to draw your attention.

Tuesday 29th September is the Feast of St Michael and All Angels. Michael is mentioned in the Apocalypse as the leader of the heavenly host. He is a patron of soldiers. In Christian art St Michael is usually portrayed fighting a dragon, representing the devil. By his actions, St Michael is bringing the light and goodness of Christ to overcome the forces of darkness of sin.

Along with Michael, we remember the other Archangels, Gabriel and Raphael. Gabriel, who appears in the book of Daniel to explain some of the prophet’s visions, was also the bearer of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary; and Raphael is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, as the angel who heals Tobit of his blindness. Raphael’s name means God heals and he is often associated with the Church’s Healing ministry.

This Sunday is Harvest Festival in both our churches. Please bring your harvest gifts to church, as usual. Harvest goods will afterwards be donated to the Ventnor Food bank.

We will meet again for mass on Sunday 11th October, when we will have Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching for us.

Thank you to those who have responded to the Archdeacon’s questions about the future of our churches. I have sent them to him for his consideration.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Harvest-Festival-Readings

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A Reflection

Harvest-Festival-Reflection

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In the photo above Anthea is busy preparing some gorgeous floral arrangements for our Harvest Festival service this Sunday.

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

Next week sees several important commemorations, which I commend to you for your prayerful attention.

The first is on Monday 21st September. This is the day the church gives thanks for the life, witness and legacy of St Matthew, the apostle and evangelist.

Matthew was born in Capernaum and was working as a tax-collector when Jesus called him. He is thought by some scholars to have written an early version of his gospel in Aramaic, a precursor to the Greek version we now have. He is also said to have preached in the East.

Thursday 24th is Our Lady of Walsingham. Our Lady, to whom I know many of you have a great devotion, is an example to us of obedience and faithfulness. She shows us how to stay close to Jesus to the last, no matter what happens in life, so that we can grow more like him and like her – trusting, welcoming and co-operating with God in every aspect of our lives.

As many of you will know, we have a statue to Our Lady of Walsingham in St Alban’s church, and an altar dedicated to her in All Saints’. Before lockdown, many visitors to All Saints’ used to leave prayers on that altar, which were prayed through at our monthly cell of Our Lady of Walsinham. Pray that we may one day be able to resume this important ministry providing, as one member of our congregation described it, “pastoral care for the world”.

Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are all Ember days. These are the 4 sets of three days of prayer and abstinence, spread throughout the year, and which are designed to be used as a kind of “spiritual check-up”!

On ember days, we give thanks for the gifts of nature, and ask God’s help that we may use His gifts in moderation and in order to assist the needy.

Ember days are also the times of year which are traditionally set apart for the ordination of clergy.

Due to the Covid pandemic, ordinations have had to be postponed and very much scaled-back this year. Instead of being great celebrations in cathedrals throughout the country, this year they will be taking place in the churches where individual deacons and priests will be serving.

Please pray for all about to be ordained in this and in other Dioceses, especially Hannah Barraclough, who will be ordained Deacon on October 11th and who will be serving at Newport Minster.

My love and prayers,

Corinne

Scripture Readings

25th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

25th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above dates from the 11th century and is by an unknown author Creative Commons CC0 License

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

With the Government announcement that social gatherings will be restricted to six people as of Monday 14th September, I am pleased to say this doesn’t not apply to churches!

The Archbishop of Canterbury said that, “after contact with Government we hear that there is no change to guidance on places of worship. Worship is the work of God – not a social gathering – and gives the strength to love and serve”.

This is a great relief, especially as we start to move into the time of year when there are more special services. Here are some dates for your diary:

The first of the special services will be our Harvest Festival, which will be held on Sunday September 27th at 9.30 at St Alban’s and 11.00 at All Saints.’ Please bring harvest goods to church; and following the service the goods will be donated to the Ventnor Foodbank.

On Sunday November 1st at 11am there will be a joint celebration of All Saints’ Patronal Festival at which + John Hind will be presiding and preaching. Please note there will be no service at St Alban’s on that day.

Monday November 2nd is All Souls’ Day and +John Hind will be say mass at St Alban’s at 10.00, followed by refreshments. Please let me know the names of departed loved-ones whom you would like to have remembered at the altar.

Sunday November 8th is Remembrance Day. St Alban’s will have an Act of Remembrance incorporated into the 9.30 mass. At All Saints’ we will have an Act of Remembrance, gathering at 10.55 at the War Memorial, followed by Matins in church. We will be pleased to welcome members of the Parish Council and the Scouts but, in order to remain Covid compliant, we will need to continue to limit the number in church to 30.

I hope the changes to the number who are now allowed to gather won’t be cutting across too many social arrangements you might have had planned. It is so disappointing to have to cancel events which have been eagerly anticipated, but it is important to do all we can to keep everyone as safe as possible.

My love and prayers,

Corinne

Scripture Readings

24th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Forgiveness Poems

24th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Poems

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The image above is The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant by Claude Vignon, dated 1629 and is to be found in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours Creative Commons CC0 License

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

In my pastoral letter on August 2nd, I asked you to respond to two challenging questions which were posed by the Archdeacon at Deanery Synod to all the island churches.

As we heard at Synod, we are at a crossroads in ministry on the island at the moment, as we face a huge financial shortfall. We were told that most parishes are in a decline in numbers, that giving does not cover the cost of ministry on the island, and that Covid has merely brought forward the need to address these issues seriously and urgently.

I asked you to consider the Archdeacon’s questions carefully, and to come back to me or the Churchwardens with any thoughts and ideas you might have. I have yet to hear from anyone.

The Area Dean wants to have feedback from all the churches by the end of September, so that she, along with the Archdeacon, can start to shape the future of ministry on the island, in which everybody has a part to play, so I pose the questions again.

Question 1: Is my Parish sustainable? If not, what changes do we need to make to make it sustainable?

Question 2: What needs to be present for Mission and Growth on our Island to be achieved?

I don’t want to sound alarmist, but Peter’s questions challenge us to recognise the fact that unless our churches are financially sustainable, growing and engaged in Mission, our future hangs in the balance.

In order to respond to the Archdeacon’s questions, we clearly need to consider our identity as churches, and to ask ourselves further questions such as, who is missing from our congregations? What might we do about that?

Things are obviously going to have to change, if we are to move from managing decline to a mind-set of growth and Mission, and thereby to secure the future of our churches. It is therefore imperative for us to find positive reasons why people would be attracted to our churches, and to think about the things which would enable them to thrive.

For example, if we think in terms of service to the community, what did we do in the past that we don’t do any longer? Would it be desirable to find a way to revive that, or is there something else we could do?

As I’ve said, it’s up to each one of us to contribute to the discussion, so that we can have a say in our future. I therefore urge you, seriously, to consider these questions and PLEASE to get back to me with any suggestions you might have about possible ways forward.

My love and prayers,

Corinne

Scripture Readings

23rd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

23rd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is from the book of Lindisfarne, dating from the late 7th century and is to be found in the British Museum Creative Commons CC0 License

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

I hope you haven’t all got webbed feet, after all the rain we’ve had this past week!

As you know, we are currently able to have mass on Second and Fourth Sundays, so this is to draw your attention to the fact that, as there is a 5 week month in August, the next mass at All Saints will be on Sunday 13th September. Fr Alan Swanborough has kindly agreed to preside and preach, because Fr Gregory will be away; and at St Albans I will be providing a service of Extended Holy Communion on that day.

I also have some good news to bring you about All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days for you to put in your diaries!

As we were disappointed that, due to the lockdown, we were unable to welcome +John Hind to lead the Easter Triduum for us, I thought I’d ask him whether he would be willing to come over for the All Saints’ Patronal Festival on Nov 1st– and he’s said he will!

He will be staying in Ventnor until the following Tuesday, and so has also agreed to say mass at St Albans at 10am on Nov 2nd to commemorate All Souls.

Other news is that Dennis has told me that we will shortly need to have the grass cut in the All Saints’ churchyard. This is an important piece of maintenance, because it is good to be able to keep the churchyard looking tidy for people to come and pay their respects to loved ones who are buried there.

The cost of having the grass cut will be about £545 and, as you know, our church income has been very badly affected by not being able to have the church open during the period when we would usually have received a lot of revenue from tourists. If you felt able, and would like to donate some money for the grass-cutting, please let Dennis know (01983 840591). Cheques should be made payable to Godshill PCC, or you could make a donation directly into the All Saints’ account: Nat West Sort code: 54-41-31 A/C no: 07403488.

Finally, on Thursday next week, 3rd September, a much-loved member of the St Alban’s congregation, Valerie Pye, will be laid to rest. There will be a Requiem at St Alban’s at 2pm, with Fr David Lawrence-March presiding and me assisting, followed by burial at Ventnor Cemetery. If you would like to attend, please let me know. 07775628593.

My love and prayers,

Dn Corinne

Scripture Readings

22nd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

22nd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is Get Thee Behind Me, Satan by John Flaxman dated between 1783 and 1787 and is to be found in the Yale Center for British Art Creative Commons CC0 License

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Forthcoming Saints Days

Monday 24th August St Bartholomew
He was born at Cana and brought by the Apostle Philip to meet Jesus. Nothing further is known for certain. The great historian of the early Church, Eusebius, speaks of him in India, but the Roman Martyrology has him martyred in Armenia, skinned alive according to the Persian custom. Because his relics were enshrined on the island in the Tiber that is principally used as a hospital, he has become a patron saint of the sick.

Tuesday 25th August St Louis (1214-1270)
He became King of France (as Louis IX) at the age of twelve. He was married and had eleven children, to whom he gave an excellent upbringing. He was noted for his spirit of prayer and penitence and for his love for the poor. He ran his kingdom not only to give peace to the people and economic stability but also for their spiritual good. He founded the University of the Sorbonne and was a friend of St Thomas Aquinas. He was trusted by his fellow-rulers in Europe and often asked to arbitrate in their disputes. He undertook two unsuccessful crusades to liberate Christ’s burial-place and on the second of these he died, near Carthage, in the year 1270. He is the patron saint of France.

Thursday 27th August St Monica (331-387)
She was born at Thagaste in Africa of a Christian family. She was married young, to Patricius, and among her children was Augustine. He had a brilliant intellect and uncertain morals and his wayward spiritual career saw him at one time a Manichee and then a Neoplatonist. With many tears she prayed unceasingly to God for his conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtue and is a wonderful example of a Christian mother.

Friday 28th August St Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother (see above!) and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death. Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent thirty-four years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature, as is his great work, The City of God. The Second Readings in the daily Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his works. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308.

Scripture Readings

21st-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

21st-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is St Peter Preaching in the Presence of St Mark by Fra Angelico dated circa 1433 Creative Commons CC0 License

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dear Friends,

I hope you’re managing to find a way to keep cool enough in this sweltering heat and are not struggling too much.

One of the lovely things about being able to be back in church again is that both All Saints’ an St Alban’s come into their own in the summer and provide a welcome respite from the heat!

This Sunday,16th August the Church will be keeping the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and you will see my Gospel reflection is about that.

This weekend will also see the third anniversary of my licencing as Parish Deacon in our churches. I remember that evening in 2017 with great joy, little knowing that, three years on, Fr John would have retired and I would have been given a new license by the Bishop as Interim Deacon in Charge.

It is a great privilege and a joy to serve such lovely people in our worshipping communities; and I am grateful for all the help and support I continue to receive from Churchwardens and others, who enable me to serve you to the best of my ability whilst a new priest is sought. Please keep that process in your prayers.

This Sunday St Alban’s will be open for a time of private prayer from 9.30 – 10.30am, or there may be a lay-led service.

Our next Mass at All Saints’ will be at 11.00am on Sunday August 23rd, with Alan Swanborough presiding and preaching; St Alban’s will have a service of Extended Holy Communion, at 9.30am.

Just a reminder that I am currently drawing up an intercessions list for both churches. Please let me have the names of anyone who would like to be prayed for during our services of public worship.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

The-Assumption-of-the-Blessed-Virgin-Mary-Readings

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A Reflection

The-Assumption-of-the-Blessed-Virgin-Mary-Reflection

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The image is “Assumption of the Virgin” by Andrea del Castagno – From Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie. It was painted between 1449 and 1450, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Del_Castagno_Andrea_Our_Lady_of_the_Assumption_with_Sts_Miniato_and_Julian.jpg

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends,

As many of us will be back in Church on Sunday, both at St Alban’s an All Saints’, this Sunday’s homily will be put on the website once Fr Gregory has preached it!

For those who can’t be with us on Sunday, I will put the readings on the website before then, together with Fr David’s commentary on them, so you have something to be going on with until the homily is on there too.

As you will have seen on the news and in the press, the wearing of face-coverings in church will be mandatory from August 8th; but this does not apply to those who have a medical exemption. Obviously, you will need to remove your mask in order to receive Holy Communion, so please do this using the ear loops and avoid touching the front of the mask.

Given that clergy will be a minimum of 3 metres away from the nearest person for most of the service, our Guidance from the Church of England is those leading worship will only wear masks when we are in closer proximity to members of the congregation. Those of you who were at All Saints’ on July 26th will have noticed I put on my mask for the distribution but didn’t wear it at other times.

I hope you’re all finding ways of coping with this strange way of living and, for those who have been shielding, that you are maybe starting to go out again.

Please let me know of any prayer requests, either for yourself or for anyone who is in need of prayer, but please ask their permission before passing their name onto me.

Love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

19th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

19th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflections

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Text of Father Gregory’s Sermon

19th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Sermon

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The image above is Rettung des sinkenden Petrus by an unknown monk dated in the 10th century Creative Commons CC0 License