2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

This has been a very worrying week, with the numbers of Covid infections and deaths from Covid continuing to rise on the island; but is encouraging to hear how many people from among our congregations have now been vaccinated, as this gives us the greatest hope of coming out of lockdown.

Many of you will have known Eileen Jones, who was a regular member of All Saint’s until age and frailty overtook her. Sadly, Eileen died recently. I don’t have confirmation of the details of her funeral yet, but I will let you know in due course. Meanwhile, please pray for the repose of Eileen’s soul and for all her family who mourn her loss.

Thanks go to Keith and Tom Burden, cheered on by Jackie(!), for getting the window at St Alban’s repaired again so quickly. The jackdaws will now have to look for alternative accommodation!

Monday 18th sees the start of the week of prayer for Christian Unity. This is an ecumenical, international annual event, which is traditionally held between 18th – 25th January.

For 2021, materials have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp, Switzerland. The theme is “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit”, based on John 15:1-17. This theme expresses the Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.

Unfortunately, this year resources can only be found online. You can find them by going to ctbi.org.uk; but we can all pray for the unity of the church and for reconciliation and a fairer sharing of the world’s resources, which is so needed in these times of such division and social injustice around the world.

Every year, Christian Aid provide daily reflections during the week for prayer for Christian Unity, with Go and Do action points linking into the important work of Christian Aid in the relief of poverty and advocacy of justice. Resources can be found at christianaid.org.uk

If you would like to donate to the work of Christian Aid, you can go to the website, as above, or you can call 02075232046 and speak directly to a member of the giving team.

Please do contact me if you are struggling in any way during these difficult times, and please be assured of my continuing prayers.

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

2nd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

2nd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew by
Lorenzo Veneziano, dated 1370 and is to be found in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin Creative Commons CC0 License

The Baptism of Christ

Dear friends,

Well, the predicted national lockdown has now happened! I am so relieved we took the decision together to suspend public worship at our churches when we did, because this has been shown to be entirely the right call to have made.

Sadly, Dennis has had to take the additional decision to close All Saints’ completely, even for private prayer; and St Alban’s will also remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Sunday worship can be accessed, though, via live streaming from a number of sources, including eg the Minister, Portsmouth Cathedral or Walsingham Anglican Shrine. If you’d like more options, please get in touch with me.

newportminster.org
portsmouthcathedral.org.uk
walsinghamanglican.org.uk

You can also find worship being broadcast on the TV or radio, e.g.

BBC 1 Sunday Worship at 10.00
Radio 4 Sunday worship at 8.10
Radio 3 (daily)Choral Evensong at 15.00

I will continue to put the Sunday readings on the website, together with a weekly homily, either by me or others, plus my usual weekly pastoral letter.

For those of you who usually go to All Saints’, if you know of people who do not have internet access, but would like to access these weekly resources, could I ask you to print out copies and get them to them, please?

For those who normally go to St Alban’s, I will continue to get copies to you in the usual way.

Although the vaccine programme is currently being rolled out, it will obviously be a while before we are out of lockdown. This will be a time of continuing to care for one another at distance, by phone, email and, of course through prayer. However, for those who are shielding, or who need help with shopping etc, help is available from the Godshill Volunteer co-ordinators:

Alison Child tel: 840179
or
Rodney Downer tel: 854203

In Ventnor, the community hub can offer similar help to vulnerable people tel; 835775 / 857848 9.00 – 16.00 Mon – Fri.

Please do contact me if you’re struggling in any way; and, if you know of someone who is ill and they would like me to contact them, or to pray for them, please let me know.

In the meantime, please be assured of my love and prayers.

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

The-Baptism-of-Christ-Readings

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A Reflection

The-Baptism-of-Christ-Reflection

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The image above is a painting dated 1498-1500 by Pietro_Perugino. It is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Gemäldegalerie in Vienna Creative Commons CC0 License

Christmas Day

Dear Friends,

You will, I’m sure, be very aware of the rising numbers of Covid infections on the island. With the new variant being so much more infectious, this places our congregations, most of whom are in what is deemed to be the “vulnerable” group of the population, at a greater risk of infection.

Although our teams at both churches have done a great job with hygiene and distancing measures, this worrying increase in numbers of infections means we have to look again at the local circumstances, in order to keep people safe.

The Bishop sent an email to all serving clergy yesterday, to offer guidance during these challenging times. +Christopher urged clergy to consult with their churchwardens to make local judgements about service provision because, as he says, “what may be permitted according to Government guidelines, may not actually be advisable”.

In light of all this, I have consulted with Dennis and Alan Swanborough and we have agreed that our Christmas Day mass will need to be the last public act of worship at All Saints’ for the time being, until we can see the number of infections on the island starting to fall again.

This is, of course, very disappointing news for everyone. It has been so lovely to be able to gather together for worship again but, if it serves to keep people safe, it will be worth the sacrifice. Hopefully, as the vaccine is rolled out to increasing numbers of people, it won’t be too long before we will be able to gather again.

Dennis has kindly offered to open All Saints’ daily from Tuesday 29th, so people can go in and pray privately, and resources will continue to be put on the website, so do please have a look.

I will, of course, keep in close touch with churchwardens and will let you know as soon as possible when we can resume our services.

With my love and prayers,

Corinne

Naming of Jesus

Naming-of-Jesus-2020

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The image above is a tapestry dated between 1500 and 1520. It is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection Creative Commons CC0 License

4th Sunday in Advent

Annunciation-Adriaen_van_de_Velde

Dear Friends,

As Christmas will fall on Friday of next week, may I take this opportunity to wish you as merry a Christmas as is possible, given the circumstances!

Mass on Christmas Day will be at All Saints’ at 11.00, with Fr Alan Swanborough preaching and me deaconing.

On Sunday 27th December, Fr Alan has, again, kindly agreed to say mass and preach at All Saints at 11.00. Unfortunately, I cannot be with him that morning, as I am needed in my other churches.

Alan Philpott and Paul have been doing a great job preparing prayer resources for people at St Alban’s to use on Sundays when, sadly, it has not been possible to have a service. It has, unfortunately, not been possible to have any Christmas services there this year.

I will be taking some time off in the week immediately after Christmas. Needless to say, we will be staying on the island! If any emergencies crop up during that week, please do still feel free to contact me.

The first masses of the New Year will be on January 10th, the Baptism of Christ, with Fr Gregory at St Alban’s at 9.30 and All Saints’ at 11.00. I hope to be with him that morning, but it rather depends on what arrangements we’ve been able to put in place at my other churches.

I pray that, whatever arrangements you make for Christmas and New Year, you stay safe, well and have a blessed and peaceful time.

With my love and prayers,

Dcn Corinne

Scripture Readings

4th-Sunday-in-Advent-Readings

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A Reflection

4th-Sunday-in-Advent-Reflection

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The image above is a painting dated 1667 by Adriaen van de Velde (1636–1672). It is currently in the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder collection Creative Commons CC0 License

3rd Sunday in Advent

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, the 3rd in Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. The term comes from the Latin opening words of the introit antiphon, “Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always.”

The theme of the day expresses the joy of anticipation at the approach of the Christmas celebration, and reflects a lightening of the tone of the traditional Advent observance. This is why the celebrant of the Mass and the deacon wear rose-coloured vestments (rose, not pink!) on this day, instead of the deeper violet vestments that were typically used in Advent. It is also reflected by the practice of including a pink or rose-coloured candle among the four candles of an Advent wreath.

It will be good to have Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching in both churches this Sunday, and at All Saints’ he will be wearing the rose chasuble which Fr John bought two years ago. Fr Gregory tells me he’s never worn rose vestments before!

With news of the vaccine starting to be rolled out, plus the fact that Covid numbers on the island are the lowest in the country we can, I think, cautiously start to rejoice that the beginning of the end is starting to come into sight.

Although this has been a very tough year, rejoicing is actually part of what it means to be a Christian. The reason Christians can rejoice, even in times of great anxiety and suffering; even when we “walk in the valley of darkness” (Psalm 23:4), is because of the faith, hope and love which has been revealed and given to us in Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Being a Christian doesn’t offer us a kind of “celestial insurance policy”, but our faith does teach us that we can face trials, calamities and personal suffering, not in our own strength, but through the power which comes from our faith in Jesus Christ.

I found this to be very true when I was chaplain in the hospice, and I’ve no doubt told you before that I couldn’t have done my job there if I didn’t believe that God is with us in our sufferings, and that there’s more to life than this life.

As the writer of Romans says, “I believe that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from Christ Jesus our Lord”. (Roms 8: 38,39)

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

 


Lovely to be able to give the rose vestments another airing this morning to celebrate Gaudete Sunday!

Scripture Readings

3rd-Sunday-in-Advent-Readings

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A Reflection – sermon by Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith

3rd-Sunday-in-Advent-Reflection

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2nd Sunday in Advent

Dear Friends,

By the time you read this, we will be out of lockdown number 2 and churches will be permitted to have public worship once again! I am happy to say that our next services at St Alban’s and All Saints’ will be on Sunday December 13th; and we are fortunate that Fr Gregory Clifton Smith will be with us to preside and preach at St Alban’s at 9.30 and at All Saints’ at 11.00.

Next Wednesday, December 8th, the Church of England commemorates the lesser festival of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary or, as the Roman Church calls it, The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

This doctrine was declared by the Pope in 1845, saying that Dec 8th should be kept to mark that the Blessed Virgin Mary was “from the first moment of her conception….preserved free from all stain of original sin”; that is to say, she was human like us, but was free from the state of separation from God (otherwise known as Original sin) which we are all in, as a consequence of the Fall.

Although this Doctrine was formulated by the Roman Church, it is important to remember that Mary is an important feature of the universal catholic Christian faith because of her humanity and her proximity to the divine.

She is rightly honoured by the Universal Church but not worshipped; asked for her prayers, but not prayed to; and recognised as having a special relationship with Christ, but never taking his place.
Her role is always to point away from herself and to direct us to her Son. It is worth noting that in our statues of Our Lady of Walsingham in our churches it is not Mary alone that we see, but Mary presenting her Son to us.
It is therefore not a perversity of Catholicism or Anglo-catholicism that we rightly honour Mary as the first follower of Christ. Indeed, both Luther and Calvin held very high Marian doctrines, and the Ave Maria continued to be said in Geneva even whilst the icons were being destroyed.

We need therefore to be attentive on that grace, and to wait in hope and prayer, as we see the model set before us in Our Lady Mary, as she points to her Son and waits with us this Advent Season for the redemption of all humankind.

With my love and prayers,

Corinne

Scripture Readings

2nd-Sunday-in-Advent-Readings

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A Reflection

2nd-Sunday-in-Advent-Reflection

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1st Sunday in Advent

Dear Friends,

I was delighted to hear from +Norman last week that, all things being equal with Covid, he intends to make a pastoral visit to the island in February next year.

He will be on the island over the weekend of February 20th/21st and will visit the 3 Society parishes, saying a Benefice mass at St Saviour’s, Shanklin, on the Saturday evening and coming to preside and preach at mass at All Saints’ on Sunday 21st at 11.00.

It will be lovely to see him again and, hopefully, you will have a chance to have a chat with him.

Other good news is that we will be allowed to come together for public worship again once the lockdown ends, so our next service will be on Dec 13th, with mass at St Alban’s at 9.30 and All Saints’ at 11.00. Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith will be presiding and preaching.

We are very fortunate that Fr Alan Swanborough has offered to say mass at All Saints’ on Christmas Day at 11.00, and also on Sunday 2th December.

I am still working on provision for St Alban’s over Christmas, but will let you know more in due course.

With the Government’s announcement that three households will be allowed to gather as a bubble to spend 5 days together over Christmas, I have to admit to feeling some anxiety about the consequences of people doing this, and the impact this could have on Covid numbers on the island.

Our family all live on the mainland, and we have taken the difficult decision to all stay put over the Festive Season to avoid any risk to one another.

Of course, these are decisions which people must make for themselves, but I hope and pray there will be a common-sense approach to balance to desire to meet with our loved-ones with the need to keep them safe.

With my love and prayers,

Dcn Corinne

Scripture Readings

1st-Sunday-in-Advent-Readings

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A Reflection

1st-Sunday-in-Advent-Reflection

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The image above: Creative Commons CC0 License

Christ the King

Dear Friends,

It was good to join some 270 people on Zoom last Tuesday for the swearing in of the churchwardens from across the Diocese. Alan was there, as he took his oath to serve for another year…which was impressive all the way from Portugal!

One of the upsides of Zoom is that people can join meetings from remote locations.

Dennis has also made his commitment to serve as Churchwarden again for another year, which is a great relief!

There was another zoom meeting this past week, Deanery Synod, which was attended remotely by our reps Alan and Chris and many clergy and laypeople from across the island.

Synod discussed the common themes which had emerged for the Archdeacon’s two questions, which you will remember were posed to congregations earlier in the year.

The Area Dean was struck by some of the innovative ideas which had been put forward – one being to have Holy oils brought to the island from the Cathedral on Maundy Thursday by drones…I think that was one of our people’s suggestions!!

More seriously, the Deanery Council identified three main areas where parishes can start to focus their thinking about the future. These are: Missional growth; increase in income; structural changes.

The themes which emerged from the presentations about these things were, firstly, that everyone has a part to play in living out the reality that the Church of England, through the parish system, is not just there for the faithful who come to church, but for the whole community.

Secondly, we need to collaborate and share resources as we try to re-start and build on what we were doing pre-Covid, and to think of imaginative ways to use our church buildings. As the Area Dean said, “Don’t let your buildings hold you back”!

Thirdly, we were told there will need to be structural change on the island, and various plans are being considered. The Area Dean told us that a template will be produced shortly by the Diocese, as a framework for shaping our churches’ future. Feedback from the template will then go back to the Diocese in the Spring.

I will keep you fully informed, as will our Synod reps, of any developments. We will also ensure that PCCs have the opportunity to discuss the implications the Deanery Plan will have on our life together at All Saints’ and St Alban’s.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Christ-the-King-Readings

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A Reflection

Christ-the-King-Reflection

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The image above is of a window to be found in St Botolph without Aldersgate, London EC1, depicting Christus Rex Creative Commons CC0 License

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Teachings of Jesus

Dear Friends,

One week into lockdown, three more to go! I hope you’re all finding ways to get through these difficult days. Please let me know if you, or anyone else you know, is struggling and I’ll do my best to help.

It was very good to hear this week of the progress which has been made in developing a vaccine; so we pray that it will be possible to roll this out, as soon as it has been proven to be safe, and that it won’t be too long before we can start to pick up the threads of our lives again.

Although lockdown 2 sadly means we can’t gather for corporate worship once again, All Saints’ will continue to be open for private prayer on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10.00am – 5.00pm. I will also continue to put resources on the website each week, where you will find a pastoral letter, plus the Sunday readings and a short homily. For those without internet access, I will let you have printed copies as usual.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have urged that, although we cannot come together for worship, we each use this month of lockdown as a special time of prayer, maybe setting aside a few minutes every day at 6.00pm. They have produced a leaflet containing prayer resources entitled, “Prayer for the nation”, which can be found on the All Saints’ and St Alban’s websites; and I have also left copies at the back for All Saints’ church, for people to use whenever the church is open. Please take them away with you for use at home. You can also visit the Church of England website at Churchofengland.org

On Tuesday 17th at 7pm the Archdeacon’s visitation will be taking place via Zoom. This is the occasion when the churchwardens are sworn in for another year, so please remember Alan and Dennis in your prayers, as they commit to serving our churches for another year.

On Wednesday 18th at 7pm Deanery Synod will be meeting via Zoom. As part of this, we will be hearing feedback from the parishes in response the two questions which the Archdeacon posed, and to discuss the new Deanery Plan. Alan and Chris Philpott are our Deanery Synod reps, and I will be there too, so we will keep you fully informed of any developments.

This Sunday (15th) is Fr David Lawrence-March’s last Sunday, so from then on the Parishes of Good Shepherd, Lake, and St Saviour’s, Shanklin, will be in vacancy. I hope that, with all the Alternative Oversight parishes now in vacancy, Bishop Norman will make contact with us before long.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

33rd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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A Reflection

33rd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is of an etching by Dutch poet, illustrator and engraver, Jan Luyken (1649-1712) Creative Commons CC0 License