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

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

2nd-Sunday-in-Advent-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

O Radiant Dawn – a Resource for Advent

In this booklet you’ll find a reflection to use each day during Advent.

For each day there will be a portion of Scripture, a short reflection and a prayer. You might like to use it to
accompany the lighting of an Advent Candle or Wreath, or with opening a door on the Advent Calendar in your home, as you take a moment to prayerfully reflect on the journey this season takes us on.

CLICK/TAP HERE for the booklet (it may take a few moments to load).

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

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

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

1st-Sunday-in-Advent-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

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

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

Christ-the-King-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

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

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

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

(Download the Reflection)

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

Remembrance Sunday

remembrance 2020

8th November November 2020

Remembrance Sunday – For personal reflection

Two Minutes Silence

They shall not grow old, As we who are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, And in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

When you go home, tell them of us and say:
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.

We remember before you with gratitude, O Lord,
those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom:

All Saint’s war dead 1914-18

Charles Claire, Eddie Dore, William Drudge, Archie Harbor,
Eynon Jones, Joseph Malcolmson, James Weyllie Raeburn,
Tom Rayner, Frederick Wilson Russell, Phillip Alfred Russell,
Albert Henry Edmund Scovell, Wilfred Alban Scovell,
William Thomas Smith, Frank Symmans, Frederick Symmans, Beverley Ussher, Stephen Ussher, Edgar Westmore

St Alban’s War Dead 1914-18

Charles Claire, Eddie Dore, William Drudge, Archie Harbour, Eynon Jones, Joseph Malcolmson, James Weyllie Raeburn, Tom Rayner, Frederick Wilson Russell, Phillip Alfred Russell, Albert Henry Edmund Scovell, Wilfred Alban Scovell, William Thomas Smith, Frank Symmans, Frederick Symmans, Beverley Ussher, Stephen Ussher, Edgar Westmore

1939-45
Norman Bridges, Robin Kemp, Jack Tarrant,
Henry Underwood, Charles Waller, Jeffrey Webber

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord.
And let light perpetual shine upon them.

A Reflection

Remembrance-Sunday-Homily

(Download the Reflection)

Prayer for the Nation

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York and senior church leaders
have called a month of Prayer for the Nation during the second
lockdown.
The suggestion is that as many of us as possible unite to do this at 6pm
each day.
These prayers and themes are offered as tools to enable all to participate
and are intended simply as suggestions.

A Family Prayer

Loving God, you know us and all that we are facing.
We thank you that we can come to you as we are – with all our fears and concerns, our difficulties and challenges.
Please draw close to each of us and those we remember before you now.
Bring to us your peace and comfort.
And fill us with your Spirit that we may be bearers of your grace and hope to others.
As a country protect us, encourage us and keep us.
In the name of your Son Jesus we pray. Amen.

Prayers for the nation

Lord Jesus Christ,
In these dark and difficult days we turn our hearts to you. In ages past you have delivered our nation from disaster. Do it again we pray.
Give Wisdom beyond human wisdom to our leaders. Give strength beyond human strength to the NHS and all our frontline workers.
Give comfort beyond human comfort to children and the elderly and all who grieve.
Lord, Jesus Christ. In these dark and difficult days, turn your face towards us, have mercy upon us, and heal our land we pray. Amen

Loving God, your Son Jesus Christ came that we might have life and have it abundantly; pour out your blessing upon our nation; where there is illness, bring your healing touch; where there is fear, strengthen us with the knowledge of your presence; where there is uncertainty, build us up in faith; where there is dishonesty, lead us into truth; where there is discord, may we know the harmony of your love; this we ask in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Loving God,
at this time of crisis when so many are suffering, we pray for our nation and our world. Give our leaders wisdom, our Health Service strength, our people hope. Lead us through these parched and difficult days to the fresh springs of joy and comfort that we find in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Loving Father God Be with us in our distress: with our families, friends and neighbours, our country and our world. Give health to the sick, hope to the fearful, and comfort to the mourners. Give wisdom to our frontline and key workers, insight to our government and patience to us all; Overcome disease with the power of your new life, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Daily Themes

Sunday – Family, friends and loved ones

We lift to God those we hold in our hearts – praying for their health, their well-being and their sense of hope.
We pray that even when loved ones cannot physically be together they would not feel apart.
We ask for God’s help in our communicating, our connecting and our caring.

Monday – Schools and colleges, children and young people

We pray for all those involved in the shaping of young lives.
We give God thanks for the sacrifice and commitment of teachers and all those involved in serving children and young people in education.
We pray that all might be nurtured and cared for and that every needful resource would be made available – that all lives can flourish even in these difficult times and that no-one would be overlooked.

Tuesday – Elderly, isolated and vulnerable

We echo God’s commitment to those most at risk of this virus by praying today for those who are particularly vulnerable and isolated: praying for their deliverance, protection and comfort.
We hold before God those who care for them – that they would be strengthened and encouraged in this work.

Wednesday – Businesses, the workplace and economic wellbeing

In this time of great challenge, we pray for the economic wellbeing of the country.
We remember before God those who face great uncertainty in their work.
We lift before God those who have lost their jobs and face an uncertain and difficult future. We pray for a renewed commitment to our common life together.

Thursday – The NHS and other key workers

Our God is the great healer – and the agent used more than any other is the NHS. Today we voice our gratitude for those who serve this country in the National Health Service and pray for that God would prosper the work of their hands – that they would all be encouraged in their continued work of sacrifice and care amongst us.

Friday – National and Local government

We pray for those who are in positions of authority with responsibility for decision making at national and local
level at this difficult time. We ask that God would give great wisdom, deep commitment to all and right judgment.

Saturday – All who are grieving, and all suffering with physical and mental ill-health

‘Lord the one you love is ill….’ John 11 v 3

We bring to God all those who suffer in body, mind, spirit or with grief. We ask that in God’s great loving kindness they might know God’s sustaining presence amidst their pain.
We pray for those who are stretched beyond their own capacity to cope and remain hopeful – that in the roar of these waterfalls God would bring a sense of coherence, comfort and strength.

A Grace

Dear God
We are grateful for all that you have given to us – this food, each other and our health.
We pray for those who lack these things we enjoy.
Give us thank full hearts and opportunities to share your gifts with others.
We lift before you this country in these difficult days – and pray you would protect us, encourage us and keep us.
Amen.

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