1st Sunday of Lent

1st Sunday of Lent

Dear friends,

At Deanery Synod last week, it was confirmed that Godshill Parish will now be part of the new grouping of churches in the South of the island, so that we can support one another in mission and encourage our churches to grow in depth, impact and number.

The Area Dean also mentioned that, although the 3 Society Parishes will be in different groupings, it is expected that they could still come together from time to time. +Norman has expressed his willingness to come to the island once lockdown is lifted, so it may be possible to do something jointly then.

We are not the only churches who will have an informal link across geographical partnerships with others of similar churchmanship, as a connection is being established between Mark Williams and his evangelical churches in Shanklin and Sandown and the people of St Paul’s Barton.

It is my hope that with an Anglo-Catholic presence in two different church partnerships on the island, this will give an opportunity for us to raise the profile of the richness of our tradition, and to demonstrate what we have to offer to the island and the Diocese as a whole. As +Norman said, we need to find our “value-added”!

Although we are, of course still in lockdown, and we will have to wait until that is lifted before we can meet to hold a PCC meeting face to face, please do start to have a think about what the strengths of our churches are. Dennis Owen, Alan Philpott or I would be very happy to hear about any ideas you might have about steps we could take to make the Diocesan Live Pray Serve mission strategy a reality in our churches.

I am very pleased to confirm that, once we are able to resume Public Worship, Fr Gregory will be able to restart his commitment to preside for us on 2nd Sundays in the month, starting on April 11th, travelling between St Alban’s and All Saints’ as before.

It remains to be seen when it will be possible for Messy Church to be able to start up again but, when it does, this will continue to be part of St Alban’s missional outreach into Upper Ventnor.

I do hope you have a blessed and rewarding Lent. I will continue to provide resources as we go through; and it is my hope that it will be possible to have a Parish mass at All Saints’ on Easter Day.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

1st-Sunday-of-Lent-Readings

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Reflection

1st-Sunday-of-Lent-Reflection

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The painting above is The Temptation of Christ by Juan de Flandes (1450–1519) painted circa 1500 and can be seen in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Creative Commons CC0 License

A Journey through Lent 2021

ASH WEDNESDAY AT HOME
A solemn act of penitence for use at home

We begin by making the sign of the cross

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We keep a period of silence before saying the collect:

Almighty and everlasting God,
You hate nothing that you have made
And forgive the sins of all who are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts
That we, worthily lamenting our sins
And acknowledging our wretchedness,
May receive from you, the God of all mercy,
Perfect remission and forgiveness:
Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever. Amen.

We keep a period of silent reflection on our sins before saying:

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
We have sinned against you and against our neighbour
In what we have thought, in what we have said and done,
Through ignorance, through weakness,
Through our own deliberate faut.
We have wounded your love
And marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins,
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ
Who died for us, forgive us all that is past:
And lead us out from darkness
To walk as children of light. Amen

A Journey through Lent 2021

Lent_Resource

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6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

At our clergy Chapter meeting on Feb 9th, the Area Dean shared with us the results of the comments she has had from the churches across the island about the Deanery Plan, and the consequent decisions she has made about the new groupings into which the various churches will be placed.

These decisions are not set in stone, but are based on feedback from members of our congregations about their wishes. If you don’t agree with the decision she has reached with regard to Godshill Parish, please contact her via your Deanery rep, Alan Philpott at: iowtv@hotmail.com

Amanda stressed that she is trying to avoid Pastoral reorganisation, as this can be such a painful process, fraught with difficulties and is likely to involve forced redundancies of sitting clergy. By drawing churches into partnerships, however, current Parish structures will remain as they are. The intention is that through these partnerships the churches can support one another in their mission, reduce duplication of services and be better placed to respond to the Bishops’ call to the churches to grow in depth, impact and number.

She also shared with us where it will be possible for her to make savings. The Deanery Plan will be presented at our Synod next week, before it goes to the Bishop for final approval.

Amanda stressed that, although she is very grateful to those churches who have paid their share in full, the fact remains that the Diocese only collected 56% of the expected total last year. Monies collected go into a central pot and, for churches in a vacancy, the decision to recruit (or not) to a post lies with need, rather than the individual churches ability to pay their share.

The good news for the 3 Society Parishes is that they will be protected, and an appointment will (in due course) be made for a Society priest who will serve across all 4 churches in our constituency; and I will continue to receive a half-stipend to carry on serving across the four churches for at least another year.

With regard to the grouping into which Godshill Parish will be put, Amanda took account of the differences of opinion expressed by our congregants about where we should “sit” in relation to the partnerships which she has been drawing up.

Whilst there were some who wanted to link with Ventnor and the other churches which will now be added to that group (St Lawrence, Whitwell, Niton and Chale), there were also strong voices rejecting the idea of Godshill Parish being included in any Ventnor grouping. Some people also expressed a strong desire for Godshill Parish to be in the same “hub” or “Partnership” as the other Society churches.

In light of all this, Amanda has decided that Godshill Parish should be put in the same group as Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s. As these churches have already agreed to join in Partnership with the other churches in the Bay, Amanda told us that Godshill Parish will therefore, along with Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s, join the Partnership with St Blasius, Shanklin; St Paul’s, Shanklin; Christchurch, Sandown; and St John’s, Sandown.

The Bay clergy have now met several times and have been exploring some potentially exciting mission opportunities; and the PCCs for Good Shepherd and St Saviour’s are also very much on board with these plans. With Godshill Parish joining the Partnership it is hoped that they will also wish to get involved.

I must admit to being somewhat saddened that Godshill Parish doesn’t wish to join with the Ventnor group of parishes; as, indeed, +Norman was when I discussed it with him because, if this decision is ratified, it will have some, perhaps unforeseen, negative consequences for us.

Firstly, the provision of Messy Church in Upper Ventnor will be affected. This venture has up to now been run by St Alban’s and the Ventnor churches as part of their joint missional outreach. However, if Godshill parish are in a group with the Bay churches, we will obviously no longer be an integral part of the missional activity in Ventnor and this relationship will sadly have to come to an end.

Secondly, Ventnor and the surrounding churches, as described above, will be served by Hugh Wright, with Tony Lawrence (currently training at St Stephen’s House) as his curate from the summer, plus Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith and some readers.

Tony, who used to be Churchwarden at St Saviour’s, is a traditionalist Anglo-Catholic; and it had been my hope that as part of his curacy he might, once he has been priested, be able to help at All Saints’ and St Alban’s during our vacancy. However, with the Parish’s decision that they do not want to be part of Ventnor, this will not now be a possibility.

Thirdly, Fr Gregory, who lives in Ventnor and is a member of Hugh’s Team, had been generously giving us one Sunday a month. With the new grouping of the Ventnor area churches, he will necessarily have more calls on his time from those churches. In light of this, it will remain to be seen whether he will be able to continue to support All Saint’s and St Alban’s liturgically.

However, James Cook holds the list of retired clergy who are willing to conduct worship for the many churches currently in vacancy. I know he will help as much as possible in finding priests who can say mass for us although, unfortunately, they are unlikely to be from the Catholic Tradition.

If you are happy with the decision about being in the Bay Partnership, no further action neds to be taken. However, if you wish to deviate from the current position which has been requested, please liaise with your Deanery rep, Alan Philpott, who can then gather a parish outlook and inform Amanda ahead of Synod on Feb 16th.

It was good to speak to +Norman during the week. He sends his love and said he was disappointed that his proposed trip for the weekend of 19th – 21st had had to be cancelled due to the lockdown. He said he hopes to be able to come to the island before too long.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

6th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

6th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The pen/brush and ink above is Christus geneest een melaatse (Christ heals a leper) by Rembrandt circa 1650-1655 and can be seen in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Creative Commons CC0 License

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

With the sad news of the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore last week, who inspired the nation and helped us through the tough days of the last year, it is worth taking a moment to consider his optimism and resilience.

Too often these days, we are inclined to forget the wisdom and life experience of older people. Yet those who, like Captain Tom, lived through the war and other challenging times in our nation, learned lessons for life which we could all do well to learn from and to adopt.

There’s a joke which goes, “If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, you obviously don’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation!” Captain Tom’s optimism wasn’t a denial, though, of the realities of the situation we were facing with Covid, nor was it an escape from them. Rather, it was that he stepped up to the challenge, and set us an example of all that is best in humanity.

His simple action, in walking up and down his garden, with absolute focus and resolve, to raise money for the NHS, was an example to us all. His characteristics of stoicism, enthusiasm, warmth, kindness and humour shone through every interview he gave, and offered us light at a very dark time.

I suggest that, as we remember Captain Tom, let us resolve to use what he taught us to live our lives with the same integrity of purpose and love.

Other news: Clergy Chapter will be meeting on Tuesday 9th to discuss the Deanery Plan, before it goes to Deanery Synod the following week. Please pray for all involved in the difficult decision-making process, as we seek to find a way through the challenges currently facing the churches in the Diocese and, especially on the island.

I hope many of you by now will have had your first vaccination. I am delighted to say that serving clergy were invited to go to St Mary’s last week to receive theirs, so I have now been Pfizered!

As more and more people receive vaccinations, we will start to see a way out of lockdown, and I hope and pray it won’t be too long before we can get back to public worship again.

In the meantime, please be assured of my love and prayers. Please give me a ring if you’d like a chat.

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

5th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

5th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The pen and wash above is Heilung der Schwiegermutter des Petrus (Christ Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law) by Rembrandt circa 1650-1660 and can be seen in the Fondation Custodia, an art museum in the 7th arrondissement of Paris Creative Commons CC0 License

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

With the grim milestone of over 100,000 deaths to date having been reached last week, it is good to see that the numbers of infections and deaths on the island are slowly beginning to come down.

It is also very encouraging to hear how many of you have now received your first vaccination!

Sadly, we cannot open our churches for public worship yet, but I wanted to draw your attention to an important festival of the Church which is coming up on Tuesday, namely Candlemas; also known as The Presentation of Christ in the temple, or the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Candlemas marks the end of 40 days since we celebrated Christ’s birth at Christmas, and the three titles given to this day give us a clue to the three things which are being remembered on this day.

Firstly, the recollection of the prophecy of Simeon in the Temple that the infant Jesus would be “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to the people Israel”; the Jewish rites surrounding childbirth for women, and the offering of a first-born Jewish child to God for His service.

Candlemas provides us with a sort of “hinge”, between the birth of Jesus at Christmas and our starting to look towards the cross; and the liturgical colour changes after the Eucharist at Candlemas from the white of Epiphanytide to a more penitential colour as Lent approaches.

Normally, we would have had a mass, with a candle-lit procession, as we remember that we were once presented at church for our baptism. At our baptism we were dedicated to God, and given the name, “Christian.” We received a lit candle from the paschal candle, at which the priest said, “God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and has given us a place with the saints in light. You have received the light of Christ; walk in this light all the days of your life.

Although we cannot be together to celebrate this Feast, let us spend some time on Feb 2nd pondering our own baptism and what it means to us in our daily discipleship and how we carry out this instruction to “walk in the light of Christ”.

Feb 2nd will also see the funeral of Eileen Jones, who used to be a faithful member of All Saints. Her coffin will be received into church at 4.30pm on Monday Feb 1st and will remain in church overnight. It will leave church at 11.00 on Tuesday Feb 2nd.

Her funeral will be at the crematorium at 12.00, but it will be immediate family and close friends only. However, we hope to have a memorial requiem and the interment of her ashes in due course. If you would like to attend the reception of her coffin, or to be there when she leaves church, you would be very welcome.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

4th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

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Reflection

4th-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

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The image above is of a Romanesque fresco in the former bell house of Lambach Abbey. Christ heals a man possessed in the synagogue of Capernaum. Two groups of men are looking at what is happening, the twelve people on the left are probably the twelve apostles. It dates to the 11th century Creative Commons CC0 License

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear friends,

First of all, thank you to all who have responded to the document I sent about the new Deanery Plan. It would seem that of the people who have responded in terms of St Alban’s, several think it would make more sense for St Alban’s to be partnered with the Ventnor churches, as they are already engaged in some joint working, eg Messy Church ministry in Upper Ventnor; and there is historical precedent for them having been involved in other joint ventures in the past.

However, there are others who think differently about this, who would not want to see St Alban’s going in with Ventnor, and who suggest a different configuration, maybe including St Alban’s, All Saints’, Whitwell and St Lawrence.

All Saints’ is a different kind of church from St Alban’s as, with its rich heritage and history, and its picturesque village location, it is a magnet for visitors. We already have a significant ministry of pastoral care for the visitors who come into our church from across the world, and it is important that that work is maintained and built upon.

As I said last week in the document I circulated about this, we do not at this stage need to have detailed plans; but the Area Dean is trying to get a sense of the “direction of travel”, as she and the Deanery Council analyse the proposals from all the island churches. These will be considered by Deanery Council and then Deanery Synod, before being presented to the Bishop on Feb 22nd.

Our Gospel reading this Sunday, which tells us about Jesus’ call to Simon, Andrew, James and John, has something to say to us as we wrestle with the questions about our future as churches.

The positive response of these first disciples to Jesus’ call to follow him and help with the work of building the Kingdom continues to ring down the generations, via St Paul, whose Feast of Conversion we keep on Tuesday Jan 25th.

St Paul, having been actively persecuting Christians before his encounter with Christ brought about his conversion, subsequently worked tirelessly to spread the Good News of the Gospel.

Thanks to the missionary work of St Paul and those who have come after him, Christians have been called down the generations to assess what being a follower of Jesus really means; to ask why they are followers, and to question what this means in terms of their daily discipleship. In light of the current changes in the Deanery, it is pertinent for us to also ask what type of church does God want our churches to be; and how should we proclaim the Good News in our own day?

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

3rd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Readings

(Download the Scripture Readings)

Reflection

3rd-Sunday-in-Ordinary-Time-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

The image above is a wall mosaic from the 6th century and is in the nave of the Church of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. Further information

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

(Download the Scripture Readings)

Reflection

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

(Download the Reflection)

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

(Download the Scripture Readings)

A Reflection

The-Baptism-of-Christ-Reflection

(Download the Reflection)

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

Open letter from Isle of Wight NHS Trust CEO to community, patients and colleagues

Thank you all so very much for the amazing support that you have shown to us and to our health and social care partners during 2020.

The challenges we have faced as a community have been huge and we cannot underestimate the impact that Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had and will continue to have.

Whether you have lost a loved one, worked on the frontline throughout or been shielding at home – we have all experienced the anxiety and strain of the pandemic.

We have found a way through
Yet our community has been so strong in the face of Covid-19. Together we have found a way through – we have led the way with the first Covid-19 App, kept cases low on the Island and protected the most vulnerable among us.

But with the emergence of a new variant of the virus and a rapid spread of cases across much of the South East we now have a new challenge to face.

The Christmas we all wanted to see has ebbed away as the new variant took hold and we are faced with tougher Tier 3 restrictions from Boxing Day.

You can find more information about Tier 3 restriction.

Rising cases
Cases locally are rising and we know from earlier in the pandemic that it is only a matter of time before we see an increase in admissions to hospital. This of course all coincides with the pressures of winter.

The key to our response so far has been the support of our community and partners and the dedication of our staff.

You stood on doorsteps in your thousands and clapped for the NHS and key workers, you donated food, gifts and money to our charity and crucially you have diligently followed the Government guidance.

Dig deep and go again
We ask you now to dig deep and go again. We need you to help us continue to fight against this virus. What we need from you now is not clapping or donations. What we need is for you to act as though you and the people you might meet have COVID-19.

Wash your hands, cover your face and keep your distance from people.

More information about how to control the spread of the virus is available.

The thousands of people that make up Isle of Wight NHS Trust, our staff and volunteers, will be here for you if you need us. Our teams are working flat out, as they have throughout the pandemic, to provide safe and compassionate care. To deal with the impact of the coming surge in COVID-19 cases and winter pressures we really need your help.

Follow the guidance
Please follow the Tier 3 guidance to the letter and keep yourself, your loved ones and our community safe. Ask your friends and family to do the same because we all have a part to play. We should all maintain good hand hygiene, wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

You can also help by making sure that you are accessing the right services. You should call NHS 111 first before coming to the hospital and they will help you get the right support, whether that’s from your local pharmacist, GP, our Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E. If it is a life-threatening emergency please call 999.

Find out more about NHS 111

Social contact is driving the spread of the virus
We know how very difficult these new restrictions will be for us all but there is clear evidence that social contact, particularly in people’s homes, is driving the spread of the virus.

There is significant risk for our community if people start mixing freely over the coming days. I urge you all to have a careful Christmas.

Devastatingly consistent
Sadly this disease is proving devastatingly consistent. More social contact leads to rising cases, which leads to more hospital admissions and tragically, more people dying. We should take this very seriously but we should not give up hope.

By working together and supporting one another we will get through this. With the start of a mass vaccination programme we can see a way out of the restrictions that have so impacted our lives.

I am proud to be part of this Trust and part of this community and I know that we will rise to the challenges ahead of us.

Have a safe and happy Christmas, Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive

Image: Colin D under CC BY 2.0