Easter 6

apostles

Dear Friends,

Next week sees three Rogation Days. Rogation days are days set aside to observe the change in the seasons and are tied to spring planting. The ones which fall next week, known as the Minor Rogations, are celebrated on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday immediately before Ascension Day, which falls on Thursday.

Rogation days are intended to be days of prayer, which also used to include fasting, and were instituted by the Church as a time of penitence for our sins, to ask God’s protection against calamities and to pray for a good and bountiful harvest.

The word comes from the Latin “rogare”, which means “to ask”; and the primary purpose of Rogation Days was, and is, to ask God to bless the fields and the Parish that they fall in.

Rogation Days used to be marked by the recitation of the Litany of the Saints and, after Our Lady had been invoked, the congregation would walk the boundaries of the parish (Beating the Bounds) whilst reciting the rest of the Litany, sometimes with the addition of verses from the psalms.

In this way, the entire parish would be blessed, the boundaries of the parish marked, and the procession would end with a Rogation mass.

Although this tradition has largely lapsed these days, it is good, nonetheless, to remind ourselves of how the Church’s liturgical year is tied to the changing seasons.

You may like to celebrate Rogation Days by yourself, by reciting the Litany of the Saints and, although be might be too much to walk round the whole parish, you could perhaps have a prayer walk round a portion of the boundary, or simply by remembering all who live in that area and praying for good weather and a fruitful harvest.

On Friday 14th the Church remembers St Matthias. He was the disciple chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot, but apart from that very little is known about him. Like many of Christ’s followers, he was not famous, so his Feast is an appropriate day to remember all unsung faithful followers of Christ and give thanks for them.

Matthias is also the patron saint of alcoholics, so please pray for all who are suffering from this illness, for their families and friends, and for the work of AA and Al Anon.

My love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-6-Readings

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Reflection

Easter-6-Reflection

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The image is a medieval (12th century) Byzantine fresco in a Cappadocian rock-cut church at Göreme depicting Jesus Christ with the twelve apostles. Creative Commons CC0 License

Easter 5

Dear Friends,

As part of the C/E prayer series I mentioned last week, a question was raised which seemed to speak into the way a number of people have told me they’re feeling at the moment. The question was, “How do I pray when prayer seems impossible?”

Given the year we’ve had, it is not surprising that some people are in this place. Some have described feeling as though God has let them down, or has even abandoned them. Prayer has become impossible or even pointless. It feels empty, with familiar words and rituals losing their comfort.

Although these experiences are dark and painful, I’d say they are also normal and inevitable. All the great spiritual writers speak of times like these as “desert experience”, and are part and parcel of the Christian journey.

If this is true for you, I’d say “Hang in there”. When I was going through a time like this many years ago, a wise spiritual Director said two things which I have always remembered. The first was, “Pray as you can, not as you can’t”, and “Take the body along and the soul will follow”.

When you journey through the desert, what you look for is an oasis: a place where you can quench your thirst. The oasis will be different for each of us: it might be a familiar prayer; a verse from scripture; a piece of music; a photograph; or even some symbolic action. Discern what it is – no matter how small and seemingly insignificant – that still connects you to God, and then hold onto it tightly through the desert.

I have personally found it helpful to have something physical to hold onto. Whether it’s my rosary beads, or the holding cross made from one of the original crosses at Walsingham, I can get a sense that, as I hold onto these items, God continues to hold onto me, no matter what I’m feeling like, nor whether I recognise Him or not.

Sometimes, the opening words of Ps 130 can be a comfort, “Out of the depths I have cried to you O Lord; Lord, hear my voice”. At others, simply saying “Come, Lord Jesus”, over and over again.

If you can do any of these things, then you are a person of prayer, in community with God and held by Jesus. As you hold onto him and cry out to him in whatever way you choose, he is holding you.

In the Bible, the desert is always a place of discovery. The prophet Isaiah says, “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom.” (Isaiah 35.1)

May this be true for you, too.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-5-Readings

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Reflection

Sunday-Reflection-to-come

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The image is of the Eastern Orthodox icon of Jesus Christ as the True Vine. It is to be found in the Byzantine & Christian Museum, Athens, Greece and dates from the 16th century. Creative Commons CC0 License

Easter 4

Dear Friends,

It is lovely to be starting to get back into a rhythm of regular Sunday worship again, after all these months of lockdown. We are very fortunate to have priests who are willing to assist us with mass; and we hope that, after May 17th it will be possible to restart a monthly HC service at St Margaret’s Hall, Lowtherville.

In the meantime, we can all find ways of deepening our spiritual lives by drawing on a variety of sources: from the good old BCP to on-line worship, TV or radio, there are now many ways of accessing additional prayer resources.

I am currently following a series entitled, “Prayer: where to start and how to keep going”. It is based on a book by Archbishop Stephen Cottrell and is available from Church House Publishing, or you can listen to ++Stephen’s daily reflections as part of the Radio 4 Daily Service at 9.45LW daily from now until April 30th.

One of ++ Stephen’s suggestions is to use you hand as a model for prayer.
Start by holding your clenched fist in front of you, and then slowly opening it up to receive from God the blessings and wisdom God longs to give you.
In this way – your hands open before God – your hand itself can be a basic pattern and reminder of how to pray:

1. Thumb
When something is good you give it the “thumbs up”. So start with thanksgiving. Count your blessings. What are the good things in your life? Thank God for them.
2. Index finger
This is the finger you use to point. Pray for direction in your life; the decisions you need to make; the things for which you are responsible; the things you are concerned about. Pray for direction in our world and for the challenges we face.
3. Middle finger
This is the tallest finger. Pray for the important people who have power in the world; national and local politicians; the Royal Family and other world leaders and their governments.
4. Ring finger
If you are married, you wear your wedding ring on this finger. It is also the weakest finger. It can’t do much on its own. Pray for your family and friends. Pray for the people upon whom you are dependent, and the people who are dependent on you.
5. Little finger
This is the smallest and the last finger on your hand. Pray for the poor, the weak, the helpless, the vulnerable, the excluded, the hungry, the sick, the ill and the bereaved. Remember those who have died.
And finally – lifting both your hands to God in thanksgiving – pray for yourself

The sign of the cross
This leads us to probably one of the most basic ways of praying of all, also using your hands. Making a sign of the cross on your forehead or your body. It is one of the ways many Christians begin and end a time of prayer.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-4-Readings

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Reflection

Easter-4-Reflection

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The image is “The good Shepherd” mosaic in mausoleum of Galla Placidia. UNESCO World heritage site. Ravenna, Italy. 5th century A.D. Creative Commons CC0 License

Easter 2

Dear Friends,

For some people Monday is being regarded as “the glorious 12th”, with the easing of some of the lockdown restrictions, and “non-essential” shops reopening, as well as hairdressers and other establishments; and outdoor service restarting in pubs, restaurants and cafes.

For many people this will come as a welcome end to some of the restrictions we have been enduring over past months, but the Government is rightly urging us all to maintain social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing, in order to limit the numbers of infections which are likely to follow as more people are out and about and mixing more freely.

For others, this will be an anxious time and it will take time to build confidence about starting to go about daily life outside the confines of home once again. For those who have been shielding, this will be especially challenging and I ask your prayers for those known to us in our church family to whom this applies.

Monday will also be the funeral of Tony Steele, much-loved member of Good Shepherd congregation, and also known and loved by many people at Godshill. His funeral will be conducted by Anne Davis, at Good Shepherd church at 10.30, followed by burial at Bridgecourt Cemetery.

Please pray for the repose of Tony’s soul, and remember Janet and all the family at the sad time.

Last week, the funeral of Sue Goff’s mother, Doreen, took place at St Alban’s, followed by burial at Ventnor cemetery. Please pray for the repose of Doreen’s soul, and remember Sue and all her family, as they mourn Doreen’s loss.

Although death of course brings such sadness, as we remember those whom we will no longer see again in this life, we can take comfort from the message of Easter; that through his life, death and resurrection Christ conquered death and opened the way for us to everlasting life.

This won’t stop us feeling sad, but we can mourn our loved-ones in the knowledge that death does not have the final word. Jesus’ resurrection shows us that our earthly death is, in fact, the gateway to eternal life with him; and so we can rightly sing, ”Thine be the glory”, with tears pouring down our faces.

All Saints’ will be open daily for private prayer from Wednesday 14th.

Christ is risen, alleluia, alleluia! He is risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia!

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-2-Readings

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Reflection

Sunday-Reflection-to-come

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The image is the beginning of the Gospel of St John in the “Coronation Gospels” (Cotton MS. Tiberius A. II, f. 162r). The manuscript was damaged by fire in 1731, the parchment leaves subsequently being mounted in paper frames. It is to be found in the British Library. Creative Commons CC0 License

HRH Prince Philip 1921-2021

HRH Prince Philip

Announcement

Today we join with the whole nation and friends across the world in expressing our sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness Prince Philip. Amidst the pain and grief we also lift prayers of thanksgiving for his life, service and example to our nation and to the world.

Statement from Bishop Christopher

The Duke of Edinburgh has lived as an exemplar of public service and devotion to duty. His commitment to the Queen and to the nation has been steadfast and his down-to-earth persona has been coupled with deep loyalty and service. I pray today with gratitude for his life, for Her Majesty and the Royal Family in their loss, and with compassion for all who mourn.

Life of HRH Prince Philip

HRH Prince Philip was born Philip, Prince of Greece and Denmark, on June 10th, 1921. After being exiled from Greece as a young child, Philip grew up in France, Germany and the UK, and joined the Royal Navy in 1939, serving in the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets during the Second World War. In 1947 he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, taking the name Mountbatten from his maternal grandparents, so that he could marry Elizabeth, and was given the title Duke of Edinburgh. He left active military service when Elizabeth became HRH Queen Elizabeth II, and was later endowed with the title HRH Prince Philip.

He retired from royal duties in 2017, having completed over 20,000 solo engagements. During his long service as consort to the Queen he became patron to over 800 organisations, including being President of the World Wide Fund.

The Queen and Prince Philip had four children – Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex – as well as eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

HRH-Prince-Philip-prayer

Read the announcement from Buckingham Palace

Easter Sunday

Dear Friends,

Happy Easter! It is such a joy that we can be back in church again for the great annual celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord; and we owe a debt gratitude to the priests who will be presiding and preaching in our churches. We also give thanks and pray for our churchwardens, Dennis and Alan, and other church officers, as they continue to keep our churches running smoothly.

There will be mass next Sunday April 11th at both St Alban’s and All Saints, at 9.30 and 11.00 respectively, with Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching.

At the Chrism mass on Maundy Thursday last week, when this year clergy and accredited lay ministers had the opportunity to renew their commitment to ministry, this year via live-stream, the Bishop said this to his Deacons,

“At your ordination as a deacon
you received the yoke of Christ,
who came not to be served but to serve. Will you continue faithfully in this ministry, to build up God’s people in his truth
and serve them in his name?”

Our response was, “With the help of God, I will”.

As I have renewed our commitment to ministry and dedicated myself afresh to living out my calling as I serve the churches of our constituency, I ask your prayers to help me to do this, as I will pray for you; especially as we continue in our vacancy and start to work more collaboratively with other churches.

However, the call to ministry is not just about clergy! It is a calling for the whole people of God and starts at our baptism, as each and every one of us is called into ministry and discipleship, and to participate in the missional life of God according to our gifts and circumstances, whether we have a particular designated “role” in the church or not.

By virtue of our baptism, God places his mark on us to be co-workers with Him in building of the Kingdom of God in our daily lives, in our relationships one with another, in the values we hold and the choices we make about how we live.

It is therefore a duty and a privilege for each one of us prayerfully to consider the vocation of our churches and how we can respond to the challenge to grow in impact, depth and number, so that the Good News of the Gospel of Christ can be made a reality in the communities in which we are set.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Easter-Sunday-Readings

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Reflection

Easter-Sunday-Reflection

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The image is a print from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations in the possession of Revd. Philip De Vere at St. George’s Court, Kidderminster, dated January 1 1970 Creative Commons CC0 License

All Saints, Godshill, open during Holy Week

The church will be open MOST DAYS from 10am to 4pm during Holy Week and the week after.

Palm Sunday28-MarchOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Monday29-MarchOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Tuesday30-MarchOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Wednesday31-MarchOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Thursday01-AprilOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Good Friday02-AprilOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Saturday03-AprilClosed for Covid Cleaning
Easter Sunday04-AprilService at 11:00am
Monday05-AprilOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Tuesday06-AprilOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Wednesday07-AprilOpen 10:00am to 4:00pm for private prayer
Thursday08-AprilClosed for Covid Cleaning
Friday09-AprilClosed for Covid Cleaning
Saturday10-AprilClosed for Covid Cleaning
Sunday11-AprilService at 11:00am

Palm Sunday

Dear Friends,

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, so I hope you will be able to find some time to consider the themes which are uppermost at this time.

Holy week is a time for us to reflect on Jesus’ journey to the Cross, beginning with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and concluding with his lonely trek from the Upper Room through Gethsemane and ultimately to Calvary and the empty tomb.

Maundy Thursday (from mandatum, ‘commandment’, because of the use of John 13.34 in the Antiphon) contains a rich complex of themes: humble Christian service expressed through Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet, the institution of the Eucharist, the perfection of Christ’s loving obedience through the agony of Gethsemane.

Thursday passes into Good Friday, recalling the death of the Son of God. What other response can we have than other than silence in the face of a sense of desolation. But within the silence there grows a sense of peace and completion, and then the rising excitement as the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday and the glories of Easter Day draw near.

All Saints’ will be open for private prayer from 10.00 on Palm Sunday; and I have left a sheet with readings for the day and a reflection on the gospel, written by Allan Procter, Reader emeritus at St Saviour’s. There will also be palm crosses available for you to take away.

Please will you remember Ted and Jackie Holden in your prayers? Ted has been diagnosed recently with a leaky heart valve and pneumonia. He was in hospital last week being treated for the pneumonia and, happily he’s been responding to treatment for that. He is now home and will be building up his strength in order to have a heart operation in due course.

Please also remember Tony Steel and all the Steele family in your prayers. Tony’s funeral will be at Good Shepherd at 12.00 on April 12th, followed by burial at Bridgecourt Cemetery.

Please pray, too, for the repose of the soul of Doreen Castle, Sue Goff’s mum, and for Sue as she mourns her loss. Doreen died recently and her funeral will be at St Alban’s at 11.45 on April 9th.

Dennis will be opening All Saints’ every day from 10.00 during Holy week, except Saturday, when the church will be closed for cleaning, so please drop in for a time of quiet reflection and to light candles.

It will be wonderful to be together again on Easter Day for a Parish mass at All Saints’ at 11.00, with Alan Swanborough presiding and preaching. He will also baptise Albert Squibb during the mass, so please pray for Albert and his parents, Charlotte and Jack.

On April 11th, there will be mass at St Alban’s at 9.30 and at All Saints’ at 11.00, with Fr Gregory Clifton-Smith presiding and preaching.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

Palm-Sunday-Readings

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Reflection

Palm-Sunday-Reflection

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The image is from the Cappella Palatina and is the work of the Master of the Palace Chapel in Palermo dating from around 1150 Creative Commons CC0 License

4th Sunday of Lent – Mothering Sunday

Dear Friends,

Next week we have two important saints to remember! On Wednesday it will be the Feast of St Patrick, Patron saint of Ireland; and on Friday 19th it will be the solemnity of St Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

St Patrick was born in Roman Britain around the end of the 4th Century, and died in Ireland about the middle of the 5th century. As a missionary bishop, he endured many hardships and faced opposition even from his friends and fellow Christians. Nevertheless, he worked hard to conciliate, to evangelize, and to educate local chieftains and their families. He is remembered for his simplicity and pastoral care, for his humble trust in God, and for his fearless preaching of the gospel to the very people who had enslaved him in his youth.

We pray for Ireland, its leaders and people. For the Church in Ireland and its ongoing ministry of reconciliation and the leaders of the Protestant and Catholic churches. We give thanks and pray for all missionaries and those who teach the faith.

Nothing is known about St Joseph except what is said of him in the Gospels. He was a carpenter; he accepted the will of God; and he supported Mary and brought up Jesus. From the human character of his son we can see that he must have been a good and responsible father. He is widely venerated as a patron of artisans who use their God-given gifts honourably, and of workers in general.

We pray for all carpenters and craftsmen, especially any known to us. For all who exercise the role of adoptive parent, whether formally or informally.

Just a reminder that All Saints’ will be open for private from 10am on Sunday 14th, (Mothering Sunday) and again on Sunday 28th (Palm Sunday). All Saints’ will then be open daily for private prayer from 10.00 throughout Holy week.

We will be back in church on Easter Day, April 4th, with Fr Alan Swanborough presiding and preaching at a Parish mass at All Saints’ at 11.00. During this mass, the Sacrament of Baptism will be conferred on Albert Jack Peter Squibb. Please pray for him and his parents, Charlotte and Jack, and all Albert’s family.

The following Sunday, April 11th, there will be a mass at St Alban’s at 9.30 and one at All Saints’ at 11.0, at which Gregory Clifton-Smith will be presiding and preaching.

With my love and prayers,

Deacon Corinne

Scripture Readings

4th-Sunday-of-Lent-Readings

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Reflection

4th-Sunday-of-Lent-Reflection

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This enamelled terracotta of the Madonna with Child, the Holy Spirit and two cherubims, is to be found in the Louvre in Paris. It is from the workshop of the Della Robbia and dates back to the early 16th century Creative Commons CC0 License