Weekly Pews News

no 20-18                                          Fourth Sunday of Easter

3 May 2020                                     

Worship online: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online Chichester Diocese: https://www.chichester.anglican.org/resources-for-worship-at-home/

Broadcasts: Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 8:10 am and BBC1 at 10.45 am*; Songs of Praise on BBC1 at 1.15 pm.   For young people: Guardians of Ancora (free game-app); Chichester Diocese resources:  https://youth.chichester.anglican.org/ChildrenChurchesandCovid-19/

*Check schedules on the day, as the stated time has been changed in recent weeks

Collect Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life: raise us, who trust in him, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.    Amen.

Readings: Holy Communion (BCP: Third Sunday after Easter): 1 Peter 2: 11-17; John 16: 16-22

The Eucharist: Acts 2: 42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2: 19-25; John 10: 1-10

3 pm Office of Nones (marking the 800th anniversary year of St Thomas à Becket’s translation – see below)

Sunday 3 May 

Intention: the Pilgrim Course – leaders and participants. Those baptised and confirmed here during the year, their parents, godparents or sponsors, and our own godchildren.

Church family: Lyndsey, Brooke & Noah Bright; Jan & Alex Brockhurst; Chris & John Buckenham; Keiran Buckwell; Debbie & Stephen Buxton & Edna Swinnerton-Beet; Sarah, Peter, Hannah, James & Lucy Carmichael; Gill, Rick & Sarah Chalk.

Anniversary: George Harrington (1976); George Jones (2015)

Monday 4 May – English Saints and Martyrs of the Reformation Era

Intention: all imprisoned in any way, and those caught up in modern slavery; the prisoners, staff, chaplains and visitors at HMP Ford.

Church family: Stella & Bill Clarke; Nicky, Olivia, Abigail & Phoebe Cogger; Julia, Nick, Joseph & Florrie Clews & Charlize & William Driscoll-Bennett; Lina & Mike Cole; Gill Cooper & Steve Cole; Heather Collins; Kate, James, Allyssia, Eden & Rocky Congdon & Cadence Schneider.

Anniversary: Robert McLaughlin (2017)

Tuesday 5 May 

Intention: our children and young people, and their leaders; our Sunday School and Saints (older children).

Church family: Natalie, Jim, Holly, Daniel & Erica Copeland; Anne & Roger Cormack; Lila Cowee; Amanda, Stephen, Benjamin & Alice Cox-Rusbridge; Barbara & Alan Crew; Corinne, Tony, Darren, Joseph, Alistair & Zoe Crisp; John Crockford.

Anniversary: Marcus Rutterford (1974); Sidney Wood (1993); Hannah Goodley (2000)

Wednesday 6 May

Intention: our Archbishops, Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York; the work of the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod; the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Church family: Sarah, Shane, Oliver, Harriet & Henry Crow; Jeanne Dalton; Margaret Darlow; Sue Davis; Brenda Dobson; Carole & Richard Druce; Kathleen Dudley.

Anniversary: Doris Pay (1997); Katherine Marydathe (2000); Joan Kimbell (2016)

Thursday 7 May

Intention: our schools, colleges and universities; all teachers and learners, governors and administrators.

Church family: Jo Eden; Carole & Gary Edwards; Sue Edwards; Roland, Sally-Ann & Vicky Ell; Jenny, Stuart, Sophie & Georgia Ellis; David & Paul Evans.                   Anniversary: Joseph Conneeley (1997)

Friday 8 May – Julian of Norwich, Spiritual Writer, c.1417

Intention: the hungry, homeless, refugees and asylum seekers; the work of Church Army, Christian Aid and all relief agencies; our local charities Stonepillow and Bognor Regis Foodbank.

Church family: June & Bruce Evans; Hugh Evans; Ayshea, John & Trinity Feaver; Lynda, Philip, Riley & Caitlin Foyn; Vicky, Joseph, Oliver & Harry Fuller; Clare & Abigail Furse; Heather & David Gamble.

Anniversary: Nellie Baker (2000)

Saturday 9 May

Intention: the Queen and Royal Family, our nation and government, our local MP Nick Gibb and MEPs.

Church family: Joy & Mark Garbett; Donna Grace, Aimee & Pete Boteler, Jane Ewers; Lea Grace, Marlee Grace-Edwards & Luke Edwards; Julie, Eric, Gemma & Zoe Green; Tricia Green & Ellie; Ann Gristwood; Jennifer, Jeff, Lara & Evie Gwynn.

Anniversary: Alfred Robbins (1996); Kay Street (2006)

PRAYERS AND INTENTIONS

We pray for all in need of healing in body, mind or spirit: Lynette, Rosie Sims, Nicola, Richard Rundle, Terry Haskell, Jean Martin, Gemma Green, Lila Cowee, Barbara Crew, June Evans, Zoe, Bea & Laurie Tucker, Shelagh, Karen Cox, Jim Druce, Val, Jim Fowler, Beatrice Armstrong.

For urgent prayer, contact Gillian Purvis (267597) or Colin Wood (264192) to activate the Prayer Chain.

Those who have died: Chloe Green, Hilda Baxendale.

Chloe Green: our hearts go out to Chloe’s family, including her grandparents Gill and Steve, members of Pagham Church. Chloe was born with many health issues last February, and had spent the last four months in hospital. Friends around the world have been praying, but her suffering came to an end last Friday, at home in her parents’ arms. She gave much joy to everyone, and her family pay tribute to the hospital teams who cared for her with selfless dedication until she passed into the fullness of God’s love.

We remember in our prayers Church family who live in residential care or usually receive communion at home: Beatrice Armstrong, Mary Baxter, Madge Breakspear, Lila Cowee.

We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: Heston Grove, Honeysuckle Drive

We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; for protection for key workers such as refuse collectors, Royal Mail employees and the police, who keep vital public services running, and their families

NOTICES

In lockdown some services continue online, and are being broadcast on radio and TV. There are also many virtual resources for daily prayer, for example the Daily Prayer and Pray As You Go mobile apps (Google and Apple), and also online:

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer and https://www.thykingdomcome.global/prayer-resources.

Nones: this very ancient service is held annually in many churches dedicated to Thomas à Becket, and also marks the anniversary of the first Nones said on 3rd May 1117 by the canons of Merton Priory, where he later studied. The 800th anniversary refers to his ‘translation’ on 7 July 1220, that is, the reburial of Becket’s remains in a dedicated shrine in Canterbury Cathedral. For more information, see https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2016/07/the-translation-of-thomas-becket.html.

Stay in touch: Pagham Church Facebook page ‘Thomas Becket’; for those online but not on Facebook, follow the news on Pagham Church website, or use the contact numbers below for updates. The carpenter has been restoring the wood of the porch, to put the finishing touch to the roof repair.

Chichester Diocese has set up a new pastoral helpline, ‘Hearing You’, for listening and prayer support: 01273 425047.

Samaritans: call free on 116 123, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you.

Safeguarding: the past few weeks have caused extra problems for many of those experiencing  domestic abuse. If you have any concerns regarding this, please contact Worth Domestic Abuse Service 0330 222 8181 (weekdays) or 07834 968539 (weekends and bank holidays).

Children may also be at risk, particularly as they are isolated from their usual support environments.

In the event of any child abuse concerns, please contact: WSCC MASH 01403 229900, https://www.westsussexscp.org.uk/2016/04/multi-agency-safeguarding-hub-mash/

Our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Jan Brockhurst, can give advice (see under Contacts below), and also our Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator, Linda Hill: domesticabuse@paghamchurch.org, 07759 855719.

My Sisters’ House calls for practical support for women affected by domestic crises who’ve had to leave their homes: they need toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel and sanitary protection. Donations can be left at Pagham Co-op Funeralcare, The Parade, on a table just inside the branch. There is also an Amazon wish list: http://www.my-sisters-house.org/make-difference/wishlist/

CONTACT DETAILS

Churchwardens: Mike Wake and Stephen Cox-Rusbridge: churchwarden@paghamchurch.org, 07899 705632//07974 177905.

Church website update: email editor@paghamchurch.org to add content.

Safeguarding Officer: Jan Brockhurst: safeguarding@paghamchurch.org.

Pews News: Alison Blenkinsop: pewsnews@paghamchurch.org, 261131.

SERMON   

John 10:1-10                                 The Fourth Sunday of Easter                     3 May 2020

 

Twice in this passage from John 10, Jesus says ‘I AM the gate for the sheep’ (v7) and ‘I AM the gate’ (v9) NRSV and GNB. (‘door’ in the AV)

Seven times in John’s Gospel Jesus uses the expression ‘I AM’.

‘I am the bread of life’. John 6:35

‘I am the light of the world’. John 8:12

‘I am the gate’. John 10:7&9 (or I am the door)

‘I am the good shepherd’ John 10:11

‘I am the resurrection and the life’. John 11:25

‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’. John 14:6

‘I am the true vine’. John 15:1

Jesus’ followers would have been familiar with the Old Testament and in Isaiah 40-55 there are various references where God says ‘I am the Lord’. Similarly in John’s Gospel there is a general theme to explain who Jesus is – ‘the eternal Word of God, who became a human being and lived among us’(Good News Bible introduction to John’s Gospel). John writes to bring his readers to faith in Jesus Christ. John himself explains ‘The Purpose of This Book’ in 20:30-31 ‘Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name’. To help explain this John includes the seven I AM sayings of Jesus.

Jesus’ followers would also have been familiar with the various Old Testament passages that refer to sheep and shepherds. They would have known that there were bad shepherds, eg: Jeremiah 23v1 ‘Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! Says the Lord’. In Ezekiel 34 v1-10 the prophet tells of Israel’s false shepherds, eg v2 ‘….. Thus says the Lord God: Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?’

But his followers would also have known the prophecies about the good shepherd. Whereas Ezekiel 34 v1-10 was about false shepherds, the chapter continues in v11-31 where the prophet tells of God the good shepherd, the true shepherd. Eg In Ezekiel 34:23 ‘I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd’. God had promised a second King David. It might remind us of the hymn ‘Hail to the Lord’s anointed’ which continues ‘great David’s greater son’. We read in Isaiah 40:10-11 ‘See, the Lord God comes with might ……He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep’. Probably most familiar of all to us is the much loved Psalm 23 which begins ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want …’

Now in today’s reading from John’s Gospel chapter 10, Jesus says of himself ‘I AM the gate for the sheep’ (v7) and continues in v11 &14 ‘I AM the Good Shepherd’.  Jesus is our good shepherd. We, his followers are the sheep, the sheep cannot survive without the shepherd. But we remember that ‘all we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’, Isaiah 53:6. We have strayed from God, but Jesus died to save us, to restore our relationship with God.  We note the strong link between the OT & NT scriptures.

I recall driving along the A35 to visit my daughter and family in Exeter, when we came to a halt near Bridport because a flock of sheep were wandering in the road. The traffic jam was building up, the police were on the scene but the sheep did not obey their instructions, they did not recognise the voices of the police. Eventually the shepherd arrived.   The sheep recognised and responded to his voice, they were rounded up, and went back to safety into the field through the broken section of fence which had enabled them to escape on to the road. Then the traffic could move on.  The unguarded broken section of fence not only allowed the sheep to get out, it could also have allowed fly tippers, etc to gain entrance to the farmer’s field.

At the time of Jesus, the sheep would spend the night in a sheepfold. If it was in the village, the entrance to the sheepfold would be protected by a strong gate (v2,3). But when the sheep were away from the villages and out in the fields, at night time the shepherd would still collect them into the sheepfolds. These sheepfolds would be open spaces surrounded by a wall which had an opening through which the sheep could both enter and leave the sheepfold. But there was no gate across this opening, and so at night time, when the sheep had been collected together inside the sheepfold, the shepherd himself would lay across the entrance. This meant no sheep could leave, nor intruders such as wild animals could enter the sheepfold. The shepherd was the gate, there was no entry or exit except through him. When Jesus said ‘I am the gate’, he would have had this scenario in his mind.

In v1-6 Jesus tells a parable which the people did not understand (v6). In fact we too may find it confusing. It is ‘unpacked’ more fully in v7-30. Our Gospel Reading for today stops at v10 which is an almost arbitrary stopping point.  But in explanation of the parable we read in v7“So again Jesus said to them ‘Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep…’ and v9 ‘I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. ” The sheep in the fold were kept safe and secure by the shepherd who laid down across the entrance of the sheepfold. Jesus is saying that he is the gate. He is the one who keeps us safe. We are the sheep, he is the shepherd. We are the sheep who recognise the shepherd’s voice and are kept safe as we follow him. Jesus is our good shepherd (v11).

But we must be on our guard. There were ‘bad shepherds’, they are referred to in 10:1 – ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit’. We must beware of false prophets and false teachers, eg those who deny that Jesus is Lord of all, or those who suggest we can save ourselves by some means apart from Jesus Christ, etc. These false teachers and false prophets are like ‘a thief and a bandit’.  We read in John 14:1-6, a passage often read at funerals, Jesus said that he was going to prepare a dwelling place for the believers, he said ‘And you know the way to the place where I am going’.  Thomas said to him ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way’? Jesus said to him ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).  The entrance to the Kingdom of God is through the one gate, Jesus Christ is that gate, it is through Jesus that we enter God’s Kingdom. He keeps us safe eternally.

Jesus emphasises ‘I am the gate’ in 10:7&9. How can we know that Jesus is truly ‘the gate’? The Easter story is our answer. Jesus died for us on the cross, taking our sin upon himself. As we say in the Nicene Creed ‘For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the scriptures.

                          Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

                                                                                                                              Colin Wood