Weekly Pews News
no 20-23 Trinity Sunday
7 June 2020
Worship online https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-service-daily-prayer Thy Kingdom Come resources https://www.thykingdomcome.global/prayer-resources
Radio broadcasts: Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 8:10 am and BBC1 in morning (check time); Songs of Praise on BBC1 at 1.15 pm. Also Premier Christian Radio daily; Sunday service 7 am-1 pm (on DAB nationally, Freeview 725, mobile apps); Angel Radio Sunday service 9 am, rep 11.30 pm (local radio for the older community, on FM & DAB 89.3 and online: http://angelradio.co.uk/)
Smartphone apps: Daily Prayer and Pray As You Go.
Collect Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the Unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, that we may evermore be defended from all adversities; 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 for ever. Amen.
Readings: Holy Communion (BCP) Revelation 4: 1-11; John 3: 1-15
The Eucharist (CW) Isaiah 40: 12-17, 27-31; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13: 11-13; Matthew 28: 16-20
Sunday 7 June
Intention: our schools, colleges and universities; all teachers and learners, governors and administrators.
Anniversary: Merle Holdsworth (1996); Edna Dalrymple (2004)
Monday 8 June
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: Jo Eden; Carole & Gary Edwards; Sue Edwards Roland, Sally-Ann & Vicky Ell; Jenny, Stuart, Sophie & Georgia Ellis; David & Paul Evans; June & Bruce Evans; Hugh Evans.
Anniversary: Susan Downey (2017)
Tuesday 9 June
Intention: the Queen and Royal Family, our nation and government, our local MP Nick Gibb and MEPs.
Church family: Ayshea, John & Trinity Feaver; Lynda, Philip, Riley & Caitlin Foyn; Vicky, Joseph, Oliver & Harry Fuller; Clare & Abigail Furse; Heather & David Gamble.
Wednesday 10 June
Intention: our local clubs and organisations, especially our Ladies’ Club and Men’s Group, and Pagham Luncheon Club.
Church family: Joy & Mark Garbett; Donna Grace, Aimee & Pete Boteler, Jane Ewers; Lea Grace, Marlee Grace-Edwards & Luke Edwards; Julie, Eric, Gemma & Zoe Green.
Thursday 11 June
Intention: our Scouts, Guides, Cadets and other local youth organisations.
Church family: Tricia Green & Ellie; Ann Gristwood; Jennifer, Jeff, Lara & Evie Gwynn. Elaine & John Hankin; Jo, Richard, Ella & James Hatch; Mo & Mike Hatzfeld.
Anniversary: Dennis Olsson (1998)
Friday 12 June
Intention: our local industry and commerce, our farmers and growers, and the holiday industry; the staff and guests of Church Farm Holiday Village.
Church family: Mandy & Robin Henderson; Claire, Nick, Reya, NJ & Michael Henderson; Sarah, Oliver, Dylan & Aniela Hicklin; Val & David Hilditch; Linda & Michael Hill; David Holt.
Anniversary: May Mortimer (1974)
Saturday 13 June
Intention: our organist and director of music Ann Gristwood, our choir and musicians; our lay ministers of communion, altar servers, welcome team and bell-ringers.
Church family: Ethel Huckle; Julia & Gerald Hume-Huet; Jean Hunt; Jessie Hutchins & Elizabeth Palmer; Anna, Graham, Alex & Kate Jones; Trudi Kearsley; Jacqueline & David Kemp.
PRAYERS AND INTENTIONS
We pray for all in need of healing in body, mind or spirit: Lynette, Rosie Sims, Richard Rundle, Terry Haskell, Jean Martin, Lila Cowee, Barbara Crew, June Evans, Zoe, Bea & Laurie Tucker, Shelagh, Karen Cox, Jim Druce, Jim Fowler.
For urgent prayer, contact Gillian Purvis (267597) or Colin Wood (264192) to start the Prayer Chain.
Those who have died: Darren Earwaker, Judi Evans.
We give thanks for the life of Judi Evans, much loved daughter-in-law of June and Bruce Evans, who died at home after a progressive illness a few days ago. Judi has been very active in the Shore Community (Baptist) Church in Bognor Regis and the Foodbank, and will be greatly missed by all her friends and family. Our hearts go out to Stephen and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they mourn her passing.
We remember 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: Langley Grove, Laurel Drive, Ledbury Way.
We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; local businesses struggling to stay solvent; those whose jobs are at risk, or have been lost.
Stay in touch: Pagham Church Facebook page ‘Thomas Becket’, follow the news on Pagham Church website, or use the contact numbers below for updates.
Freewill Offering Trudi writes: our Church income is, as you will realise, severely restricted at the moment, but we do still have expenditure even on a closed church. Thank you to everyone continuing to make their freewill offerings to the church via PGS and Standing Orders, and to those who have found ways to get their white envelopes and donations to me. I am supplying the church bank account details again, so that payments can be made by telephone or online banking.
Account name: Pagham PCC – Account Number: 80738948 – Sort Code: 20-20-62
If you would like to get your envelopes or donations to me, either drop them in to 37 West Drive, or give me a call to arrange collection. If you would like to consider changing your method of giving, please contact me either by email: email@example.com, or by ringing 01243 263597/07703597353.
Beating the Bounds of Pagham Parish: as our annual group walk in early May could not be done this year, Alison Blenkinsop decided to do it on her own! She walked much of the Parish boundary over five days, thanking God for Pagham and praying for the residents of our lovely village. More photos are attached separately of day 1, Pagham beach to Aldwick.
Chichester Diocese 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.
Bognor Regis Foodbank: donations are being very gratefully received. They can be placed in supermarket collection points, or brought to The Shore Community Church, 73 Victoria Drive, Bognor PO21 2TD on Wednesdays only, 9.30-1 pm. Please knock and wait for a volunteer to open the door. The most needed items are listed here: https://bognorregis.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/.
Safeguarding: if you have any concerns regarding domestic abuse, contact Worth Domestic Abuse Service 0330 222 8181 (weekdays) or 07834 968539 (weekends and bank holidays).
Children: for any child abuse concerns, 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: 07759 855719, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Churchwardens: Mike Wake and Stephen Cox-Rusbridge: email@example.com, 07899 705632//07974 177905.
Church website update: email firstname.lastname@example.org to add content.
Safeguarding Officer: Jan Brockhurst: email@example.com.
Pews News: Alison Blenkinsop: firstname.lastname@example.org, 01243 261131, 07784 544981.
2 Corin 13:11-13; Matt 28:16-20 The Holy Trinity 7 June 2020
Today is Trinity Sunday. It is the day when we celebrate God himself. Normally on the Festival Sundays we celebrate a special event: at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus; on Mothering Sunday, we celebrate our own mothers and also mother church; at Easter the death and resurrection of Jesus; at Ascension, Jesus ascending to his Father; at Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. Lockdown due to Covid-19 has meant that churches have been locked since just before Mothering Sunday, we have not been able to worship together to celebrate most of these Festivals.
Today, Trinity Sunday, is no exception, we cannot meet together, but today we should still focus our hearts and minds on God himself. Today we celebrate a reality and a doctrine rather than an event. We celebrate the truth that God is much bigger and more wonderful than our imaginations can grasp – and more complicated too! Part of our problem is that Trinity is not a biblical word, but it is a word that describes the biblical truth about the relationship between God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The doctrine of the Trinity was formulated by the early Christians to describe their experience of God. Many of them were Jews who believed passionately in the one, single God of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:4 ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might.’ That was very important to them. But then they encountered Jesus Christ and came to believe that he was not just an ordinary rabbi or a teacher or a prophet, but in some way God was uniquely present in Jesus. He was the Son of God. Then, as time went on, they found their lives were being transformed and changed through their faith in Jesus and their knowledge of God the Father, and they asked themselves ‘what is it that is transforming us?’ They realised that they were experiencing God through his Holy Spirit. They believed in God the Father, but also came to understand and accept that Jesus was God and the Holy Spirit was God, whilst retaining their belief that God is One. One God in three persons.
Later this truth was formulated into the Christian Creeds, most fully in the Athanasian Creed, the first half of which is devoted to the Trinity. If you have a copy of the Book of Common Prayer look up ‘At Morning Prayer’ which follows ‘The Order for Evening Prayer’. In my BCP this Creed is over 3 pages long, but one sentence in summary says ‘And the Catholick faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity’. It makes the point that we worship One God in three persons, Trinity = Tri-Unity.
God is awesome. But his true awesomeness lies not in his being unknowable, but precisely in the fact that he allows himself to be known through his Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. So the Trinity is about making connections between God the Father who made the world, God the Son who redeemed mankind and God the Holy Spirit who gives life to the people of God. Making connections is something that we all do in our lives. I hope we make connections between what happens in Church on a Sunday (when we can meet!) and what we do every other day of the week. Or, if we have a sore throat, a runny nose and earache, we make the connection and say we have a cold. All the time we make connections. This was what the early Christians were doing in their understanding of God.
The hymn ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’, with its strong maritime message and which as a coastal community we often sing is a very Trinitarian hymn, and makes these connections. The first lines of its four verses are v1 Eternal Father, strong to save, v2 O Saviour, whose almighty word, v3 O sacred Spirit, who didst brood, v4 O Trinity of love and power. Verse 4 ‘O Trinity of love and power’ makes the connection between Father, Saviour, and sacred Spirit of the first three verses of the hymn. How true, our God truly is a God of love and power, he is an awesome God.
The Bible makes connections all the time. Our Epistle today ended with the Grace, a Trinitarian passage ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you’ (2 Corinthians 13v13). In our Gospel reading Jesus said ‘go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28v19). Christian baptism is a Trinitarian baptism. But note that it is in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (singular – one God), and not in the names of Father, Son and Holy Spirit (not plural). One God in three persons.
The classic illustration is that used by St Patrick 1500 years ago. Being Irish he used a shamrock leaf, but we might equally use a clover leaf with its three parts. St Patrick held up the shamrock leaf to the crowd and said ‘is this a leaf’ and they answered ‘yes’. He then covered up two parts, so only one part showed and asked ‘is this a leaf?’ They answered ‘yes’. ‘So it is’, said St Patrick’, that the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God; but there is only one God. Or, who am I ? I am the son of my parents, the husband of my wife, the father of my children. I am one person but these are three different aspects of me. A very inadequate illustration of the Trinity, but it gives us the idea.
Jesus himself made connections. He said in John 14:9 ‘whoever has seen me has seen the Father’. A group of people were standing around a pram admiring the baby. ‘Look at his nose, his ears, his eyes, isn’t he like his dad, my word you can see whose child he is’. The family likeness. Jesus said ‘whoever has seen me has seen the Father’. I used to visit an elderly couple who had photos on their mantle-piece of their two grandsons who were identical twins. And they had used their identical similarities to good effect over the years, confusing teachers, etc. They both left school and joined the army. The army, in their wisdom, put them in different regiments to put a stop to their little games. Such is the family likeness. Jesus said ‘whoever has seen me has seen the Father’. There is a very real sense in which we cannot separate out God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in the pages of the New Testament as the writers pass from one to the other quite naturally,
Why is all this so important? If it is difficult to understand, can’t we just forget it? Well No we can’t, because the Trinity is fundamental to our faith. It makes clear that there is One God, who is a living God, not just an old man sitting on a cloud. It enables us to understand salvation. In Jesus our Saviour, we really do meet God himself. The Holy Spirit really is the life of God in us. We really do know that we are children of our heavenly Father, that we are saved through the sacrifice of Jesus his Son, and that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In the Eucharist we often introduce our Intercessions by saying ‘In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father’.
The Trinity also tells us that relationships are important. God’s very being is relational. There is a loving relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And God created us for relationships, with God, with each other, with God’s creation, with our world.
So the Trinity teaches that it is important for us to be involved in building community, a common life which is held together in unity. It is not about us all being the same, it is about diversity in unity. Whereas we should all display all of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, the Holy Spirit also gives us Gifts. We will be given different gifts, but they are to be used for the building up of the church and community. The three persons of the Trinity are different from each other, but are one in purpose and unity.
And belief in the Trinity is a call to live in the love of God. There is a famous painting, or icon, of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev who lived in the 15th century and was of the Russian Orthodox tradition. It shows the three persons of the Trinity gathered around a table with a communion cup at its centre. But it is as though they are inviting us to join them. The three persons of the Trinity are inviting us into the life of the Trinity, to experience and know for ourselves, the love of God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are invited to embrace that love because that is where we find our eternal security, and build relationships and community. That is the invitation of the doctrine of the Trinity that we celebrate today, to live in the love of God, our One God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Perhaps on this Trinity Sunday and midst the horrors of Covis-19, we can use the final verse of ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’ as a prayer:
O Trinity of love and power, our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe, protect them wheresoe’er they go:
Thus evermore shall rise to thee glad hymns of praise from land and sea.