Weekly Pews News

no 20-19                                          Fifth Sunday of Easter

10 May 2020                                     

Worship online: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online

Diocese of Chichester daily videos to Pentecost: https://www.chichester.anglican.org/videos/

Resources for worship at home https://www.chichester.anglican.org/resources-for-worship-at-home

Thy Kingdom Come resources for family worship: https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/digital-family-prayer-adventure-map

Joint national worship song ‘The Blessing UK’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U

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.

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

Collect Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen 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: Fourth Sunday after Easter): James 1: 17-21; John 16: 5-15

The Eucharist: Acts 7: 55-60; Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16; 1 Peter 2: 2-10; John 14: 1-14

Sunday 10 May  –  Christian Aid Week starts

1 pm Christian Aid Service with Dr Rowan Williams on Christian Aid’s Facebook page

Intention: our local clubs and organisations, especially our Ladies’ Club and Men’s Group, and Pagham Luncheon Club.

Church family: Elaine & John Hankin; Jo, Richard, Ella & James Hatch; Mo & Mike Hatzfeld; Mandy & Robin Henderson; Claire, Nick, Reya, NJ & Michael Henderson; Sarah, Oliver, Dylan & Aniela Hicklin; Val & David Hilditch.

Anniversary: Henry Mustard (1971)

Monday 11 May

Intention: our Scouts, Guides, Cadets and other local youth organisations.

Church family: Linda & Michael Hill; David Holt; Ethel Huckle; Julia & Gerald Hume-Huet; Jean Hunt; Jessie Hutchins & Elizabeth Palmer.

Tuesday 12 May 

Intention: our local industry and commerce, our farmers and growers, and the holiday industry; the staff and guests of Church Farm Holiday Village (at present closed).

Church family: Anna, Graham, Alex & Kate Jones; Trudi Kearsley; Jacqueline & David Kemp; Sian Kemp, Ben & Harry; Barry King; Sheila & Michael King; Jackie & John Kitchener.

Anniversary: Vic Huxley (2004)

Wednesday 13 May

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: Eileen Knight; Sandy Knight; Pippa, Richard, Tom, Sam & Max Lally; Janet Lambert; Mary Lawton; Sheila & Peter Lee; Bev Lewis.

Anniversary: Reginald Watson (1974); Evelyn Archer (2004)

Thursday 14 May – Matthias the Apostle

Intention: our Parochial Church Council, its officers and committees; all who serve our Church in any way.

Church family: Heather & David Lock; Sue, Paul, Abigail, Caitlin & Bethany Lothian; Stephen March; Heather & Harry Marchant; Maggie Martin; Jean Martin.

Friday 15 May

Intention: our local community; our Parish Pastoral Care Team, local Residents’ Associations, and the County, District and Parish Councils.

Church family: Jean & Bill Mitchell; Lynette, Nigel, Leo, Brooke & Skye Mitchell; Catherine Morrish; Sheila & Harry Mullings; Angela, Jon, Freja & Felix Munn; Nicola, Graham, Flin, Lavender & Bailey Oakford; Sue O’Neill.                                   Anniversary: Emily Blackman (1994)

Saturday 16 May

Intention: those married here and preparing for marriage this year; family life, and especially any families facing adversity.

Church family: Wendy & Frank Parvin; Hilary Payne; Dawn & Nick Pearson, Hannah & William Spurway; Jean Pereira; Sam, Keith Oliver & Neeve Perrin; Marion Peters.

Anniversary: Angela Haythornthwaite (1967); Margaret Gosney (2012)

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.

We remember in our prayers Church family who live in residential care or usually receive communion at home: Brenda Dobson, Kathleen Dudley, Ethel Huckle, Eileen Knight.

We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: Hook Lane, Hunter’s Close.

We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; food growers and suppliers; businesses and charities providing food parcels and cooked meals.

NOTICES

Christian Aid Week: our help is needed more than ever, as the Covid crisis threatens to devastate developing countries which are already under serious threat from the effects of climate breakdown. Join in with daily prayer and reflection this week, and pick up ideas for virtual fundraising. If anyone does donate, please inform Sue O’Neill, our Christian Aid parish representative, or Trudi Kearsley, our treasurer, so that we can make a note of it for Church communication. Sue: 07867 904780; Trudi: 263597.   https://www.christianaid.org.uk/about-us/christian-aid-week/coronavirus-guidance

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

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.

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: 07759 855719, domesticabuse@paghamchurch.org.

See also information from Sussex Police on the Church website – they wish to stress that they are still there to protect the vulnerable. In an emergency, do not hesitate to call 999.

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.   

Registered charity number 1134842             paghamchurch.org

SERMON

John 14v1-14                The Fifth Sunday of Easter                       10 May 2020  

Being in the garden during the current ‘lockdown’, I pondered the well known poem

The kiss of the sun for pardon

the song of the birds for mirth,

one is nearer to God’s heart in a garden,

than anywhere else on earth.

I have often regarded this verse as a ‘let out’ reason for not going to church! Now that our churches are required to be locked and we cannot enter our Church building, we are perhaps spending more time in the garden, listening to the birds singing, watching the grass growing, I have been thinking about this poem again, in particular where is God’s heart?

God’s heart radiates love. We read in John 3:16 ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’. In the marriage Service I always read the introductory verse from 1 John 4:16 ‘God is love, and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them’.

I pondered this in relation to today’s Gospel reading, a passage often read at Funeral Services, whose theme is that ‘Jesus is the Way to the Father’. Jesus said to him (Thomas) ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (v6); and ‘Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me’. (v11). Indeed the name ‘Father’ is mentioned 13 times in these 14 verses.

When we affirm our belief in the Christian faith by saying the Nicene Creed at the Eucharist, we begin by saying ‘We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.’ In the Baptism Service the question is put ‘Do you believe and trust in God the Father’, to which we all respond ‘I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth’.

Which brings me back to thinking of our gardens and God’s creation. We think of the hills, the South Downs, the sea, sunrise, sunset, the stars, the seasons, the wildlife etc and we say with the Psalmist. “O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens…..When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established…..” (Psalm 8:1-3). The Psalmist points us first to consider the glory of God’s creation.  Perhaps we can picture the psalmist, probably David the shepherd, writing this Psalm as he tended his flocks of sheep near Bethlehem, and as he slept under the stars he looked at the grandeur of creation and recognised it as God’s handiwork.

Many people BELIEVE in a god who is a force and somehow is the source of creation, yet don’t see him as a person whom they can TRUST. They could not say “I believe and trust in him.”  But God has a heart which radiates love. Christianity starts with God our Father who so loved that he gave his only Son, who died on the cross and rose again for us.…..  That is our starting point. In him we believe and trust.

There are of course three senses in which the Bible talks of God as Father.  The first is in the very general sense that God is the Father of all that he has created. God is Father of all in a creation sense but not a redemption sense.  Jesus said ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’

The second is in the unique sense in which scripture talks of God as being the Father of Jesus.  This is a relationship constantly referred to in scripture. In today’s reading Jesus said “If you know me, you will know my Father also …”.(v7); ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’ (v9); ‘Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me’ (v11).

But the third sense in which God is our Father is that God is the Father of those who believe and trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.  He is the Father of Christians, who accept Jesus as Saviour, who obey him as Lord, who in trust have responded to his love.  As Christians we are adopted into the family of God and he becomes our Father, we are his children.  Christians are sons and daughters of God.

In the culture of the day, adoption was very difficult.  A father had absolute rights over his children for life, he could even sell them as slaves if he wanted to.  But when the step of adoption was finally and legally completed, the adopted person lost all rights to their old family and gained all the privileges of the new family, the person became the child of the new father.  St Paul explains that this is what God has done for us (eg Ephesians 1:5; Galatians 4:4-7).  Once we were slaves to sin – Jesus said of the unbelieving Jews “you are from your father, the devil” (John 8:44-45).  But now, as Christians, God has adopted us into his family, we are his children, he is our Father.  When the early Christians realised this tremendous truth, they took those words of Jesus which he cried out at Gethsemane and made them their own “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

The Psalmist saw the might and majesty of God’s creation and asked the question ‘what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour.” (Psalm 8:4-5) The wonder is that midst all the greatness of his creation, God our Father is not only mindful of us, but he also knows us, and he cares for us, and his heart of love reaches out to us – eternally.  That is why he truly is our heavenly Father.  He created us and loves us so much that he sent his only Son Jesus to die for us.  God truly is our loving heavenly Father.

Having said that, for some people today that is a hard truth to understand, and we need to be aware of it.  For example, there are an increasing number of children, who have a father who either they do not know (perhaps a marriage has broken), or a father whom they do not respect (perhaps they have been abused by their father).  And therefore there is no love between the father and them.  Many people of my generation never knew our fathers – they were killed in the war.  For people like this the idea of God being a loving heavenly Father can be a difficult one to grasp. This is because they may take the experience of their own earthly father and say “if God is my Father I am better off without him” or “is God really as remote as my father whom I never knew?”  Not everybody has a picture of father, from their human experience, as one provoking the ideas of love, security, stability, warmth.

Our problem can be that we can project our view of a human father on to a spiritual scale, complete with all those aspects of our human father that we have loved or missed or wanted or resented. That may be a natural way of thinking, but it is a wrong analogy.  Our heavenly Father simply does not have the imperfections that every human father has.  And that is something which the early Christians realised and that is why they cried out “Abba! Father!”

God wants us to know that he is our Father, that he loves us, that he cares for us, that he saves us, that he has prepared a place in heaven for us, that he can help us at the point of our need and so on.  But at the very centre of our relationship must be our trust of him and obedience to him, as it was between Jesus and his Father. Perhaps we can ponder this as we pray the prayer that Jesus taught us:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Some years ago the idea went round that God was dead.  I assure you that God, who raised Jesus from the dead, is very much alive and has a heart of love.

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

                                                                                                                                   Colin Wood