Weekly Pews News
no 20-24 First Sunday after Trinity
14 June 2020
Worship online https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/church-online Chichester Diocese:
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 89.3, DAB and online: http://angelradio.co.uk/)
Smartphone free apps: Daily Prayer, Pray As You Go, Lectio365 (Bible readings from the 24-7 Prayer movement). ……………………………..
Collect O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you, mercifully accept our prayers
and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you,
grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; 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) 1 John 4: 7-21; Luke 16: 19-31
The Eucharist (CW) Exodus 19: 2-8a; Psalm 100; Romans 5: 1-8; Matthew 9: 35 to 10: 8
Sunday 14 June
Intention: our Parochial Church Council, its officers and committees; all those who serve our Church in any way.
Church family: Sian Kemp, Ben & Harry; Barry King; Sheila & Michael King; Jackie & John Kitchener; Eileen Knight; Sandy Knight; Pippa, Richard, Tom, Sam & Max Lally.
Monday 15 June
Intention: our local community; our Parish Pastoral Care Team, local Residents’ Associations, and the County, District and Parish Councils.
Church family: Janet Lambert; Mary Lawton; Sheila & Peter Lee; Bev Lewis; Heather & David Lock; Sue, Paul, Abigail, Caitlin & Bethany Lothian; Stephen March.
Anniversary: Norah Moth (2001)
Tuesday 16 June – Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253
Intention: those married here and preparing for marriage this year; family life, and especially any families facing adversity.
Church family: Heather & Harry Marchant; Maggie Martin; Jean Martin; Jean & Bill Mitchell; Lynette, Nigel, Leo, Brooke & Skye Mitchell; Catherine Morrish; Sheila & Harry Mullings.
Wednesday 17 June
Intention: the press, radio and television corporations, and all who influence public opinion; also Christian publishing and broadcasting.
Church family: Angela, Jon, Freja & Felix Munn; Nicola, Graham, Flin, Lavender & Bailey Oakford; Sue O’Neill; Wendy & Frank Parvin; Hilary Payne.
Thursday 18 June
Intention: all seafarers, fishermen and lifeboat crews, and the work of Mission to Seafarers.
Church family: Dawn & Nick Pearson, Hannah & William Spurway; Jean Pereira; Sam, Keith, Oliver & Neeve Perrin; Marion Peters; Carol-Anne & Peter Pocock; Elizabeth & Brian Pope.
Friday 19 June
Intention: Church finances, national and international finance; consider what the words poverty and wealth mean to us.
Church family: Robin Potter; Tina & Michael Poyntz; Sylvia Pugh; Pauline Purdy; Gillian Purvis; Margaret Rees; Sheila & Stuart Ridgewell; Jessie & Bob Riding; Malcolm Ridley.
Anniversary: Dick Martin (2001); Norman Gore (2014)
Saturday 20 June
Intention: all victims of violence, crime and oppression; those affected by domestic and other forms of abuse, and all who seek to support them.
Church family: Grace Roope; Christine & Ray Rowe; Annette Rudduck; Wendy & Richard Rundle; Pat & Bill Rush; Pam & Robert Sale; Dawn, Graham, Luke & Grace Salter.
Anniversary: Kathleen Goldring (1973); Stephen Parkin (1987); Thomas Pay (1997); David Clement (2004)
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: Judi Evans.
We remember 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: Ledra Drive, Leonora Drive, Link Way.
We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; for equality of access to health care and support among black, Asian and ethic minority (BAME) people; for lasting change in attitudes and policies in our area.
Freewill Offering Trudi writes: our Church income is severely restricted at present, but expenditure continues. Thank you to everyone continuing to make freewill offerings to the Church via PGS and Standing Orders, and in person to me. Here are the church bank account details again:
Account name: Pagham Parochial Church Council – Account Number: 80738948 – Sort Code: 20-20-62
You can also drop them into me at 37 West Drive, or call to arrange collection. To discuss changing your method of giving, please contact me: email@example.com; 01243 263597/07703597353.
Church opening: following the Government’s recent announcement, see the attached document regarding church opening for private prayer. The first date is Thursday 18th June, 10 am – 1 pm.
Parish vacancy: the churchwardens write: ‘Several people are asking if there is any news regarding a new parish priest. The short answer is no. Because of the lockdown any appointment is on hold until the present restrictions are lifted. If coronavirus hadn’t happened, we most certainly would have been well on the way to having someone appointed and installed by Christmas. Any new parish priest would have to go through a face to face interview including visiting the parish, but of course none of that can happen in the present circumstances. It is as frustrating for the churchwardens as it is for everyone else, unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it, we will just have to be patient for a little longer.’
Church of England news: Archbishop John Sentamu of York has retired after 15 years; Stephen Cottrell becomes the 98th Archbishop of York in an online Confirmation of Election service on 9th July.
Diocesan news: two suffragan bishops are due to be consecrated later this year. Revd Ruth Bushyager, currently Vicar of St Paul’s, Dorking, will serve as Bishop of Horsham, and Revd William (Will) Hazlewood, currently Vicar of the United Benefice of Dartmouth and Dittisham, will be the next Bishop of Lewes. We pray for these new bishops as they prepare for their new ministry.
Beating the Bounds: as our annual group walk in early May could not be done this year, Alison Blenkinsop walked much of the Parish boundary alone over five days, thanking God for Pagham and praying for the residents of our lovely village. A report is attached of day 2, Aldwick to Lagness.
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.
Churchwardens: Mike Wake and Stephen Cox-Rusbridge: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07899 705632//07974 177905.
Church website update: email email@example.com to add content.
Safeguarding Officer: Jan Brockhurst: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pews News: Alison Blenkinsop: email@example.com, 01243 261131, 07784 544981.
Romans 5:1-8 The First Sunday After Trinity 14 June 2020
Faith, said the schoolboy, is believing what you know to be untrue. For some, faith has that kind of bad image. Faith, they say, is simple mindedness, an expression of an uncritical spirit inappropriate to adult people in this day and age. The way some people talk, faith is little more than a piece of mental equipment possessed by Christians, which enable them to take for granted things which non-Christians would not accept. If you have no faith you can still believe in things like cars and animals, things you can see and touch. But if you have faith you can believe in God and heaven and angels, things you can’t examine in the same way as you can cars and animals.
By contrast, the Bible regards faith as a stepping forward, not into darkness but into the light which God has given. Faith can be understood in different ways. It can be understood in terms of a creedal statement of belief. “This is the faith of the church.” But it is also understood in terms of trust of a person, a relationship. When Archbishop William Temple said “I do not have faith in any creed”, he explained that what he was saying was that his faith was not in words, nor in historic formulae however good and true, but that his faith rested on the person of Jesus Christ. Joseph Newton said that “Belief is a truth held in the mind. Faith is a fire in the heart.” Faith is not just reciting words, it means taking someone at their word, trusting them and proving they are true to their word. Faith, I remember being taught as a teenager in Bible Class, “Faith is absolute trust in something or someone, that can only be proved by experience,” and ‘FAITH – Forsaking All I Trust Him’.
This is the faith that Paul refers to in Romans 5 v 1 ‘Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’. Previously, in Romans chapter 3v23-26 Paul said ‘since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith……he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus ’.
The word “Justified” means “just as if I’d never sinned”. It is like in the law court, when the judge turns to the jury and asks “do you find this person guilty or not guilty”, and the jury foreman says “not guilty”. The judge turns to the prisoner and declares him acquitted – he can leave without a stain on his character. We are made right with God through our faith in Christ alone.
No other religion offers a free forgiveness and a new life to those who have done nothing to deserve it, but a lot to deserve judgement instead. On the contrary, other religions teach some form of saving yourself through good works or philanthropy of some sort. But the Good News of Christianity is that Jesus saved us when he took our sins upon himself and died on the cross for us. In other religions, men and women are always stretching up to God, doing something to get there. Christianity is about God coming down to us of his own free will and reaching down to us. We are saved by faith in Jesus and faith alone, although the reality of our faith should be demonstrated by the lives we live, the things we do ‘For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead’ James 2v26.
If we can really get hold of this then it is liberating. We are free from sin, we are free to have a right relationship with God and able to enjoy all the blessings that God wants us to have. Charles Wesley captured the thought in his hymn “And can it be..”
“Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free; I rose, went forth, and followed thee.”
In Romans 5 v 1 & 2 Paul gives a summary of the results of our being justified by faith, of our being made right with God through our faith in Jesus. First, we have Peace with God, second we come into an experience of God’s Grace, and third we boast (rejoice in some bible versions) in our hope of sharing the Glory of God. These are the fruits of our being put right with God through faith. Peace, grace and glory. The peace of God (which we have), grace (in which we stand) and glory (for which we hope).
First, through our faith in Jesus, ‘we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’ v1. We are no longer separated from the presence of God. Our sin cut us off from God, which made us enemies of God. But when Jesus died on the cross he took our sins upon himself. It is through his sacrifice that we are forgiven and are reconciled to God, and so have peace with Him. Furthermore, we have peace with God now. It is an immediate result of our faith in Jesus.
Second, through our faith in Jesus, ‘we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand’ v2a. We have access to God’s grace. GRACE is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”. A door has been opened, through which we can enter God’s undeserved riches. We continually stand in the grace of God, it is a continuing effect of our being justified by faith. If you are the Prime Minister you will have a weekly audience with the Queen. If you are a Knight of the Realm you will occasionally have an audience with the Queen. But if you are a Christian you continually stand in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We do not fall in and out of grace, in the way that some people might find themselves in and out of favour with the Queen. We stand continually in the grace of God. ‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ Romans 8v38-39
Third, through our faith in Jesus, ‘we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God’ v2b. If peace with God was an immediate effect of being justified by faith, and standing in the grace of God a continuing effect of being justified by faith, then boasting in our hope of sharing the glory of God is the ultimate effect of our being justified by faith. We have a secure future, the certainty of which gives us joy now. Christian hope is not an uncertain sort of hope – I hope it’s a sunny day tomorrow, it may or may not be. Christian hope is a confident expectation because it stands on the promises of God and so is sure and certain. We rejoice in our sure and certain hope of the glory of God. In the Bible “glory of God” means that which shows clearly the praiseworthiness of God. It is what makes us go ‘wow’ about God! Already we see it in the creation of the heavens and earth, it is seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our ‘hope of sharing the glory of God’ will be fully realised when we see and share God’s glory in heaven, because in heaven God himself will be fully revealed to us. That is the sure and certain hope in which we boast. We, who through sin have fallen short of the glory of God, through the grace of God and our faith in him will be transformed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3v18). In that we can boast, it is a certainty.
Peace, grace, glory, yes. But then Paul says in v3 ‘we also boast in our sufferings’. At this time of so much suffering from Covid-19 in our own country and across the whole world this might seem very strange to us. But Paul is not talking here about our personal sicknesses and problems. Jesus himself experienced rejection (Luke 4:16-30), he wept at the grave of Lazarus (John 11v35), etc. Paul is talking about the tribulations and pressures of being a Christian living in a non-Christian world, and the persecution which that brings. Suffering for our faith is unusual for many of us in this country, but not all. Children, for example can be bullied at school for their Christian faith, pray for them. Christians in many other countries are persecuted for their Christian faith, pray for them. But in the early church it was normal for Christians to suffer persecution for their faith. In Acts 14v22 we read that Paul and Barnabas ‘strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God’.
Paul says it is not the suffering itself that we boast in, rather it is the beneficial results of our suffering that we can rejoice in “… suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us…” (v3-5). These verses read almost like a ladder of the Christian life. The bottom rung is suffering (persecution) and many Christians living in a non-Christian world will experience this. That is the rung that we would like to miss out, but we can’t. Suffering can be productive if it is responded to positively and not with anger and bitterness. Because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope, ‘and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us’ v5.
As the Stuart Townend/Keith Getty hymn puts it:
In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid Ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.