Weekly Pews News
22 March 2020
Mothering Sunday/Fourth Sunday of Lent
All services in church are suspended
Read the services online: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship
Collect for the day
God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself: strengthen us in our daily living, that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal; 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.
Holy Communion (BCP) Readings: Galatians 4; 21–end; John 6: 1-14
Readings: Exodus 2: 1-10; Luke 2: 33-35
The church is open daily, as usual, for visitors and private prayer.
Please observe government advice on social distancing.
No services in church
Sunday 22 March
Intention: our Deanery of Arundel & Bognor, and its parishes, clergy and people; our Rural Dean Mark Standen, and the work of Deanery Synod.
Monday 23 March
Intention: all those who do difficult work on our behalf, especially in the armed services and the emergency services.
Anniversary: Norman Teulon (1988); John Pegnall (2007)
Tuesday 24 March
Intention: the Church’s worldwide mission; all missionary societies and the Bible Society.
Anniversary: Frank Sutton (2008)
Wednesday 25 March – the Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Intention: our Diocese of Chichester, Bishop Martin and Archdeacon Luke; the work of Diocesan Synod and Church House; the witness of Chichester Cathedral.
Anniversary: David Horlock (1990)
Thursday 26 March
Intention: the elderly, lonely and bereaved; all those in residential care and those who care for them.
Anniversary: Kenneth Winfield (2002)
Friday 27 March
Intention: all who work for peace and justice, and for good relationships with the United Nations and all other countries.
Intention: vocations to the ordained ministry, especially in our own parish; theological colleges and ordinands in training; our own Parish ordinand Gemma Green; vocations to the religious life.
Anniversary: Frank Myatt (1981)
PRAYERS AND INTENTIONS
We pray for all in need of healing in body, mind or spirit: Lynette, Chloe Green, Rosie Sims, Nicola, Richard Rundle, Terry Haskell, Jean Martin, Gemma Green, Lila Cowee, Barbara Crew, Brenda Dobson, Keith Smith, June Evans, Zoe, Bea & Laurie Tucker, Karen Cox, Jim Druce, Shelagh, Paul, Chris & family.
For urgent prayer, contact Gillian Purvis (267597) or Colin Wood (264192) to activate the Prayer Chain.
We remember in our prayers Church members who live in residential care or receive communion at home: Edna Swinnerton-Beet, Jane Upton, Maureen Yates.
We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: Dukes Meadow, Durham Close, East Front Road.
We pray for everyone affected by Covid-19, and our local hospital St Richard’s and all staff caring for inpatients with the virus.
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, 261131.
NB clocks go forward next Sunday!
Sunday 29th Readings for the Fifth Sunday of Lent
8 am Holy Communion (BCP) Readings: Hebrews 9: 11-15; John 8: 46–end
9.45 am The Eucharist Readings: Ezekiel 37: 1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8: 6-11; John 11: 1-45
Covid-19: Church of England latest advice is to suspend all services. However, there are 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.
Confirmation: as we are advised to suspend meetings, and the Diocese have not given us a date for when our Confirmation will be, Canon Colin will not be running preparation classes yet. He will contact those who have expressed an interest when the situation is resolved.
Ladies’ Club & Luncheon Club: meetings are suspended until further notice.
Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM): more information later.
Cathedral events: many will be cancelled – check the website.
Mothering Sunday today has been designated by Church Together in England a day of prayer and action. Its website says: “It has always been both a day of celebration for many and a sensitive and emotional day for some. Wherever you are this Sunday, please do join in this day of prayer and action and remember especially those who are sick or anxious, and all involved in our Health Service. As one action, we are calling on everyone to place a lighted candle (safely!) in their window at 7 pm as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.”
Church roof: the work is nearing completion. Care is needed when visiting the church to avoid trailing leads. Thank you to all who have contributed to help us reach the target.
Christian Aid: Count Your Blessings leaflets are available at the back of church for those who wish to participate during Lent. Our Super Soup fundraising lunch this week has been cancelled, but please continue to support this vital charity by prayer and giving.
Easter flowers: watch this space.
Foodbank: our support is needed more than ever. Please keep those donations coming into the crate by the church door!
SERMON FOR MOTHERING SUNDAY
Mothering Sunday – 22nd March 2020
Our Family Eucharist on Mothering Sunday is a Service with many children and Uniformed Organisations present. Children give posies of flowers to all the ladies in Church, and we all enjoy a piece of Simnel Cake made by some of the Church ladies. This talk is for this All Age congregation.
When we are feeling a bit ‘down’ to see flowers growing in gardens and the grass verges, can ‘lift our spirits’, make us feel happier. ‘Say it with flowers’ is a slogan encouraging us to send flowers to someone. When we do so they are not only giving a message from ourselves, it is the flowers themselves which are saying something, they are making a point. Jesus Himself used flowers to illustrate a point. He said ‘And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.’ (Matthew 6:28). So Jesus was using flowers as an illustration about not worrying, but trusting God.
One of the traditions of Mothering Sunday is that we give flowers to our mothers. Also, our Church gives posies of flowers to all the ladies in Church during the Service. When we do this, what are we saying?
Perhaps the first thing we are saying when we give flowers to someone is ‘I am thinking of you’. On Mothering Sunday we are thinking especially of mother, and for mother that is fine. But for some it can be a very difficult day. Perhaps, for example, someone who would like to be a mother, but for them it is not possible. For such people Mothering Sunday can be a painful day and we should especially think of them today. But today should not be an exclusive day, it was never meant to be. Indeed, Mothering Sunday began as a day to honour Mother Church, the spiritual mother of all Christians. Indeed it is always very important to remember that God is always thinking of us, whoever we are, whether we are mothers or not. I hope it is a comforting thought for us to know that God cares for us so much that that He is always thinking of us. To give flowers says ‘I am thinking of you’.
Another reason we give flowers is as a way of ‘saying sorry’. A way of making up for all the times we have not done as mother wanted us to do or told us to do. So we give her some flowers to say sorry. We all need to say sorry to God for the times when we fail Him. We all fail. This is why we have the Confession in our Church Service. If we say sorry to God, and we mean it, he will always forgive us.
But another reason that we give flowers to our mothers today is that we want to say to them ‘You are special’. This is important. But it is also important for us to recognise that God sees us all as being special to Him. I remember many years ago visiting an elderly lady in hospital, who had been very ill, but was getting better. As we talked she was running herself down. So I told her ‘that she was very special – very special to God’. And she started crying. That simple thought had never occurred to her. But it is true, we are all special to God.
One more reason to give flowers to mother is ‘to say thank you’ to her. We can do that whatever age we are. Every one of us either has, or has had, a mother. Mine died many years ago. We can thank God for our mother. All she means or meant to us, all that she does or did for us. Especially we want to do that today, Mothering Sunday. But also God’s people should always want to say thank you to God. It is right and good to stop and think of all that God does for us, and to say thank you to Him.
‘Love’ draws all of these reasons together. So another important reason for giving flowers to mother is because we know ‘she loves us’ and ‘we love her’. Yes, we might annoy each other at times, and it might not be universally true, but I hope it is true for us. So in recognition of our mother’s love for us, we give her some flowers. We ‘say it with flowers’ as well as with our lips. What is universally true, is that whoever on this earth loves us or not, God always loves us, and this is a constant love. ‘For 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.’ (John 3:16).
In response let us say to God that we love Him. ‘How I love you Lord’ is something we can say in response to His love for us.