Weekly Pews News
29 March 2020
Fifth 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 Most merciful God, who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross we may triumph in the power of his victory; 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.
Psalm response With the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption.
NB clocks go forward today!
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
The church is now closed for visitors and private prayer until further notice.
No services in church
Sunday 29 March
Intention: our mission to our own parish; the outreach of our parish newsletter; all newcomers to Pagham, and to our Church family.
Anniversary: Jean Jackson (2001)
Monday 30 March
Intention: our neighbouring Churches, and the work of Churches Together in Bognor Regis and District.
Anniversary: John Griffin (1988)
Tuesday 31 March – John Donne, Poet and Priest, 1631
Intention: our family and friends.
Anniversary: Amelia Rutterford (1973); Harold Archer (1995); Frank Hope (2008)
Daily prayers for Church members will now be included
Wednesday 1 April
Intention: our Parish Team – Clergy: Colin Wood, Bill Meyer; Reader: Roland Ell; Churchwardens: Mike Wake, Stephen Cox-Rusbridge.
Church members: Adriana, Phil & Alexandru Antoniu-Martin; Beatrice Armstrong; Caryl & Michael Atherton; June Baker; Paul, Jessica, George, Teddy & Jack Baker; Helen Barnett.
Thursday 2 April
Intention: our hospitals, doctors, nurses and midwives, home care assistants, pharmacists, therapists, opticians, dentists; all who provide health care.
Church members: Anne Baxendale; Hilda Baxendale; Mary Baxter; Brenda Bell; Marilyn & Dave Bishop; Alison Blenkinsop; Madge Breakspear.
Friday 3 April
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 members: 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: Ellen Earwaker (2018)
Saturday 4 April
Intention: all imprisoned in any way, and those caught up in modern slavery; the prisoners, staff, chaplains and visitors at HMP Ford.
Church members: 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 McCleland (2001); Edward Balk (1999)
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.
We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: Eastmead, Edwen Close, Ellis Way.
We pray for all affected by Covid-19, and our local home carers and those they visit.
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, 261131.
Sunday 5th April Readings for Palm Sunday
8 am Holy Communion (BCP Sunday next before Easter) Readings: Philippians 2: 5-11; Matthew 27: 1-54
9.45 am The Eucharist Readings: Isaiah 50: 4-9a; Psalm 31: 9-16; Philippians 2: 5-11; Matthew 26: 14 to 27: 6
Covid-19: Church of England latest advice is to close all places of worship. 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.
Our previous vicar Mark used to pray for Pagham Church members on a monthly rota at Morning Prayer. Now we are invited to pray for each other while we cannot meet. Names have been added to the diary prayers from 1st April.
Confirmation: Canon Colin will not be running preparation classes yet. He will contact those who 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.
Bishop Luffa pen pals: some students have written cards to isolated Church members, which we hope to distribute over the next couple of weeks.
Church roof: the stonemasons’ work is now completed, but the last of the tiling has been delayed during the current lockdown. We are deeply grateful to all who fundraised and donated, and all who have worked on the repairs, so that this beautiful church could be kept safe for the coming years.
Palm Crosses: unfortunately we are unable to distribute these this year.
Foodbank: our support is needed more than ever. Now that we can no longer collect food items in church, please consider donating into the crates in supermarkets, or give monetary help which is urgently required. https://bognorregis.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/
My Sisters’ House: the work of supporting vulnerable women and their children is even more important during this time of crisis. The team there say: “With heavy heart, due to COVID-19, we have made the decision to cease face to face or group work until further notice. We are still here for you. Please email email@example.com, phone 01243 697800, or message us via Facebook for support.” Please continue to pray for this work. https://www.mysistershouse.info/
Sermon for Sunday 29th March 2020
John 11:1-45 Fifth Sunday of Lent 29 March 2020 Passiontide begins today. This is the name for the last two weeks of Lent beginning today, the 5th Sunday of Lent (Passion Sunday) and ending on Easter Eve (the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Day). The following are thoughts on today’s Gospel Reading
Sometimes things seem hopeless and we feel helpless. Perhaps some feel like this about the present coronavirus pandemic. This is probably how Martha and Mary felt when their brother Lazarus had died. They were a close family unit, they were close friends of Jesus, so when Lazarus fell ill, the sisters Mary & Martha sent to Jesus for help (v3). By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had died. It seemed a hopeless situation and Martha and Mary felt helpless. When Jesus did arrive, Mary was weeping, the friends who had come to comfort her were weeping, it was a sad time and Jesus felt that sadness. And so v35, the shortest verse in the bible, ‘Jesus wept’.
The tears of Jesus were not ‘professional tears’, not those of a hired mourner, not those of someone inwardly detached from the situation, not pretend tears. They were tears of someone emotionally involved, someone whose heart was touched, who was deeply moved. His sorrow was not expressed with words, but with tears, the language of the heart. As with Martha and Mary, so with us. Jesus is not the detached spectator to our sorrow, he is one with us in our need, he feels our pain, lives our experience.
But also we read in v 33 we read that Jesus was ‘greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved’. The inference some commentators point out is that Jesus was angry. Why? Was it that both Martha and Mary had said ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died’ (v21 & 32), as though they were telling Jesus off? Or was it Jesus’ response to Martha and Mary telling themselves off for not calling Jesus earlier ‘if you had been here’. A bit like those personal rebukes that we torment ourselves with, ‘if only I had done this’, or ‘if only I had not done that’, things might have been different. ‘If only’ are two words that lead us into the cul-de-sac of despair.
But I suggest, Jesus was not angry about what Martha and Mary had said. It was seeing Martha and Mary and friends sad that had made Jesus angry, because it was the evil of death that had caused their sadness. It was death, and the devil who had the power of death, that Jesus had come into the world to destroy. This was the enemy that Jesus hated, this is what he had been sent into the world by his Father to do something about. This is what made Jesus angry.
When the sisters said ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died’, they were words of their own faith, they were saying ‘if Jesus had been here, he would have saved Lazarus from death, I know he would have done’. They knew that, because they looked for a general resurrection on ‘I know he will rise again on the last day’ v24. But perhaps that was not a lot of comfort, they wanted their brother now, not at the last day.
Here they were, going through personal pain and darkness, but through their faith, they knew that even though they were walking through the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus was there with them, and so the future could be faced with hope.
Why? How? Because Jesus said ‘I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die’ v25. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. The Christian faith is not ‘pie in the sky when I die’, we live in the constant presence of our crucified, risen and ascended Lord. Faith believes in the present reality of Jesus Christ as life changing Lord. Jesus still transforms lives and situations today.
But note how Martha and Mary have moved from hopelessness to hope, a sure and certain hope, because Jesus met them at the point of their need. Like Martha and Mary, with Jesus we can be true to ourselves because he understands our needs and we can trust him because he is the resurrection and the life. The resurrection says ‘Jesus is alive and death is defeated’. Jesus is our living hope.