Weekly Pews News

no 20-22                                                 Pentecost

31 May 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

https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/digital-family-prayer-adventure-map

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUtll3mNj5U

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.

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Collect  God, who as at this time taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, 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: Whit Sunday) Acts 2: 1-11; John 14: 15-31a

The Eucharist (CW) Acts 2: 1-21; Psalm 104: 24–end; 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13; John 20: 19-23 

Sunday 31 May

Intention: our family and friends.

Ordinary Time resumes

Monday 1 June – Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

Intention: our Parish Team – Clergy: Colin Wood, Bill Meyer; Reader: Roland Ell; Churchwardens: Mike Wake, Stephen Cox-Rusbridge.

Church family: Adriana, Phil & Alexandru Antoniu-Martin; Beatrice Armstrong; Caryl & Michael Atherton; June Baker; Jessica, Paul, George, Teddy & Jack Baker; Helen Barnett.

Anniversary: Doris Grounsell (2016)

Tuesday 2 June

Intention: our hospitals, doctors, nurses and midwives, home care assistants, pharmacists, therapists, opticians, dentists; all who provide health care.

Church family: Anne Baxendale; Mary Baxter; Brenda Bell; Marilyn & Dave Bishop; Alison Blenkinsop; Madge Breakspear; Lyndsey, Brooke & Noah Bright; Jan & Alex Brockhurst.

Anniversary: Frederick Dell (1998); Peter Bradley (2010)

Wednesday 3 June

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 family: Chris & John Buckenham; Keiran Buckwell; Debbie & Stephen Buxton & Edna Swinnerton-Beet; Sarah, Peter, Hannah, James & Lucy Carmichael; Gill, Rick & Sarah Chalk; Stella & Bill Clarke; Nicky, Olivia, Abigail & Phoebe Cogger.

Thursday 4 June

Intention: all imprisoned in any way, and those caught up in modern slavery; the prisoners, staff, chaplains and visitors at HMP Ford.

Church family: Julia, Nick, Joseph & Florrie Clews & Charlize & William Driscoll-Bennett; Anne & Barry Coe; Lina & Mike Cole; Gill Cooper & Steve Cole; Heather Collins; Kate, James, Allyssia, Eden & Rocky Congdon & Cadence Schneider.

Friday 5 June

Intention: our children and young people, and their leaders; our Sunday School and Saints (older children).

Church family: Natalie, Jim, Holly, Daniel & Erica Copeland; Anne & Roger Cormack; Lila Cowee; Amanda, Stephen, Benjamin & Alice Cox-Rusbridge; Barbara & Alan Crew; Corinne, Tony, Darren, Joseph, Alistair & Zoe Crisp; John Crockford.

Anniversary: Neil Dalton (2017)

Saturday 6 June

Intention: our Archbishops, Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York; the work of the Archbishops’ Council and General Synod; the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Church family: Sarah, Shane, Oliver, Harriet & Henry Crow; Jeanne Dalton; Margaret Darlow; Sue Davis; Brenda Dobson; Carole & Richard Druce; Kathleen Dudley.

Anniversary: Lawrence Cozens (1990)

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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 activate the Prayer Chain.

We remember Church family who live in residential care or usually receive communion at home.

We pray for God’s blessing on all who live in our parish: Lagoon Road, Lake View.

We pray for all affected directly by Covid-19; for visitors to our local coastal areas, where the usual safety measures have not yet been reinstated.

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NOTICES

GOOD NEWS! We continue to rejoice that our ordinand, Gemma Green, is now engaged to Jonathan Fleury who is also studying at the College of the Resurrection in Mirfield. We pray for Gemma and Jonathan in their ongoing journey of commitment to each other and to Christ.

Contact Alison Blenkinsop (details below) to send a message to Gemma by 1 June.

Stay in touch: Pagham Church Facebook page ‘Thomas Becket’, follow the news on Pagham Church website, or use the contact numbers below for updates.

Chichester Diocese pastoral helpline, ‘Hearing You’, for listening and prayer support: 01273 425047.

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 Wednesday and Saturday mornings, 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/.

Financial donations are very welcome (please use Gift Aid if possible) by cash in person, or by cheque made payable to ‘Bognor Foodbank’ and posted to Bognor Foodbank, Argyle Hall, Argyle Road, Bognor Regis, PO21 1DY. Standing Order and Gift Aid forms are available on the website.

Awareness of suicide: the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) offer short online training courses (10-20 mins) to help people encourage friends and family to share thoughts of self-harm, so that specialist support may be given. Their motto is See (notice potential danger); Say (ask directly about thoughts of self-harm); and Signpost (to professional help). https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training

Suicide is preventable.  (Alison has now done the longer course; contact below for more information.) 

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: 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, domesticabuse@paghamchurch.org.

Safe Space Sussex has been equipped with a new search tool so that victims of any crime can find the service they need within 10 seconds. https://www.safespacesussex.org.uk/  Victims can also let Sussex Police know they’re in danger by calling 999 silently, then pressing 55 on the phone. 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, 01243 261131, 07784 544981.

SERMON

Acts 2v1-21                                              Pentecost                                           31st May 2020 

‘Keep your eye on the ball’ my old cricket coach used to tell me. It’s all too easy for the cricketer to be distracted by a fielder moving around or some excitement in the crowd, and that lack of concentration can lead to his downfall. The cricketer has to keep focussed on the ball.

Perhaps ‘keep your eye on the ball’ is an idiom which should be a motto for all Christians. On this Pentecost Sunday as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, in this very difficult ‘lockdown situation’ when we are unable to meet together to worship, it is important that ‘we keep our eye on the ball’, we stay focussed on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Why did God send his Holy Spirit? The question permits of more than one answer. I want to think of three areas that we need to keep central to our thinking and to our living. These are that the Holy Spirit came because he had work to do in the individual, he had work to do in the church, and he had work to do in the world.

First the individual, you and me. ‘Keep your eye on the ball’. What should be our primary focus of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives at this difficult time when we cannot meet together? The Holy Spirit was given to us to make us more like Jesus Christ. It is when the Holy Spirit is active in our lives, that we will be empowered to keep our old sinful natures nailed to the cross, so that the lovely Christ-like characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control may blossom in us (Galatians 5v22-23). This is the Fruit of the Spirit, it is a description of the character of Jesus. Life is not always kind to us, nor easy for us, but it is especially at times like these that we should live out the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, so that others may see in us ‘the image of his Son’, or ‘the family likeness of his Son’ (Romans 8:29). But we must rid ourselves of our sin that spoils the Holy Spirit’s fruitfulness within us.

We know that the third person of the Trinity is called the Holy Spirit, and that our holy God requires his people to be holy. ‘as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct’ 1 Peter 1v15)., or as the AV  says ‘as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation’   Take out the five, two letter words ‘AS HE, SO BE YE’, is a helpful way to remember this.  But remember also that the God who calls us to be holy also gives us his Holy Spirit to enable us to be holy.

The whole of Jesus’ life was the embodiment of God’s love. It is the love of God which shines through Jesus. ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us’ (Romans 5v5). The Holy Spirit has been given to us, to live out God’s love in our own lives, love which is not essentially a feeling but a way of living. Love does something, it gives, it acts. ‘Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action’ (1 John 3v18). The power of the Holy Spirit is the power of love, this should be the distinctive mark of the Holy Spirit within us.

Note also that the Holy Spirit never says come to me instead he focusses us on Jesus. His is a floodlight ministry. Picture if you will a building floodlit at night time.  Without the floodlights, the building merges into the darkness of the night time background.  Switch on the floodlights, and they make visible what would otherwise be in darkness.  And when the floodlighting is well done you simply see the building lit up, you do not see the actual floodlights, just their effect.  That is like the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is to floodlight Jesus, to glorify Jesus.  In John 16:14 we read that Jesus said ‘that the Holy Spirit will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you,’ If as individuals we are to ‘keep our eye on the ball’ we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit and become more like Him. The Holy Spirit has a Christ centred ministry.

Second, the Holy Spirit has work to do in the church. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. The church needs to ‘keep its eye on the ball’. The Holy Spirit came upon the Christian community to unite individual Christians in a fellowship of love which could not be paralleled in any other group. Our corporate life together as a church is very important, which is one reason why many of us find these days of  lockdown so difficult, we miss the fellowship, we miss being able to worship God together.

Our Lord’s great will for the church is that we will be one. In Jesus’ great prayer of John 17, part of which we thought about last week, Jesus prayed that the church may be one, as He and the Father are one. (John 17:11). This is why St Paul was so distressed at the divisions in the Christian church at Corinth. They quarrelled amongst themselves, they were of the party spirit – some following Paul, others Peter, others Apollos. Tragically the same thing can happen in the church today, following the leader who says what we want her or him to say, or joining the church solely because its emphasis is what I want rather than what God wills.

I remember attending a National Anglican Congress at Nottingham in 1977 when The Revd David Watson commented on the reformation, the great historical event involving the split with Rome and formation of the Protestant Church.  David Watson was a hugely respected leader in the evangelical wing of the church at the time. He said that what the reformers tried to do was to reform the church and not split it into pieces.  But that is what happened and today there are lots of separate protestant denominations across the world.  His remarks caused uproar.  It was not the thing to say at a conference for whom the reformation was such an important event. Bishop Festo Kivengere  spoke at the congress for the first time since he escaped from Uganda following the murder of Archbishop Janani Luwum by Idi Amin.  He said that denominationalism was second only to Apartheid in South Africa as a scandal to the church.

But the work of the Holy Spirit is the opposite of this disunity. The Holy Spirit brings unity and reconciliation, creating fellowship enabling worship and so builds up the Body of Christ in love. The Psalmist said ‘Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity’. (133v1). Churches Together is an important element in the corporate life of our churches in the Bognor area.

In his book ‘I believe in the Church’, David Watson wrote ‘the church is totally dependent on the Holy Spirit for the whole of its life. It is created by the Spirit, and it must be continuously sustained and renewed by the Spirit.’ If the church is to ‘keep its eye on the ball’, we need to remember this and the importance of living together in the unity of love.

Third, the Holy Spirit has work to do in the world.  The Holy Spirit was given to us for Mission, to be witnesses for Jesus. If we are to ‘keep our eye on the ball’, we will remember that Jesus said to the apostles ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).  The Holy Spirit came to equip us for mission, to enable us to fulfil ‘The Great Commission’ to ‘go and make disciples’ (Matthew 28v19).  We need to hold on to this missionary aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit, lest we think the Holy Spirit came simply as an internal gift for the faithful to facilitate holy huddles.

Furthermore, it is in making us witnesses for Jesus that holds all the other aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit together. As individuals we are to be Christ-like, showing the Christ-like characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit, so that our lives may floodlight Jesus and so attract the people of the world to Him. As Christian congregations, our unity, our fellowship and worship will be attractive, because the love amongst our members will be so real, and genuine and outgoing.

The early church grew rapidly because their mission was led by the Holy Spirit who so energised the early Christian community to fulfil the task for which the Holy Spirit had come to them.  That task was to be witnesses to Jesus. The Christian community was so in love with God that that is what it did. They were witnesses and the church grew. This is not easy in our present lockdown situation, but being good neighbours, assisting the Foodbanks, etc is a good start.

The early church ‘kept its eye on the ball’. It kept focussed on the Lord Jesus Christ. So must we – in our individual lives, in the life of the church and so bear witness to him in the world in the power of Holy Spirit.

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

Colin Wood