Saturday, August 15, 2020

Scarecrow festival starts this weekend

 The SCARECROW FESTIVAL has been brought forward this year, to enable more children to get involved, whilst they are off school, and often with nowhere to go! Scarecrows can go up outside your property, or another agreed venue, from August 15th, and there will be a trail for you and yours to follow, over August Bank Holiday weekend. If you wish your scarecrow to be 'ON THE TRAIL', please contact Janetta on 01732 762729 or Barbara on 01732 762255. It has been agreed to have no prizes awarded this year, as there are always amazing entries, and everybody deserves a huge THANK YOU for making the effort to contribute to the festival. We will be holding a lockdown exhibition, hopefully later in the year, so please take a selfie of yourself/selves, with your scarecrow and also send to either Barbara or Janetta or email to sealchurchevents@gmail.co. If you have nowhere to display your scarecrow, or you feel you are too far out of the village, please ask the local shops and businesses if they would like one outside their premises. They often like to join in, but don't have the time to make their own!



Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sunday Worship and other news from Seal Church

 

Dear friends

I've been away on holiday in Porlock on the edge of Exmoor this week, so this newsletter,like last week's, is just the basic links to our worship and other activities because I knew I wouldn't have time to put anything more than this together. I  hope you enjoy your worship with us today, whether it is online or in person in church (Holy Communion restarts this week, along with said Evensong, and our Outdoor Church - we will find a shady spot in the churchyard if the weather is like it is today!.)
Best wishes
Anne Le Bas


SUNDAY WORSHIP Aug 9 Trinity 9

Morning Worship Podcast        Morning Worship Service sheet      
Evensong Podcast                   Evensong Service sheet                   

Worship in Seal Church building this week
It is now mandatory for all worshippers to wear face coverings unless they are exempt from doing so. There will be some disposable face masks available if you forget yours.

10 am Holy Communion
4pm  Outdoor Church in the churchyard
6.30pm Said Evensong

Wednesday
9.15am  Morning Prayer in Church
A short said service using the Common Worship Morning Prayer service. There are a few copies of this service available in church, but the easiest way to follow it if you want to join us is to download the Daily Prayer app https://www.chpublishing.co.uk/apps/daily-prayer

Seal Church Zoom meetings this week:
 
Zoffee – Sunday chat at 11 am - If the link doesn't work, enter the meeting ID and password instead!


Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82274130226?pwd=bUQ2enZrUC9GZ1RVTFhHb3BKNDYxdz09

Meeting ID: 822 7413 0226
Passcode: 044352

Wednesday Zoom Church – Wed  at 11 am Twenty minutes of informal worship with our friends at Lavender Fields. Everyone is welcome.
email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. 

Zoom Children’s Choir - 
Wed at 5pm
AND
Thurs at  4pm 
please contact 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. Any children are welcome for 30 minutes of fun songs.
 
Zoom Adult Choir – Wednesday 7.15pm Contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.

There's probably nothing more boring than someone else's holiday photos, but here are a few of ours anyway. 
From top left, clockwise: Culbone Church, reputably the smallest parish church in England, tucked away in a deep valley in the woods near Porlock Weir.
Porlock Bay, looking lovely in the sunshine
A baby donkey - couldn't resist this photo, and the donkey didn't seem to mind.
The Chapter House in the ruins of Cleeve Abbey, an old Cistercian abbey.


Sunday, August 02, 2020

Sunday Worship Links


Dear friends
The links to our worship this week are below. I am taking a break this week, so the preacher on our morning podcast is The Venerable Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge. Revd. Adie McCall will be leading and preaching at our 10 am service in church. My thanks go to both of them for their help.

Best wishes
Anne Le Bas


SUNDAY WORSHIP Aug 2 Trinity 8

Morning Worship Podcast        Morning Worship Service sheet     
Evensong Podcast                   Evensong Service sheet                  

Worship in Seal Church building this week
All worshippers are strongly advised to wear face coverings in church. From next Sunday, Government regulations have changed and face coverings will be mandatory in church.

Aug 2 at 10 am Morning Worship led by Revd Adie McCall
There will be no 4pm Outdoor Church this week - back next Sunday!

On Aug 9 we will resume services of Holy Communion at 10 am, and Evensong at 6.30pm as well. There will also be Outdoor Church at 4pm.

Seal Church Zoom meetings this week:

Zoffee – Sunday chat at 11 am. email jess.heeb@gmail.com for the link.

No Wednesday Zoom Church this week

No Zoom Children’s Choir or Adult Choir this week.  

 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Great Little Gardening Gatherings

Could you host a socially distanced Great Little Garden Gathering in aid of Seal Church? This needs to be held in accordance with Govt Guidance & our Risk Assessment. Phone numbers on poster to find out more. Every little helps as we try to make sure our church continues to thrive!




Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday worship links and other news...

The links to our worship this week are below.
Best wishes
Anne Le Bas


SUNDAY WORSHIP online - July 26: Trinity 7

Morning Worship Podcast        Morning Worship Service sheet       Morning hymn words
Evensong Podcast                    Evensong Service sheet                    Evensong hymn Words


Sunday worship in the church building
10 am Morning worship in church
Please note that the C of E now strongly advises worshippers to wear face coverings in the church building, although it is not mandatory.
4pm    Outdoor Church in the churchyard
(by the War Memorial)


Seal Church Zoom meetings this week:


Zoffee – Sunday chat at 11 am, hosted this week and next by Jess and Jonathan Heeb. If the link doesn't work, enter the meeting ID and password instead!


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84425806938?pwd=aUdxcmlleUVXUW55dTg2anlLMlRuZz09
Meeting ID: 844 2580 6938
Passcode: 807082

No Wednesday Church, Children's Choir or Choir zooms this week or next.

Trinity 7


Today’s Gospel reading is the one set for the feast of St James (on July 25). As Kevin mentions in his sermon, St James is particularly connected with the town of Santiago (St James, in Spanish) de Compostela, in the Northern Spanish province of Galicia, where a shrine to him was founded in the ninth century. It is said that in 813 a shepherd saw a bright start shining   on a particular spot on a field, and that the remains of St James was found there. How did they know it was St James? According to legend (and there are a lot of legends about St James!) the coffin in which he was buried was decorated with scallop shells, the symbol of St James, who was one of the first fishermen called by Jesus. In fact many Roman coffins were decorated with shells, so the chances are that this is what had been found, but why let the facts get in the way of a good story!

How did St James, a Galilean fisherman, come to be in Spain? According to some of those legends, he had come to Northern Spain to preach the Gospel, without much success, early after the Ascension of Jesus, when the Apostles were sent out across the world with the good news. When he returned to Jerusalem, he was arrested and beheaded by Herod. (Acts 12.1 – this bit at least is Biblical!) Then the legends take over again, saying that his friends retrieved his body, and put it on a rudderless ship, entrusting its destination to God. It landed on the northern coast of Spain, wafted by the winds and guided by angels. There James’ friends asked the local ruler, Queen Lupa, if it could be buried, saying that they hoped he would be more welcome in death than he had been in life. She had the coffin put on a cart pulled by two unguided oxen, and said that wherever they stopped the body could be buried. Over the centuries, though, the place of burial was forgotten, until the shepherd rediscovered it.

Believe the stories or not, the shrine became one of the most important pilgrimage destinations, especially when it became impossible for pilgrims to get to Jerusalem. Pilgrims walked – and still do- from every corner of Europe and beyond, on what became known as the Camino de Santiago, the way to Santiago. Pilgrims wore a scallop shell, the symbol of St James, to show that they were on this special journey – the main routes to Santiago are still marked with a shell symbol.

Eventually the shell became the symbol of pilgrimage generally, and also often of baptism – shells or shell-shaped scoops are often used to pour the water – since baptism is the first step on our pilgrimage through life.


Pilgrims in art are often shown wearing a shell, and it also featured in church architecture and furniture, especially on pilgrim routes – which brings us to Seal Church.
Our church was on one of  the pilgrim routes to Canterbury, and we can still see evidence of that in the crosses etched into the first pillar you come to when you enter the church. But we have another reminder of pilgrimage in a more surprising place. The side table at the front of the church was made out of the remains of the medieval rood screen, which had stretched across the front of the church. When it was taken down, like many rood screens, after the Reformation, it was made into a piece of furniture, which remained in the family of the people who had made it for hundreds of years until, in 1947, it was presented to the church, where it has remained ever since. If you look carefully at the carving on it you will see scallop shells…

I wonder if that Galilean fisherman, brutally killed around 44 AD, could ever have imagined that his life would be remembered in so many ways, and have been the inspiration for so much prayerful travel?

Have you ever been on a pilgrimage – official or unofficial? Are there places which feel special to you for some reason, where you feel closer to God.
All Age Ideas and Resources
 If you can, why not join us for our Outdoor Worship in Seal Churchyard today, with a story from me, and some time to pray and chat at a safe distance. Bring a rug or a folding chair. 4pm for about 20 mins.

The reading in today's podcast is about St James, a fisherman who followed Jesus. You could make some fish - drawn, collaged, or however you liked - as you think about him.
His symbol is a scallop shell. Find some pictures of shells. How many different ones can you find.
People often go on pilgrimage to St James' shrine in Spain. A pilgrimage is a special journey. What special journeys have you gone on? Why were they special to you?

Not about St James, but here are some other resources for this week.

https://reflectionary.org/2020/07/24/together-apart-romans-8-more-than-conquerors/

https://www.rootsontheweb.com/i-am-looking-for/public-copies/worshipathome26july
Prayer of the week
The Roncevalles Blessing
This prayer is prayed for pilgrims on the route to Santiago de Compostella

All-powerful God,
you always show mercy toward those who you love
and you are never far away for those who seek you.
Be with your servants on this pilgrimage
and guide their way in accord with your will.
Be a companion for them along their journey,
a guide at crossroads,
strength in their weariness,
defence before dangers,
shelter on the way,
shade against the heat,
light in the darkness,
a comforter in their discouragements,
and firmness in their intentions,
in order that, through your guidance,
they might arrive unscathed at the end of their journey and,
enriched with graces and virtues,
they might return safely home;
through Jesus Christ Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.
HYMN OF THE WEEK
 
Brother, Sister, let me serve you.

This lovely hymn reminds us of Jesus instruction to James, and to all his followers to love and serve one another in his name. 
Outdoor Church
Last week's Outdoor Church was a great success. Come and join us again this week for an informal time of all age worship with a story from me. We’ll meet at the War Memorial at 4pm, Bring a folding chair or a picnic blanket . It should last about 20 minutes. No Outdoor Church next week,  Aug 2, when I will be taking a break.

Please take our survey to help us plan for the next few months as we emerge from lockdown at Seal Church.

As Seal Church begins to hold services again, we want to make sure that we don't leave anyone behind. We know that everyone's experience over the last few months has been different, and everyone's needs will be different as we go forward.

To help us focus our resources of time and energy well, please would you complete one of the short surveys below. Please choose whichever seems the right survey for you, but you only need to complete one! Whichever survey you choose, it should take less than 10 minutes.

SURVEY A
If you can come to worship physically
 in the church building (or could, even if you don't at present), please complete SURVEY A by clicking on this link. 

SURVEY B
If you can't come to worship physically 
in the church building, perhaps because you live too far away, have a disability which prevents you coming, or attend another church as your main place of worship, please complete SURVEY B by clicking on this link.  You matter just as much to us, and we want to try to make sure we continue to provide opportunities for you to join in with our worship and other activities!

As well as helping us think about our future activities, I hope the survey will help you reflect on the personal impact of these past few months on you. If you'd like to talk further, or tell me more than the survey allows, please email or phone, or arrange for a safely distanced face to face chat. If surveys aren't your thing, please feel free to send me any thoughts you might have in an email or letter, but it would be really helpful if you had a look at one of the surveys to see what questions we are asking!

The deadline for completing the surveys will be Sunday Aug 9, but of course I hope that the conversation about this life-changing time for all of us will be a continuing one, so it will never be too late to get in touch! 
VICAR TAKING TIME OFF
I will be taking time off from Tuesday July 28 - Saturday Aug 8 and won't be available for any church business.
However, there will be podcasts next Sunday as usual, and although I won't produce a newsletter like this one, the links will be emailed as usual.
Revd. Adie McCall will be taking Morning Worship in church at 10 am on Aug 2, but there will be no Outdoor Church that afternoon. Jess and Jonathan Heeb will be hosting the Zoffee at 11am on Aug 2, but there won't be any choir zooms, children's choir zooms, or Wednesday Church zooms until I return.
Anne Le Bas
And finally...
It has been good to be able to welcome at least some people back into the church building again, but I have to wonder whether some of them, used to the podcasts, are thinking this...
Copyright © 2020 St Peter and St Paul, Seal, All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sunday worship and other news...

Dear friends
The links to our worship this week are below.
Best wishes
Anne Le Bas


SUNDAY WORSHIP July 19: Trinity 6

Morning Worship Podcast        Morning Worship Service sheet       Morning hymn words
Evensong Podcast                    Evensong Service sheet                    Evensong hymn Words


Seal Church Zoom meetings this week:

Zoffee – Sunday chat at 11 am. 
email sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. 

Wednesday Zoom Church – Wed  at 11 am Twenty minutes of informal worship with our friends at Lavender Fields. Everyone is welcome.
email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link.

Zoom Children’s Choir -
Wed at 5pm
AND
Thurs at  4pm
please contact 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. Any children are welcome for 30 minutes of fun songs.

Zoom Adult Choir – Wednesday 7.15pm Contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.

Zoom home groups and Friday Group – email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the links.


Trinity 6


Today’s Gospel story, like last week’s, is set in an agricultural context. A farmer finds his field has been sown with a mixture of wheat, which he wants, and weeds – darnel or tares – which he definitely doesn’t. No one notices until harvest is near, because both plants look alike until their seeds ripen. Only then do the darker seeds of the tares show up among the wheat. But the master doesn’t blame the slaves who sowed and tended the fields, nor does he seek revenge on the “enemy” who he thinks must have sown these seeds. Instead he tells his workers to wait for the harvest time. Uprooting the weeds will destroy the wheat with it. It can sound like a grim story – but it’s actually the opposite, a story of God’s gracious and generous love which doesn’t want to lose anything good.


The readings at Evensong focus on the theme of wisdom, with a famous story about Solomon, who was asked to judge between two new mothers who have each had a child. One child has lived and other has died, and each mother claims that the living child is hers. It’s a story which has provided inspiration to many painters over the years.

In Matthias Stom’s depiction, from 1640, the dramatic lighting highlights the moment of choice, when Solomon suggests that the child should be cut in two… One mother instantly says that  the child should be given to the other woman to prevent this happening. Intriguingly, the story doesn’t actually make it clear whether she is his biological mother, but she is certainly the one who cares about him, and that’s enough for Solomon – she is the one who is given the child.
  • Both these stories invite us to think about the way we exercise judgement, and how we feel about being judged. What is your reaction to them?
All Age Ideas and Resources

The wheat and weeds in today's Gospel story looked almost identical. They are both grasses. There are lots of different sorts of grass. Have a look at a patch of grass near you which is producing seed. How many different seed heads can you find? You could pick some and stick them onto some paper or clear plastic to make a picture showing the different shapes and sizes of seedheads you've found.

There are some lovely ideas in this week's Reflectionary sheet, based around today's Psalm , Psalm 139.
https://reflectionaryb.files.wordpress.com/2020/07/psalm-139.pdf

Roots on the web https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/20742/19-july-2020-childrens-sheet.pdf

Adult resources from Roots on the Web https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/21136/liveyourfaith_108-lockdown-version_19-july.pdf
Prayer of the week
We break this bread for the great green earth;
We call to mind the forests, fields and flowers which we are destroying, that one day, with the original blessing, God’s creation will be restored.
We break this bread for those who have no bread, the starving, the homeless and the refugees, that one day this planet may be a home for everyone.                      
Donald Reeves
 

This prayer, by Donald Reeves, a former Rector of St James, Piccadilly, is really designed to be spoken as the priest breaks bread before sharing Communion. I always include it in our Harvest Communion service. But it could equally be used as a grace before meals. It reminds us that the simple act of eathing is full of significance. The food we eat is a gift of God, a gift of the earth. It is not ours to own and control, but to share. As we break bread we are reminded too of the brokenness of the world, in which even this most basic thing is denied to some people.
  • Are there meals you remember as especially significant?
  • Perhaps you could say this prayer, privately or out loud, as you eat this week.
HYMN OF THE WEEK

Come ye thankful people, come
This hymn is usually associated with harvest, but it draws its imagery largely from the story we’ve heard today. It’s writer, Revd Henry Alford 1810-1871), was Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, and an academic theologian famous for his commentary on the Greek New Testament. He also wrote copious amounts of poetry and hymns, but this is the only one which is well known now.

1 Come, ye thankful people, come,
raise the song of harvest home;
all is safely gathered in,
ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied;
come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

2 All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.

3 For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
giving angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
but the fruitful ears to store
in the garner evermore.

4 Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
Outdoor Church
The weather for this afternoon looks a bit dodgy, but we may be lucky for our first Outdoor Church, an informal time of all age worship with a story from me. We’ll meet at the War Memorial at 4pm, unless it is bucketing down with rain! Bring a folding chair or a picnic blanket (or a tarpaulin, if you think you’ll need it!) It should last about 20 minutes. I hope to make this a weekly gathering, except on Aug 2, when I will be taking a break, so let’s hope that isn’t a cue for every Sunday afternoon to be rainy!
ongratulations to Jess Heeb

As you may know, Jess, who joined us earlier this year with her husband Jonathan, has been training on the Bishop’s Certificate course for the last two years, which aims to equip lay people with the foundations of theological education. It is also the first part of the training for Licensed Lay Ministry. Jess completed the Bishop’s Certificate course and was awarded her certificate officially at a service on Zoom this week, which I attended too. Jess will now start the Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) course– the Bishop’s Certificate course forms the first part of this training and, all being well, be licensed next summer, but the Bishop’s Certificate allows her to preach and lead worship a number of times a year, so we will be easing her in “up front” to give her some practice at doing this. I know you will join me in congratulating her on all the hard work that has gone into her training so far, and thank her for her willingness to share her gifts with us at Seal.

I asked Jess to write a bit about what this journey of training has been like for her so far, and this is what she wrote.
These last couple of years have been for me quite a journey of traveling. I have been moving away from a place of deciding what I think God is doing and what I want in that, to a place of looking to see what God is already doing and listening to Him, waiting for Him to invite me into where He wants me to be involved in His work. I am learning (very slowly) to wait for Him to speak first.
Goodness He’s patient with me in that!
In this journey some things haven’t changed - I still loathe writing essays, for one. But I’ve
discovered new things about myself - that somewhere in me there might be leadership skills, that
I can flourish in a spacious place, that uncertainty can be a good thing in the way it causes me to
turn towards God and lean into Him, and that sometimes we are the love of God through
something as seemingly unspiritual as home-made shortbread. I am learning to wait attentively
and to be adaptive in my thinking through that process. To look both at the view and to feel the
grass under my feet, the soft blades between my toes and the cool balm under my soles. I have
learned to treasure the forming part of this process of being and becoming - to recognise the fear
in me as I am pruned and re-shaped - and in that fear to yield to the loving gentle hands of a
Father who will not damage me in that work of His, but will free up the tender young shoots to
thrive and hopefully blossom.
My eyes have been opened to see new things about God - things I could have seen before if only
I’d looked, for God hasn’t changed. But now I begin to see depths and broadness that brings joy
and excitement to my heart. I find myself in a place of wonder - expectant at what lies ahead but
also humbled because I realise now that this is a place that I have always been able to be in,
every day. I can always, at any moment, on any day, take my sandals off and stand on Holy
Ground - because the God who is present in the burning bush is here and now present in all
things. He does not hide - I just haven’t look for Him in the past in ways I’m now learning to do.

If anyone else would like to know more about the various lay ministry training opportunities in Rochester Diocese you can find out more here – https://www.rochester.anglican.org/ministry/discipleship-amp-lay-ministry-/ -or by talking to Jess, of course!

And finally...
I know we’re all getting a bit stir-crazy, and wanting to get out and about a bit more, maybe even going on holiday if we can, but this little frog took wanderlust to its limits…

Banana-drama as South American frog found 5,000 miles from home in Llanelli supermarket fruit

.Credit: RSPCA Cymru
A supermarket worker in Llanelli, south Wales, was shocked to find a stowaway in a bunch of bananas from Colombia, South America. A frog had hitched a ride in the fruit, travelling 5,000 miles and ending up at the Asda supermarket on Murray Street. The RSPCA were called and the frog is now safe and well in a specialist marine facility in Haverfordwest. The animal welfare charity thanked staff at the supermarket for their quick-thinking which enabled them to keep the frog safe.
Amphibians are capable of slowing their metabolism and this is believed to be how the frog survived the long journey into a foreign, cooler climate without food and water. After finding the unusual discovery, staff called the RSPCA who came to collect the animal. The frog, nicknamed 'Asda' after the site of its discovery, has been transferred to a marine life specialist centre in Haverfordwest. It will live in a special planted, humid environment there. It can be difficult to identify species of frog but staff at the Silent World Zoo To You marine facility think their new resident is a Banana Tree Frog.
Gemma Cooper, an inspector for the RSPCA said: "I thought I'd seen everything working for the RSPCA - but this banana-drama was a new one for me.  "We're so grateful to the members of the Asda team who contacted us. One team member spotted the frog, while another confined the frog and took him home. This quick thinking helped keep this frog safe." Ginny Spenceley, who works at the frog's new home said discovering something extra in a fruit delivery was not as unusual as people think. She said: "This isn't as rare a discovery as people may think. With fruit deliveries no longer sprayed or treated, it isn't uncommon for a frog or spider to hitch a ride."Fortunately, he’s doing really well and, funnily enough, got very comfortable in a banana skin as we helped settle him into his new, less familiar surroundings."
Colombia is the UK's biggest supplier of bananas, with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of the fruit imported every year. An Asda spokesperson said: "We are pleased that Asda the frog is safe and well and hope he enjoys his hoppy new home."
Copyright © 2020 St Peter and St Paul, Seal, All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sunday worship and other news...

Dear friends
The links to our worship this week are below.
Best wishes
Anne Le Bas


SUNDAY WORSHIP July 12 : Trinity 5

Morning Worship Podcast        Morning Worship Service sheet       Morning hymn words
Evensong Podcast                    Evensong Service sheet                    Evensong hymn Words


Seal Church Zoom meetings this week:

Zoffee – Sunday chat at 11 am - email sealpandp@gmail.com


Wednesday Zoom Church – Wed  at 11 am Twenty minutes of informal worship with our friends at Lavender Fields. Everyone is welcome.
email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link.

Zoom Children’s Choir -
Wed at 5pm
AND
Thurs at  4pm
please contact 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. Any children are welcome for 30 minutes of fun songs.

Zoom Adult Choir – Wednesday 7.15pm Contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.

Zoom home groups and Friday Group – email 
sealpandp@gmail.com for the links.


Trinity 5


The Gospel in today’s morning service is the famous parable of the sower from Matthew 13, in which we hear about a sower whose seed falls in four very different types of soil, and thrives – or doesn’t – as a result. Like all good stories, we can find different meanings at different times in Jesus’ parables. This parable is told in Mark 4, and Luke 8 Gospel too, but in slightly different ways. You might like to read all three versions and spot the differences.
It’s always important to remember that the Gospels weren’t written for us, but for the early Christian communities  their writers belonged to or had responsibility for. Often, these communities faced difficult times. There were intermittent waves of persecution as well as the “normal” trials of living in a world that was insecure and precarious. Life wasn’t always going to be easy, and there’s a real sense in this story of recognising that it is normal to  “win some and lose some”. God’s word, the seed, falls into many different types of soil, and some will come to nothing. But that doesn’t mean that the sower sows in vain, because the seed that does germinate and thrive produces thirty, sixty and a hundred times as much life as it started with. It is easy to see this parable as a rather grim warning to us to make sure that we are providing good places for God’s word to take root, but in reality, the soil can’t help being what it is, and Jesus’ message is really about the sowers generosity, his endless hope for the seed he casts about, regardless of how unlikely the ground looks.

 Vincent van Gogh painted very many versions of the theme of the sower, drawing inspiration from the landscapes around him. There are at least 30 works on this theme. The one below, shows the sower either in the early morning or at sunset, with the sun low in the sky, casting purple and blue shadows across the land. The sower has either risen early or stayed up late, determined to use the day to the full to sow his seed. He is almost bumping into the tree which hangs over the scene, as if he wants to make sure that everywhere where there might be a pocket of soil that can sustain a plant has a chance to do so.
  • Where do you see God’s life sprouting in you? Where is God at work?  
All Age Ideas and Resources

Sow some seeds if you have them, or collect some seeds from plants that have set seed already – wild flowers and grasses will have set seed you can collect – and sow them. You could also sow the seeds from a fruit or vegetable you are eating - a tomato or pepper, apple or orange – you might not get a crop, but you will be able to watch the plant growing!.  You can sow seeds on damp tissue paper if you haven’t got any compost or soil. Don’t eat anything you grow unless you are SURE it is edible.

Reflectionary https://reflectionary.org/2020/07/10/together-apart-matt-13-the-sower-and-the-seeds/?fbclid=IwAR1Hcs2yffpyX3TXTg4aso6Ee5ieBrLKoRUq-ZKNjtRv3rGjjdp6atozsNw

Roots on the web https://www.rootsontheweb.com/i-am-looking-for/public-copies/worshipathome12july

Adult resources from Roots on the Web https://www.rootsontheweb.com/media/21134/liveyourfaith_108-lockdown-version_12-july.pdf
Prayer of the week
The Canticle of the Sun

This prayer – originally a song - was written by St Francis of Assisi in an Umbrian dialect of Italian, his native language, around 1224 (about the same time our church was being built) towards the end of his life. He was ill, and more or less blind, but dictated it to his companions, picturing the glories of the world in his mind’s eye, inviting each element of creation to praise God. According to stories, it wasn’t finished until he was about to die, when he added the last stanza, calling on Sister Death to praise God too. It is notable that he doesn’t limit his appreciation of the natural world to the elements of it which appeal to him – nature isn’t seen as just an instrument for human beings to use. As well as Death, stormy weather is invoked -  not something we’d usually count as a blessing. Everything that exists is made by God and has a part to play in the life of the whole. We are probably most familiar with the version of this adapted into the hymn “All Creatures of our God and king”.
 

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your Name.

Praised be you my Lord with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of you Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be you, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which you cherish all that you have made.

Praised be you my Lord through Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be you my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be you my Lord through our Sister, Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be you my Lord through those who grant pardon
for love of you and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
By you Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be you, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they she finds doing your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks, and serve Him with great humility.
  •  What do you think of this prayer/song?
  • What would you like to invite to praise God?
  • What would you find it hard to include if you were composing a song like this (viruses perhaps?)
HYMN OF THE WEEK

Although this hymn is more often sung at Easter, it is very appropriate this Sunday, to go with the Gospel reading of the Parable of the Sower. In the parable, the seed represents the word of God, which grows I the lives of those who are open to receive it. This hymn reminds us that it is not just God’s spoken or written word which is sown, but the Living Word of Jesus, who was buried in the stoniest of ground, a rock-cut tomb, yet rose to new life which not only enlivened him, but all the rest of us too. As Jesus says in John’s Gospel, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12.24.

The hymn was written by John M.C. Crum 1872- 1958, a Church of England clergyman whose first wife, Edith, died aged 21, shortly after the birth of their first child. When he speaks about hearts being “wintry, grieving or in pain”, he knows what he is talking about. He later remarried and had five more children, so he evidently found new love and life after this early tragedy. The tune is Noel Nouvelet, an old French carol tune.


1 Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

2 In the grave they laid Him, Love who had been slain,
Thinking that He never would awake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

3 Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain,
Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain;
Quick from the dead the risen One is seen:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

4 When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus' touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Worship in church
 Worship in church began again last Sunday morning, and went well. You are welcome to join us at 10 am on Sunday mornings if you would like to and feel it is safe and sensible for you to do so, although I will continue to produce podcasts for as long as they are needed - certainly throughout the summer. The 10 am service in church is very much like the podcasts, but without the hymns. We hope to add evensong and Holy Communion from Aug 9th, if all goes well until then.

We can only accommodate 35 people (slightly more if people come as a household), strictly on a “first come, first served” basis – we aren’t taking bookings for seats because that would unfairly disadvantage those who might find it hard to book online or by phone, or aren’t aware they need to book, who may be the people who need a service in church the most.

Those who are vulnerable for any reason are STRONGLY ADVISED to continue worshipping at home with the podcasts for the time being. There is a video explaining what to expect here (script here) and a summary here.
THANK YOU!
Many thanks to all who responded to our recent appeal for donations. You can find it here, if you didn’t receive a letter. It outlines the various ways you can give either a one-off donation or on a regular basis.
Your generous contributions have made a real difference to our financial positions, bringing in over £5000 from this appeal to date. This will really help us to plug the gap left by the loss of collections, fees for weddings etc and hall lettings over the last few months. As with many charities and businesses, there will be long term impacts of this time of lockdown, and we are especially grateful for those who have taken out standing orders, which helps us budget for the future.We know that many people are going through difficult financial times themselves, and fully understand that it is not possible for some to give at all, let alone to increase their giving – we are grateful for anything people contribute to the ministry of this church,  not only in money but also in time, talents, prayer and love, so that it can continue to work not just for the congregation but for the whole community.
I would also like to thank Vanessa Griffiths, Paul Thompson and other members of the PCC who have been working hard to make sure we are financially secure.
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas
And Finally...
I've been making face masks for Philip and me to wear, and have been quite proud of the results, but now I see that I have been utterly outclassed by this ecclesiastical offering, which I am sure is soon to be come the official face wear of the C of E.
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