Sunday, October 18, 2020

This morning's service - video

The first part of this morning's service.

Sunday Worship links and other news

 

October 18th St Luke
 
Online

Morning Worship podcast   Morning service sheet         Hymn words (both services)
Evensong podcast              Evensong service sheet

 
 
In Church
Please note – face coverings must be worn in church unless you are medically exempt.
10 am              Holy Communion
4pm                 Story Church - a Bible story and informal prayers for all ages
6.30pm            Breathing Space Holy Communion

 
Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Zoom and in person- ask for details
 
Sunday Oct 26
10 am              Holy Communion, with the Archdeacon of Tonbridge, the Ven. Julie Conalty as guest preacher.
4pm                 Story Church
6.30pm            Evensong



On Zoom this week  email sealpandp@gmail.com for links

There's no Zoffee after the service as we are holding our Annual Parochial Church Meeting by Zoom at 11.15 instead.

Please contact sealpandp@gmail.com for the link. 

Here are the links to the Annual Reports and Financial Statements and I have also written an update, since the Annual Reports only concern the year to April 2020, and there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then!

 Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wednesday 5pm
 
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.


THE FEAST OF ST LUKE
 
Today, Oct 18, is the feast of St Luke. Luke was called “The beloved doctor” by Paul (Colossians 4.14) with whom he travelled on some of his missionary journeys around the Mediterranean, so it’s no surprise that he is the patron saint of doctors.
But he’s also the patron saint of artists, because of an ancient legend which says that he painted the Virgin Mary, on visits to the home she shared with St John in Ephesus. The picture on the left is a rather fanciful interpretation of this by Maarten van Heemskerck (1532) While he was painting her, she told him the stories of Jesus’ birth which we now find in Luke’s Gospel – the angel Gabriel’s visit, the journey to Bethlehem, the manger and shepherds.

The Hodegetria of SmolenskIt’s highly unlikely to be true that he painted Mary, but that’s never stopped people wanting to believe it, and there are several places which claim to have, or have had, the very picture he painted, an icon known as the Hodegetria, sometimes known as “Our Lady of the Way” because Mary is pointing to the infant Jesus while holding him in her arms. He is the Way which people should follow. According to legend, the icon was housed in a monastery called the Monastery of the Panaghia Hodegetria, in Constantinople, until it was lost in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. There are claims it was taken to Russia or Italy, but no evidence to prove it, and as the icon had been much copied, there’s no way of discovering its true location.
 
Perhaps more to the point, Luke’s Gospel paints vividly with words, not just the life of Mary, but more importantly the life of her Son, and those who first followed him, and today’s sermon unpacks the message this “beloved doctor” was trying to convey, a message of healing love for individuals, communities and the world.

Pic left: St Luke and the Madonna, Herman Rode (1484)
Or, as I would have titled it, Mary points out where Luke has got it wrong...
 


 
 

All Age resources

Come along and join us at our Story Church at 4pm on Sunday in the church for a story and prayers for all ages. Facemasks mandatory except for under 11s and those who are medically exempt. What story will we hear this week…?
  • Today we celebrate the feast of St Luke, the patron saint of artists as well as doctors. Why not paint, draw or model something today? You could make a picture out of some autumn leaves, or do some junk modelling, or whatever you like to do. 
  • St Luke's Gospel includes some of the best known stories Jesus told, like the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep (Luke 15) and the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). You could look them up in a Bible or Google them to listen to them.
  • Luke also tells of a time when Jesus met a tax collector called Zaccheus. Here's my version of the story in a video made for Seal School.
Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:

 

sealchurchprayer@gmail.com

 
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. 

The first name of the person you ask us to pray for, but no other details, will be included in public prayer lists circulated to other members of the congregation and may be mentioned in the public prayers of the church for about a month, unless you tell us you would rather we didn't pass on their name.
HYMN OF THE WEEK
O for a thousand tongues
 
This hymn is one of over 6000 written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), brother of John Wesley. Together  John and Charles were founder members of what would one day become the Methodist Church, though originally it was just a society within the Church of England. John was known as the great preacher of the movement, often preaching outdoors to vast crowds of ordinary people who often felt unwelcome or marginalised in their parish churches, but Charles supplied the soundtrack to the work, providing hymns, often to stirring popular tunes, for the crowds to sing. This hymn was considered to be so important to Methodists that for a long time it always held pride of place as the first hymn in their hymnals. Charles original version had ten verses, but now only about 5 are commonly sung.
 
The hymn has been sung to many different tunes. Most commonly in the UK it is sung either to Richmond (the usual tune of “City of God”) or to Lyngham, as in this video, a tune written around 1803 by Thomas Jarman 1776-1861. Jarman was a Northamptonshire tailor by trade, living in the village of Clipston, but music was his great love. Choirmaster of the local Baptist Chapel, he wrote over 600 hymn tunes and other music, and his love of music often seems to have got in the way of his tailoring work, often leaving him short of money. This type of hymn tune, with its division of men and women’s voices in part of each verse was popular in the early 18th century. You may also be familiar with Sagina (And can it be)  and Diadem (All hail the power of Jesus name) which follow a similar pattern. These hymns are great fun to sing if you are in the know, but people can find themselves completely baffled about what they are actually meant to be singing. The answer is ,”it doesn’t really matter so long as you are enjoying it!” Singing along with the recording at home is a great way of practicing!
Prayer of the week
 
As I utter these prayers
from my mouth, O God,
in my soul may I feel your presence.
The knee that is stiff,
O healer, make pliant.
The heart that is hard,
make warm beneath your wing.
The wound that is giving me pain,
O best of healers, make whole,
and may my hopes and my fears
Find a listening place with you.
 
This prayer, by J. Philip Newell who is part of the Iona Community, is a prayer that expresses our longing for healing not only of the body but also of the soul. Most of all, it asks for a sense of God’s presence in times of pain, that we might feel that God is listening to us.
 
  • When you have been ill, or if you are ill now, what has helped and comforted you most?
  • How do you look for God’s presence in times of suffering?

CHURCH NEWS

Archdeacon's visit. 
Next week we welcome the Ven. Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge to preach at our 10 am service and on our podcasts.  

ALL SOULS’ Memorial afternoon 
Sunday Nov 1 from 3 – 5pm
A time to remember those dear to you who have died.
Come to church at any time between 3 and 5pm 
You will be able to light a candle in memory of a loved one and add their names to a memorial board and spend some time in private prayer or reflection in church.
The names on the board will be included in an Online All Souls’ service available to watch from 6pm on Nov 2 on the church website . We are sorry that we can’t hold our usual All Soul’s service in church because of the limitations on numbers in church under Covid restrictions.
If you can’t come to church in person, you can also send names to be included in the online service to me by post or email by Oct 30. I will add them to the board.

Story Church
Come and join us at 4pm in church for a Bible story and some informal prayers this Sunday afternoon. Facemasks are required unless you are medically exempt or under 11.
 
Meeting Jesus
It’s not too late to join in with our Zoom Bible discussion sessions. Monday mornings at 11 am, or Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Last Monday we looked at the story of Zaccheus. This week we are looking at the story of the calling of the disciples. The complete list of the Bible stories in the course are below, if you would like to read along.
 
Week 1.     Zaccheus  Luke 19.1-10
Week 2.     The disciples Luke 5.1-11
Week 3.     Legion Mark 5.1-20
Week 4.     A woman bent double Luke 13.10-17
Week 5.     The Penitent thief Luke 23.32-43
Week 6.     Mary Magdalene John 20.1-18


There is also a short video here which outlines the way in which we are approaching the stories
Join me on Zoom on Monday mornings from October 12,  at 11 am on Monday evenings at 7.30pm for a six-session Bible discussion group called Meeting Jesus. We will be looking at people who met Jesus and what that encounter meant to them. These sessions are part of a two-part course I am planning, called Starting Points, which will eventually be available for people to download and use at their own pace, on their own or with friends, with various online and printed resources to help them, but I would like to start by trying it out the material with a group, so if you would like to join me, please email to let me know.
You don’t need any special knowledge to join in -  we all learn from each other, and everyone’s views are important – so it is very suitable for those who feel they are new to Christian faith, but also for “older hands”, those who’ve been part of Lent groups, Home Groups or the Good Book Club, for example. There will be some input from me, some discussion in breakout rooms and some discussion together in a very informal way finishing with an act of prayer.
Please email sealpandp@gmail.com as soon as possible, letting me know whether you would like to join the morning or evening group (though some swapping around will probably be possible.
 
And finally...
Seal School farm again - an endless source of entertainment! Click on the link to watch it - I couldn't manage to embed the video.
I'm not sure their shepherding is quite up to One Man and His Dog standards yet...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Zaccheus

Here's the story of Zaccheus, recorded for Seal School - but anyone else who would like to watch is welcome!

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sunday Worship links and other news...

 

October 11th Harvest
 
Online

You can listen to our podcasts here, which include hymns 

Morning Worship podcast   Morning service sheet         Hymn words (both services)
Evensong  podcast              Evensong service sheet


Or you can watch a video of the first part of the service here.

 

In Church
Please note – face coverings must be worn in church unless you are medically exempt.
10 am              Holy Communion
4pm                 Story Church - same format as Outdoor Church, but inside!
6.30pm            Evensong

 
Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Zoom and in person- ask for details
 
Sunday Oct 18
10 am              Holy Communion
11.15 am         Annual meeting on Zoom
4pm                 Story Church
6.30pm            Evensong



On Zoom this week  email sealpandp@gmail.com for links

Zoffee – Zoom chat at 11.15 am (Please note - Zoffee next week - Oct 18 - will be replaced by our Annual Parochial Church Meeting)

 Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wednesday 5pm
 
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.


 

The picture above is a busy scene depicting today’s Gospel story, the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, painted by an anonymous artist known as the Brunswick Monogramist, who painted in the Netherlands in the mid- to late- sixteenth Century. It’s possible the painter may have been Mayken Verhulst, one of the few female painters whose names have come down to us from this period.

It’s a lively depiction of a rather grand banquet, but one which is populated with very ordinary people, like the mother with her children in the centre, and the man behind her with his wooden leg, people who would never normally have been invited to an occasion like this. The story tells that the guests who had initially been invited refused to come,  so the king, whose son’s wedding feast this was, invited anyone and everyone, pulling people in off the streets to join the party. It’s a story with a sting in its tale though, as one man was found without a wedding garment (indeed in this picture we can see him in the bottom left hand corner, wearing nothing on at all , which would have caused a stir!). The king ordered him to be thrown out, which is what is happening. It’s a detail which often disturbs modern readers. Does God judge us by what we wear? What if he didn’t have, and couldn’t afford a wedding garment? There may be a straightforward explanation. It wasn’t unknown for rich hosts to provide clothes for their guests to wear, just as people sometimes did at English funeral. Even if this isn’t so, though, the fact that this detail isn’t explained tells us it wouldn’t have been an issue for those who first heard the parable. They would have got the point. This man was happy to eat the food and drink the wine, but he wasn’t really entering into the spirit of the occasion, celebrating the new era which this wedding banquet ushered in. He wasn’t really prepared to be part of the king’s vision for the future. In today’s sermon I explore what that might mean for us.



All Age resources

Come along and join us at our Story Church at 4pm on Sunday in the church for a story and prayers for all ages. Facemasks mandatory except for under 11s and those who are medically exempt. What story will we hear this week…?
  • The Gospel story today is about a royal wedding party. The king invited important, rich guests, but they didn't turn up, so he decided to invite ordinary people who would never normally go to a party like that. 
  • Talk about parties you have been to. What makes them good?
  • What do you think it would be like to be invited to a Royal wedding? You could make some pretend invitations for one.
Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:

 

sealchurchprayer@gmail.com

 
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. 

The first name of the person you ask us to pray for, but no other details, will be included in public prayer lists circulated to other members of the congregation and may be mentioned in the public prayers of the church for about a month, unless you tell us you would rather we didn't pass on their name.
THE INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
 
This week saw the release of the latest report from the Independent Inquiring into Child Sexual Abuse, which focussed on abuse in the Church of England, both recent and non-recent. I refer to it in today’s sermon. The report made painful reading, and Rochester Diocese made the following statement in response to it.
 
“On Tuesday 6 October, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its report into the Anglican Church.
It found that the Church of England failed to protect children and young people from sexual predators within its ranks. 
The report is based on public hearings held during July 2019, which examined the response of the Church of England and Church in Wales to allegations of child sexual abuse, as well as the adequacy of current safeguarding policies and practices.

Responding to the publishing of the report, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester said:
"Today, as the entire Church of England receives this report from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, we first pay tribute to all the victims and survivors of church-context abuse whose brave testimony has allowed this report to come into being.
"Testimony which has been given at huge personal, emotional and spiritual cost. For this we must be both grateful for their courage, and ashamed of the abuse and re-abuse they have experienced.
"Myself and all within the Church must now take time to sit with this report, to listen to what it has to tell us, to learn, to repent and to act. This I will be encouraging across our parishes and among our senior leadership, as we pray for God to help us bring about the profound changes needed in the Church.”
 
You can find this statement, along with links to the report and interviews with Bishop James and with the Ven Julie Conalty, Archdeacon of Tonbridge and the Diocesan Safeguarding Lead on the Diocesan Website here.
https://www.rochester.anglican.org/communications/news/time-to-quotlearn-to-repent-and-to-actquotsays-bishop-as-report-into-church-child-sexual-abuse-is-published.php
 
In Seal Church, we take safeguarding children and vulnerable adults very seriously, and take as much care as we can to ensure that all those working with children or vulnerable adults on behalf of the church have the right training and vetting and work in accordance with the Church of England’s safeguarding policy. If you ever have any concerns about safeguarding – within or outside the church – you can talk either to the vicar or to the Parish Safeguarding Officer, Matt Bell
, 01732 764227  or you can contact the Diocesan Safeguarding team or a new helpline funded by the Churches but run independently by Victim Support, called Safe Spaces.
Call free on 0300 303 1056, or email: safespaces@victimsupport.org.uk or visit www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk/
 
HYMN OF THE WEEK
Jerusalem the Golden
 
“Jerusalem the Golden” which features at the end of our podcasts this week, is a Victorian translation by John Mason Neale, 1818-1886, (about whose hymn Light’s Abode, Celestial Salem I wrote back in August) of a section of a 12th century medieval Latin poem by Bernard of Cluny . Bernard’s poem  was a satire on the corruption of his age, De Contemptu Mundi , but included within it the passage Neale translated, a song of intense longing for the a world made right, the heavenly city, where all that was broken had been mended and all that was wrong put to rights.
 
It’s soaring tune was composed by Alexander Ewing,(1830-95) and is named “Ewing” after him. If you Google his name you will probably discover a man of that name who was Scottish  Episcopal Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and could be forgiven for assuming he was the composer. However, he was actually the cousin of the man who wrote this tune – evidently imagination was in short supply in the extended Ewing family! The Ewing who gave his name to this tune was a career soldier, who servied in the Crimea, China and Ireland, and was the Deputy Assistant Commissary in charge of a British Garrison in what was then the Dominion of Canada. On returning from Canada he served in the British Army Pay Corps. Although no other music of his seems to have survived, he is known to have taught music to Ethel Smyth, the daughter of a military colleague at Aldershot, who later went on to be a notable composer. She remembered Ewing, who taught her composition, as  "a real musician" and "one of the most delightful, original, and whimsical personalities in the world". His tune certainly lifts the spirits, and fits the mood of the hymn, which encourages those with “heart and voice oppressed” to look forward to a better time.  The last verse has been altered a number of times over the years, and St Martin in the Field’s choir sing a slightly different version to the one below on our podcasts today, but I prefer the ending of this version, which reminds us that although we may feel dusty and ashy, we are also God’s children. “Exult, O dust and ashes/ The Lord shall be thy part: His only , his forever/ Thou shalt be and thou art.”
 
 
Jerusalem the golden,
with milk and honey blest,
beneath thy contemplation
sink heart and voice oppressed:
I know not, oh, I know not,
what joys await us there;
what radiancy of glory,
what bliss beyond compare!
 
They stand, those halls of Zion,
all jubilant with song,
and bright with many an angel,
and all the martyr throng:
the Prince is ever in them,
the daylight is serene;
the pastures of the blessèd
are decked in glorious sheen.
 
There is the throne of David;
and there, from care released,
the shout of them that triumph,
the song of them that feast;
and they who with their Leader
have conquered in the fight,
for ever and for ever
are clad in robes of white.
 
Oh, sweet and blessèd country,
Shall I ere see thy face?
Oh, sweet and blessèd country,
Shall I ere win thy grace?
Exult O dust and ashes
The Lord shall be thy part
His only, his for ever,
Thou shalt be, and thou art!
 
 
Prayer of the week
God our hope and our desire,
We wait for your coming
As a woman longs for the birth,
The exile for her home,
The lover for the touch of his beloved,
And the humble poor for justice.
 
Janet Morley: Christian Aid, from “Bread of Tomorrow”

Janet Morley’s lovely prayer seemed to me to go with the hymn above it. It is a prayer of longing for “God, our hope and our desire” and for his kingdom to come “on earth as it is in heaven” as the Lord’s Prayer says.
 
  • Have you ever longed for something intensely? Can you remember what it felt like?
  • What do you most long for now?

CHURCH NEWS
APCM – link to reports.
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting will take place next Sunday at 11.15 online via Zoom, because we can’t fit everyone who would be entitled to vote (those who are on the Electoral Roll) into the church under the social distancing rules.

Please email sealpandp@gmail.com if you would like the Zoom code.

If you aren’t able to use the internet, you can also join the meeting by phone. If you would like to do this, you can contact me by phoning 07510 522292 before next Sunday and I will tell you how to do this. Obviously you won’t be able to see others, and they won’t be able to see you, as they would online, but you will be able to hear and be heard.
 
Here are the links to the Annual Reports and Financial Statements and I have also written an update, since the Annual Reports only concern the year to April 2020, and there has been a lot of water under the bridge since then!
 
Story Church
Last week’s Story Church (the same format as Outdoor Church, but indoors!) was very successful, so do come and join us at 4pm in church for a Bible story and some informal prayers this Sunday afternoon. Facemasks are required unless you are medically exempt or under 11.
 
Meeting Jesus
Join me on Zoom on Monday mornings from October 12,  at 11 am on Monday evenings at 7.30pm for a six-session Bible discussion group called Meeting Jesus. We will be looking at people who met Jesus and what that encounter meant to them. These sessions are part of a two-part course I am planning, called Starting Points, which will eventually be available for people to download and use at their own pace, on their own or with friends, with various online and printed resources to help them, but I would like to start by trying it out the material with a group, so if you would like to join me, please email to let me know.
You don’t need any special knowledge to join in -  we all learn from each other, and everyone’s views are important – so it is very suitable for those who feel they are new to Christian faith, but also for “older hands”, those who’ve been part of Lent groups, Home Groups or the Good Book Club, for example. There will be some input from me, some discussion in breakout rooms and some discussion together in a very informal way finishing with an act of prayer.
Please email sealpandp@gmail.com as soon as possible, letting me know whether you would like to join the morning or evening group (though some swapping around will probably be possible.
I will send out the link to the Zoom meetings on Sunday afternoon to those who have requested them. 
 
And finally...

We’re still working on our plans for our Christmas services – as well as an online services, it looks like there will be simple, said, Communion services on Christmas Eve at 9pm (no midnight mass) and on Christmas Day at 10 am and 11 am, so we can make sure everyone who wants to come to worship in person can do so. Booking will be needed, as we’ve only got room for about 39 people at each service. I’ll let you know how to book your place at these services in about a month’s time, so no need to do it now! However, if seats are in short supply, I am hoping you won’t feel tempted to resort to Dave Walker’s  ideas below…! If needed we will put on more services!

www.cartoonchurch.com



 

Monday, October 05, 2020

Meeting Jesus - Zoom Bible discussion

 Join me on Zoom on Monday mornings from October 12 at 11 am, or on Monday evenings at 7.30pm for a six-session Bible discussion group called Meeting Jesus. We will be looking at people who met Jesus and what that encounter meant to them. These sessions are part of a two-part course I am planning, called Starting Points, which will eventually be available for people to download and use at their own pace, on their own or with friends, with various online and printed resources to help them, but I would like to start by trying it out the material with a group, so if you would like to join me, please email to let me know.

You don’t need any special knowledge to join in - we all learn from each other, and everyone’s views are important – so it is very suitable for those who feel they are new to Christian faith, but also for “older hands”. There will be some input from me, some discussion in breakout rooms and some discussion together in a very informal way, finishing with an act of prayer.
Please email sealpandp@gmail.com as soon as possible, letting me know whether you would like to join the morning or evening group (though some swapping around will probably be possible.)



Sunday, October 04, 2020

Sunday worship links and other news

 

October 4th Harvest
 
Online

Morning Worship   Morning service sheet         Hymn words (both services)
Evensong                 Evensong service sheet
 
 
In Church
Please note – face coverings must be worn in church unless you are medically exempt.
10 am              Holy Communion for Harvest
4pm                 Story Church - same format as Outdoor Church, but inside!
6.30pm            Evensong

 
Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Zoom and in person- ask for details
 
Sunday Oct 11
10 am              Holy Communion
4pm                 Story Church
6.30pm            Evensong



On Zoom this week  email sealpandp@gmail.com for links

Zoffee – Zoom chat at 11.15 am every Sunday
This Sunday's link 


https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86374728615?pwd=Tm9zOWkrNkdqK1FXdXhpRU1kNnZEdz09

Meeting ID: 863 7472 8615
Passcode: 580711

You can also join the meeting from a landline or mobile by phoning 
203 051 2874 United Kingdom and entering the meeting ID and passcode above when prompted.


 Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children’s Choir  Wednesday 5pm
 
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.


Harvest
 
At Seal Church we always celebrate Harvest Festival on the first Sunday in October. Coronavirus or no Coronavirus, day follows night, the world turns and summer gives way to autumn, with its “mellow fruitfulness”, so, despite the restrictions we are all living with at the moment, this Sunday we are thanking God for the harvest – the harvest of the land and the sea, and the harvest of our lives too, all that we have nurtured and grown this year. That may include fruit and vegetables. I’ve had a fine crop of tomatoes this year, and courgettes aplenty, and Kevin sent me a splendid photo of his aubergines, which I’ve never had any success with. Kevin obviously has the magic touch, because he’s got at least a dozen in his greenhouse.
 
We can’t celebrate the fruitfulness of the earth without being aware that both in this country and many others around the world, there are people who may feel they have little to celebrate, and who face a hungry autumn and winter ahead. That’s why, alongside the thanksgiving, harvest brings with it a focus on those who don’t get a fair share of the earth’s resources.
 
As usual this year, we are supporting Rochester Diocese’s Poverty and Hope appeal, which gives money various projects around the world and here in Kent. The people working in the projects it supports have abundant ingenuity, dedication and hard work, and can put even our small contribution to very good use in their communities.
At the end of this Sunday’s sermon, we’ll be hearing a message from James Langstaff, Bishop of Rochester, about some of these projects, but you can read more here.   
https://www.rochester.anglican.org/diocese/poverty-and-hope/
 
The projects being supported are:

  • SRI LANKA:advocacy, intervention and rehabilitation for children who have been traumatised through experiences of exploitation and abuse. Support began in 2018, and the project builds on our diocese’s three year programme to help the Church of England’s work to support victims of modern slavery and exploitation.
  • SYRIA: providing education, training and support for young people whose lives have been affected by the conflict in Syria. Supported since 2019.
  • KENT: exploring with young people global crisis issues linked with poverty, injustice and climate change, working through Commonwork at Bore Place, an educational charity. Commonwork also works with young people with disabilities and learning difficulties to develop their skills and confidence, and with schools in high deprivation areas to tackle the rise in obesity. Receives long-term support.
  • ZIMBABWE: tackling HIV/ Aids stigma across four dioceses in Zimbabwe, including our companion diocese of Harare. Supported since 2018.
  • BURUNDI: providing horticultural training for marginalised groups in Burundi. Supported since 2019.

The project in Syria will receive matching funds from the EU which means that for every £1 you give, the project will receive £10. This matched funding will continue for the duration of our support for the project, notwithstanding the continuing uncertainties surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
 


All Age resources

Come along and join us at our Story Church at 4pm on Sunday in the church for a story and prayers for all ages. Facemasks mandatory except for under 11s and those who are medically exempt. What story will we hear this week…?
  • Today is the feast of St Francis of Assisi, a saint famous for his love of the natural world. Spend some time outside if you can today and find as many things as you can to say thank you to God for?
Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:

 

sealchurchprayer@gmail.com

 
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. 

The first name of the person you ask us to pray for, but no other details, will be included in public prayer lists circulated to other members of the congregation and may be mentioned in the public prayers of the church for about a month, unless you tell us you would rather we didn't pass on their name.
HYMN OF THE WEEK
We plough the fields and scatter
 
Harvest Festival in its current form as a church celebration, only dates back to 1843, when Revd Robert Hawker invited parishioners to come to his church in Morwenstow, Cornwall, for a special service to mark the end of the harvest. People had always celebrated the harvest in secular ways, often quite riotously, but it had not been celebrated in church. Harvest Festival soon became popular, even though it still has no official liturgical standing or set date.
 
“We plough the fields” , despite feeling so thoroughly English, is actually a translation of a German hymn, “Wir pflugen un wir streun/ Den Samen auf das Land” and was written by Mattias Claudius (1740-1815), the son of  Lutheran pastor in Reinfeld, near Lübeck. He wrote the hymn as part of a play in 1783 about a harvest thanksgiving. It originally had 17 four line verses, but (thankfully!) was soon shortened. It was translated into English in 1861 by Jane Montgomery Campbell (1817-78), who translated many German hymns. She lived in Bovey Tracey in Devon, and died in a carriage accident while driving across Dartmoor.
The tune is by J. A.P Schultz, and is also German, first appearing with the German original version of the hymn in 1800. Schultz was Kapellmeister to Prince Henry of Prussia.
 
 

We plough the fields, and scatter
the good seed on the land;
But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand:
He sends the snow in winter,
the warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
and soft refreshing rain.
 
Chorus: All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love.
 
He only is the maker of all things near and far;
He paints the wayside flower,
He lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey Him,
by Him the birds are fed;
Much more to us, His children,
He gives our daily bread.
 
We thank Thee, then, O Father,
for all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest,
our life, our health, and food;
Accept the gifts we offer,
for all Thy love imparts,
But what Thou most desirest,
our humble, thankful hearts.
Prayer of the week
Psalm 8
 
This glorious Psalm from the Bible is perfect for harvest time. I always imagine it as the work of someone who regularly sat and looked out at the night sky – a shepherd, perhaps, someone who “considered the heavens” not in theory, but in practice, gazing up at the stars. There’s nothing quite like looking at the night sky to give us a sense of our own littleness in the grand perspective of the universe. We are specks of dust on a speck of dust, circling a not very spectacular star, compared to many, in one galaxy among millions. And yet, our lives have significance. We love, we laugh, we cry, we ponder that same vast universe and try to to make sense of it.
The writer of the Psalm may have lived 2500 years ago, but we can still identify with the feelings they express.
Some people question today the wisdom of the statement that human beings were “given dominion” over creation, a common assumption for our ancestors.   It’s an idea which has led people to think they can do whatever they like with the natural world. But there is truth in this observation. Human beings really do have the power to change the planet, for better or worse. We are all becoming more aware of the dangers that brings as the climate crisis takes hold, and we see the effects of pollution and over-consumption. We really do, in a sense, have dominion, but the message of the Bible is that it should be exercised under the authority of the one who had dominion over us, remembering that we are also creatures, God’s creation, and dependent on the earth of which we are a part.
 
 
PSALM 8
O Lord our governor,
how glorious is your name in all the world!
 
Your majesty above the heavens is praised
out of the mouths of babes at the breast.
 
You have founded a stronghold against your foes,
that you might still the enemy and the avenger.
 
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have ordained,
 
What are mortals, that you should be mindful of them;
mere human beings, that you should seek them out?
 
You have made them little lower than the angels
and crown them with glory and honour.
 
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands
and put all things under their feet,
 
All sheep and oxen,
even the wild beasts of the field,
 
The birds of the air, the fish of the sea
and whatsoever moves in the paths of the sea.
 
O Lord our governor,
how glorious is your name in all the world!
Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting, Starry Night, was painted while he was a patient in a psychiatric asylum, and is thought to be the view from his window there. It has always reminded me of Psalm 8, with it’s view of “the heavens, the work of God’s fingers”. It captures the grandeur and beauty of the night sky, which seems to have caught up the artist in the swirling movement of the sky.
CHURCH NEWS
Story Church
Outdoor Church, which has been running very successfully in the churchyard since mid-July, is now moving inside. The numbers so far are such that it will be possible for us to meet safely there for the winter, though people will have to wear facemasks (unless under 11 or medically exempt) The format will be the same as outside, with some opening and closing prayers, and a story told by me which we can ponder on together. It is very simple and informal, and open to everyone. Usually the story comes from the Bible, but I have a story from the life of St Francis lined up for this Sunday afternoon, since it is his feast day.
 
Meeting Jesus
Join me on Zoom from Oct 12 to Nov 16 on Monday mornings at 11 am or  Monday evenings at  7.30pm for a six-session Bible discussion group called Meeting Jesus. We will be looking at people who met Jesus and what that encounter meant to them. These sessions are part of a two-part course I am planning, called Starting Points, which will eventually be available for people to download and use at their own pace, on their own or with friends, with various online and printed resources to help them, but I would like to start by trying it out the material with a group, so if you would like to join me, please email to let me know.

You don’t need any special knowledge to join in -  we all learn from each other, and everyone’s views are important – so it is very suitable for those who feel they are new to Christian faith, but also for “older hands”, those who’ve been part of Lent groups, Home Groups or the Good Book Club, for example. There will be some input from me, some discussion in breakout rooms and some discussion together in a very informal way finishing with an act of prayer.
Please email 
sealpandp@gmail.com as soon as possible, letting me know whether you would like to join the morning or evening group (though some swapping around will probably be possible.
 
APCM
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting will take place on Sunday October 18th at 11.15 am. The meeting will have to be by Zoom, since we will not be able to accommodate all who may want to come, and the APCM is supposed to be open to any on the Electoral Roll. It is possible to phone into Zoom meetings, so this is a legal alternative to meeting face to face. I will send out the Zoom link in next week’s newsletter along with links to the Annual Report and Financial Statements.
 
PLANS FOR AUTUMN AND WINTER SERVICES AND EVENTS
Covid-19 has meant rethinking many of the services and events that we usually do in the coming season because of limits on numbers gathering, social distancing and the fact that congregations aren’t allowed to sing. We are having to think laterally and adapt, as everyone is at the moment. We are formulating plans, however, to mark All Souls, Remembrance, Advent and Christmas, with services and events both online and offline in different ways, which we hope will bring these important times alive for us in new ways! More details coming soon.

 
And finally...

More news from Seal School Farm
The chickens now have names…
The school asked each year group to come up with a name…
I have learned from bitter experience that asking children to name things can be a mistake…
Oola, Primrose and Cheep Cheep Junior are reasonable enough, but this one’s now named Father Christmas (at least she’s not a turkey!)


 
And as for these two…
 
KFC and Nando…?


 
Really?
 
No wonder they look like they are trying to get away