Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Easter from Seal Church

Happy Easter!

Many thanks to all who made our Holy Week and Easter events and services such a success.
Here are some photos of the church looking Easterish... and a recording of our romp through Philip's arrangement of the Seven Joys of Mary.
The Easter Sunday sermon is on the sermon blog here. 
And the Good Friday sermon is here.

The tomb is empty...!

Our new Paschal Candle reminds us of the light of God's love which even death could not put out.

Our Lady Chapel window tells the story of the Resurrection beautifully.

The flowers in our flowering cross are opening well in the spring warmth.

The altar is clad in its Easter white and gold...

...and so is the tiny altar and its priest in the Children's chapel, with tiny choristers joining in the Easter rejoicing.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday at Seal Church

A busy day!

This morning we had a great Messy Church on the theme of Holy Week. Here are some pictures.
Scraper board eggs and crosses helping us to remember that even when life seems dark, the rainbow of God's love is still with us. 

Egg shell mosaic pictures - messy fun. 

Ali, as ever, proud of her creation!

How clever are these roosters? Made out of the corner of an egg box.

And here are some tissue covered eggs to go in them.

Butterflies made from coffee filters, with "bleeding" tissue sandwiched between them, and water dripped on them. 

It wouldn't be Good Friday without hot cross buns for refreshments, followed by some singing and a prayer as we rounded up what we had done.

In the afternoon, when the dust had settled, I put up some reflective displays. They will be there at least for the next week, so you can pop in when you like if you are nearby. We are always open during the day. 

Scraper board prayers linked to a display on George Matheson's lovely hymn, "O Love that wilt not let me go", which includes the line "I trace the rainbow through the rain". I preached on this hymn at our Good Friday service (sermon here).

We embroidered this crown of thorns at Messy Church, so I thought people might like to continue it in the afternoon.

A prayer station exploring the hiddenness at the heart of the story of Holy Week. 

A display about the song we are singing on Easter Sunday, the Seven Joys of Mary, and its links to the many traditions of praying with beads and knots, rosaries, prayer ropes etc. 

Saturday, April 06, 2019

About time 32

This is the last of our About Time daily posts. If you would like to read the course booklet which goes with them, which our Lent Groups have been following this year, you can find a copy here

Friday, April 05, 2019

About Time 31

A prayer from the Sarum Primer, an ancient prayer book following the Sarum rite , the pattern of worship from Salisbury Cathedral.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Parish news from Seal Church for April and May

The April and May issue of Seal Parish newsletter, with details of events coming up, including the Holy Week and Easter services, is now available. You can download it here

You can find out more about Holy Week at Seal, and what to expect if you come to a service, on our church blog. Come and join us at any of our services. You will be very welcome.

This coming Sunday, April 7, we will be holding our Annual Parochial Church Meeting, at which we elect our Church Council members and talk about the life of the church. You can find a digested version of the Annual Reports here or the full report, with the Accounts here.
Everyone is welcome to come along to the meeting, but only those on the Church Electoral Roll can vote.


Drop in and join us at one of our Talking Village session - get to know your neighbours in Seal!

Seal Clean Up
On Sunday April 7 we are also invited to help clean up Seal. We'll be gathering after the APCM, and all equipment will be provided. There will be refreshments after the clean up in the hall.



Come and join us for a Pamper Evening at Lavender Fields

Find out more by following the Pamper Evening Facebook Page here.

About time 30

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

About Time 28

The final chance, in our #AboutTime series to return to whatever it is you have been watching over the last four weeks. How has it changed in that time? I'm wondering if the Clematis "Blue Dancer " I've been keeping an eye on is in bloom yet...I always look forward to it - it is the bluest blue you can get - but I think it might not quite have made the deadline! Plenty of other things have flowered, and in some cases finished flowering during this four week series, though. The snowdrops have all gone - just leaves now, building up strength for next year. Some of the dates are past it too, but the tulips are just starting to come into their own and I have windowsills full of seedlings promising good things for the summer (provided they escape the slugs and rabbits...) Growing, changing, flowering, seeding, dying - they are all part of life, with their own grace and wisdom.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

About Time 26

For more information about this hymn, see this post from our Lent series, Singing the Faith from 2017.

Thursday, March 28, 2019


The services and activities of Holy Week and Easter help us to "walk through" the last week of Jesus' earthly ministry as we think together about his arrest, trial, crucifixion and resurrection. All human life is here; friendship and betrayal, courage and cowardice, suffering and love, loss and new beginnings. These are things we all experience. They are as much a part of our world as they were of Jesus' world. Reflecting on them helps us to see our own stories, and the challenges we might face in a new way.  Why not come along to some of our Holy Week services this year to join with us in this journey of prayer and meditation?

You will be very welcome.

10 am Sunday 

Our Palm Sunday service begins with a procession from the lychgate, entering the church through the West Doors. We carry palm crosses as we walk, singing a hymn together. When we enter the church the crosses are blessed and we hear the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey a week before he died.

The crowds which shout hosanna and greet him as a king then will soon shout just as loudly for his death, and as the service goes on we begin to think about his coming death.
Instead of a sermon at this service a group of readers share in a dramatised reading the “Passion” story – the account of Jesus trial and crucifixion - this year from Matthew's Gospel.

8 pm Mon – Sat (not Thurs)

Compline is a short service (about 15 – 20 mins) each evening at 8pm in the Lady Chapel from Monday to Saturday of Holy Week (except Thurs.)
“Compline” means “completion” and it was, and is still, the last service of the day in monasteries, completing the day’s worship. We use a modern form of this ancient service of prayers, psalms, Bible readings and silence. There are no hymns, so you don’t need to worry about singing!
There is some music to listen to beforehand to help us be still, and everything you need for the service is clearly laid out in the service booklet.
It is a reflective, intimate service, ideal if you feel in need of peace and quiet!

8 pm Thursday 

Our Maundy Thursday service is an informal service of Holy Communion, recalling the Last Supper which Jesus shared with his friends on the night before he died.

We hear the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and telling them that they too must be the servants of others. We remember also his words of reassurance to them that whenever they eat bread and drink wine together in the future he will be with them, the origin the Christian practice of Holy Communion in which we share bread and wine.

The service ends as we all go into the Lady Chapel for TENEBRAE. The lights in the church are turned off, except for one at the back for safety. The only other illumination comes from 12 candles on the Lady Chapel altar.

We then hear 12 readings from the Bible, telling the story of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane, of his arrest and trial. After each reading one candle is blown out until we are in darkness, reminding us of the darkness which Jesus faced.

The Maundy Thursday service lasts for just over an hour.


10 -11.30 am

Craft activities for all ages to help us think about Good Friday and Easter.

We meet in church, where there will be a variety of activities exploring various Holy Week themes. Some of the activities could be quite messy! Wear old clothes!
At around 11 o’clock we break for hot cross buns and a drink, and then we finish with a short, very informal act of worship to share what we have made and thought.
Everyone is welcome, but we can’t take unaccompanied children as we aren’t set up to cater for them. (Actually mums, dads and grandparents usually have as much fun as the children anyway…!)

2.30 pm Friday 

The afternoon service on Good Friday is a mixture of traditional hymns, readings and prayers reflecting on Jesus’ crucifixion. It lasts about 30 – 45 minutes.

During the service we reflect on the meaning of Christ’s death for today and pray for those who suffer from injustice and oppression as he did. There will be a short, reflective talk during the service and a chance to light a candle as your personal prayer.

12 – 8pm Friday 

During the afternoon and early evening of Good Friday there will be a number of different
reflective “stations” in church. These displays encourage us to reflect and pray on various themes relevant to Holy Week and Easter.

You can drop in at any time and go at your own pace – there will be leaflets to guide you around the stations, but the church is not manned, so you can have privacy to reflect as you want to.

Holy Communion and the lighting of the Paschal Candle
10 am  

This joyful service of thanksgiving for the Resurrection begins as we light the new Easter (or
Paschal) candle, a reminder of the light of Christ which even death could not put out. We light small candles held by the congregation – we all carry that light of Christ out into the world.

6.30 pm 
A small, traditional said service, with hymns to end Easter Sunday.

About Time 23

Saturday, March 23, 2019

About Time 18

Today's #AboutTime post. Timely words for worrying days. Jesus' times were even harder & more uncertain than our own, but his security & sense of self-worth were rooted in God's love, not in the circumstances he faced. We are eternally loved too.