Sunday, May 09, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news: May 9

 

May 9   Easter 6

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

Don't forget that you can also listen to a shortened version of the podcast by phoning 01732 928061 -  if you know someone who doesn't "do" the internet, please pass on the number to them. It costs the same as any phone call to a Sevenoaks number.


In Church

10 am Holy Communion with a hymn outside the church after the service.

6.30pm Evensong (Said)
  
Numbers limited to 35 people. Facemasks required unless medically exempt. Services are said, with recorded music – there is no singing in church, but we do now have permission to sing outside, so there will be a congregational hymn at the end of the 10 am service outside.

 

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

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat
May 9, 2021 11:15 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88409006819?pwd=d2lXUC96eUEvWFN5UWFrNGlYVkF0dz09

Meeting ID: 884 0900 6819
Passcode: 762940


You can also join the meeting by phoning  01314601196 and entering the Meeting ID and Passcode above when prompted to do so.

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children's Choir Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.


Zoom Adult choir  - Wednesday 7.15 pm Email philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.



Sixth Sunday of Eastertide
Acts 10. 44-end, John 15.9-17
Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius, by Francesco Trevisani, 1709

Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles is the tail end of the story of Peter’s visit to Cornelius, a Roman Centurion who wanted to hear about the message of Jesus. What seemed like a simple request had layers of complexity for Peter, though. Cornelius was a Roman, a Gentile, and a member of the army that was occupying Israel. For a good Jew, as Peter was, even to enter his house would be to appear to go against everything that was sacred. It was a turning point for Peter. By going to Cornelius he would be saying very publicly that the new movement which held to the message of Jesus was for everyone, and that you didn’t have to become Jewish (which was not at all straightforward) in order to join it. Persuaded by a vision, Peter went, and when he got there, he discovered that God had got there first, and had filled Cornelius and his household with the Holy Spirit. The rest, as they say, is history. Without this bold decision, which produced huge turmoil among the early Christians, Jesus’ message may have stayed confined to a small sect of Judaism, never reaching those of us in far flung corners of the Gentile world at all. 



ALL AGE IDEAS
Together at Home sheet, linked to today's Gospel reading 

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. 
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS

What is your favourite hymn? If you come to our Sunday morning services, you will know that we have been able to sing a hymn at the end of each 10 am service since Easter, which has been a great joy! I’d like to invite anyone who comes to the 10 am to let me know what hymns you’d like to sing, so I can make sure we are singing people’s favourites. Apologies that I can’t make the same offer to those who listen to the podcast, as we are limited by the list of hymns which the good folk at St Martin in the Fields have provided, which is limited by copyright restrictions. You’re welcome to let me know what you’d like to hear, however, and I will do my best (or feature them in our Hymn of the Week). Email sealpandp@gmail.com, with “hymn request” in the subject line.
 
Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30 at 11.15am. It will be possible to join in by phone if you have no computer - please contact me if you want to do this. I will circulate the joining details nearer the time. Only those who are on the church Electoral Roll are allowed to vote at this meeting, so if you are not on the roll, please ask me, or the Electoral Roll officer, Wivine Turner, for a form to join. If anyone is interested in coming onto the Parochial Church Council, which is responsible for making decisions about Seal Church, please let me know.
 
Seal Village Allotments are planning to hold their Spring Plant Sale on Saturday May 22nd from 12pm - 3pm. There will be a wide variety of both vegetable and flower plants for sale suitable for gardens and those with more limited space. We are also hoping to provide our usual refreshments of tea, coffees and homemade cakes however this is dependent on the covid restrictions at that time.
This will all take place on the allotments in Childsbridge Lane.
 
FRIDAY GROUP - This group is meeting weekly on Fridays from 11am on the recreation ground in groups of 6. When the weather is really bad (this is a very tenacious group!) you can obtain a zoom invitation by contacting marionjgilchrist@gmail.com.
 
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK - 10TH - 16TH MAY 2021. 
This year Christian Aid celebrates 75yrs. since its formation. The focus of fundraising will concentrate on the effects of climate change, particularly in Kenya. 
With partners Christian Aid aims to enable schemes to relieve hunger, water shortages and other worst outcomes. 
In spite of the difficult conditions of the pandemic last year in 2020, £4 million was raised. 
Ideas for fundraising, and support by donation can be found at   caweek.org/support.
There are further information and donation envelopes in the church porch.
HYMN OF THE WEEK   Be still for the presence of the Lord
A modern hymn today, requested by a number of people for our “outdoor” hymn in church and for the podcast. Be still for the presence of the Lord was written by David J Evans, (b 1957). He is a teacher of music based in Southampton, but born in Dartford. As he says in the short interview with him which begins the video below, he is delighted that this hymn, written in 1985, has touched so many hearts.
Its imagery draws on a number of Bible stories. Moses was told by God, from a burning bush, that he should take off his shoes because he was “standing on holy ground”. In the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, the annunciation to the Bethlehem shepherds and many other Bible stories, the “glory of the Lord” was described as a bright light “shining all around”. In the story of the Day of Pentecost, the disciples experienced God’s presence as a mighty power, moving through them and the place they were to propel them out into the world with Jesus’ message. 
 
The video below begins with an interview with David J Evans, the writer of Be Still before the a performance from Heathcott School. You can find out more about David Evans on his website here : https://drdavidevans.co.uk
 
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here;
come bow before Him now with reverence and fear.
in Him no sin is found, we stand on holy ground;
be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here.
 
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
He burns with holy fire, with splendour He is crowned.
How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.
 
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace.
No work too hard for Him, in faith receive from Him;
be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.
 
David J Evans (born 1957) © 1986 Thankyou Music/Adm. by worshiptogether.com songs excl UK & Europe, adm. by kingswaysongs.com. www.kingswaysongs.com.

 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK   
O Lord, the Author and Persuader of peace, love and goodwill, soften our hard and steely hearts, warm our frozen and icy hearts, that we may wish well to one another, and may be the true disciples of Jesus Christ. And give us grace even now to begin to show forth that heavenly life, wherein there is no hatred, but peace and love on all hands, one toward another. Amen.

Ludovicus Vives, (Juan Luis Vives March) 1492-1540
 
Ludovicus Vives was a Spanish scholar, a friend of the famous writer, Erasmus. He was born in Spain, the child of a family who had converted from Judaism to Christianity at a time when Jews were savagely persecuted. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather had been executed on the orders of the Spanish Inquisition, who accused them of secretly maintaining their Jewish faith. His mother, though acquitted on the same charge, died of plague in 1508, but some years later, her body was ordered to be dug up and publicly burned after new allegations were made that she had secretly visited a synagogue. Vives lived in the Netherlands for most of his life, but spent some time at the court of Henry VIII, where it is thought he may have been tutor to Henry’s daughter, Mary. He fell out of favour because he wouldn’t support Henry’s request for the annulment of his marriage to her mother, Catherine of Aragon, however, and had to leave. He wrote on many subjects, but was primarily known for his interest in educational theory and his writings on the relationship between thought and feeling. He is sometimes called the Father of Psychology, though that wasn’t a word that was used, or a separate sphere of study until many hundreds of years later.
 
Bearing in mind the fact that he had seen at such close quarters the damage that hatred and prejudice could cause, his simple prayer that “we may wish well to one another” has added poignancy and power. Surely this shouldn’t be too much to ask, and yet so often it seems to be! 

AND FINALLY...

Ascension Day, the day when we recall Jesus’ ascension into heaven, falls on Thursday May 13 this year. We will be having a celebration of Holy Communion at 8pm in church. Ascension day falls 40 days after Easter, and 10 days before Pentecost (Whitsun). The days between the sixth Sunday of Easter and Ascension are called Rogationtide, from the Latin rogare - to pray. They were, historically, times of special prayer for the area in which people lived. In the Middle Ages, processions carrying the relics or images of local saints would be carried around the area, showing the saint their domain (or possibly vice versa). These processions were very popular, and developed into the tradition of “beating the bounds” after the Reformation, keeping the walk, but discreetly forgetting the saints, as the reformers wanted to discourage devotion to them. Instead, either the boundary markers, or sometimes a hapless small boy, was ceremoniously “beaten” to make sure the parish boundaries would not be forgotten. A religious procession had turned into a reminder of where civil authority in the area began and ended.
 
A map of seal parish boundariesWe’ve all probably seen a lot of our own local area this year, and maybe have discovered parts of it we’d never noticed before. This week is a good week to walk some of those favourite pathways again, or discover new ones, and pray for those who live locally. Philip and I often walk over to Kemsing to say hello to our own local saints – St Edith and her mother St Wulfthryth, at Edith’s Well. Here is a map of the boundaries, in case you aren’t familiar with them. The boundaries are (roughly) Ash Platt Road in the west, Fawke Common to the North, Stonepitts Farm to the East and the Guzzle Brook to the South.
 
It’s quite hard to walk around the boundaries of Seal Parish – the footpaths aren’t in the right place for it, though it would be great to get as close as we can to it one year - but in some parts of England, beating the bounds is still very much a live tradition, including in Oxford, where the Rogation procession of St Michael at the Northgate church takes them through the middle of M & S, as the parish boundary runs through the Ladieswear department. I don’t know how Covid might have affected their processions this year and last, but here is a report from the Oxford Mail about the festivities from previous years, which must cause some confusion to visiting shoppers! 
 
“CROWDS walking round with big sticks, scholars drinking beer flavoured with ground ivy, and students throwing coins off a tower roof... it can only be Ascension Day in Oxford.
 
While most people had no idea that the Christian festival passed them by on Thursday, a host of ancient traditions are still practiced in the city centre.
Each year, hapless visitors not versed in Oxford’s traditions are left bemused when locals armed with six-foot sticks march through shops, looking like an under-funded rebel army.
Both St Mary the Virgin University Church and St Michael at the North Gate both mark out their ancient parish boundaries in ‘beating of the bounds’ ceremonies.


A picture of the point on M&S floor marking the boundaryParishioners stop and hit boundary markers, including those at Boots and Marks & Spencer, in a tradition that once prevented encroachment into the parish.
The Very Rev Bob Wilkes, of St Michael at the North Gate, said: “I’ve spent much of my ministry in the Middle East and Central Asia, so this is a bit different.
“I enjoy the fact we connect with the public space right in the city centre.
“We get to meet people, they ask what we are doing, and we start some conversations. People seem to really enjoy it.”boundary marker stones
 
The earliest mention of the tradition is in St Michael’s churchwarden’s accounts in 1428, and the procession still follows the traditional route as closely as possible.
 
For a few minutes each year, a small door linking Brasenose College to Lincoln College, known as “The Needle’s Eye” is unlocked and opened, and the St Michael’s party and Brasenose students pour into Lincoln to drink a specially-brewed ale flavour-ed with ground ivy.
Post-graduate history student Robert Cashmore, 27, said: “The ivy beer is not the sweetest of beverages, but it is free and we are students.”
According to a guide to the tradition, published in 1961 by St Michael’s then vicar Canon R R Martin, the Lincoln College’s butler should collect the plant, put it in a muslin bag, and insert it into the bung hole of the beer barrel for a fortnight before it is served.
Canon Martin said the tradition may hark back to an ancient method of brewing, prior to the arrival of hops to England in the 15th century.
Lincoln College students then throw coins from the roof of the tower to children in the quad below.
But some traditions do fade: in the past, undergraduates would heat the pennies in a fire, and watch as the youngsters decided whether it was more important to bag the dosh or avoid getting burnt.
 
There’s another report of proceedings here. https://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2012/05/ascension-day-in-oxford.html

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news - May 2

 

May 2  Easter 5

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

Don't forget that you can also listen to a shortened version of the podcast by phoning 01732 928061 -  if you know someone who doesn't "do" the internet, please pass on the number to them. It costs the same as any phone call to a Sevenoaks number.


In Church

10 am Holy Communion with a hymn outside the church after the service.

6.30pm Evensong (Said)
  
Numbers limited to 35 people. Facemasks required unless medically exempt. Services are said, with recorded music – there is no singing in church, but we do now have permission to sing outside, so there will be a congregational hymn at the end of the 10 am service outside.

 

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

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat  11.15 am

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children's Choir Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.


No Zoom Adult choir this week.



Fifth Sunday of Eastertide
Acts 8.26- end, John 15.1-8
Kevin Bright is preaching on our podcasts and in church this Sunday, so I look forward to listening to his “take” on this week’s readings, and I’m sure he wouldn’t thank me for stealing his thunder and saying too much about them in advance!

A manuscript from the Menologion of Basil, showing Philip and the EthiopianSo, a more general comment on the readings for this season of Eastertide. You may have noticed that the first reading each week since Easter Day has come from the Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament book which tells the stories of Jesus’ followers after his Ascension as they began to take his message out into the world – “Apostle” simply means someone who is sent out. It’s a sequel to the Gospel according to Luke, which seems to have been written for a person called Theophilus, though that may just be a literary device; Theophilus just means “Lover of God”, so it might have been intended for a more general audience. We don’t know who wrote the books either. Both books were traditionally ascribed to Luke, based on the fact that Acts speaks of St Paul’s meeting with a Macedonian by that name, who then joins Paul on his travels, and after that point a number of times the text say “we” went here or there, rather than “Paul”. There’s a lot of debate, though, about whether that person really was the writer of Acts, because his account doesn’t necessarily agree with Paul’s own account of his travels in his letters.
Authorship aside, the Acts of the Apostles presents a vivid picture of the spread of Jesus’ message around the Mediterranean, by people like St Peter, St Paul, and, in today’s reading, St Philip. It tells a story of courage and joy, as well as struggle, as the early Church – just a group within Judaism at this time -  tries to work out how to live out the Gospel and support one another, inspired by the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to believe in the risen Christ? What difference does it make? All the difference in the world, his followers discover! The reason why readings from Acts feature so largely in Eastertide is that we too should be asking these questions. How does our faith affect our lives? What should our “Acts” be, if we call ourselves Christian? 



ALL AGE IDEAS
Together at Home sheet, linked to today's Gospel reading in which Jesus describes himself as the True Vine. His life and lovfe flows through us like the sap in a grape vine, giving us life. 
https://af51dd98-adab-4c43-ba03-c87e019551a5.filesusr.com/ugd/ebdd71_34f1cf23cbc649a089edfca22cc50b23.pdf

  • Look around outside and find some new shoots growing on trees and bushes. What would happen if a branch was broken off? (but don't do it!) Jesus says that we need to stay close to him and to one another, so that we can get the help and support we need. Who supports and helps you? 
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. 
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS

What is your favourite hymn? If you come to our Sunday morning services, you will know that we have been able to sing a hymn at the end of each 10 am service since Easter, which has been a great joy! I’d like to invite anyone who comes to the 10 am to let me know what hymns you’d like to sing,so I can make sure we are singing people’s favourites. Apologies that I can’t make the same offer to those who listen to the podcast, as we are limited by the list of hymns which the good folk at St Martin in the Fields have provided, which is limited by copyright restrictions. You’re welcome to let me know what you’d like to hear, however, and I will do my best to include it, (or feature it in our Hymn of the Week in this newsletter). Email sealpandp@gmail.com, with “hymn request” in the subject line.

Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30. It will be possible to join this meeting by phone if you do not have a computer. I will provide the details the Sunday before the meeting. Only those who are on the church Electoral Roll are allowed to vote at this meeting, so if you are not on the roll, please ask me, or the Electoral Roll officer, Wivine Turner, for a form to join. If anyone is interested in coming onto the Parochial Church Council, which is responsible for making decisions about Seal Church, please let me know.
 
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK - 10TH - 16TH MAY 2021.
This year Christian Aid celebrates 75yrs. since its formation. The focus of fundraising will concentrate on the effects of climate change, particularly in Kenya. 
With partners Christian Aid aims to enable schemes to relieve hunger, water shortages and other worst outcomes. 
In spite of the difficult conditions of the pandemic last year in 2020, £4 million was raised. 
Ideas for fundraising, and support by donation can be found at   caweek.org/support. This includes a Quiztian Aid online quiz on Sat. 8th May at 7pm!  
Or for further information contact  rsapattullo@gmail.com
 
SEAL PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL ASSEMBLY takes place via zoom at 7.30pm on May 5th. Please contact sealparishc@outlook.com for your invitation.
 
FROM KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS AND THE SEAL VILLAGE ASSOCIATION
We have managed through Zoom to hold our KYN meeting on Thursday evening, to decide, finally, on how to spend our funds. It has been agreed to purchase some benches for the recreation ground, to form a horseshoe type shape, to seat several people safely, for social purposes, to echo our Talking Village ethos in Seal. Many of you gave your opinions, which we have truly valued, and we feel we have managed to take your views on board as much as possible. The other thing we will be doing, is planting a tree (site to be agreed later), to commemorate the very difficult months we have all experienced due to Covid. Thank you to all those that gave up their time to attend this meeting.
 
 
Seal Village Allotments are planning to hold their Spring Plant Sale on Saturday May 22nd from 12pm - 3pm. There will be a wide variety of both vegetable and flower plants for sale suitable for gardens and those with more limited space. We are also hoping to provide our usual refreshments of tea, coffees and homemade cakes however this is dependent on the covid restrictions at that time.
This will all take place on the allotments in Childsbridge Lane.
 
FRIDAY GROUP - This group is meeting weekly on Fridays from 11am on the recreation ground in groups of 6. When the weather is really bad (this is a very tenacious group!) you can obtain a zoom invitation by contacting marionjgilchrist@gmail.com.
HYMN OF THE WEEK   
He who would valiant be/Who would true valour see

John Bunyan writing Pilgrim's ProgressJohn Bunyan, (1628-1688) the author of this week’s hymn of the week didn’t set out to write this as a hymn. It was originally part of his  famous work “A Pilgrim’s Progress”.  The story’s protagonist, called Christian, sets out from his home, the “City of Destruction” and eventually, after many trials and setbacks, comes to the “Celestial City”.
Bunyan was born and lived most of his life in Bedfordshire, and, as his dates suggest, his life was marked by the political and religious tumult of the Civil War.  He was the son of a tinker, and Bunyan also learned this trade, travelling around mending pots and pans. According to his own account “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners”, he led quite a wild life as a young man, and served for a time in Cromwell’s Parliamentary army, but partly through the influence of his pious first wife, he went through a profound religious re-orientation. He joined a Non- Conformist church, the Bedford Meeting, during the time of the  Cromwell’s Commonwealth, and became a preacher, but at the Restoration, when Charles II came to the throne, Non-conformist churches were banned. Everyone had to go to their C of E parish church.  This was rooted in a fear that the Puritan ideals of Cromwell might be  reignited  if people gathered in groups that weren’t under the control of the  state.  Bunyan refused to give up his religious convictions and was imprisoned in Bedford County Jail for  twelve years until the “Conventicles Act” was repealed in 1672.  During his imprisonment his second wife, whom he had married after his first wife died, had to look after her four step-children, including one who was blind, with virtually no income, other than what John could earn by making shoe laces in prison. It was during this time that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, and it’s portrayal of the struggles of the soul are obviously rooted in his own story.
 
Bunyan’s original version   of the poem was eventually extensively re-written and popularised by Percy Dearmer and Ralph Vaughan Williams in the early 20th Century.  For  some reason Dearmer excised the colourful references to “hobgoblins and foul fiends” which I think is a pity, but  perhaps it was  considered a bit over the top for20th century sensibilities. I leave it up to you to decide which version you prefer! Bunyan’s original words are still  included in Hymns Ancient and Modern but Dearmer’s words have won out in most other hymn books, including Hymns Old and New (our Green book). I have included youtube versions of both, Dearmer’s version sung rather respectably by Trinity College choir, and Bunyan’s sung by Maddy Prior in a version  closer to the folk roots of its tune “Monk’s Gate” which was adapted by Vaughan Williams from a tune called the Valiant Soldier which he collected from Mrs Harriet Verrall in the little hamlet of Monk’s Gate, West Sussex.  She also gave him the tune which we now know as “On Christmas night all Christians Sing”.

Version 1: Adapted by Percy Dearmer
 
1 He who would valiant be
'gainst all disaster,
let him in constancy
follow the Master.
There's no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.
 
2 Who so beset him round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound—
his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might,
though he with giants fight;
he will make good his right
to be a pilgrim.
 
3 Since, Lord, Thou dost defend
us with Thy Spirit,
we know we at the end
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, flee away!
I'll fear not what men say,
I'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim

Version 2: John Bunyan’s original words
1 Who would true valour see,
let him come hither;
one here will constant be,
come wind, come weather;
there's no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.

2 Whoso beset him round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound,
his strength the more is.
No lion can him fright:
he'll with a giant fight,
but he will have the right
to be a pilgrim.
3 Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
can daunt his spirit;
he knows he at the end
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, fly away;
he'll not fear what men say;
he'll labour night and day
to be a pilgrim.
Percy Dearmer's words, sung by Trinity College choir.
Maddy Prior sings Bunyan's original words. 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK   A prayer of St Benedict
O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Medieval manuscript picture of St Benedict giving the Rule to St MaurusBenedict of Nursia’s impact on the Christian Church can’t be overestimated.  He was born in AD 480, as the Roman Empire was crumbling around him after repeated invasions and attacks from foreign tribes. Benedict was sent from his native Umbria to Rome, with the hope that he would become a lawyer, but he was disillusioned by what he saw of city life and decided to withdraw to live as a hermit in a cave in the rocky landscape of Subiaco, outside Rome, praying and seeking God. Unfortunately, his hope for solitude was disappointed as others soon came to join in him, wanting to learn from him. Soon a community grew up around him, but it was not without its problems. In fact, at one point, his fellow monks even tried to poison him. The goblet which contained the poisoned wine they gave him miraculously shattered, though, and Benedict was saved. Perhaps it was experiences like this which encouraged Benedict to produce the work for which he is most famous, the “Rule” which eventually came to shape monastic communities across most of Western Europe. Its 73 short chapters provide a wealth of wise advice for anyone living in a group with others. It talks about the importance of clothing, adequate for the climate, but not extravagant, and food, sensible amounts of healthy food. It talks about balancing the day between study, work and prayer, and about how to sort out differences or deal with times when monks went off the rails. It is still foundational to many religious orders, and individuals, today, and its wisdom can be applied to any of our lives. It isn’t harsh, but it does set down useful disciplines for living in harmony and enabling members of the community to live with love for God and one another. Religious communities traditionally work through the Rule, over and over again, hearing the chapters read and meditating on them. That’s why monastic buildings have “chapter” houses, and why groups of people are sometimes called chapters. Priests across an area have “Deanery Chapter” meetings (and Hell’s Angels are organised into chapters too – I’m not sure what that says about either group!) In the picture above, Benedict is handing over a copy of the Rule to St Maurus, who founded the first Benedictine monastery after Benedict’s own, on the pattern he had laid down.

AND FINALLY...

We all deserve a medal, but what for? This week’s Church Times cartoon from Dave Walker (cartoonchurch.com) has some suggestions!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast links and other news: April 25

 

April 25  Easter 4

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

Don't forget that you can also listen to a shortened version of the podcast by phoning 01732 928061 -  if you know someone who doesn't "do" the internet, please pass on the number to them. It costs the same as any phone call to a Sevenoaks number.


In Church

10 am Holy Communion with a hymn outside the church after the service.

6.30pm Evensong (Said)
  
Numbers limited to 35 people. Facemasks required unless medically exempt. Services are said, with recorded music – there is no singing in church, but we do now have permission to sing outside, so there will be a congregational hymn at the end of the 10 am service outside.

 

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

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat
Apr 25, 2021 11:00 AM 


Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children's Choir Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.


Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.



Fourth Sunday of Eastertide

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, an image that is very familiar to us. For those who heard him claim that title at the time, though, it would probably have been quite shocking. The people of Israel were used to leaders being compared to shepherds. Their origins had been as semi-nomadic herders, and some of their greatest leaders, like Moses and King David, had started out as shepherds. The imagery of the shepherd/leader is found throughout the Old Testament – leaders are often seen as the shepherds of their people, whether good or bad, and God himself is famously compared to a shepherd in Psalm 23, which we will hear in today’s podcast both read and sung. This shepherd-centred society knew that the skills a shepherd needed – courage, wisdom, and, most of all the ability to discern what the sheep needed and lead them towards it in the wild landscape where they lived, were the skills a good leader of people needed too. 
In calling himself the Good Shepherd, Jesus was claiming authority which many people would have been astonished at. He was just a carpenter from Nazareth. There’s an implied criticism of those who see themselves as the religious and political leaders of Israel too. Jesus talks in the Gospel reading about “hired hands” who are just in the job for what they can get out of it for themselves, and who run away from danger rather than protect the sheep. Who is he talking about? The Pharisees – religious experts - to whom he is talking must have had the uneasy suspicion he was thinking about them, as well as the Temple authorities and secular rulers. 

Each one of us must make our own decisions, of course, about who we follow, who we allow to influence us, but Jesus words invite us to look critically at our choices, and at ourselves as leaders too, because we all have influence over others as well. He offers us a pattern of leadership which is a model for us, both as leaders and as followers. 




 
ALL AGE IDEAS
Together at Home sheet with lots of ideas to explore the story. 
https://af51dd98-adab-4c43-ba03-c87e019551a5.filesusr.com/ugd/ebdd71_473b25f60c9f4d168289dc293c1dcceb.pdf

 

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. 
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS

Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30. Only those who are on the church Electoral Roll are allowed to vote at this meeting, so if you are not on the roll, please ask me, or the Electoral Roll officer, Wivine Turner, for a form to join. If anyone is interested in coming onto the Parochial Church Council which is responsible for making decisions about Seal Church, please let me know.
 
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK -  10TH - 16TH MAY 2021.
This year Christian Aid celebrates 75yrs. since its formation. The focus of fundraising will concentrate on the effects of climate change, particularly in Kenya. 
With partners Christian Aid aims to enable schemes to relieve hunger, water shortages and other worst outcomes. 
In spite of the difficult conditions of the pandemic last year in 2020, £4 million was raised. 
Ideas for fundraising, and support by donation can be found at   caweek.org/support. This includes a Quiztian Aid online quiz on Sat. 8th May at 7pm!  
Or for further information contact  rsapattullo@gmail.com
 
HMS Seal
 
Last Friday afternoon (16th April) two members of the Isle of Wight Film Club, Richard Priest and Kevin Weeden, visited Seal as they are making a documentary about the story of HM Submarine Seal. At the beginning of the Second World War, the village ‘adopted’ the submarine and its crew. The submarine was captured by the Germans in 1940 and the crew imprisoned. Miss Dorothy Coleman, who lived in Fawke Cottage in Godden Green (now part of Sevenoaks Preparatory School), organised a committee to provide the prisoners with food and clothes for the duration of the war. The full story can be found  on the parish council website and in a sermon I preached back in 2009.
Richard and Kevin were shown round the village by David Williams, the co-author of a history of Seal, Edward Oatley, former chairman of the parish council and ex-headmaster of Sevenoaks Prep, and Chris Tavaré, current parish councillor who is arranging for the memorial garden at the recreation ground to be restored. They also visited the church, where I showed them the church’s collection of HMS Seal memorabilia, and Fawke Cottage.
The film should be completed later this year and will be available, free, on YouTube. Details
will be in a future Know Your Neighbours email and in The Advertiser.
 
The last KYN fun quiz will take place via zoom on Friday April 30th. These have been great fun and well supported. I would like to thank Frances and Annie Fish for putting so much work into these, and keeping us all entertained during, what seems to be, the longest part of lockdown ever! For those that have been attending regularly, the zoom link will be the same one as the last couple. If you haven't joined before, but want to see what you've been missing, please contact Frances for your invitation.
frances88@hotmail.com.
    
SEAL VILLAGE FUND (from the Seal Village Association and Know Your Neighbours)
We are still taking your ideas of how to spend this year's financial allocation of approximately £2000, to enhance our community. We will keep some back for post lockdown, when groups return and see what is needed to get back on their feet. However, please keep giving your suggestions by responding to this e mail.Also, contact this email for your zoom invitation for the meeting on April 29th at 8.00pm to make the final decision. Please email marionjgilchrist@gmail.com for the Zoom link.
 
WILDFLOWER VERGES
There will be an illustrated talk via Zoom on Wed April 28th from 7.30-8.30pm, to teach us more about our native flowers and what we can do in the parish, to encourage more of these beauties in our roadside verges. To join the zoom, please contact Chris Tavare christavspc@btinternet.com

SEAL PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL ASSEMBLY takes place via zoom at 7.30pm on May 5th. Please contact sealparishc@outlook.com for your invitation.

FRIDAY GROUP - This group is meeting weekly on Fridays from 11am on the recreation ground in groups of 6. When the weather is really bad (this is a very tenacious group!) you can obtain a zoom invitation by contacting marionjgilchrist@gmail.com.
 
HYMN OF THE WEEK   
The Lord’s my shepherd
There’s only really one hymn I could choose as hymn of the week this week, and it is one of the metrical versions of Psalm 23, which is often simply known as “Crimond”. Although it is very familiar to most people,  though, that hasn’t always been the case. The text first appeared in the Scottish Psalter in 1650, a collection of metrical paraphrases of the Psalms, and is one of many different versions of it (like The King of Love my shepherd is, for example). The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian church, didn’t approve of the singing of any hymns that weren’t based on the words of scripture (some parts of the church were quite wary of singing at all) , but recognised that people do love to sing, so authorised this collection of hymns. The original text appears to have been written by the English Puritan Francis Rous (1581 4to 1659), who was briefly the Speaker of the English House of Commons in 1653, but it was very extensively revised by the committee that put the hymn book together. The psalm, like many in their collection was in what is called Common Metre, a very standard rhythm which could be set to many different tunes interchangeably, as it was.
 
It wasn’t until the 1870s that the tune “Crimond” was written, by Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836-1887), the daughter of a Church of Scotland minister in the town of – you’ve guessed it! – Crimond at the north eastern tip of Scotland. She apparently wrote the tune as an exercise for a composition class, but wasn’t happy with her harmonies, so asked a musician from nearby Aberdeen called David Grant to reharmonise it for her. He is now often incorrectly named as the tune’s composer – female composers have had an historic tendency to become invisible, as in so many other fields!
 
The hymn still wasn’t well known, however, and it was really only the fact that the then Princess Elizabeth and her husband to be Philip Mountbatten chose it for their wedding in 1947 that brought it to prominence. It didn’t appear in Hymns Ancient and Modern, one of the standard Church of England hymn books until 1965. Since then, though, it has become a favourite at weddings, funerals and in  Sunday worship. The words have been set to a number of other tunes, including Brother James’ Air and a modern tune by Stuart Townend, as well as being arranged in a choral version, memorably, as the theme tune to the Vicar of Dibley by Howard Goodall.
 
Whichever version is your favourite, however, it is the simplicity and vivid imagery of the original Psalm, with its promise that God is with us in all the landscapes of our lives, which gives it its enduring power.

 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
A page from an illustrated manuscript of the Gelasian SacramentaryThe Collect (prayer for the day) in the Book of Common prayer, which you will hear in our  Evensong podcast and service in church is a gem. It is very ancient, coming originally from the Gelasian Sacramentary, a collection of the prayers used in church services which dates from at least 700 AD, by which time the prayers in it may already have been very old. It is the second oldest surviving prayer book in the world.This prayer became part of the Latin Sarum Missal and survived the Reformation to appear in the Books of Common Prayer of 1549 and 1662, where it is still read every year on the fourth Sunday of Easter.
 
The prayer paints a picture we will all be familiar with, of our “unruly wills and affections”, that sense that we can feel all over the place, driven by fears and hopes which we feel we have no control of. Amidst all of that, the prayer asks for strength to find our focus in God, “among the sundry and manifold changes of the world” so that our hearts are fixed “where true joys are to be found.” It is a prayer which invites us, when we are feeling tossed about by life, to stop, to breathe, and to turn to God, who is the true source of peace.
AND FINALLY...

One of the challenges of running services in church during the pandemic has been that it is sometimes hard to work out ways of doing things without multiple people handing objects or getting too close to one another while trying to help. Perhaps Dave Walker’s suggestions about automation, drawn before the pandemic, have found their moment.