Saturday, December 04, 2021

Day 4: Picturing Mary

 

Christ Crucified, by Antonello da Messina  1430-1479

John’s Gospel records that Mary and John stood at the foot of Jesus’ cross, and that Jesus entrusted them into each other’s keeping. You might like to pay particular attention to the spaces in this picture - what difference do they make  to the impression it makes.


Friday, December 03, 2021

Day 3: Picturing Mary

The risen Jesus appears to his mother by Juan de Flandes c.1460-1516

 The Bible doesn’t record the risen Jesus appearing to Mary, but people have always imagined this scene. This portrayal is strikingly similar to many of the scenes of the annunciation, linking the beginning and end of Jesus’ earthly story. 



Use the questions in the right hand sidebar to help you reflect on the picture, or there is a video version, with the questions, and time to reflect, below.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Advent Windows: Map and list

 Check out the Advent Windows around Seal. Each day from Dec 1 there is a new window unveiled. They will all stay up until Dec 29, and there is a puzzle to solve! Each window will display a letter; collect them all and unjumble them and you will find a Christmas Carol.

Click on the images below to enlarge the pictures. There are also printed versions in church, and a map on the church gate.






Day 2: Picturing Mary


Walking Madonna by Elisabeth Frink 1930-1993

 

Elisabeth Frink’s Walking Madonna depicts a strong, determined older woman, marked by the events she has gone through. I wonder where she is going and why?

Use the questions in the right hand sidebar to help you reflect on the picture, or there is a video version, with the questions, and time to reflect, below. 



Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Day 1 : Picturing Mary

Pentecost, by El Greco1541-1614

It might seem odd to start an Advent series with a picture of Pentecost, but this is the last mention of Mary in the Bible. The Acts of the Apostles (1.14) tells us that she was one of the group of disciples who were gathered in Jerusalem after the Ascension of Jesus, waiting for the promised gift of the Holy Spirit – here symbolised by the dove and the flames on the disciples’ heads. This tells us that she was well-known to the early Christians, whose stories later informed the Gospel writers. 





Use the questions in the right hand sidebar to help you reflect on the picture, or there is a video version, with the questions, and time to reflect, below. Click "Watch on Youtube" to open the video in another window adn watch it in full screen.

















Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast link and other news: Nov 28 : Advent Sunday

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast       Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061


In the church building today
10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm Evensong


During the week
Wednesday@10.00 am Good Book Club
                                 5pm Children's Choir
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir


Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 
                           10.30-12.30 Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building next Sunday - Dec 5

10 am   Holy Communion & Baptism - please note that the church will be more crowded than usual.
6.30pm Evensong


Advent Sunday

Jesus sits in judgement at his second coming.Today marks the start of a new Church year, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas. Advent is, traditionally, a time for reflection, a time to wake up to God, to ourselves and to one another. Today's sermon explores Jesus command to his followers to "be alert" and pay attention. He was speaking to people who lived amidst tumult and danger - oppression, disease, war and famine. These were ever-present realities, as they are for so much of the world today, times which strip away our illusions about our invulnerability and showing us what we, and others, are made of. Jesus doesn't promise that bad things won't happen to his followers, but he does remind us to look for God's presence with us, which enables us to find the promise of new beginnings - hope even in the darkest of times.

This Advent, to help us reflect, there will be a series of daily posts on the church blog, featuring images of Mary, with prompts to help us pray with those images. There are a limited number of printed copies of the reflection in church, but the pictures are best viewed on a computer or tablet. Alternatively you can download the printable version of the reflections here. 

You can find out more in the introduction on the blog here.

 

ALL AGE IDEA

  • Advent invites us to look for God's presence with us. What helps you get through difficult times? What gives you hope? You could write the word "Hope" in large letters on a sheet of paper and decorate it through Advent with pictures and words that remind you of hopeful things. 
  • People of any age can join in with the Advent reflections on pictures of Mary. Children often have very perceptive things to say about works of art, and aren't hampered by adult feelings that they have to be art historians to understand them. Why not look at the images together?
ADVENT IDEAS
As well as following the "Picturing Mary" series to mark Advent, you could...
  • Advent candlesFind five candles or tea lights (preferably four coloured ones and one white or gold one) and light one of the coloured ones each Sunday in Advent, and the white one on Christmas Day, as we do in church. Here are our Advent candles in Seal Vicarage. Advent candle
  • Buy or make an Advent candle with 24 divisions on it. Light it each day and spend some time just sitting still and watching it burn.
  • Create a reverse Advent calendar. Find a box, and put an item of food in it each day to donate to the Loaves and Fishes Foodbank after Christmas. There is a foodbank collection point at the back of church by the font. 
  • Make an angel figure, or use one you already have, and hide it around the house each day for others to find, like "elf on the shelf" but better! Every time you find it, think of something or someone to give thanks for. There some ideas for making angels here. https://www.pinterest.co.uk/ajlebas/advent-and-christmas/angels/
  • Put up a Christmas crib if you have one, or make one if you don't, and talk about the figures in it. Traditionally the baby Jesus isn't put in the scene until Christmas Day, and the  Magi don't arrive until Jan 6, so they could travel around the house until then! 
STORY OF THE WEEK  Luke 1.26-56
To tie in with our Advent series on Mary, the stories of the week during Advent will all feature her. We'll start with the famous story of Gabriel's message and Mary's journey to see her relative, Elizabeth. 
  • Try to imagine these stories from Mary's point of view,. What might she have been feeling and thinking as these events unfolded?
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS
 
CHRISTMAS AT SEAL
  • December 12th at 10 am CHRISTINGLE SERVICE 
  • December 19th at 3.30pm     CAROL SERVICE - Please note the earlier time than our usual carol service! This service will start outside the church with some congregational carols. We will then process into church with the crib figures and hear some Christmas songs from the choir, interspersed with prayers and a Bible reading. We will finish with a final congregational carol inside. These changes have been made  to minimise the time we spend crowded into the church and the amount we all sing together inside.Please wear a face covering inside the church and be aware that we won't be able to guarantee social distancing. There will be a few folding chairs available in the churchyard for those who can't stand for long, but please come prepared for rain, as we will sing outside whatever the weather!
  • December 24th CHRISTMAS EVE  3-5pm  - DROP IN to see the Christmas crib and have a prayer of blessing from the vicar if you would like to. There will be take-home Christmas craft packs available for families too, and a chance to decorate and add a prayer star to our tree. There will be no crib service (Sorry - too many people in too small a space, too much moving around, and too much singing to be able to make this Covid safe!)
  • CHRISTMAS EVE - 9pm.  First Holy Communion of Christmas (aka "midnight mass"!) Note the earlier time - this won't take place at midnight - but will include carols, a sermon and all the usual features of our first Christmas communion, including some carols from the choir before the service starts (from 8.30 ish)
  • CHRISTMAS DAY 10 am Christmas Communion for all ages, with a story in place of a sermon, carols etc. as normal.
  • PLEASE NOTE - all these arrangments are provisional, based on whatever government advice is in place at the time. It won't be possible to guarantee social distancing at these services, so it is especially important to wear face coverings inside the church unless you are exempt, use hand sanitizer and take regular Lateral Flow Tests if you plan to come to services. 

RECRUITING We shall need a new Treasurer in a couple of months’ time, and a new churchwarden next year. Can you help? Role descriptions for these jobs are on the board at the back of church, and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you.
  
ADVENT WINDOWS - JUST 5 MORE WANTED PLEASE!
Last year, saw our first and very successful Advent Window Trail which was organised by Barbara Martin. This year, we hope to have another 23 households, to decorate a window in their house throughout December. Between 1st and 23rd December, each day, a newly added decorated window will be added to the trail, ending with the Christmas Nativity Stable in Seal Church. So, by Christmas Eve, there are 24 beautiful windows and scenes to admire. This is a lovely activity for all, to follow the trial and admire the scenes.
If you would like to contribute to this fun project by decorating a window in your home, please contact Barbara on 10732 762255 or 07775 861562, or email 
barbara.s.martin@btconnect.com
 
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS PLANNING FOR 2022
KYN is planing to call a Zoom meeting sometime in December, for anybody who is interested in plans for the ROYAL CELEBRATION next year, and plans for the choice and care of our village Covid memorial tree. We will advise as soon as a day is set, but please let Marion know (Marionjgilchrist@gmail.com) if you would be interested in 'attending' this virtual meeting.

FAMILY CHRISTMAS PARTY VILLAGE HALL 3-4.30pm SATURDAY DECEMBER 4th.
We have booked Rob Pound again, a great local entertainer, for the children (and those grown up children), who was so popular in 2019. This is not just for children - all adults are welcome as well, and no child without a parent or carer, will be able to attend. PLEASE NOTE - THERE WILL BE A DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR, AS WE HAVE DECIDED THERE SHOULD BE NO FOOD TO SHARE, AND AS WE ARE ONLY TALKING 90 MINUTES, WE FEEL WE SHOULD SKIP THE FOOD ALTOGETHER. I'm sure you will all understand the reasoning behind this - there is a rising number of Covid cases in the area again, and we would hate to be responsible for your homes being Covid hosts at Christmas time! We will provide squash for your children, and tea and coffee for adults, served in the safest way possible.
. We will round up with carol singing around the village Christmas tree, as always. PLEASE NOTE - WE WILL HAVE TO USE A BOOKING SYSTEM THIS YEAR FOR OBVIOUS REASONS! PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL TO BOOK YOUR PLACES. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COME IF YOU HAVEN'T BOOKED! We have chosen to make the booking system this way, so that local people (those who live, work, or play in Seal), get priority. So if you use any of the village organisations, you will get a place if you're early enough!

For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/
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. Please tell us if you would like us to contact you.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Picturing Mary. Advent reflections on images of Mary: Introduction

The Gospels tell us very little about the mother of Jesus. There are just a handful of stories which feature her. Despite this, she soon became an important figure in Christian faith, not least because the assertion that Jesus was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4.4) supported the Christian claim that he was fully human. Gradually people began to develop devotional practices centred around her and by the Middle Ages, she was essential to the spiritual lives of many Christians. At the Reformation in the 16th century, though, many Protestants saw devotion to her as a mark of Catholicism. They abandoned and tried to suppress feasts and other religious practices associated with Mary, along with all the other saints, because of what they saw as the superstition associated with them, but it proved harder to “dethrone” Mary in the popular imagination than the Reformers hoped. She remained, and remains, a fascinating figure, often depicted in art. In every generation, people find inspiration in this story of an ordinary woman who answered God’s call to play her part in the extraordinary story of the birth of his Messiah.

This Advent I will be sharing a series of images of Mary, with prompts for your own reflection on them. To help you reflect on the images in this series, you might like to ask yourself the questions in the sidebar to the right as you look at them. For each day's image there will also be a video of the picture, with the same questions on the soundtrack, and space for reflection. While I won't be giving a commentary on each picture in these videos, I have made an introductory video - click on the link below -, focussing on an image that doesn't feature in the series - a bonus track! - to give you an idea of how to look contemplatively at art. 


Mary in the Bible

Despite Mary’s status in Christian history, the Bible gives us very little information about her.

Mark’s Gospel doesn’t mention her by name at all, and only tells one story in which she features (Mark 3.31) where she is among a group of family members trying to stop Jesus from preaching, fearful of repercussions if he does.

Matthew’s Gospel tells the story of Jesus’ conception and birth largely through Joseph’s eyes. It is he who is told that she is pregnant, and why, and although Mary is named, she doesn’t say anything and is portrayed as very much at the mercy of those around her, not only the murderous King Herod, but also her neighbours, and Joseph himself, who could have cast her aside (although he doesn’t) since she is clearly expecting another man’s child.

John’s Gospel tells a couple of stories in which Mary features – the wedding at Cana (John 2) and Mary’s presence at the foot of the cross when Jesus dies (John 19.25)

 

It is only Luke who gives anything like a rounded picture of Mary (Luke 1& 2)  He puts her centre stage in his account of the birth of Jesus, telling us of the angel Gabriel’s annunciation to her, her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, and two subsequent visits to the Temple – one to present Jesus there when he is 40 days old and another when he is twelve, when he goes missing and is found debating with the religious experts. Luke tells us she “ponders” the things that have happened in her heart, but she doesn’t fully seem to understand Jesus’ significance, as he also tells us, like Mark and Matthew, of the occasion when she and Jesus brothers try to stop his ministry (Luke 8.19). She does seem to get it in the end though, as Luke mentions her at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, as being present with the disciples as they wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.14) This mention of her is highly significant, because it clearly preserves a memory of her as part of the Christian community. It is doubtful that Luke would have known her personally, despite legends that said he did, since his Gospel wasn’t written until around the 80’s AD, by which time she would have been very old indeed, but he may have known people who had known her. Whatever the historical accuracy of his account of Jesus’ birth, (which don’t match with what Matthew tells us), he plainly knew that she had mattered and had been held in affection, as she has been to many generations that followed. In a way, the fact that there is so much we don’t know about her may have helped people to imagine her in any way they wanted. She could be many different things, enabling them to identify with her in many different ways; as a vulnerable young girl at the mercy of the suspicions of her society; as a brave revolutionary, who rejoices that her son will bring in a new world in which God “puts down the mighty from their seats and lifts up the lowly” (Luke 1); as a woman who bravely says “yes” to God’s call God’s plan; as a loving mother, who protects her son and brings him up to love others; as a struggling disciple, who sometimes gets it wrong, but learns and grows.

·         What does Mary mean to you and what shaped your image of her?

Through this Advent series we will be looking at a small selection of the many images of Mary which have been painted and sculpted through the ages.

The first eight days of the series take us backwards in time from the Day of Pentecost, through Mary’s involvement in the adult life of Jesus – events for which there would have been many eyewitnesses to pass on the stories among the early Christian community.  We then start at the beginning of Mary’s story, with the annunciation and birth of Jesus, stories which act as a “prelude” to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in which they appear, introducing their themes. We don’t know how historically accurate either account is – they don’t fit neatly together, so they can’t both be right, (and how many of us really know the details of our own births, let alone those of others we have only known in adulthood?) Both accounts, though, seem to preserve a story of a birth in Bethlehem in a time of political turmoil, of a young mother with a suggestion of scandal hanging over her, of poverty and displacement, and yet a sense that this birth would turn out to be of immense significance. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Worship podcast link and other news: Nov 21

 

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast       Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061


In the church building today
10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm Evensong


During the week
Wednesday@10.00 am Zoom Church (email for the link)
                                 5pm Children's Choir
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir


Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 
                           10.00-12 noon   Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building next Sunday - Nov 28

10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm Evensong


Christ the King

Manuscript illustration of Christ enthroned in glory, surrounded by symbols of the four Gospel writers.Today marks the end of the Church's year. The new year starts on Advent Sunday next week, as we begin to tell the cycle of stories of the life of Jesus, from his birth in Bethlehem through to his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. The cycle culminates today as we ponder what it means to call Christ "king", allowing him to influence and guide us in the way we live. It is a good day to think about power - it's use and misuse. We all have some sort of power, even if it is only exercised in the way we treat our friends, family and neighbours, the things we buy, and the way we vote. It's a good day to think, too, about who we allow to have power over us, who or what we allow to shape our values and set our direction in life. What place does our faith have in all of this, and what does the kingship of Christ look like?
Kevin Bright is our preacher today and will be helping us to explore these themes. 



ALL AGE IDEA

  • Make a crown out of whatever you have in the house. As you do so, think and talk about who has power to tell us what to do, and how we might have power over others.
  • If you were king or queen of the world, in charge of everything, what would you do?
Today's Gospel story.
STORY OF THE WEEK - Matthew 25.31-46
 
There’s a common theme in folktales of the king who goes “incognito” amongst his people, seeing how they might behave towards him when they don’t know he is a king. Jesus’ parable explores this idea. Those who truly recognise his kingship, his right to guide and shape their lives, will live in ways that line up with his message all the time.
Being part of the kingdom of God is not just (or mainly) about having a “ticket to heaven” when we die, but about living as members of his kingdom right now, caring for those who may have nothing to give in return, treating everyone as if they were royalty.
 
  • As you meet with people in the days ahead, think of this story, and ponder how it might make your interaction with them different if you knew that they were Jesus.
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS

"PICTURING MARY" ADVENT REFLECTIONS -
There will be a series of Advent reflections on 24 paintings of the Virgin Mary, who plays such a vital part in the Christmas story,  starting on Dec 1. These will be posted daily online on the church blog, with links on facebook and twitter, and a limited number will be available in printed form at the back of church, for those who can't access them online. 

RECRUITING We shall need a new Treasurer in a couple of months’ time, and a new churchwarden next year. Can you help? Role descriptions for these jobs are on the board at the back of church, and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you.
 
There will be a CHRISTMAS BAZAAR in Seal Village Hall Today from 10.30am-3pm, with all sorts of stalls selling unique Christmas gifts. Please come along to support local stall holders and meet others locally. Tombola and refreshments in aid of church funds.
 
HELPERS FOR SAT NOVEMBER 27th FOR PUTTING UP CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
We need helpers to put up Christmas lights around the village on Nov 27. Please  respond to Marionjgilchrist@gmail.com, if you can help.
 
ADVENT WINDOWS
Last year, saw our first and very successful Advent Window Trail which was organised by Barbara Martin. This year, we hope to have another 23 households, to decorate a window in their house throughout December. Between 1st and 23rd December, each day, a newly added decorated window will be added to the trail, ending with the Christmas Nativity Stable in Seal Church. So, by Christmas Eve, there are 24 beautiful windows and scenes to admire. This is a lovely activity for all, to follow the trial and admire the scenes.
If you would like to contribute to this fun project by decorating a window in your home, please contact Barbara on 10732 762255 or 07775 861562, or email barbara.s.martin@btconnect.com
 
LAVENDER FIELDS CARE HOME Christmas fair, Sat Nov 27 – Sadly this has been cancelled because of Covid risk.
 
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS PLANNING FOR 2022
KYN is planning to call a Zoom meeting sometime in December, for anybody who is interested in plans for the ROYAL CELEBRATION next year, and plans for the choice and care of our village Covid memorial tree. We will advise as soon as a day is set, but please let Marion know (Marionjgilchrist@gmail.com) if you would be interested in 'attending' this virtual meeting.

For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/
 

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Worship podcast Remembrance Sunday Nov 14

 

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast       Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061


In the church building today
9am       Act of Remembrance at Godden Green
10 am   Remembrance Sunday Service (not communion)
6.30pm Breathing Space meditative communion


During the week
Wednesday@10.30 am Lavender Fields Communion service (residents only at the moment)
                                 5pm Children's Choir
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir


Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 
                           10.00-12 noon   Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building next Sunday - Nov 21

10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm Evensong


Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance is a time loaded with emotion for many people. Today's sermon looks at the importance of giving time and space to our memories - whether first or second hand - and the way in which memory shapes us. 

A rainbow ending at Seal's War Memorial: Photo: Neil AllenMany thanks to Neil Allen, who took the photo on the right. What were the chances of being in the right place at the right time to catch the rainbow touching our War Memorial? But he did it, and this picture reminds us of the promise of hope even in the worst of storms. 
Thank you, Neil! 



ALL AGE IDEA

Watch the CBeebies video about Remembrance Day here. What do you think it might be telling us?
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04p4zsl/poppies

STORY OF THE WEEK - Luke 14.15-24
 
During this "Kingdom" Season we are thinking about what the Kingdom of God might be like - both now and in eternity. In this parable, Jesus imagines it as a party thrown by a rich man. He invites his friends, those who ought to want to come, but who, at the last minute send (rather weak!) excuses. 
Undeterred, the host brings in anyone he can find who might be glad to be there, a rag-tag bunch of people!
Jesus often criticised the religious and political elites of his time, saying that they had missed the point of what God was doing. This parable is partly a dig at them - they don't seem to want to join in with the "party" God is throwing, the new kingdom he is establishing. It is also a reminder to everyone else that God welcomes all - there is a place for all of us in his kingdom.
  • How do you feel about parties? Where would you be in this story?
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS
RECRUITING We shall need a new Treasurer in a couple of months’ time, and new churchwarden’s next year. Can you helpRole descriptions for these jobs are on the board at the back of church, and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you.
 
There will be a CHRISTMAS BAZAAR in Seal Village Hall on Sunday November 21st from 10.30am-3pm.
We need your help…Please sign the sheets at the back of church if you could make cakes for refreshments or help on the day.
 
HELPERS FOR SAT NOVEMBER 27th FOR PUTTING UP CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
We need helpers to put up Christmas lights around the village on Nov 27. Please  respond to Marionjgilchrist@gmail.com, if you can help.
 
ADVENT WINDOWS.
Last year, saw our first and very successful Advent Window Trail which was organised by Barbara Martin. This year, we hope to have another 23 households, to decorate a window in their house throughout December. Between 1st and 23rd December, each day, a newly added decorated window will be added to the trail, ending with the Christmas Nativity Stable in Seal Church. So, by Christmas Eve, there are 24 beauiful windows and scenes to admire. This is a lovely activity for all, to follow the trial and admire the scenes.
If you would like to contribute to this fun project by decorating a window in your home, please contact Barbara on 10732 762255 or 07775 861562, or email barbara.s.martin@btconnect.com
 
LAVENDER FIELDS CARE HOME Christmas fair, Sat Nov 27 from 2-4pm. THIS WILL BE AN OUTDOOR EVENT DUE TO COVID RESTRICTIONS. We used to have a thriving group of volunteers at Lavender Fields, who would befriend, play board games, help with activities, etc. Like most activities and organisations, this group needs a little re-boot.If there is anybody who could spend some time to assist on 27th, with setting up, holding a stall, clearing away, etc, please contact Diane of the Activities Team, on 01732 755630.

SEAL CHURCH WREATH MAKING WORKSHOPS - sadly cancelled owing to unavailability of materials.

For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/
 

Sunday, November 07, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast: Nov 7

 

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast        Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061


In the church building today
10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm Evensong (said)


During the week
Wednesday@10 am Zoom Church - email for the link.
                                 5pm Children's Choir
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir
Thursday                 10.55 Act of Remembrance at War memorial
                                  8 pm PCC  meeting in church


Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 
                           10.00-12 noon   Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building next Sunday - Nov 14
9 am Act of Remembrance at Godden Green
10 am   Remembrance Service
6.30pm  Breathing Space Meditative Communion


Third Sunday before Advent
Jess Heeb is preaching today. Her sermon looks at the story of Jonah, and thinks about the importance of second chances. 
The story of Jonah, which you can find in the Old Testament of the Bible, was never meant to be taken as a real event. It was a folk tale told to help people think. It was set at the time of the Assyrian Empire, which was very powerful and brutal – you can see some statues from Assyria in the British Museum in London. There's an imaginative walk across Nineveh - just like the one Jonah takes - here.
Assyria had oppressed Israel and killed many of its people, so we can understand why Jonah didn’t want to tell them of God’s love. They were the worst and cruellest enemies Israel had ever had. That’s why Jonah didn’t want God to love and forgive them. He would rather God had killed them all!
The story was probably written many hundreds of years after the Assyrians, though, when Israel was suffering under later foreign rulers. It was a reminder that all people are  
Jesus said that we should love our enemies and pray for people who persecute us. This can feel very difficult, and we should never feel that we can't be angry with, or about, those who have hurt us - sometimes we need to be angry so that things can change - but the Bible reminds us that God's love is greater than ours, and if we cannot love people, we can at least remember that all people are God’s children, and are loved by him.


(Picture: Jan van Breughel)


ALL AGE IDEA
Today's Old Testament Reading is from the story of Jonah.
You can download my retelling of the whole story here, with pictures to colour, or listen and watch by clicking on the video below.

  • Jonah didn't like the idea that God could love and forgive the people of Nineveh, who were brutal and wicked. What do you feel about the idea that God loves everyone, even the people who you find it hard to love?
The story of Jonah, retold by Anne Le Bas,

with artwork by Jim Padgett Wikimedia Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Book_of_Jonah_Chapter_1-6_(Bible_Illustrations_by_Sweet_Media).jpg
STORY OF THE WEEK - Isaiah 2.1-4
 
This season in the Church's year has become known as the Kingdom Season, uniting the feasts of All Saints and Souls, Remembrance and Christ the King as the liturgical cycle of readings comes to an end - the new Church year starts on Advent Sunday (Nov 28 this year). Our readings through November, therefore, will focus on the idea of the Kingdom of God.
 
This week, we read a famous passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. While the people of Judah were in exile in Babylon, their city of Jerusalem ruined and abandoned, Isaiah wrote of a time when God would establish a new kingdom, to which people from all around the world would want to come to learn of God. It would be a place of peace, when people would have no need of weapons. This passage has inspired peacemakers throughout the ages.
 
  • What do you think the perfect kingdom, the kingdom of God would look and feel like?
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS
REMEMBRANCE
We will be joined by Seal Cubs and Beavers for our 10 am Remembrance Sunday service next week, and will probably have other visitors. We will try to enable people to social distance, but if it is very important to you that you have plenty of space, please be aware that the church will be fuller than normal.

In addition to our main 10 am Remembrance Sunday service there will also be a 9am Act of Remembrance at Godden Green and a short Act of Remembrance on Thursday Nov 11, starting at about 10.55 at the War Memorial in the churchyard,
  
There will be a CHRISTMAS BAZAAR in Seal Village Hall on Sunday November 21st from 10.30am-3pm.
We need your help…
  • If you are a regular at a local business in Seal or Sevenoaks, could you ask them if they might donate a tombola prize? Please tell Marion Gilchrist who you will be asking, so the local shops aren’t inundated with requests!
  • Could you commit yourself to making some cakes for the refreshments or to help on the day? There is a list at the back of church to sign up for this or you can email marionjgilchrist@gmail.com
 
RECRUITING We shall need a new honorary Treasurer in a couple of months’ time, and new churchwarden’s next year. We also need a new PCC secretary (mainly to take minutes at PCC meetings) right now. Can you help. Role descriptions for these voluntary roles are on the board at the back of church, or you can download them here (ChurchwardenTreasurerPCC Secretary) and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you. 
 HELPERS FOR SAT NOVEMBER 27th FOR PUTTING UP CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Could you help with putting up some of the Christmas lights in the village on Nov 27? If so, please contact Marion Gilchrist. 

SEAL CHURCH WREATH MAKING WORKSHOPS
Thursday December 2nd - 2 sessions - 2-3.30pm and 7.30-9pm.
More information to follow. Call Maggie for further information on 01732 762840 or 07517 234557.


For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/

 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast link and other news: Oct 31 - All Saints and All Souls

 

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast        Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061


In the church building today
10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm  All Souls' service (Church open from 5.45pm for candle lighting)


During the week
Wednesday@10 am Good Book Club in the church hall
                                 5pm Children's Choir
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir
                         
Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 

                           10.00-12 noon   Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building next Sunday - Nov 7
10 am   Holy Communion
6.30pm  Evensong


All Saints & All Souls
Rev 21.1-6a John 11.32-44

This morning we celebrate All Saints Day (the actual Feast Day is Nov 1) and this evening we mark All Souls, with our annual service at which we commemorate those who have died. The Feast of All Saints has a long history. Dating back to the 4th century, it was originally held in mid-May, but  by the 9th century (in the western church at least) it found its current place at the beginning of November, falling roughly on what was one of the "cross-quarter days" of the calendar - the others are Candlemas Feb 2,  May Day and Lammas Day, Aug 1. Half-way between the Solstices and Equinoxes, these days mark the subtle shift in the seasons when we really start to notice that the year is turning. All Saints falls at the moment when autumn starts to turn to winter, when darkness really starts to take hold (N.B. The clocks went back last night!). It is often said that the Christian feast was simply superimposed on the pre-Christian celebration of Samhain, when it was thought that the barrier between the worlds of the living and the dead was especially thin but as Samhain wasn't celebrated in Southern Europe, where the pope who settled the date lived, this seems unlikely. It's more likely to be simply that at this time of year the sense of growing darkness was a natural time to remember those who had died, and celebrate those who had brought the light of God into that darkness. The popular narrative of Christians "stealing" pagan feasts is often far more complicated than it seems!
Today, the eve of the feasts of All Saints (or All Hallows, as it was once known) has become the big focus for many people. Hallowe'en - the eve of All Hallows, is now, apparently, second only to Christmas as a money spinner! Some Christians are wary of its association with ghosts and ghoulies, but there is an argument, which I think has some merit, that acknowledging the darkness around us is important. We shouldn't pretend that life is all sweetness and light, but should name and face our fears.  Hallowe'en, handled properly, can help us to do that, and help us to remember that Christ went into the darkness of death for us and is with us when we go into the dark too. 

  • What do you think about Hallowe'en?
  • How do you deal with your fears?
  • How do you cope with the growing darkness at this time of year - do you enjoy it or hate it?


ALL AGE IDEA
Go outside after dark (if you can get away from artificial light that is even better). Spend some time quietly listening and looking. What can you hear and see that you might not see in the daytime? Do you know any creatures who come out only at night? Thank God for the darkness, as well as for the light.

Here is a sheet of activities that you might like to try, focussing both on Hallowe'en and All Saints.

 

This week's Gospel story.
STORY OF THE WEEK - 1 Sam 8
 
This season in the Church's year has become known as the Kingdom Season, uniting the feasts of All Saints and Souls, Remembrance and Christ the King as the liturgical cycle of readings comes to an end - the new Church year starts on Advent Sunday (Nov 28 this year). Our readings through November, therefore, will focus on the idea of the Kingdom of God.

We begin with a story from Samuel 1. Israel, unlike the nations around it, has never been ruled by kings, but has instead been led by judges. God should be the only king they need. But eventually they felt that they needed to have a king - it was a matter of pride. This was how they thought "proper" nations were ruled. Samuel tries to convince them that this isn't a good idea, but they are determined. The king God chooses for them is Saul, however, who we first meet when he is out looking for his father's donkey. If he can't keep track of donkeys, we are meant to realise, then how will he lead a nation?
  • What do you think are the pros and cons of monarchy? Do you think Samuel (and God!)  have a point in trying to discourage it?
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS
ALL SOULS SERVICE There will be a quiet service of hymns, readings and reflection tonight at 6.30pm to remember those we love who have died. If you would like us to name someone in the prayers please add them in CAPITAL LETTERS to the list on the clipboard at the back of church. The church will be open from 5.45 pm if anyone would like to light a candle and spend time in quiet reflection before the service, or prefers not to stay for it.
 
RECRUITING We shall need a new honorary Treasurer in a couple of months’ time, and new churchwarden’s next year. We also need a new PCC secretary (mainly to take minutes at PCC meetings) right now. Can you help. Role descriptions for these voluntary roles are on the board at the back of church, or you can download them here (ChurchwardenTreasurerPCC Secretary) and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you. 
 
CHURCH HEATING Apologies that the church is chilly because of delays to the fitting of the new boiler and on fuel deliveries. We hope the heating will be able to be switched on in a few weeks’ time.
 
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS MEETING
Seal Village Hall. Sat Nov 6th, 10.45-12 noon
Please join us for a cuppa, to chat about what goes on now in our village, and what you’d like to see in the future, along with how we might achieve this.
 
There will be a CHRISTMAS BAZAAR in Seal Village Hall on Sunday November 21st from 10.30am-3pm.
We need your help…
  • If you are a regular at a local business in Seal or Sevenoaks, could you ask them if they might donate a tombola prize? Please tell Marion Gilchrist who you will be asking, so the local shops aren’t inundated with requests!
  • Could you commit yourself to making some cakes for the refreshments or to help on the day? There is a list at the back of church to sign up for this or you can email marionjgilchrist@gmail.com
HELPERS FOR SAT NOVEMBER 27th FOR PUTTING UP CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Could you help with putting up some of the Christmas lights in the village on Nov 27? If so, please contact Marion Gilchrist. 

SEAL CHURCH WREATH MAKING WORKSHOPS
Thursday December 2nd - 2 sessions - 2-3.30pm and 7.30-9pm.
More information to follow. Call Maggie for further information on 01732 762840 or 07517 234557.


For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/