Sunday, November 01, 2020

Sunday podcast links and other news. Nov 1


Dear friends

The links to our worship this week, and other news and resources for reflection are below. Please note that there won't be any Story Church or Evensong in church today because of the All Soul's memorial afternoon.

As you will be aware, a new national lockdown was announced last night, from Nov 5 to Dec 2 . No public worship will be allowed in churches during this time, so our Sunday services in church will be cancelled, including the Remembrance Services planned to take place in the churchyard and at Godden Green next week, Private prayer in church will be allowed,  unlike the last lockdown, so Seal Church will be open as normal during the day. Funerals, and filming in the church are also still allowed this time round.

As in the spring lockdown, there will be plenty of opportunities online and by phone to stay connected and join in with worship. Podcasts, and this weekly email, will continue, as will our various gatherings for worship and chit-chat on Zoom - you can dial in by phone to these if you don't "do" the internet.


Details of what’s available from Seal can be found in our blog – link above – and our weekly email – sign up on the form on the website, or send me an email and I will add you to it. I can post this newsletter to anyone who can’t access it otherwise, and I put a copy of it on the noticeboard in church.


Those who can't access the internet can listen to a weekly podcast (and a special podcast for All Souls from Monday of this week) by dialing 01732 928061, so do pass this number on to anyone you think might appreciate it.You might also like to check out the Church of England’s “Daily Hope” line on 0800 804 8044.  Daily Hope offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. There are more details overleaf.There are also services and resources from the Church of England nationally. Check out the C of E website here

Throughout this time, there has been work going on behind the scenes at Seal Church to support people who are vulnerable or struggling, and this will continue too. If you need a chat, or practical help, please get in contact and we will do what we can to respond. 

We can do this (again!), with the help of God, and one another!


Best wishes
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas

Nov 1 All Saints

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

We are also producing a video recording of the first part of the morning service in church - providing the technology behaves! This should be available on the church blog and through Facebook and Twitter, at some point on Sunday afternoon or evening.

In Church
Please note – face coverings must be worn in church unless you are medically exempt.
10 am              Holy Communion

3-5pm              All Souls' memorial afternoon (No Story Church or Evensong)
Wednesday    9.15 am           Morning Prayer
Friday             10.30 am         Friday Group on Zoom and in person- ask for details
Sunday Nov 8 NO PUBLIC WORSHIP until Dec 2

On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee: Nov 1, 2020 11:15 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 810 1564 4845
Passcode: 391339

If you aren’t able to use the internet, you can also join the meeting by phoning 01314 601196 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  Wed 5-5.30pm  Fun singing with Anne Le Bas
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact for the link.

The Feast of All Saints is one of the most ancient in the Church. It was originally celebrated on the Tuesday after the Second Sunday of Easter, linking it to the Resurrection, and is still commemorated then in the Eastern Orthodox church. By 800 AD, though, the Western Church had moved it to November 1, for reasons that are disputed, and will probably never be firmly established. It might be, though, that it was a recognition of the significance of this time of year in existing European tradition, especially in Northern Europe. In a climate like ours, the beginning of November is the moment when we really can’t deny that winter is on the way. The nights are drawing in and the weather is deteriorating (I write this with the rain pelting down outside!). The trees are losing their leaves and frost is around the corner, if it hasn’t already arrived. It’s no accident that All Saints, and its companion feast of All Souls, which is a time to remember those we love who have died, fall on one of the ancient “cross-quarter days”, half way between the Autumn Equinox in late Sept and the Winter Solstice in late Dec. Like the other “cross-quarter” days (Feb 1,May 1 and Aug 1) these are often the moment when we really start to notice the change in the seasons. There seem to have been pre-Christian celebrations at this time, and it was natural to find Christian stories to attach to them when people converted.
This time of year, with its growing darkness, is a time when our thoughts almost inevitably turn to endings – the end of the day, the year and of life itself. It’s a “thin time”, a time of change, when we know we are crossing a boundary from the abundance of Autumn to the hardships of winter. It is a natural time, then, to think about the boundary between earth and heaven, of those who have gone before us.
All Saints (Nov 1) originally commemorated the saints who had no special feast day (the calendar soon became so crowded with saints’ days that there wasn’t room for them!) or whose names and stories were unknown. All Souls’ (Nov 2) was a day to pray for those who had died. We often celebrate them both on the nearest Sunday, and usually have a very well-attended service in the evening at which the names of those we love who have died are read out.
This year, it isn’t possible to hold that service – there would be more people than we can fit in, socially distanced – which is why we are inviting people to drop in for a moment of quiet prayer in the afternoon between 3 and 5pm to light a candle and add the name of their loved ones to our memorial board. Kevin and I are then going to record a service, without a congregation, which will be available to watch or listen to on Monday from 6pm. We hope that it will bring some comfort to those who have been bereaved, especially in this year, when so many haven’t been able to have the funerals they would have wanted for those they are grieving.
The message of All Saints and All Souls is that God is with us in death as in life, and that those who have died are safe in the hands of the one who raised Jesus from death, and holds both the living and departed in one embrace.

All Age ideas

All Saints' day is a good day to think about the people who have helped and guided us, living or dead. You could draw pictures of them. You could send a letter or message of thanks to those who are important to you. 

You could decorate a jam jar and put a tealight (perhaps a battery one, for safety) in it, and think about the way we can all shine "as lights in the world".

If you have a baptismal candle, why not light it and talk about the ways in which we can all shine?

Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:
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. 
For all the saints

For all the saints who from their labours rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesu, be for ever blest:
Alleluia, alleluia!

Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might;
thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou in the darkness still their one true light:
Alleluia, alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine.
we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine:
Alleluia, alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce the warfare long
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, alleluia!
But lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day:
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of Glory passes on his way!
Alleluia, alleluia!

It’s not possible to contemplate All Saints Day without William Walsham How’s stirring hymn, set to music in 1906 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, although it was originally sung to a much drearier tune called Sarum.

It’s an evocation of a heavenly crowd praising God, made up of those who had faithfully served God. Looking at them, How’s response is that “we feebly struggle, they in glory shine”, which sums up well what most of us feel most of the time, aware of what we fail to do far more than what we accomplish. But How continues “yet all are one in thee, for all are thine”. God’s love doesn’t depend on our achievements. It’s the fruit of his love.
It's a great hymn for the moments when we need to hear “the distant triumph song” so that “hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.” The hymn was written as a processional hymn, which is why it has an enormous number of verses.  I have seen eleven in some hymn books!  We usually don’t sing them all though!
William Walsham How (1823-1897) was Bishop of Wakefield, but before that Suffragan Bishop of Bedford, which was part of the Diocese of London at the time. He was tireless in his efforts to alleviate poverty, and instrumental in founding orders of Deaconesses, who worked with women in the slums of London. He was very fond of children, and was known as the “children’s bishop” . He was also very fond of travelling on public transport, rather than being driven around, and so was also called by some the “omnibus bishop”.
It's fitting that this man, who evidently had a knack for getting along with all sorts of people, should have written a hymn which is so popular.
Prayer of the week
Abide with us, O Lord, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent;
abide with us, and with thy whole Church.
Abide with us
in the evening of the day,
in the evening of life,
in the evening of the world.
Abide with us and with all thy faithful ones, O Lord, in time and eternity.
This beautiful prayer is lovely to pray at the end of the day, but, also helps us to think about the other endings we face – the evening of our lives, the evening of the world.
The phrase which is threaded through it “Abide with us” will probably remind us of Henry Lyte’s famous hymn “Abide with me”, but it comes originally from the story of the road to Emmaus (Luke 24.13). Jesus, on the day of his Resurrection, appears to two disciples who are trudging disconsolately home from Jerusalem, unable to cope with the events they have witnessed there in the previous few days. A stranger, who they don’t recognise as Jesus, joins them on the road, and explains to them that this is how things had to be. That Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are part of God’s plan. When they get to their home at Emmaus, they invite him in to eat with them, saying “Abide with us, for it is almost evening and the day is nearly over.” It is only as he breaks bread that they realise who he is.
  • How do you feel as the evening falls? Does it feel like an ending, or a welcome rest? How might it change it if you reminded yourself that God “abided with you” in it?
  • How do you feel about the other “ending” we all face, our deaths, and the deaths of those we love? Is that something that scares you, or that you are at peace with?


 Thank you to all who helped with the churchyard tidy up yesterday. Rain stopped play mid-morning, but we achieved quite a bit!, and I found this chap - I think a juvenile palmate newt - while removing weeds from the War Memorial. 

ALL SOULS’ Memorial afternoon 
Today from 3 – 5pm
A time to remember those dear to you who have died.
Come to church at any time between 3 and 5pm 
You will be able to light a candle in memory of a loved one and add their names to a memorial board and spend some time in private prayer or reflection in church.
The names on the board will be included in an Online All Souls’ service available to watch from 6pm on Nov 2 on the church website . We are sorry that we can’t hold our usual All Soul’s service in church because of the limitations on numbers in church under Covid restrictions.
If you can’t come to church in person, you can also send names to be included in the online service to me by post or email by Oct 30. I will add them to the board. There will be no 4pm Story Church or 6.30pm Evensong in church today.
REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY Nov 8  (Public worship is cancelled, but there will be an online service to join in with.) 

And finally...
I know that Jesus is the Way, and we are told to follow him, but I had no idea his direction-giving would be quite so specific!

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