Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news. Jan 31


Dear friends

The links to our audio podcasts, Zoom sessions etc are below, as usual. If you, or someone you know is in need of any kind, please let us know and we will do our best to help.  
Stay at home and stay safe!

Best wishes
Revd Canon Anne Le Bas

Jan 31 Candlemas - The feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

In Church
No services in church until further notice.

On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee  - Sunday morning chat Time: Jan 31, 2021 11:15 AM 

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.


Snowdrops in the vicarage gardenToday we celebrate the feast of Candlemas, otherwise known as the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. The official feast day is Feb 2, but we keep it on the nearest Sunday. It marks the end of the Christmas and Epiphany season, so if you haven’t taken all your Christmas decorations down, like us, now is the time to do so! I explain more about this feast in today’s podcast services.
Candlemas is associated with all sorts of folk traditions. It is the time when snowdrops, the harbingers of spring, start to flower, so one of their other names is Candlemas Bells. We have sheets of them in the vicarage. It’s not quite peak snowdrop yet, but there are plenty there already, and they are always an encouraging sign that spring is on the way. The weather at Candlemas was supposed to give an indication of how long winter would last. If it was sunny and crisp, that was a sign that there would be six more weeks of winter, but a dull, rainy day was thought to mean that spring was much closer. That’s why German tradition said that if a badger came out of its burrow on this day and saw his shadow, it wasn’t good news. The tradition was taken across to the USA by German immigrants, where groundhogs were more common than badgers, and Groundhog Day was born.
In the church, the feast celebrates the moment when Jesus was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth, so that Mary and Joseph could make the sacrifice prescribed for a first born son. This should have been a lamb, according to the book of Exodus, but there was a provision for those who couldn’t afford it to offer two pigeons or doves instead. The fact that Luke chapter 2 tells us that this is what Mary and Joseph brought, tells us that they were comparatively poor. They needed to go for the “budget option”.
They were spotted in the Temple by Simeon and Anna, elderly people who had spent many years longing and looking for the coming of the Messiah, who people believed would usher in God’s new kingdom. Simeon had been promised that he would not die before seeing the Messiah. There’s no clue about how they recognised Jesus, other than that the Holy Spirit prompted them. There was nothing on the face of it to single this one family out from all the others who may have been there. Simeon and Anna were overjoyed to greet him, though. Simeon took him in his arms and uttered the prayer which has now become a familiar part of our Evening prayers, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”. I talk more about this prayer below. Anna, a prophet, began to tell those around about the child and his mission.
But where do the candles come in to Candlemas? The association with light is found in Simeon’s prayer, which says that Jesus is “the light to lighten the Gentiles”. For this reason, in pre-Reformation churches it became a time when candles were brought to church to be blessed, and for candles to be donated to the church to burn before the shrines.
In our modern liturgies the Candlemas service finishes with responses which remind us that, as the season of Christmastide ends, we turn towards Lent, Holy Week and Easter. We blow out the candles we have lit, as a reminder that we are called to carry the light of Christ in our own lives, rather than looking outward for it.

  • Have you started to notice signs of spring coming? How do you feel about this time of year?


All Age Ideas
Go for a walk and find as many signs of spring as you can. 
Candlemas is a great time to celebrate older people, like Simeon and Anna. You could talk to someone much older than you and ask them what it was like when they were children.

There is a video of the story of Simeon and Anna, which I made for Seal school here

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. 

Marion Gilchrist has sent along a Know your  Neighbours update. Here's an extract. Marion says:
"Please contact Luci Napleton, if you would like to join in with her Tuesday morning zoom Dance For Fun sessions. For more information, please email Luci 

We are now ready to begin our fun quiz evenings. These will take place via Zoom, alternate Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm, starting this Wednesday, February 3rd. I have a list of people who have already expressed an interest in taking part, and they will all receive their invitations in advance. If you haven’t put your name forward yet, but would like to join in, please contact Frances direct, as she will be sending out the invitations:-
The quizzes will be just for fun, and you will mark your own papers, so no pressure at all. Just a pleasant way to ‘meet ‘with others and have some fun.

Chris Rampton is still making beautiful Valentine cards and Easter cards, at a cost of just £1,  and Frances Fish has joined with Chris to sell some of her Easter cards in aid of Seal Church as well. 
Frances is also making some super little Easter Chicks, each one bearing a little Lindt chocolate egg. These cost £1.50 each, with £1 from each, going to Church funds. Please email me if you would like to see photographs of the cards and chicks.

Our IT guru, Derek, has managed to cleanse and prepare another two laptops for the use of Seal School children, and we believe there are another couple on their way. If you have a laptop or tablet which you no longer use, and are happy to donate, please get in touch and we will see if they can be used. 

Our next 100 Club draw will take place on Friday during the Friday Group Zoom. If you would like to join in with these sessions, where people get together each week for a chat, share their coffee time, and enjoy a laugh together. Also, if you would like to join the 100 Club, please contact me for further details. We are currently running on 59 or 60 numbers, which mean 2 monthly prizes of approximately £100 and £50 for the cost of £5 per month per number. The rest of the money goes to Seal Village Fund for community projects." Marion’s email address is I you'd like to be on the Know Your neighbours email list, or you can catch up with KYN news on the KYN blog or Facebook page.

Jesus good above all other

Percy DearmerToday’s hymn for the week is one which may be familiar to some from school days. It was written by Percy Dearmer, 1867–1936 a very important figure in the history of church music. Together with Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw, he was responsible for collecting and promoting traditional music and popularising it in hymn tunes, many of which made their first appearance in the English Hymnal, of which he was an editor.  His vision owed much to the Arts and Crafts movement, giving dignity and worth to the work and skill of ordinary people. 
Dearmer was ordained in Rochester Cathedral in 1892, and served in a number of parishes in London and the South East, often combining social action with his love of beauty and ritual in worship. At the end of his life, in the 1930s, as a Canon of Westminster Abbey, he ran a soup kitchen for the unemployed. He was married twice, his first wife dying of typhus in Serbia in 1915 while serving as a paramedic - Percy acted as a chaplain. One of his sons was also killed in Gallipoli in 1915 – a tragic year for Dearmer.  Another son, from his second marriage, would die in 1943 while serving in the RAF. His oldest son, Geoffrey Dearmer, died in 1996 at the age of 103 and was a noted war poet – he had  also fought at Gallipoli. 

The hymn was written for children, but in its simplicity, communicates to all ages. It emphasizes that the infant Christ does not stay forever a baby in a manger, but grows up to share the whole of human life, its sorrows and dangers as well as its joys, and invites us to travel on through out own lives “with thee beside us”. 

The tune is a very ancient one, dating back at least as far as 1410, but possibly being even older that that. It is the tune of a Latin carol “Quem Pastores Laudavere” (Shepherds sang their praises o’er him), which is traditionally thought to have been sung by four small groups of boy trebles, (or individual singers) taking a line each. Dearmer’s words helped to popularise the tune again and bring it to a wide audience. 
1 Jesus, good above all other,
gentle child of gentle mother,
in a stable born our brother,
give us grace to persevere.

2 Jesus, cradled in a manger,
for us facing every danger,
living as a homeless stranger,
make we thee our King most dear.

3 Jesus, for thy people dying,
risen Master, death defying,
Lord in heaven, thy grace supplying,
keep us to thy presence near.

4 Jesus, who our sorrows bearest,
all our thoughts and hopes thou sharest,
thou to us the truth declarest;
help us all thy truth to hear.

5 Lord, in all our doings guide us;
pride and hate shall ne'er divide us;
we'll go on with thee beside us,
and with joy we'll persevere.

Prayer of the week

There could only really be one choice for this week’s Prayer of the Week. The prayer known as the “Nunc Dimittis” (Now you dismiss) from its original Latin opening words, is the prayer of Simeon when he takes the infant Jesus in his arms. Simeon and Anna by Arendt de GuilderHe had been promised by God that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, so now he prays “Lord, now you let your servant go in peace…” or in the traditional version said or sung at every service of Evening Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer “Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace…” Simeon has found what he needs to enable him to die in peace. He knew that God had fulfilled his promise, and that this child would light up the whole world.
The Nunc Dimittis was used as a part of night prayer from early times, and is also sometimes used at funerals. It is a short prayer but full of joy and trust. It has been set to music many times, because of its use in the liturgy, and whichever setting I choose to share, there will be many people, especially choristers, who will wish I had chosen another which is their particular favourite! The one I have chosen, below, by Charles Villiers Stanford, is one we have often sung in Seal Church choir. 
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace : according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen : thy salvation;
Which thou hast prepared :
before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles :
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son :
and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be :
world without end. Amen.
  • Are there things you feel you need to do or to see in order to “depart in peace” ? What stops you doing them now?
And Finally...
This is the weekend of the Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the RSPB. You can find out more here
If you have a bird feeder you may find, as I do, that you have some visitors who have fur rather than feathers. Squirrels can be a real problem. One Canadian man decided last year that he needed to try to put a few more challenges in their way…

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