Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast links and other news Feb 28

Feb 28th     Lent 2

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

In Church
No services in church until March 14 (See below)


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

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat11:15 AM 


Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children's Choir - Wednesday 5pm Fun songs, led by Anne Le Bas and Rosemary Pattullo

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


ZOOM LENT GROUPS email for the links
You are welcome to join either group, and to swap between them if you need to. You will also be able to catch up with recorded presentations of the same material from Tuesday morning. 

Monday March 1 Morning 11 am


Monday March 1  Evening  7.30 pm



Lent 2
Today’s readings call us to think about who we are, and whose we are. Abram and Sarai have their names changed to Abraham and Sarah by God, and Peter, who has just been given that nickname (Rock, in Greek) by Jesus doesn’t quite live up to his new identity…

This painting, by James Tissot, captures the moment when Peter argues with Jesus, telling him that God surely wouldn’t let him be crucified if he is God’s Messiah. “Get behind me, Satan!” is Jesus answer. “Satan” literally meant “the accuser” – like the prosecuting counsel in a trial – whose job it was to try to undermine and find fault. Peter’s belief that God wouldn’t let his Messiah suffer is going to cause problems for him, and for those who look to him for that “rock-like” lead, when they have to watch Jesus die on the cross. 


ALL AGE IDEAS
Today's stories, especially the Old Testament story, tell us about names and why they matter.

  • What are your names and how do you feel about them? Make a name sign by drawing your name in big letters, and decorating the letters with things about you – what you are like, what you like to do, your favourite things, your family. 
  • Here is the story of Abram and Sarai, and their name change, told by children, with a little help from some older folk!
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


Resuming worship in church – March 14
With the Bishop’s permission, we suspended public worship in the church building in January, as Covid case numbers were so high. As they are now falling in this area, and many of the older and more vulnerable members of the congregation have now received their first dose of the vaccine, we will be resuming worship in church from March 14, with a 10am Holy Communion and 6.30pm said Evensong. I have decided to wait to restart the 4pm Story/Outdoor church until after Easter, as numbers were very low when we last met, and I would like to see what might be possible by then in the way of worship, as the situation is rapidly evolving. Although March 14 will be Mothering Sunday, it obviously won’t be possible to do our “normal” Mothering Sunday service, as numbers will still be very restricted, and we need to avoid multiple people handling things like posies, or getting too close to each other. The services that day, will therefore be low key, but I hope will provide time for people to give thanks for all who have "mothered" them, whoever that might be.
 
LENT COURSE – “What do you think?” Our Lent course, looking at questions Jesus asked people,  started well last week, but there is still time to join in. You are welcome to join the Monday Zoom sessions – links are above, or email me so I can put you on the list to receive them by email. Alternatively you can catch up by watching the slide presentations online. Last Monday’s session is on the website, or you can find it here. https://www.wevideo.com/view/2056657523 
 
This week’s question is “Do you know what I have done to you?” (John 12) the question Jesus asked his disciples after he has washed their feet. 

 
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Some community news from Marion - email marionjgilchrist@gmail.com to be added to her newsletter email list.

This coming Friday, sees the third of our fun quizzes, organised by Frances and Annie Fish. The first two have proved great fun, and we look forward to being joined by more of you, should you wish. Please contact Frances by emailing her -  frances88@hotmail.co.uk

Chris and Rosemary still have some beautiful Mothers' Day and Easter cards and gifts, and Frances is still making her Easter chicks bearing small Easter eggs. For Frances' chicks, please email me, and for the cards and gifts, please email
c_rampton@hotmail.co
rsapattullo@gmail.com

The AGM for both Know Your Neighbours and the Seal Village Fund, will be held by Zoom on the morning of Friday March 12th at 11.15am. We will be discussing the purchase of an item or items, with which to enhance our village, and commemorate the community's (inevitable) recovery from  this horrendous pandemic. Please join us by emailing me at this address, to receive your Zoom invitation. If you cannot 'attend', but have ideas, please send them to me by email, and I will make sure they reach the agenda.

The Parish Council Annual Assembly, will also be held by Zoom. This will take place on May 5th at 7.30pm. To join the throng, please email the Parish Clerk, Clare Boland to receive your Zoom invitation 
sealparishc@outlook.com

2021, as we know, is a Census Year. For full information on how to report your details, please go to http://www.census.gov.uk
This is apparently, very easy to use.

You still have time to sponsor Annie Fish for her memory walk, in aid of Alzheimer's Disease. Just go to www.justgiving.com/mw565979
 
HYMN OF THE WEEK  
I cannot tell
 
We sang this hymn together last week at our Choir Zoom, and enjoyed it so much that I thought I should choose it for the Hymn of the Week this week.
 
It was written by Baptist preacher and author, William Young Fullerton (1857-1932). He was born in Belfast, into a Presbyterian family, but later became a Baptist mainly due to the influence of renowned Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who became a close friend. Fullerton was pastor of a Baptist church in Leicester but also travelled widely, especially in China, and wrote biographies of a number of prominent Evangelical theologians and preachers, including Spurgeon. He was known as a kindly man, which can perhaps be seen in his photograph.
 
"I cannot tell" has always been sung, it would seem, to the Londonderry Air, often better known as the tune for the early twentieth century song Danny Boy. The Londonderry Air was collected, not surprisingly in Londonderry, by the Northern Irish folk song collector Jane Ross. There’s some dispute about how much she altered what she heard but that is the nature of folk music! It has a very large range for a hymn, over an octave and a half, which makes it quite a challenge – some of the congregation can’t get the low notes each verse begins with, and a great many of them can’t get the high note it rises to near the end! (That shouldn’t stop us all trying, though, and I am sure that God can adjust the tuning as it ascends to the heavenly realms.)  It is one of those hymns you just have to throw yourself into…
 
Thy hymn takes us through the whole of the Christian story - Fullerton may have said that "I cannot tell", but he has a pretty good attempt at trying to! It takes us from Jesus birth in Bethlehem, through his ministry, death and resurrection, and looks forward to his second coming, when “myriad, myriad human voices” will sing. All of creation – earthly and heavenly – will join in. That’s a vision that might help us to cope with this time when we can’t sing together in person at all. (In the meantime, if you enjoy singing and want to join in with our Zoom choir – which sings five or six hymns each Wednesday evening – do email Philip for the zoom code and come and join us!)
 
The video below doesn't include all the verses, but I have put them here, so you can read them, as they are all great!
 
I cannot tell why he, whom angels worship,
Should set his love upon the sons of men,
Or why, as Shepherd, he should seek the wanderers,
To bring them back, they know not how or when.
But this I know, that he was born of Mary
When Bethl’em’s manger was his only home,
And that he lived at Nazareth and laboured,
And so the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is come.
 
I cannot tell how silently he suffered,
As with his peace he graced this place of tears,
Or how his heart upon the cross was broken,
The crown of pain to three and thirty years.
But this I know, he heals the broken-hearted
And stays our sin and calms our lurking fear
And lifts the burden from the heavy laden;
For still the Saviour, Saviour of the world is here.
 
I cannot tell how he will win the nations,
How he will claim his earthly heritage,
How satisfy the needs and aspirations
Of east and west, of sinner and of sage.
But this I know, all flesh shall see his glory,
And he shall reap the harvest he has sown,
And some glad day his sun will shine in splendour
When he the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is known.
 
I cannot tell how all the lands shall worship,
When at his bidding every storm is stilled,
Or who can say how great the jubilation
When every heart with love and joy is filled.
But this I know, the skies will thrill with rapture,
And myriad myriad human voices sing,
And earth to heav’n, and heav’n to earth, will answer,
‘At last the Saviour, Saviour of the world, is King!’
 

 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK

BRETON FISHERMAN’S PRAYER
 
Dear God, be good to me; the sea is so wide and my boat is so small.
 
The origins of this tiny prayer are obscure. Even the all-knowing Google came up with thin pickings about it. Whether it actually came from Brittany, or was ever uttered by a fisherman is unclear. Breton fisherman's prayer - plaque from the Oval OfficeA plaque with part of it on was given to US President J.F. Kennedy by Admiral Hyman Rickover, who apparently used to present it to new submarine captains. President Kennedy kept it on his desk in the Oval Office and referred to it in his dedication of the East Coast Memorial to the Missing at Sea on May 23 1963.  given to new submarine captains by Admiral Hyman Rickover who gave this plaque to the President.

 
However vague our knowledge about it, though, the sentiments are clear, and powerful. We don’t have to be in a literal small boat on a literal vast expanse of water to know what it feels like to be all at sea, out of our depth. Life can be overwhelming, trouble on trouble, with no end in sight. Even when the “overwhelm” seems good – lots of opportunities and choices – it can still feel like we might drown in it.
 
The prayer reminds us that it is ok to feel like this – our boats are small and the sea is big – but we are held in God’s hands, which are infinite. The oceans which swamp us are no bigger than a raindrop to him.
 
The prayer was evidently an influence on the 20th Century poet Robert Armstrong , who used it as the first line of his poem of the same name.


Robert Armstrong
 
Prayer of the Breton FishermanRembrandt. Storm on the Sea of Galilee
This boat of mine, oh Lord, is how so small;
This sail, oh master, scarce your winds can hold.
Weak are my arms to trim, to tack, to haul
Before grim waves that bludgeon, then to enfold.
These eyes of mine, oh Lord, cannot discern
Cliff, dune or harbour over high flung seas;
The angered skies deny my sure return
To cottage waiting by the sea-girt leas.
Your mercy, Lord, is kind and how so great,
To my inconsequence made manifest;
So for your servant may your winds abate;
Send home his boat to safe and certain rest.
As small my soul before the raging tide;
Your mercy, as your ocean, Lord, is wide.
 
AND FINALLY...
I know we probably all need some dancing nuns right now,
so here they are.

https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2021/0222/1198668-nuns-jerusalema-video/
And here is the story behind the song.


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Lent Session 1: What are you looking for?

 Here is our first Lent session. It contains the same material we covered in our Zoom session on Monday.

We're looking at questions Jesus asked of people who came to him. The first is from John 1.35-41. What are you looking for?

You can use it on your own, or with friends. 

If you would like to join next week's Zoom sessions (Mondays at 11 am or 7.30pm) email me on sealpandp@gmail.com and I will send you the link. 




Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast links and other news from Seal Church

 

Feb 21st     Lent 1

Online
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 sealpandp@gmail.com for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat 11.15am

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
Zoom Children’s Choir Wednesday 5pm
 
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.


ZOOM LENT GROUPS Mondays 11am and 7.30pm
You are welcome to join either group, and to swap between them if you need to. You will also be able to catch up with recorded presentations of the same material from Tuesday morning. 
Email sealpandp@gmail.com for the links. 



Lent 1
 
Kevin is preaching on our podcast today, and at the time of writing this, I don’t know what his sermon will be about (though I can make a reasonably confident prediction that it will touch on the Gospel reading about  Jesus time in the wilderness!). One of my favourite depictions of this story is that by Ivan Kramskoy, (right) which catches the solitude and desolation of this time of waiting in the wilderness. This is a Christ who is prepared to share the helplessness every human being must face, and find God's angels ministering to him within this time of inner struggle.
The Old Testament reading is the end of the story of Noah, where God sets his rainbow in the sky as a promise that he will not flood the earth again. Both stories remind us that God is faithful in times of trouble.

 

In this video Rev Dr Elio Capra, a lecturer at Yarra Theological College in Melbourne,  explores the eight pictures in the series "Christ in the Wilderness" by Stanley Spencer. Highly recommended!
ALL AGE IDEAS
 
  • Lent began last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday.  People often mark Lent either by giving something up, or by doing something special to help them deepen their relationship with God and their service of others.
  • Here are 40 ideas for nature activities during Lent 
  • There are also some great suggestions from Together at Home. One sheet has 40 activities you might like to do, the other has 40 ideas for looking after yourself - we can't care for and love others if we don't also love and care for ourselves. We are God's precious creation too. You can either work through the ideas on the sheet, or you could cut them out, put them in a jar and pull out one each day at random. 
  • Click on the picture below to go to the website where you can download these resources, and more. 
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


LENT COURSE – “What do you think?”
"What do you think?" asked Jesus of the people who came to him (Matthew 18.12). When Jesus spoke to people he often asked them questions, which made them think about themselves, about him and about God. We'll be exploring some of those questions in our Lent Course this year. As we explore them, I hope they will help us to take stock of ourselves, especially after this very difficult year. 

Our Lent course starts TOMORROW - Monday 22nd Feb. Everyone is welcome - the Zoom links are above if you want to join in the Zoom groups on Monday mornings at 11 am or evenings at 7.30pm. Each session will explore one question Jesus asks through a mixture of discussion as a whole group and in breakout rooms, input from me and prayerful reflection. It will be very relaxed and informal, and you don't need to know anything to join in. 

Session 1: What are you looking for? John 1.38
Session 2: Do you know what I have done to you? John 12.12
Session 3: Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat? John 6.5
Session 4: Who do you say that I am? Matthew 16.16

A video presentation based on the same material will be released each Tuesday following the session - links will be on the website -  so you can watch that and reflect in your own time or with a friend or two, if you prefer. 

There will also be printed versions of each session available to view or download from the website.

I will include the links for the Zoom sessions in these weekly newsletters each Sunday, but it would help me if you could email me on sealpandp@gmail.com to let me know if you plan to join in so that I know roughly how many to expect – I will then also send you an email with the link in it on Mondays.

 
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Some community news from Marion - email marionjgilchrist@gmail.com to be added to her newsletter email list.

This week saw the second fun quiz, which was organised by Frances and Annie Fish. There were some different faces on our screens this week, and, again, there has been great feedback. This is a great way to connect with friends and people you don't yet know, and have a little fun at the same time. Please, do feel free to join in with the next one on Friday March 5th at 7.30pm, by contacting Frances  for your Zoom invitation. Thank you to Frances and Annie for putting these Zoom events together.
frances88@hotmail.co.uk

The Seal Village Hall Management Committee held their AGM on Wednesday evening by Zoom. A new committee has been formed, and we look forward to the time we can all book and go back to holding or joining in with,  community events in our hall again.

Chris and Rosemary still have a selection of beautiful Easter cards, Mothers' Day cards, and gifts, with funds going to Seal St Peter and St Paul Church.Please contact them for photos and more information.
c_rampton@hotmail.com
rsapattullo@gmail.com

Derek Ednie is still working away on our unused laptops, to prepare them for students at Seal Primary School. This is making a huge difference to some families, especially where there is more than one child in the family, to ensure all our children have enough technology to carry out their home schooling. If you have a disused laptop, or other appropriate device, which you no longer need, please contact me, and I will arrange collection.

Our Know Your Neighbours and Seal Village Fund will be holding the AGM on Friday March 12th at 11.15 by Zoom. This follows the Zoom meeting of Friday Group. Please join us if you can, by requesting an invitation from me at this email address. If you cannot join, but have ideas for projects of any kind, to enhance our community in any way, please just send me an email, and I will ensure your ideas are raised. I will be able to give you more information regarding the agenda in next week's update.

We are still struggling to encourage any of you to share your favourite recipes for our Lockdown Recipe book, which we hope to have ready later this year. These don't have to be elaborate - just ideas of simple ingredients you have put together, during these very odd times, to feed yourselves, and your families, with a little note as to why you have enjoyed your recipe, or how it came about in the first place. (e.g. you had no sugar, so used chopped dates and honey instead)? OK - that sounds quite sensible compared to some of the things I have resorted to over the past year! 

Please remember, also, that Annie Fish is about to embark on a Memory Walk in aid of the Alzheimer's Society. To find out more about the walk, and to donate if you can, please go to
www.justgiving.com/mw565979

Please let us know what you are doing during this lockdown. It seems we still have a little way to go. So if you can suggest something - a new hobby, creative ideas, etc, which may help others to pass the time constructively, please share via this email address.We also need to know, if your village organisation has plans for after lockdown. We love to let others know what is going on locally, so that you can receive support from your neighbours. If you are long term planning fund raising events for school, cubs, etc, please let us share with the community.
HYMN OF THE WEEK  Take my life
 
1 Take my life and let it beA portrait of Frances Ridley Havergal
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise.
 
2 Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee.
 
3 Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee.
 
4 Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose.
 
5 Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne.
 
6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee.
 
This well-loved hymn was written by Frances Ridley Havergal, one of the many Victorian female religious poets and hymn writers. (She also wrote “O Jesus I have promised” and “Jesus calls us o’er the tumult”.) Other female hymn writers included Mrs C.F. Alexander – “Once in Royal David’s City”, “There is a green hill”. Christina Rosetti “In the Bleak Mid-winter”, Charlotte Elliott – “Just as I am”, and the prolific American Fanny Crosby, the blind hymn writer who wrote over 8000 hymns, including “To God be the Glory”. In an age when women weren’t admitted to any sort of formal ministry in the Church of England or most other denominations, and often couldn’t study or teach theology officially or go to university, poetry and hymn-writing were often the only way in which women could express their theological and spiritual views. As in so many spheres, one wonders what we have missed out on, and how many of them might have been in some sort of authorised lay or ordained ministry or been academic theologians. Devotional poetry and hymn writing was considered to be a suitable occupation for women, so it is often in hymns that we find the voices of women, thinking and writing about God at the time. Ironically, their hymns have often lasted and gained a grip on the popular imagination when the sermons and theological works of their brothers, fathers and sons, have faded into dusty obscurity. “Take my life” is a prime example of this.
Frances Ridley Havergal was the daughter of a clergyman, William Henry Havergal, who was also an organist and composer of hymn tunes, but it is her work which has endured.  
 
In her lifetime she asked that this hymn be sung to one of her father’s hymn tunes, called Patmos, but plainly hymn book compilers disagreed, and although there are several alternative tunes for it in modern hymn books, Patmos isn’t one of them (and frankly, it is rather dull…) At Seal we usually sing it to “Nottingham” which is often attriubuted Mozart, though this is rather disputed. Some sources say it was adapted from a melody written by the Austrian Composer Wenzer Muller (1767 -1835) who wrote it for the theatre.
 
The words of the hymn are deceptively simple, following the same pattern, and are said to have been written after Frances experienced a renewal of her own faith. It is a hymn which offers to God the whole of life, not in grim surrender, but in joy, so that we can find God enthroned on the “royal throne” of our hearts, and pour out the “treasure store” that is in us. Havergal had said of her own initial commitment to God as a teenager that, “I committed my soul to the Saviour, and earth and heaven seemed brighter from that moment," and this delight shines through the hymn.
 
Havergal was a very intelligent and highly educated woman, fluent in a number of modern languages, as well as ancient Greek and Hebrew, but she lived a quiet life, not marrying, and looking after her father, who was disabled by an accident, after which he had to withdraw from ministry. She died young, at the age of just 42, from peritonitis, but her words have inspired many generations after her. This hymns is often sung at confirmations and ordinations, as well as in Sunday worship, and there is something to challenge each of us, every time we sing it.

 
  • Which line or phrase from this hymn strikes you most powerfully today?
PRAYER OF THE WEEK

Come Lord,Dom Helder Camara
do not smile and say
you are already with us.
Millions do not know you,
and to us who do,
what is the difference?
What is the point of your presence
if our lives do not alter?
Change our lives,
shatter our complacency.
Make your word our life’s purpose. 
Take away the quietness
of a clear conscience.
Press us uncomfortably.
for only thus
that other peace is made,
your peace. 


Dom Helder Camara, Brazil, from “The Desert is Fertile” ( Sheed and Ward 1974)

This prayer, by the Brazilian Roman Catholic Archbishop , Dom Helder Camara (1909-1999) reflects his life-long commitment to the poor of South America. His ministry as a Bishop and Archbishop spanned decades of military rule in Brazil, when there was much oppression and injustice, and he was known for his outspoken support of those who suffered most in these repressive times. He is most famous for his protest that "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." 


AND FINALLY...
My best beloved husband has been keeping himself out of mischief by putting together another little musical offering. If you've never heard Offenbach's Barcarolle, from his comic opera Orpheus in the Underworld, played on two bassoons, (or rather, one bassoon, twice) then here it is!  If you've never heard it at all, I am sure it will convince you that this is the way it was always meant to be performed...

Saturday, February 20, 2021

LENT COURSE “What do you think?”

Our Lent course starts on Monday 22nd Feb. Everyone is welcome.  

WAYS TO JOIN IN:
Zoom Groups on Mondays from Feb 22 
at 11am or 7.30pm. Email sealpandp@gmail.com for the links.

Video presentations containing the same material available on Tuesday morning from Feb 23

Printable versions to view or download available from Tuesday morning from Feb 23



Links to recordings and printable sheets will appear below when available
Session 1 video: Session 1 printable: What are you looking for? John 1.38
Session 2: Do you know what I have done to you? John 13.12
Session 3: Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat? John 6.5
Session 4: Who do you say that I am? Matthew 16.16

"What do you think?" asked Jesus of those who came to him (Matthew 18.12). When Jesus spoke to people he often asked them questions, which made them think about themselves, about him and about God. We'll be exploring some of those questions in our Lent Course this year. As we explore them, I hope they will help us to take stock of ourselves, especially after this very difficult year. You don’t need to know anything to join in with these sessions, but you might like to have a Bible with you. A notebook might be helpful too, so you can jot down your thoughts as you go along. You can join the Zoom groups or follow this series on your own with the video presentations, or you could discuss it with some friends or family members. It’s up to you!

Each session will explore one question Jesus asks through a mixture of discussion, input from me and prayerful reflection. It will be very relaxed and informal, and you don't need to know anything to join in. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

ASH WEDNESDAY PODCAST SERVICE

Our recorded Ash Wednesday service includes hymns, a short talk and prayers, and it's available to listen to at any time.

Ash can be picked up from the porch if you would like some to use during the service at home, but you do not need ash to take part.

Ash Wednesday service 
Ash Wednesday service sheet and hymns



Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news. Feb 14


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


Feb 14th     Sunday before Lent

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

ASH WEDNESDAY SERVICE (available Wed Feb 17 from 8am) see website, blog and social media for link when available. 

In Church
No services in church until further notice.


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

Zoffee. Sunday morning chat on Zoom

Time: Feb 14, 2021 11:15 

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
 
No Zoom Children’s Choir  this week
 
Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact philiplebas@gmail.com for the link.


Sunday before Lent
 
Icon of the transfiguration of JesusToday’s readings, Elijah being taken up into heaven and the transfiguration of Jesus, give us a glimpse of the  glory of God just as we turn towards Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb 17th. In today’s sermon I explore a little of the background to the famous Spiritual, “Swing low, sweet chariot”, which was inspired by the Old Testament reading, which is a song of longing for God to come to our aid. As I say in the sermon, the song has its origins in the era of slavery in the USA, and is said to contain coded references to the underground railroad through which enslaved people escaped from the South to the North of the USA.
 
As the icon, right, dating from the 15th century, implies, sometimes the glory of God can be overwhelming. Peter, James and John are pictured at the bottom falling down in fear at the sight they have seen. Those of you familiar with Seal Church will know that the transfiguration is the subject of the stained glass window at the back of the church. I haven’t been able to get a good enough photo of it to share, but it follows the same pattern as this icon, although Jesus, Moses and Elijah are surrounded by a host of cherubic angel faces in our window – you have to look carefully to make them out, but they are there!

 
 

Here's an interesting video about the story behind "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and its links with the England Rugby teams.
ALL AGE IDEAS
 
  • In today's readings people see things that amaze them. What's the most amazing thing you've seen ?
  • Jesus' friends saw him shining with the light of God's glory. Make a shiny picture - you could find some shiny paper or foil - packaging or scrap paper would do. Make it as colourful and bright as you can.
  • Here is a video I made of another story from the Gospels about people who were amazed by what Jesus did.
  •  
The man who couldn't walk and his friends.
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

Ash Wednesday logoASH WEDNESDAY. We will not be able to conduct our usual Ash Wednesday service, which includes the imposition of ash on people’s foreheads. Instead, I have put individual cotton buds, swirled in ash, in plastic bags in the porch, stapled to a service sheet for an online service which will be available to watch on the evening of Ash Wednesday from 6pm onwards. The service sheet will also be available online. You will also be able to join in with the service if you don’t have any ash, so don’t worry if you aren’t able to pick some up.
 
LENT COURSE – “What do you think?” This year, our Lent course is going online, with four sessions on Zoom from Feb 22 on Monday mornings at 11 am, and Monday evenings at 7.30pm, lasting about an hour. We will be exploring questions Jesus asked people who came to him, starting with “What are you looking for?” The sessions will include input from me, discussion together and in breakout rooms, and prayer.
I will include the links for the Zoom sessions in these weekly newsletters each Sunday, but it would help me if you could email me on sealpandp@gmail.com to let me know if you plan to join in so that I know roughly how many to expect – I will then also send you an email with the link in it on Mondays.
 
The material in the Zoom sessions will also be available in recorded videos on Tuesday morning each week, so you can follow the course on your own, or with friends. There will also be a printable version, available next Sunday, which will be downloadable from the website. I will send out printed copies with next week’s newsletter.
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Some community news from Marion - email marionjgilchrist@gmail.com to be added to her newsletter email list.

Tuesday morning 10.30 - Luci Napleton's Dance For Fun class. Contact Luci for joining instructions and more information lucinapleton@gmail.com
There is more information about Luci's commitment to dancing for wellbeing, below.

Wednesday 17th February - Seal Village Hall AGM 7pm - please let Marion know, marionjgilchrist@gmail.com, if you would like an invitation, and your email address will be passed on.

Friday 19th February - 2nd Fun Quiz 7.30pm. Please contact Frances Fish - frances88@hotmail.co.uk 
This was great fun last week, and I'm sure there will be more of you wishing to join in this week. It is a great way to spend a dreary lockdown evening, in the virtual company of others! Thank you to Frances and Annie Fish for organising these events for us.

Talking of Annie Fish, we should mention this!
Annie is doing a walk to raise money to support Alzheimer's Society. Find out more about the walk, and how to sponsor Annie,at 
www.justgiving.com/mw565979

There are still Easter cards and gifts available from members of Seal Church, with proceeds going to the Church. Please contact c_rampton@hotmail.com or rsapattullo@gmail.com.who have photographs of available items.

Derek is still doing a great job of resurrecting old laptops, and preparing them for the use of pupils at Seal School, to use at home. If you have a device which you no longer use, and feel you could donate it, please contact me, and I will arrange to collect and deliver to Derek.

We are still ever hopeful of producing a Lockdown Recipe book, where we can share our favourite recipes that have been faithful friends, or just unplanned gems, that have got us and our families, through lockdown. Please send me your recipes, with just a sentence or two, about how your recipes have been invented, or helped you through this time.

And now, I asked last week what you are up to right now. If you have been taking part in any activities which you feel might help motivate others, please let us know. I think this lockdown, many people have been saying how much more difficult it has been to get motivated to do anything, and how home schooling, for instance, has been even more challenging this time around. This is hardly surprising, when we consider how much beautiful weather we enjoyed during the first experience. I know the snow may have been an interesting diversion for the children for a week or so, but there is only so much time we can spend in the bitterly cold winds, even if we are sledging! Please, please, share your thoughts and ideas.

 
HYMN OF THE WEEK  
Jesu , Lover of my Soul
 
My guess is that this is a Marmite sort of hymn. Some will love it; others find its minor key and solid, serious nature a bit grim. Personally, I’m in the first camp, and, of course, it all depends on how it is sung. (Clue: it needs to be sung with a good deal of welly, otherwise it turns into an interminable dirge!)

It was written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), one of many thousands he wrote, and there are various apocryphal stories about its competition. Wesley, it is said, either wrote it after narrowly avoiding death in a storm at sea, after watching a bird fly through his open window to escape from a hawk, or after taking cover in a farmhouse from a disgruntled mob who didn’t like his preaching, escaping through an open window at the back of the house and hiding under a hedge. In other words, we really don’t know what prompted him to write it, but we’ll have a great time thinking up stories, probably because those who love this hymn have found it echoing in their own lives in times of trouble of their own, and assume it must have been written in similar circumstances. The original has five verses, but only these three are usually sung.
 
The tune, “Aberystwyth” to which this is now almost always sung in the UK, was written by Professor Joseph Parry (1841-1903 - left), who was the first head of music at University College Wales, in Aberystwyth, now Aberystwyth University. Born into a large family in South Wales, he left school at the age of nine to work in the local coal mines, and then in the ironworks where his father worked. He emigrated to the USA to work in an ironworks there, but learned music from his fellow workers, (as well as learning to read and write) and began to compose. Eventually his compositions began to win prizes at Welsh music festivals – Eisteddfodau – both in the USA and in Wales, and he was offered a scholarship to study music at university, and went on to be the first Welshman to gain a doctorate in music at the University of Cambridge. He allegedly composed a hymn tune a week, alongside all his other work!
Some organists play Aberystwyth with what is called a “Tierce de Picardie” on the last chord– turning the sad sounding minor chord into a much more positive major one, giving it a “happy ending” but some musicians are rather sniffy about this and leave it as it is, minor to the end.  (The meaning and origin of “Tierce de Picardie” – the Picardy Third in English – is much disputed. It may have nothing to do with Picardy, but derives from an Old French word “picart” meaning “sharp”.)
 
 
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high:
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last.
 
Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
All my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of thy wing.
 
Plenteous grace with thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of thee;
Spring thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.

 
Prayer of the week

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.
 
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
                             Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
                             Who made the eyes but I?
 
Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
                             Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
                             My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
                             So I did sit and eat.


This lovely poem/prayer by 17th century poet and clergyman, George Herbert, celebrates the greatest love of all, the love of God, so I thought it was appropriate for this St Valentine’s Day. This day can be painful for those who haven’t found the romantic love they long for, or have lost someone they loved or experienced relationships that have gone sour or even been toxic and dangerous. It’s unrelenting hearts and flowers can feel like a slap in the face. The origin of St Valentine’s Day are shrouded in myth – some say it is linked to the time when birds pair up and begin to build nests – and stories of the saint whose name it bears are obscure in the extreme. (Most people seem to forget the “Saint” in the day, just making it Valentine’s Day, and the children in a school where I did an assembly once on St Valentine were very dubious about my insistence that there should be a saint involved in it at all, reluctant to believe me!). A proper celebration of this day, though, shouldn’t limit itself to romantic love, but celebrate love in all its forms, love which has its origins in the love of God for us. “We love because God first loved us” as the Bible tells us (1 John 4.19)
 
Herbert’s poem imagines God as the host at a banquet, which Herbert doesn’t feel worthy to attend, but God insists, and eventually Herbert gives way, “and I did sit and eat”.
 
  • Whatever St Valentine’s Day means to you, how can you celebrate the earthly and heavenly love you receive, and give, today?
And Finally...
Like many other sectors of society, the Church of England is looking forward to the future, and wondering what lies beyond this pandemic, as we all do. Let’s hope any discussions, at national or local level, will be based on more than Dave Walker’s suggestion below…  
www.cartoonchurch.com