Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast links and other news from Seal Church


Feb 21st     Lent 1

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 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 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 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!
  • 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:
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. 

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 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.

Some community news from Marion - email 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.

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.

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

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?

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." 

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...

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