Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast links and other news: April 25


April 25  Easter 4

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

Evensong podcast  Evensong service sheet

Don't forget that you can also listen to a shortened version of the podcast by phoning 01732 928061 -  if you know someone who doesn't "do" the internet, please pass on the number to them. It costs the same as any phone call to a Sevenoaks number.

In Church

10 am Holy Communion with a hymn outside the church after the service.

6.30pm Evensong (Said)
Numbers limited to 35 people. Facemasks required unless medically exempt. Services are said, with recorded music – there is no singing in church, but we do now have permission to sing outside, so there will be a congregational hymn at the end of the 10 am service outside.


On Zoom this week  email for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat
Apr 25, 2021 11:00 AM 

Wednesday Zoom Church 11 am. An informal service including Bible reading, prayer and a short talk.
Zoom Children's Choir Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.

Zoom Adult choir  Wednesday 7.15 pm contact for the link.

Fourth Sunday of Eastertide

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd, an image that is very familiar to us. For those who heard him claim that title at the time, though, it would probably have been quite shocking. The people of Israel were used to leaders being compared to shepherds. Their origins had been as semi-nomadic herders, and some of their greatest leaders, like Moses and King David, had started out as shepherds. The imagery of the shepherd/leader is found throughout the Old Testament – leaders are often seen as the shepherds of their people, whether good or bad, and God himself is famously compared to a shepherd in Psalm 23, which we will hear in today’s podcast both read and sung. This shepherd-centred society knew that the skills a shepherd needed – courage, wisdom, and, most of all the ability to discern what the sheep needed and lead them towards it in the wild landscape where they lived, were the skills a good leader of people needed too. 
In calling himself the Good Shepherd, Jesus was claiming authority which many people would have been astonished at. He was just a carpenter from Nazareth. There’s an implied criticism of those who see themselves as the religious and political leaders of Israel too. Jesus talks in the Gospel reading about “hired hands” who are just in the job for what they can get out of it for themselves, and who run away from danger rather than protect the sheep. Who is he talking about? The Pharisees – religious experts - to whom he is talking must have had the uneasy suspicion he was thinking about them, as well as the Temple authorities and secular rulers. 

Each one of us must make our own decisions, of course, about who we follow, who we allow to influence us, but Jesus words invite us to look critically at our choices, and at ourselves as leaders too, because we all have influence over others as well. He offers us a pattern of leadership which is a model for us, both as leaders and as followers. 

Together at Home sheet with lots of ideas to explore the story.


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. 

Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30. Only those who are on the church Electoral Roll are allowed to vote at this meeting, so if you are not on the roll, please ask me, or the Electoral Roll officer, Wivine Turner, for a form to join. If anyone is interested in coming onto the Parochial Church Council which is responsible for making decisions about Seal Church, please let me know.
This year Christian Aid celebrates 75yrs. since its formation. The focus of fundraising will concentrate on the effects of climate change, particularly in Kenya. 
With partners Christian Aid aims to enable schemes to relieve hunger, water shortages and other worst outcomes. 
In spite of the difficult conditions of the pandemic last year in 2020, £4 million was raised. 
Ideas for fundraising, and support by donation can be found at This includes a Quiztian Aid online quiz on Sat. 8th May at 7pm!  
Or for further information contact
HMS Seal
Last Friday afternoon (16th April) two members of the Isle of Wight Film Club, Richard Priest and Kevin Weeden, visited Seal as they are making a documentary about the story of HM Submarine Seal. At the beginning of the Second World War, the village ‘adopted’ the submarine and its crew. The submarine was captured by the Germans in 1940 and the crew imprisoned. Miss Dorothy Coleman, who lived in Fawke Cottage in Godden Green (now part of Sevenoaks Preparatory School), organised a committee to provide the prisoners with food and clothes for the duration of the war. The full story can be found  on the parish council website and in a sermon I preached back in 2009.
Richard and Kevin were shown round the village by David Williams, the co-author of a history of Seal, Edward Oatley, former chairman of the parish council and ex-headmaster of Sevenoaks Prep, and Chris Tavaré, current parish councillor who is arranging for the memorial garden at the recreation ground to be restored. They also visited the church, where I showed them the church’s collection of HMS Seal memorabilia, and Fawke Cottage.
The film should be completed later this year and will be available, free, on YouTube. Details
will be in a future Know Your Neighbours email and in The Advertiser.
The last KYN fun quiz will take place via zoom on Friday April 30th. These have been great fun and well supported. I would like to thank Frances and Annie Fish for putting so much work into these, and keeping us all entertained during, what seems to be, the longest part of lockdown ever! For those that have been attending regularly, the zoom link will be the same one as the last couple. If you haven't joined before, but want to see what you've been missing, please contact Frances for your invitation.
SEAL VILLAGE FUND (from the Seal Village Association and Know Your Neighbours)
We are still taking your ideas of how to spend this year's financial allocation of approximately £2000, to enhance our community. We will keep some back for post lockdown, when groups return and see what is needed to get back on their feet. However, please keep giving your suggestions by responding to this e mail.Also, contact this email for your zoom invitation for the meeting on April 29th at 8.00pm to make the final decision. Please email for the Zoom link.
There will be an illustrated talk via Zoom on Wed April 28th from 7.30-8.30pm, to teach us more about our native flowers and what we can do in the parish, to encourage more of these beauties in our roadside verges. To join the zoom, please contact Chris Tavare

SEAL PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL ASSEMBLY takes place via zoom at 7.30pm on May 5th. Please contact for your invitation.

FRIDAY GROUP - This group is meeting weekly on Fridays from 11am on the recreation ground in groups of 6. When the weather is really bad (this is a very tenacious group!) you can obtain a zoom invitation by contacting
The Lord’s my shepherd
There’s only really one hymn I could choose as hymn of the week this week, and it is one of the metrical versions of Psalm 23, which is often simply known as “Crimond”. Although it is very familiar to most people,  though, that hasn’t always been the case. The text first appeared in the Scottish Psalter in 1650, a collection of metrical paraphrases of the Psalms, and is one of many different versions of it (like The King of Love my shepherd is, for example). The Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian church, didn’t approve of the singing of any hymns that weren’t based on the words of scripture (some parts of the church were quite wary of singing at all) , but recognised that people do love to sing, so authorised this collection of hymns. The original text appears to have been written by the English Puritan Francis Rous (1581 4to 1659), who was briefly the Speaker of the English House of Commons in 1653, but it was very extensively revised by the committee that put the hymn book together. The psalm, like many in their collection was in what is called Common Metre, a very standard rhythm which could be set to many different tunes interchangeably, as it was.
It wasn’t until the 1870s that the tune “Crimond” was written, by Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836-1887), the daughter of a Church of Scotland minister in the town of – you’ve guessed it! – Crimond at the north eastern tip of Scotland. She apparently wrote the tune as an exercise for a composition class, but wasn’t happy with her harmonies, so asked a musician from nearby Aberdeen called David Grant to reharmonise it for her. He is now often incorrectly named as the tune’s composer – female composers have had an historic tendency to become invisible, as in so many other fields!
The hymn still wasn’t well known, however, and it was really only the fact that the then Princess Elizabeth and her husband to be Philip Mountbatten chose it for their wedding in 1947 that brought it to prominence. It didn’t appear in Hymns Ancient and Modern, one of the standard Church of England hymn books until 1965. Since then, though, it has become a favourite at weddings, funerals and in  Sunday worship. The words have been set to a number of other tunes, including Brother James’ Air and a modern tune by Stuart Townend, as well as being arranged in a choral version, memorably, as the theme tune to the Vicar of Dibley by Howard Goodall.
Whichever version is your favourite, however, it is the simplicity and vivid imagery of the original Psalm, with its promise that God is with us in all the landscapes of our lives, which gives it its enduring power.


O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A page from an illustrated manuscript of the Gelasian SacramentaryThe Collect (prayer for the day) in the Book of Common prayer, which you will hear in our  Evensong podcast and service in church is a gem. It is very ancient, coming originally from the Gelasian Sacramentary, a collection of the prayers used in church services which dates from at least 700 AD, by which time the prayers in it may already have been very old. It is the second oldest surviving prayer book in the world.This prayer became part of the Latin Sarum Missal and survived the Reformation to appear in the Books of Common Prayer of 1549 and 1662, where it is still read every year on the fourth Sunday of Easter.
The prayer paints a picture we will all be familiar with, of our “unruly wills and affections”, that sense that we can feel all over the place, driven by fears and hopes which we feel we have no control of. Amidst all of that, the prayer asks for strength to find our focus in God, “among the sundry and manifold changes of the world” so that our hearts are fixed “where true joys are to be found.” It is a prayer which invites us, when we are feeling tossed about by life, to stop, to breathe, and to turn to God, who is the true source of peace.

One of the challenges of running services in church during the pandemic has been that it is sometimes hard to work out ways of doing things without multiple people handing objects or getting too close to one another while trying to help. Perhaps Dave Walker’s suggestions about automation, drawn before the pandemic, have found their moment.


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