Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news: May 16

 

May 16  Easter 7

Online
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 Breathing Space Holy Communion
  
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 sealpandp@gmail.com for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat
Zoffee:  May 16, 2021 11:15 AM 
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89759819321?pwd=cHJTNkZSWTVrMGZ3cHcxMU1hMUZndz09

Meeting ID: 897 5981 9321
Passcode: 809064


You can also join the meeting by phoning  02039 017895, 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 Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.


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



Seventh Sunday of Eastertide

Acts 1.15-17, 21-end,  John 17.6-19
 
This Sunday falls between Ascension Day and Pentecost (Whitsun). For Jesus’ disciples it was a time of waiting. Just before he ascended into heaven he had told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit, for the moment when they would feel God’s presence giving them the courage to take his message out into the world. We might wonder why they had to wait, but there was wisdom in it. Sometimes it’s important just to sit still and breathe, rather than rush ahead,. Jesus knew that they couldn’t take the Gospel out to the ends of the world in their own strength, but they needed to know that too, and to be aware that it wasn’t their work, but God’s. In today’s Gospel reading, we hear Jesus’ final prayer for them before his crucifixion. He recognises the scale of the task they are being asked to do, and the dangers of it, and knows they need all the help they can get. Whatever the challenges we face, which are probably very different from the challenges of Jesus’ first followers, this message is relevant to us too.

  • What do you tend to do when you feel anxious or overwhelmed? How might you remind yourself to slow down, sit still, breathe and wait?

 

ALL AGE IDEAS
Together at Home sheet, linked to today's Gospel reading 

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

Congratulations to Jess Heeb
  
Our very own Jess Heeb was licensed as an LLM (Licenced Lay Minister) in Rochester Cathedral on Saturday. The service, which was livestreamed, is available to watch on the Diocesan Facebook page (you don’t have to have signed up to Facebook to watch it. Just go to https://www.facebook.com/CofERochester and look for the link.
 
Licensed Lay Ministers are lay people (i.e. they are not ordained clergy) who have been authorised by the Bishop to preach, lead worship, and take a lead in pastoral work and outreach on behalf of the church. They aren’t paid, and each LLM will come with different skills and enthusiasms, so no two ministries are the same. Our Reader, Kevin, is also , in effect, an LLM, though the terminology was changed a few years ago, so we are used to this pattern of ministry. The training takes several years, and includes modules on theology, worship and pastoral care, as well as practical involvement in church life, learning ‘on the job’. Jess came to us part way through her training, and decided she wanted to stay here at Seal, which is great news for us. We congratulate her, and look forward to all that her ministry will bring.


Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30 at 11.15am. It will be possible to join in by phone if you have no computer - please contact me if you want to do this. I will circulate the joining details nearer the time. Only those who are on the church Electoral Roll are allowed to vote at this meeting, but all are welcome to attend. If anyone is interested in coming onto the Parochial Church Council, which is responsible for making decisions about Seal Church, please let me know.
 
We are still taking donations of second hand laptops, which Derek, our local IT hero, is cleansing and preparing for use of Seal School pupils to use . If you have such a device, please contact marionjgilchrist@gmail.com and she will collect. Many thanks to those of you who have already donated.
 
FRIDAY GROUP From next Friday, May 21st, this group will be back to meeting weekly on Fridays from 10.30am at the Church Hall. A group of 6 will be able to meet inside the hall, and others will meet in the garden outside the hall. When the weather is really bad (this is a very tenacious group) you can obtain a zoom invitation by contacting me on this email address. marionjgilchrist@gmail.com.

Seal Village Allotments are planning to hold their Spring Plant Sale on Saturday May 22nd from 12pm - 3pm. There will be a wide variety of both vegetable and flower plants for sale suitable for gardens and those with more limited space. We are also hoping to provide our usual refreshments of tea, coffees and homemade cakes however this is dependent on the covid restrictions at that time. This will all take place on the allotments in Childsbridge Lane.
 
HYMN OF THE WEEK   Alleluia, sing to Jesus

Our hymn of the week picks up the theme of the prayer. It is the great Ascension hymn by William Chatterton Dix, “Alleluia, sing to Jesus”. The second verse begins “Alleluia, not as orphans are we left in sorrow now…shall our hearts forget his promise ‘I am with you evermore’?
William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898) was born in Bristol, the son of a local surgeon who had written a biography of the poet, Thomas Chatterton, which is why he gave his son his distinctive middle name. Dix earned his living as the manager of a maritime insurance agency in Glasgow, but hymn writing was his love. He also gave us the Christmas carols “As with gladness, men of old, did the guiding star behold” and “What child is this?”
 
At the age of 29, he suffered a near-fatal illness. He was confined to bed for a long period, and was very depressed, but this seems to have been what spurred him into hymn writing. He was influenced by the High Church Oxford movement, and was particularly concerned at the lack of eucharistic hymns sung in the Church of England. Although this hymn, written in 1866, during this time of trouble, clearly references the Ascension, its last two verses clearly show that he intended it to be a celebration of Jesus presence with us in communion. He is the ‘bread of angels’ who is known to us in the ‘eucharistic feast’.  
 
The tune to which this hymn is most often sung is the splendid Welsh hymn tune Hyfrydol. It was written by Rowland Huw Prichard (1811-1887), who came from Bala in Snowdonia. His grandfather Rowland Prichard had been a famous bard, and his grandson became a noted choir director. He lived near Bala most of his life, but eventually became a loom-tender’s assistant in the Welsh Flannel Manufacturing Company in Holywell, North Wales. He was only 20 when he wrote this tune, originally for a book of children’s songs called The Singer’s Friend. Hyfrydol is a Welsh word which means "delightful, agreeable, pleasing, pleasant, beautiful, fair, fine; sweet, melodious”, and Prichard’s tune certainly fits the bill. It is also a very useful tune, because it is in a metre (the measure of the number of syllables in a poem or hymn) in which many hymns are written. It is known as 8.7.8.7.D (doubled), because it is designed to be used for hymns with eight lines, in which the first line has 8 syllables, the second 7 etc.
That has meant that Hyfrydol has become something of an all purpose tune which can be pressed into service for a hymn which might be unfamiliar to the congregation otherwise. Generally speaking, people don’t mind singing new words, but they do mind if they don’t know the tune.  In our hymnbooks it is the suggested tune for for “I will sing the wondrous story”, but you can sing “Love Divine” to it, “Come, thou long-expected Jesus” and many others. In my previo us parish, when planning the hymns with the organist, we realised we had accidentally chosen hymns set to Hyfrydol two weeks running.  When it came to the third week, there was another hymn which we wanted to use, but its tune was Hyfrydol too. “Will anyone notice?” we wondered. They didn’t. Feeling a bit wicked, we carried on in the same way, and managed to have five successive Sundays with different hymns set to Hyfrydol. It wasn’t until the fifth week that someone in the choir said, “Didn’t we sing this last week?”… I have never tried it at Seal!
 
Alleluia, sing the Jesus!
His the sceptre, his the throne;
alleluia, his the triumph,
his the victory alone:
hark, the songs of peaceful Sion
thunder like a mighty flood;
Jesus out of every nation
hath redeemed us by his blood.
 

Alleluia, not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now;
alleluia, he is near us,
faith believes, nor questions how:
though the cloud from sight received him,
when the forty days were o’er,
shall our hearts forget his promise,
‘I am with you evermore’?


Alleluia, bread of angels,
thou on earth out food, our stay;
alleluia, here the sinful
flee to thee from day to day:
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
earth’s Redeemer, plead for me,
where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.
 

Alleluia, King eternal,
thee the Lord of lords we own;
alleluia, born of May,
earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne,
thou within the veil hast entered,
robed in flesh, our great High Priest:
thou on earth both Priest and Victim
in the eucharistic feast.
 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK   
The Collect for the Seventh Sunday of Easter
Portrait of Thomas CranmerO God, the King of Glory,
Who has exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven;
We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless,
but send to us thine Holy Ghost Holy Spirit to comfort us
and exalt us to the place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before,
who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost
world without end. Amen
 
A Collect is so named because it ‘collects’ together the ideas being explored in worship and the thoughts of the people as they gather in church. It’s nothing to do with the collection!
There is a Collect set for each Sunday in the Church of England calendar, so each week there is something which in some way sets the tone for worship. Many of them are very ancient and contain memorable phrases which have shaped the spirituality of those who pray them.
 
The Collect for the Sunday between Ascension and Pentecost is one such prayer. Some Collects go right back into the Middle Ages, and were directly translated from the pre-Reformation Latin of the Roman Catholic Collects into English by the English Reformer and Archbishop of Canterbury,Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). Others, like this one, were his own composition. (You will hear a slightly modernised version in the Morning Worship podcast, but it is essentially the same).
 
It is one of my favourites, with its poignant plea that God should “leave us not comfortless”. Cranmer based it on a prayer which had been sung as part of the service of Vespers on Ascension Day in the Catholic church “O King of Glory, Lord of Hosts, who today didst ascend in triumph far above the heavens, do not leave us as orphans…” quoting a promise of Jesus in his last conversation with his disciples on the night before he died, when he promised “ I will not leave you orphaned” (John 14.18). Abandonment is one of our most basic fears, rooted in our absolute dependence on the adults around us when we are babies. We cannot survive on our own, physically or psychologically. The fear that we are or might be forgotten is a deep one, and the Collect gives us a chance to give voice to that fear. With its link to Jesus’ words, though, it reminds us that through his Holy Spirit he is with us always. Our fears may be real, but so is his love.
 

AND FINALLY...

It’s all go in the animal kingdom in Seal.
The sheep at Seal School farm have been producing lambs. Welcome to the world, Hamish! . I am really looking forward to the time when the school farm can welcome visitors, so we can all go and see the transformation in the school grounds.
 Hamish the lamb
Meanwhile in Seal Vicarage  we seem to have been adopted by a pair of ducks, who have decided that our tiny garden pond is a great place to drop in on. We don’t know if they are planning on laying eggs, but we do hope we don’t come out one day soon to find the local fox has got them! They seem to arrive every morning to rootle around in the mud for breakfast at the moment…I am hoping that they find their way to the veg garden and eat some of the resident slugs before I plant out my veggies.
Ducks in a pond

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news: May 9

 

May 9   Easter 6

Online
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 sealpandp@gmail.com for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat
May 9, 2021 11:15 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88409006819?pwd=d2lXUC96eUEvWFN5UWFrNGlYVkF0dz09

Meeting ID: 884 0900 6819
Passcode: 762940


You can also join the meeting by phoning  01314601196 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 Wednesday 5 pm Fun singing with Anne Le Bas. Any child welcome.


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



Sixth Sunday of Eastertide
Acts 10. 44-end, John 15.9-17
Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius, by Francesco Trevisani, 1709

Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles is the tail end of the story of Peter’s visit to Cornelius, a Roman Centurion who wanted to hear about the message of Jesus. What seemed like a simple request had layers of complexity for Peter, though. Cornelius was a Roman, a Gentile, and a member of the army that was occupying Israel. For a good Jew, as Peter was, even to enter his house would be to appear to go against everything that was sacred. It was a turning point for Peter. By going to Cornelius he would be saying very publicly that the new movement which held to the message of Jesus was for everyone, and that you didn’t have to become Jewish (which was not at all straightforward) in order to join it. Persuaded by a vision, Peter went, and when he got there, he discovered that God had got there first, and had filled Cornelius and his household with the Holy Spirit. The rest, as they say, is history. Without this bold decision, which produced huge turmoil among the early Christians, Jesus’ message may have stayed confined to a small sect of Judaism, never reaching those of us in far flung corners of the Gentile world at all. 



ALL AGE IDEAS
Together at Home sheet, linked to today's Gospel reading 

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

What is your favourite hymn? If you come to our Sunday morning services, you will know that we have been able to sing a hymn at the end of each 10 am service since Easter, which has been a great joy! I’d like to invite anyone who comes to the 10 am to let me know what hymns you’d like to sing, so I can make sure we are singing people’s favourites. Apologies that I can’t make the same offer to those who listen to the podcast, as we are limited by the list of hymns which the good folk at St Martin in the Fields have provided, which is limited by copyright restrictions. You’re welcome to let me know what you’d like to hear, however, and I will do my best (or feature them in our Hymn of the Week). Email sealpandp@gmail.com, with “hymn request” in the subject line.
 
Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30 at 11.15am. It will be possible to join in by phone if you have no computer - please contact me if you want to do this. I will circulate the joining details nearer the time. 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.
 
Seal Village Allotments are planning to hold their Spring Plant Sale on Saturday May 22nd from 12pm - 3pm. There will be a wide variety of both vegetable and flower plants for sale suitable for gardens and those with more limited space. We are also hoping to provide our usual refreshments of tea, coffees and homemade cakes however this is dependent on the covid restrictions at that time.
This will all take place on the allotments in Childsbridge Lane.
 
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 marionjgilchrist@gmail.com.
 
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK - 10TH - 16TH MAY 2021. 
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   caweek.org/support.
There are further information and donation envelopes in the church porch.
HYMN OF THE WEEK   Be still for the presence of the Lord
A modern hymn today, requested by a number of people for our “outdoor” hymn in church and for the podcast. Be still for the presence of the Lord was written by David J Evans, (b 1957). He is a teacher of music based in Southampton, but born in Dartford. As he says in the short interview with him which begins the video below, he is delighted that this hymn, written in 1985, has touched so many hearts.
Its imagery draws on a number of Bible stories. Moses was told by God, from a burning bush, that he should take off his shoes because he was “standing on holy ground”. In the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, the annunciation to the Bethlehem shepherds and many other Bible stories, the “glory of the Lord” was described as a bright light “shining all around”. In the story of the Day of Pentecost, the disciples experienced God’s presence as a mighty power, moving through them and the place they were to propel them out into the world with Jesus’ message. 
 
The video below begins with an interview with David J Evans, the writer of Be Still before the a performance from Heathcott School. You can find out more about David Evans on his website here : https://drdavidevans.co.uk
 
Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here;
come bow before Him now with reverence and fear.
in Him no sin is found, we stand on holy ground;
be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here.
 
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around;
He burns with holy fire, with splendour He is crowned.
How awesome is the sight, our radiant King of light!
Be still, for the glory of the Lord is shining all around.
 
Be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place;
He comes to cleanse and heal, to minister His grace.
No work too hard for Him, in faith receive from Him;
be still, for the power of the Lord is moving in this place.
 
David J Evans (born 1957) © 1986 Thankyou Music/Adm. by worshiptogether.com songs excl UK & Europe, adm. by kingswaysongs.com. www.kingswaysongs.com.

 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK   
O Lord, the Author and Persuader of peace, love and goodwill, soften our hard and steely hearts, warm our frozen and icy hearts, that we may wish well to one another, and may be the true disciples of Jesus Christ. And give us grace even now to begin to show forth that heavenly life, wherein there is no hatred, but peace and love on all hands, one toward another. Amen.

Ludovicus Vives, (Juan Luis Vives March) 1492-1540
 
Ludovicus Vives was a Spanish scholar, a friend of the famous writer, Erasmus. He was born in Spain, the child of a family who had converted from Judaism to Christianity at a time when Jews were savagely persecuted. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather had been executed on the orders of the Spanish Inquisition, who accused them of secretly maintaining their Jewish faith. His mother, though acquitted on the same charge, died of plague in 1508, but some years later, her body was ordered to be dug up and publicly burned after new allegations were made that she had secretly visited a synagogue. Vives lived in the Netherlands for most of his life, but spent some time at the court of Henry VIII, where it is thought he may have been tutor to Henry’s daughter, Mary. He fell out of favour because he wouldn’t support Henry’s request for the annulment of his marriage to her mother, Catherine of Aragon, however, and had to leave. He wrote on many subjects, but was primarily known for his interest in educational theory and his writings on the relationship between thought and feeling. He is sometimes called the Father of Psychology, though that wasn’t a word that was used, or a separate sphere of study until many hundreds of years later.
 
Bearing in mind the fact that he had seen at such close quarters the damage that hatred and prejudice could cause, his simple prayer that “we may wish well to one another” has added poignancy and power. Surely this shouldn’t be too much to ask, and yet so often it seems to be! 

AND FINALLY...

Ascension Day, the day when we recall Jesus’ ascension into heaven, falls on Thursday May 13 this year. We will be having a celebration of Holy Communion at 8pm in church. Ascension day falls 40 days after Easter, and 10 days before Pentecost (Whitsun). The days between the sixth Sunday of Easter and Ascension are called Rogationtide, from the Latin rogare - to pray. They were, historically, times of special prayer for the area in which people lived. In the Middle Ages, processions carrying the relics or images of local saints would be carried around the area, showing the saint their domain (or possibly vice versa). These processions were very popular, and developed into the tradition of “beating the bounds” after the Reformation, keeping the walk, but discreetly forgetting the saints, as the reformers wanted to discourage devotion to them. Instead, either the boundary markers, or sometimes a hapless small boy, was ceremoniously “beaten” to make sure the parish boundaries would not be forgotten. A religious procession had turned into a reminder of where civil authority in the area began and ended.
 
A map of seal parish boundariesWe’ve all probably seen a lot of our own local area this year, and maybe have discovered parts of it we’d never noticed before. This week is a good week to walk some of those favourite pathways again, or discover new ones, and pray for those who live locally. Philip and I often walk over to Kemsing to say hello to our own local saints – St Edith and her mother St Wulfthryth, at Edith’s Well. Here is a map of the boundaries, in case you aren’t familiar with them. The boundaries are (roughly) Ash Platt Road in the west, Fawke Common to the North, Stonepitts Farm to the East and the Guzzle Brook to the South.
 
It’s quite hard to walk around the boundaries of Seal Parish – the footpaths aren’t in the right place for it, though it would be great to get as close as we can to it one year - but in some parts of England, beating the bounds is still very much a live tradition, including in Oxford, where the Rogation procession of St Michael at the Northgate church takes them through the middle of M & S, as the parish boundary runs through the Ladieswear department. I don’t know how Covid might have affected their processions this year and last, but here is a report from the Oxford Mail about the festivities from previous years, which must cause some confusion to visiting shoppers! 
 
“CROWDS walking round with big sticks, scholars drinking beer flavoured with ground ivy, and students throwing coins off a tower roof... it can only be Ascension Day in Oxford.
 
While most people had no idea that the Christian festival passed them by on Thursday, a host of ancient traditions are still practiced in the city centre.
Each year, hapless visitors not versed in Oxford’s traditions are left bemused when locals armed with six-foot sticks march through shops, looking like an under-funded rebel army.
Both St Mary the Virgin University Church and St Michael at the North Gate both mark out their ancient parish boundaries in ‘beating of the bounds’ ceremonies.


A picture of the point on M&S floor marking the boundaryParishioners stop and hit boundary markers, including those at Boots and Marks & Spencer, in a tradition that once prevented encroachment into the parish.
The Very Rev Bob Wilkes, of St Michael at the North Gate, said: “I’ve spent much of my ministry in the Middle East and Central Asia, so this is a bit different.
“I enjoy the fact we connect with the public space right in the city centre.
“We get to meet people, they ask what we are doing, and we start some conversations. People seem to really enjoy it.”boundary marker stones
 
The earliest mention of the tradition is in St Michael’s churchwarden’s accounts in 1428, and the procession still follows the traditional route as closely as possible.
 
For a few minutes each year, a small door linking Brasenose College to Lincoln College, known as “The Needle’s Eye” is unlocked and opened, and the St Michael’s party and Brasenose students pour into Lincoln to drink a specially-brewed ale flavour-ed with ground ivy.
Post-graduate history student Robert Cashmore, 27, said: “The ivy beer is not the sweetest of beverages, but it is free and we are students.”
According to a guide to the tradition, published in 1961 by St Michael’s then vicar Canon R R Martin, the Lincoln College’s butler should collect the plant, put it in a muslin bag, and insert it into the bung hole of the beer barrel for a fortnight before it is served.
Canon Martin said the tradition may hark back to an ancient method of brewing, prior to the arrival of hops to England in the 15th century.
Lincoln College students then throw coins from the roof of the tower to children in the quad below.
But some traditions do fade: in the past, undergraduates would heat the pennies in a fire, and watch as the youngsters decided whether it was more important to bag the dosh or avoid getting burnt.
 
There’s another report of proceedings here. https://aclerkofoxford.blogspot.com/2012/05/ascension-day-in-oxford.html

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news - May 2

 

May 2  Easter 5

Online
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 sealpandp@gmail.com for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat  11.15 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.


No Zoom Adult choir this week.



Fifth Sunday of Eastertide
Acts 8.26- end, John 15.1-8
Kevin Bright is preaching on our podcasts and in church this Sunday, so I look forward to listening to his “take” on this week’s readings, and I’m sure he wouldn’t thank me for stealing his thunder and saying too much about them in advance!

A manuscript from the Menologion of Basil, showing Philip and the EthiopianSo, a more general comment on the readings for this season of Eastertide. You may have noticed that the first reading each week since Easter Day has come from the Acts of the Apostles, the New Testament book which tells the stories of Jesus’ followers after his Ascension as they began to take his message out into the world – “Apostle” simply means someone who is sent out. It’s a sequel to the Gospel according to Luke, which seems to have been written for a person called Theophilus, though that may just be a literary device; Theophilus just means “Lover of God”, so it might have been intended for a more general audience. We don’t know who wrote the books either. Both books were traditionally ascribed to Luke, based on the fact that Acts speaks of St Paul’s meeting with a Macedonian by that name, who then joins Paul on his travels, and after that point a number of times the text say “we” went here or there, rather than “Paul”. There’s a lot of debate, though, about whether that person really was the writer of Acts, because his account doesn’t necessarily agree with Paul’s own account of his travels in his letters.
Authorship aside, the Acts of the Apostles presents a vivid picture of the spread of Jesus’ message around the Mediterranean, by people like St Peter, St Paul, and, in today’s reading, St Philip. It tells a story of courage and joy, as well as struggle, as the early Church – just a group within Judaism at this time -  tries to work out how to live out the Gospel and support one another, inspired by the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to believe in the risen Christ? What difference does it make? All the difference in the world, his followers discover! The reason why readings from Acts feature so largely in Eastertide is that we too should be asking these questions. How does our faith affect our lives? What should our “Acts” be, if we call ourselves Christian? 



ALL AGE IDEAS
Together at Home sheet, linked to today's Gospel reading in which Jesus describes himself as the True Vine. His life and lovfe flows through us like the sap in a grape vine, giving us life. 
https://af51dd98-adab-4c43-ba03-c87e019551a5.filesusr.com/ugd/ebdd71_34f1cf23cbc649a089edfca22cc50b23.pdf

  • Look around outside and find some new shoots growing on trees and bushes. What would happen if a branch was broken off? (but don't do it!) Jesus says that we need to stay close to him and to one another, so that we can get the help and support we need. Who supports and helps you? 
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

What is your favourite hymn? If you come to our Sunday morning services, you will know that we have been able to sing a hymn at the end of each 10 am service since Easter, which has been a great joy! I’d like to invite anyone who comes to the 10 am to let me know what hymns you’d like to sing,so I can make sure we are singing people’s favourites. Apologies that I can’t make the same offer to those who listen to the podcast, as we are limited by the list of hymns which the good folk at St Martin in the Fields have provided, which is limited by copyright restrictions. You’re welcome to let me know what you’d like to hear, however, and I will do my best to include it, (or feature it in our Hymn of the Week in this newsletter). Email sealpandp@gmail.com, with “hymn request” in the subject line.

Our ANNUAL PAROCHIAL CHURCH MEETING will be held via Zoom on Sunday May 30. It will be possible to join this meeting by phone if you do not have a computer. I will provide the details the Sunday before the meeting. 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.
 
CHRISTIAN AID WEEK - 10TH - 16TH MAY 2021.
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   caweek.org/support. This includes a Quiztian Aid online quiz on Sat. 8th May at 7pm!  
Or for further information contact  rsapattullo@gmail.com
 
SEAL PARISH COUNCIL ANNUAL ASSEMBLY takes place via zoom at 7.30pm on May 5th. Please contact sealparishc@outlook.com for your invitation.
 
FROM KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOURS AND THE SEAL VILLAGE ASSOCIATION
We have managed through Zoom to hold our KYN meeting on Thursday evening, to decide, finally, on how to spend our funds. It has been agreed to purchase some benches for the recreation ground, to form a horseshoe type shape, to seat several people safely, for social purposes, to echo our Talking Village ethos in Seal. Many of you gave your opinions, which we have truly valued, and we feel we have managed to take your views on board as much as possible. The other thing we will be doing, is planting a tree (site to be agreed later), to commemorate the very difficult months we have all experienced due to Covid. Thank you to all those that gave up their time to attend this meeting.
 
 
Seal Village Allotments are planning to hold their Spring Plant Sale on Saturday May 22nd from 12pm - 3pm. There will be a wide variety of both vegetable and flower plants for sale suitable for gardens and those with more limited space. We are also hoping to provide our usual refreshments of tea, coffees and homemade cakes however this is dependent on the covid restrictions at that time.
This will all take place on the allotments in Childsbridge Lane.
 
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 marionjgilchrist@gmail.com.
HYMN OF THE WEEK   
He who would valiant be/Who would true valour see

John Bunyan writing Pilgrim's ProgressJohn Bunyan, (1628-1688) the author of this week’s hymn of the week didn’t set out to write this as a hymn. It was originally part of his  famous work “A Pilgrim’s Progress”.  The story’s protagonist, called Christian, sets out from his home, the “City of Destruction” and eventually, after many trials and setbacks, comes to the “Celestial City”.
Bunyan was born and lived most of his life in Bedfordshire, and, as his dates suggest, his life was marked by the political and religious tumult of the Civil War.  He was the son of a tinker, and Bunyan also learned this trade, travelling around mending pots and pans. According to his own account “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners”, he led quite a wild life as a young man, and served for a time in Cromwell’s Parliamentary army, but partly through the influence of his pious first wife, he went through a profound religious re-orientation. He joined a Non- Conformist church, the Bedford Meeting, during the time of the  Cromwell’s Commonwealth, and became a preacher, but at the Restoration, when Charles II came to the throne, Non-conformist churches were banned. Everyone had to go to their C of E parish church.  This was rooted in a fear that the Puritan ideals of Cromwell might be  reignited  if people gathered in groups that weren’t under the control of the  state.  Bunyan refused to give up his religious convictions and was imprisoned in Bedford County Jail for  twelve years until the “Conventicles Act” was repealed in 1672.  During his imprisonment his second wife, whom he had married after his first wife died, had to look after her four step-children, including one who was blind, with virtually no income, other than what John could earn by making shoe laces in prison. It was during this time that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress, and it’s portrayal of the struggles of the soul are obviously rooted in his own story.
 
Bunyan’s original version   of the poem was eventually extensively re-written and popularised by Percy Dearmer and Ralph Vaughan Williams in the early 20th Century.  For  some reason Dearmer excised the colourful references to “hobgoblins and foul fiends” which I think is a pity, but  perhaps it was  considered a bit over the top for20th century sensibilities. I leave it up to you to decide which version you prefer! Bunyan’s original words are still  included in Hymns Ancient and Modern but Dearmer’s words have won out in most other hymn books, including Hymns Old and New (our Green book). I have included youtube versions of both, Dearmer’s version sung rather respectably by Trinity College choir, and Bunyan’s sung by Maddy Prior in a version  closer to the folk roots of its tune “Monk’s Gate” which was adapted by Vaughan Williams from a tune called the Valiant Soldier which he collected from Mrs Harriet Verrall in the little hamlet of Monk’s Gate, West Sussex.  She also gave him the tune which we now know as “On Christmas night all Christians Sing”.

Version 1: Adapted by Percy Dearmer
 
1 He who would valiant be
'gainst all disaster,
let him in constancy
follow the Master.
There's no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.
 
2 Who so beset him round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound—
his strength the more is.
No foes shall stay his might,
though he with giants fight;
he will make good his right
to be a pilgrim.
 
3 Since, Lord, Thou dost defend
us with Thy Spirit,
we know we at the end
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, flee away!
I'll fear not what men say,
I'll labour night and day
To be a pilgrim

Version 2: John Bunyan’s original words
1 Who would true valour see,
let him come hither;
one here will constant be,
come wind, come weather;
there's no discouragement
shall make him once relent
his first avowed intent
to be a pilgrim.

2 Whoso beset him round
with dismal stories,
do but themselves confound,
his strength the more is.
No lion can him fright:
he'll with a giant fight,
but he will have the right
to be a pilgrim.
3 Hobgoblin nor foul fiend
can daunt his spirit;
he knows he at the end
shall life inherit.
Then, fancies, fly away;
he'll not fear what men say;
he'll labour night and day
to be a pilgrim.
Percy Dearmer's words, sung by Trinity College choir.
Maddy Prior sings Bunyan's original words. 
PRAYER OF THE WEEK   A prayer of St Benedict
O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
Medieval manuscript picture of St Benedict giving the Rule to St MaurusBenedict of Nursia’s impact on the Christian Church can’t be overestimated.  He was born in AD 480, as the Roman Empire was crumbling around him after repeated invasions and attacks from foreign tribes. Benedict was sent from his native Umbria to Rome, with the hope that he would become a lawyer, but he was disillusioned by what he saw of city life and decided to withdraw to live as a hermit in a cave in the rocky landscape of Subiaco, outside Rome, praying and seeking God. Unfortunately, his hope for solitude was disappointed as others soon came to join in him, wanting to learn from him. Soon a community grew up around him, but it was not without its problems. In fact, at one point, his fellow monks even tried to poison him. The goblet which contained the poisoned wine they gave him miraculously shattered, though, and Benedict was saved. Perhaps it was experiences like this which encouraged Benedict to produce the work for which he is most famous, the “Rule” which eventually came to shape monastic communities across most of Western Europe. Its 73 short chapters provide a wealth of wise advice for anyone living in a group with others. It talks about the importance of clothing, adequate for the climate, but not extravagant, and food, sensible amounts of healthy food. It talks about balancing the day between study, work and prayer, and about how to sort out differences or deal with times when monks went off the rails. It is still foundational to many religious orders, and individuals, today, and its wisdom can be applied to any of our lives. It isn’t harsh, but it does set down useful disciplines for living in harmony and enabling members of the community to live with love for God and one another. Religious communities traditionally work through the Rule, over and over again, hearing the chapters read and meditating on them. That’s why monastic buildings have “chapter” houses, and why groups of people are sometimes called chapters. Priests across an area have “Deanery Chapter” meetings (and Hell’s Angels are organised into chapters too – I’m not sure what that says about either group!) In the picture above, Benedict is handing over a copy of the Rule to St Maurus, who founded the first Benedictine monastery after Benedict’s own, on the pattern he had laid down.

AND FINALLY...

We all deserve a medal, but what for? This week’s Church Times cartoon from Dave Walker (cartoonchurch.com) has some suggestions!