Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news: May 16


May 16  Easter 7

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 for links

Zoffee - Sunday morning chat
Zoffee:  May 16, 2021 11:15 AM

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 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?


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

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. 

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 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 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.

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 (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.
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.


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

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