Sunday, May 09, 2021

Sunday worship podcast links and other news: May 9


May 9   Easter 6

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
May 9, 2021 11:15 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

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 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. 

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. 

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, 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
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
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 :
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 songs excl UK & Europe, adm. by

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! 


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.

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