From the Rector…
“Why have you still got your Christmas tree up?” A fair question to ask of the church of West Wittering – surely Christmas ends on twelfth night? Well, yes and no. This is the season of Epiphany when, over five weeks, we tell the good news of both who Jesus is and, who he is for. I guess keeping the Christmas tree until Candlemas (the first Sunday in February) is one way of getting that message across.
Those in the know tell us that if you want to get your message across you need to tell it at least seven times, seven different ways. Over the five weeks of Epiphany we’ve been telling that ‘good news’ through the theme ‘God’s generous heart…’. Today’s Gospel ‘The Wedding Feast at Cana’ offers us a wonderful opportunity to explore that theme and I’m delighted that Revd Sarah will be leading today’s worship at West Wittering and preaching on “Well, I’d never thought of it like that before!”. Revd Bruce will be leading worship at Itchenor and preaching on”Zadok the Priest – or the origins of our Christian faith” and I will be at Birdham and my theme will be “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.
Talking about getting the message across, I’ve wanted for some time to look at how we could do this more effectively. So, for a trial period I’m going to produce a bespoke order of service for each Sunday and for each of our three churches. My hope is that this will lead us to feel more confident in our worship and that, with the inclusion of all the items from the email ‘Newsletter’, we can better tell the ‘good news’ of our life together and for those whom we serve.
Yes, it will make me more work but actually it’s more of the work I should be doing. The cost will be minimal thanks to the generosity of the ‘printer’ and besides, if a message is worth telling then there’ll always be a cost.
Many of us have listened with increasing dismay at the causes for the collapse of Carillion and with a growing concern for those whose livelihoods will be devastated. ‘How can such a giant company fail?’. Well, I’m no economist but I’m sure it wasn’t an accident! No, something has gone wrong with how we go about the business of commerce and the extent to which Governments are complicit in those failed systems.
In reflecting on ‘God’s generous heart’ we can’t help but engage with the ‘real life’ issues. Surely, if we are encouraged by anything it is that there is a better and richer way to live than by sinful self-serving and self-seeking – especially when the service provided is for those critical utilities – schools, hospitals and prisons which exist for the common good of all.
God our creator, who in the beginning commanded the light to shine out of darkness; we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ may dispel the darkness of ignorance and unbelief, shine into the hearts of all your people, and reveal the knowledge of your glory in the face of jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Sprit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
We continue to pray for:
Conor Jones, Baby Clemmie, Janet & David Drake, Peter Barnett, Snowdrop, Joyce and Duncan Swinney.
And those who have recently died and their loved ones:
Michael Blackiston, Geraldine Sherwood, May Martin, Derek Smith and Josie Kemp.
If you know of anyone who needs our prayers or would appreciate a visit, please let the Rector or the Parish Administrator know.
Should you wish to contact the Rector his mobile number is 07538 011579.
At the main service at Birdham (9.30am) Jonathan Swindells’ will be presiding and preaching. At West Wittering (10.00) Sarah Manouch’s sermon theme will be ‘Well, I’d never thought of it like that before!”. At Itchenor (11.00) Bruce Holben’s sermon theme will be “Zadok the Priest – or the origins of our Christian faith”.
The Ministry Team are only too happy to talk through aspects of their Sermon.
There will be 8.00 BCP Holy Communion on Sunday at West Wittering and Itchenor.
There will be Evensong at 6.00 at West Wittering
Sunday 21st January – Third Sunday of Epiphany
Genesis 14. 17-20; Revelations 19. 6-10; John 2. 1-11
Romans 12. 16b-21; Matthew 8. 1-13
Jeremiah 3. 21-4.2; Titus 2. 1-8, 11-14
Sunday 28th January – Fourth Sunday of Epiphany
Deuteronomy 18. 15-20; Revelations 12. 1-5a; Mark 1. 21-28
1 Corinthians 9. 24-27; Matthew 20. 1-16
1 Samuel 3. 1-20; 1 Corinthians 14. 12-20