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Spiritual Communion

Spiritual Communion

Spiritual Communion is little known within the Church of England but provision has been made since the 1549 Prayer Book for people who are so incapacitated as to be unable to receive the elements to eat and drink spiritually. St Thomas Aquinas defined Spiritual Communion as ‘an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him’. That is, by our desire for Christ in the Sacrament, we are able to partake of the fruits and advantages of the Blessed Sacrament itself.

The Church safeguards this privilege of Spiritual Communion by requiring the communicant to consider:

  1. The need for repentance, as in the case of Sacramental Communion.
  2. The need of a real faith that Christ died to save humanity, and that certain benefits are received by the soul as the result.

In recollection of these benefits and in thanksgiving for them the communicant will receive the Body and Blood of Christ, to their soul’s good as surely as if they were partaking of the consecrated elements in the service of the Church.

Here follows the Order of Service for Spiritual Communion, to be undertaken at home:

If on any Sunday or other Day of Obligation you are prevented from making your Communion you may join in the prayers of the Universal Church by using the following form by yourself or with your family. Suggestions are made for posture, but please adopt whatever may be most comfortable and practical for you.  

Kneel and say:  

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.  

The Lord is here. The Spirit is with us. 

Almighty God, 
to whom all hearts are open, 
all desires known, 
and from whom no secrets are hidden: 
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts 
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, 
that we may perfectly love you, 
and worthily magnify your holy name; 
through Christ our Lord.  

You may want to read the Collect for the day, the Epistle, and the Holy Gospel. You may find these readings for every day of the year at http://almanac.oremus.org/.

Or use the following: 

First Reading – Revelation 3.20 
Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 

Psalm – Psalm 62 
On God alone my soul in stillness waits; 
from him comes my salvation. 
He alone is my rock and my salvation, 
my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken. 

Gospel – John 15.5 
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 

Spend a few moments praying for the people you know and love, the needs of the world, and for an end to the current Pandemic.  

Kneel or sit and read the Confession  

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, I have sinned against you and against my neighbour, in thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through my own deliberate fault. I am truly sorry and repent of all my sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive me all that is past; and grant that I may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen.  

Then say:  

Almighty and merciful God, pardon and deliver me from all my sins. Amen.  

Read the Comfortable Words.  
Hear the words of comfort our Saviour Christ says to all who truly turn to him: Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11.28  

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3.16  

Hear what Saint Paul says:  
This saying is true and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 1 Timothy 1.15  

Hear what Saint John says:  
If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 2.1,2  

Then say:  

In union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of your Church where the Holy Eucharist is now being offered this day, and remembering the community of the Cathedral, my own parish, and those worshipping within them, I long to give you praise and thanksgiving for creation and all the blessings of this life, for the redemption won for us by your life, death, and resurrection, for the means of grace and the hope of glory. I present to you my body and soul as a living sacrifice, with the earnest wish that I may always be united with you. And since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, I pray that you will come spiritually into my heart. I unite myself to you, and embrace you with all the strength of my soul and the life you have given me. Let nothing ever separate me from you. May I live and die in your love. Amen.  

Spend a few moments in meditation upon the fact that God so loved you that he sent his only-begotten Son into the world for you, and afterward say:  

Our Father, who art in heaven, 
hallowed be thy name; 
thy kingdom come; 
thy will be done; 
on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, 
as we forgive those who trespass against us. 
And lead us not into temptation; 
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, 
the power and the glory, 
for ever and ever. 

Conclude with The Grace 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,  
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen. 

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A Reflective Service… worship in a time apart

A Reflective Service… worship in a time apart

We come from near and far in our isolation to meet with God.
Let us recognise God’s presence with us now.

Keep a short silence, still your heart.

As God’s people we have gathered.
Let us worship God together now.

We pray

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful people,
and kindle in us the fire of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Keep a short silence, trusting that a broken and contrite heart God will not despise.

Most merciful God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy
forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.

May the God of love
bring us back to himself,
forgive us our sins,
and assure us of his eternal love
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The read and reflect on the Bible reading for today.

We affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God:
Though he was divine, he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.  Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.  He humbled himself
and was obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:  that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow, and every voice proclaim
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

                                                                                                     cf philippians 2.6-11

We offer prayers of intercession in the quiet of our heart.

Lord, meet us in the silence – and hear our prayer.

Silence for prayer is kept:
Pray for yourself in your isolation, that God would sit with you
Pray for others in their loneliness
Pray for our country
Pray for the world

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Silence is kept

Faithful God, may we who have shared in this time of worship
glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
our salvation and hope, who reigns as Lord now and forever.

Fill us, Good Lord with your Spirit of love;
and as you have fed us with your presence,
so make us one in heart and mind,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God.

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Newsletter 27th March

So – where are we?

This Sunday, we had planned a ‘One Church’ service. We were going to celebrate being more open to each other and our communities and now, here we are, having to be just that – but differently!

This time of isolation, is full of uncertainty and for some, genuine suffering. However, I believe that this present time also has the potential for tremendous growth and transformation. It’s almost as if we’re living the central story of Lent – Jesus in the wilderness. Some texts, describe Jesus being ‘driven’ there by the Holy Spirit. Only, after an extended time of fasting which left Him ‘famished’, did the real work begin. Then He had to grapple with the darkness of temptation and, through it, discover who he was in God and what He was called to be and do. The wilderness was his calling time. This wilderness is our calling time.

Our fast is from normality, community and all the everyday things we took for granted. For us this too looks like being an extended fast – maybe three weeks or forty days, maybe more… It’s early days and we can’t yet know how famished we will get. We need to stick with it. For all of us that does mean STAYING IN. But it’s about more than that. It’s not trying to cover up the isolation and pretend it’s not happening. That also means we must be ready to encounter darkness and difficulty. However, if we remain faithful in this we too will be blessed to discover who we are in God and what we are called to be and do as we discover new and creative ways to live our faith, supporting each another and our communities.

That said, we don’t need to be cut off from one another in this imposed isolation and I want to say a little bit about how we, as a church family – Harbour Churches, are working to keep us together as the body of Christ so that we really can be a blessing for those we are called to serve.

But first, can I invite you to take a moment when you can and offer the prayer we would say after communion for this Passion Sunday, and as you do lay before God’s healing presence  those who are suffering at this time and those who have asked our prayers – Claire, Derrick, Clive, Max, Charlotte, Margaret and Sandra and those who have died, praying for Piers de Berniere-Smart

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us
that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters
we do also for you:
give us the will to be the servant of others
as you were the servant of all,
and gave up your life and died for us,
but are alive and reign, now and for ever.Amen

Accept the invitation we are being offered at this time to stay together by praying together. Everyday at 12noon we invite you to pause and simply offer The Lord’s Prayer – such a simple thing to do but it is the prayer Jesus taught us to say. Our Father…

There is a plethora of different prayer sites and apps and it can be a little overwhelming to know which to choose. If you have a regular daily pattern of prayer then please continue to follow it. We are also encouraging Harbour Churches to gather together by using one of these two excellent prayer resources, both of which allow you to listen as you are led in prayer:

LECTIO 365 which you can get by following this link:

SACRED SPACE which you can follow by following this link:

Sacred Space also has daily prayers especially for those who are isolating ‘Pray as you stay’.

The Sofa Service

Each Sunday, Jane and I will be sharing a short time of prayer, reflection and praise from the comfort of the Rectory sofa😊 You can link in with us every Sunday at 10am via YouTube. More details to follow – watch this space!

I hope this Helping Hands logo is really getting familiar. If you or someone you know is struggling with being in isolation or if you feel in a position to help then simply email: helpinghandshub1@gmail.com or call the Parish Office 01243 514057.

Please can you also encourage as many people as possible to sign up to the weekly newsletter and ensure that they are linked in with all that’s going on. We’ve had such encouraging feedback from the newsletter – thank you. Clare can help with this so just email: wwbi.parishoffice@gmail.com or call 01243 514057.

We’re also re-launching our facebook page and really hope you’ll be able to post those everyday  moments that can bring a smile or touch hearts but above all are an encouragement to stay connected through the laughter and tears of everyday life. The ministry team will also be posting a daily message too. Revd. Sarah is a big facebook fan and can help you sign up – just call her on 07468 854864. Follow this link:

Harbour Churches – West Wittering, Birdham and Itchenor @wwbiparish

I’m going to give the last word to our dear friend Bishop Solomon from Bo, Sierra Leonne, who writes with this encouragement:

Dear Friends,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a quick note to check on my brothers and sisters in Christ amid the Covid 19 pandemic ravaging the world. I hope you all are well, as news from England is disheartening. On behalf of the Anglican Diocese of Bo and the St Paul’s school family we have all of you in our prayers for a speedy end of the pandemic. As for us in Sierra Leone, we are at high alert. God bless and protect you all in the name of Jesus.


+Solomon Bo

Assuring you of my prayers and trusting to yours –



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The Kingdom of God is Within You!

It’s with real regret that we have now reached that point when we need to keep all our three churches closed. There are practical reasons for this as well as a growing sense of needing to give that clear message to respect this as the time when we are all to stay at home…

Of course, for many of us the parish church is our spiritual home – a building whose stones have been hallowed by generations of prayer: ‘You are here to kneel where prayer has been valid’.

In his poem ‘Little Gidding’, T.S. Elliot follows that line with these words…. ‘And prayer is more than an order of words…’.

These unprecedented times offer us new ways to reflect on our life of prayer and how we are to be at home spiritually. Jesus said:

“See – the Kingdom of God is within you.” Lk. 17.21

Not being able to ‘go out’ affords us the precious opportunity to ‘go in’ and discover what God’s kingdom is for us within us.

In the coming days we will be offering ways to help all of us explore God’s kingdom within…

With the assurance of my prayers

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Resources available online

Resources available online…


The Daily Service 0945hrs each day on Radio 4 Longwave and online

Songs of praise BBC 1 Sunday at 1315hrs and on BBC iplayer

Premier Christian Radio each Sunday
7am All Souls in Praise with Noel Tredinnick and online

8am Hearts and Hymns with Pam Rhodes and online

10am Worship at home with Simon Ward and online

Praise songs from Hillsongs

Christian hymns of faith

Taize songs


Lectio 365 – a  contemporary daily prayer time on your Apple or Android phone

Bible in a year – for your Apple or Android phone

Word Live from Scripture Union

Church of England Daily Prayer

CWR – Life everyday podcasts with Jeff Lucas

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Helping Hands Hub

Harbour Churches

During this challenging time, your Parish Church has set up a Help Hub to meet needs many will be facing over the coming weeks and months. We can help those who are self-isolating due to illness or vulnerability with:

•     Light shopping
•     Collecting ordered shopping
•     Collecting prescriptions
•     Posting mail
•     Dog walking
•     Regular phone calls as a ‘phone buddy’

If you or someone you know needs help or you would like to volunteer as a ‘helping hand’, please contact:


Parish Office 01243 514057
Birdham & Itchenor 07368 554188
West Wittering 07529 221288

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Prayer & Preaching 22nd March

‘Behold, your Son… Behold… your mother’

“Church is changing.” That’s the official line of the CofE as, in an unprecedented move, Archbishop’s Justin and John announced on Tuesday that until further notice all public acts of worship were to be suspended.

At Harbour Churches we were planning to suspend services and had the announcement been different, I would still not have been prepared to hold public worship in our parish churches.

However, your parish church is STAYING OPEN and we hope that our ancient places of prayer can be for you, and your neighbours, a place where folk can gather individually for prayer and reflection at this time of great need and anxiety.

Also, EVERY SUNDAY from 9am – 12noon each of our Parish Churches will be open for a time of focussed prayer. During this time, you can come and sit at a safe distance and just have those precious moments of prayer in such a special place.

This Sunday, being Mothering Sunday, we invite you to spend 10-15mins praying in church for all of us as we face together the COVID19 pandemic.  The words of the collect seem to have a particular resonance at this time:

God of Love, passionate and strong, tender and careful:
watch over us and hold us all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

We so need to draw close to the God of love who feels so deeply and whose strength – like a mothers’ –  is truly tender and profoundly full of care. In and through this simple prayer, God will watch over us and hold us – but not only us but all those who need us and the world around us. We also invite you to come with a simple flower and add it to what we hope we will be a great posy of prayer for Mothering Sunday which we lift the spirits of those who come in during the week.

The Gospel reading for Sunday is also beautifully resonant. In John 19. 25-27, we encounter Christ speaking out of the cross with such a depth of love for his mother and his best friend. In this incredible moment he brings them together and offers them fullness of life in and through transformed relationships.

Isn’t this what we are being offered out of our COVID19 time of darkness and uncertainty? Can we hear the voice of Jesus say: ‘Be a helping hand and reach out to your neighbour in need – be like a mother to them’?

A lot more than church is changing… We do not know what lies ahead but we do know that whatever the path may be, Jesus has already gone that way for us and if we walk in his steps, they will be the way that leads to life and life in all its fullness.

Please continue to pray for: Claire Ralf, Derrick, Clive, Max, Charlotte, Margaret and Sandra Blyth and those who have recently died and their loved ones: Alex Thavenot and Piers de Berniere-Smart.

The ‘Prayer Phone Friends‘ are also there for you as an encouragement in prayer and will welcome your call.

Assuring you of my prayers and trusting to yours –

Stay safe.


Contact details:
Jonathan, Rector: 07539011579 jonathanswindellsrector@gmail.com

Clare, Parish Administrator: 01243 514057 wwbi.parishoffice@gmail.com

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Stay in Touch

We will be using the newsletter to stay in touch with as many of our community as possible during this period of uncertainty. You already receive the newsletter but do you know someone who might also benefit from being kept in touch.

Ask your friend or neighbour to send an email to the Parish Office, wwbi.parishoffice@gmail.com asking to subscribe and we will add them to the list. They will receive a confirmation email and it is essential that they reply to this in order to be added to the list. We will constantly monitor our list of subscribers in order to ensure that our news is getting out to as many of you as possible.

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