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Harbour Churches Palm Sunday Newsletter

Christ’s Entry into Brussels – James Ensor 1889

Nearly two weeks into closed churches + restricted social distancing and, far from things slowing down, church life actually feels rather busy…

It’s been great to hear how so many have accepted the invitation to stay together by praying together. Every day, at 12noon, we invite you to pause and offer The Lord’s Prayer – such a simple thing to do but it is the prayer Jesus taught us to say – Our Father…

Our two recommended prayer links are:

LECTIO 365 : https://www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional

SACRED SPACE : https://www.sacredspace.ie/daily-prayer

Thank you for sharing in the Sofa Service – 540 views and counting! Let’s join together again this Sunday at 10am using the same link: Harbour Churches Sofa Service

As we enter into HOLY WEEK we will be marking Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with a Sofa Service. Revd. Sarah invites us to join her at 7pm this coming Thursday and Susan, our Reader, will be hosting a Good Friday Meditation at 2pm. We’ll send out the links to those services early next week. Alistair, our Church Mission Worker, is also blessing us with a YouTube offering for children and young people – already with 190+ views. You can link into it here:   Alistair’s All Age Service. And if your nerves can take anymore arts ‘n crafts with the kids, then you could have a go at making your own Palm Crosses – see the link!!! 

Why not post your efforts on our Facebook page which will also update you on all that’s going on – please like it if you do! Harbour Churches – West Wittering, Birdham and Itchenor

During this time, we will be sending out the newsletter throughout the week with info and updates. We’ve had nearly 40 new folk sign up for the newsletter so please do encourage friends and neighbours to sign up. Contact Clare for ‘how to’: wwbi.parishoffice@gmail.com or visit the website www.chichesterharbourchurches.org and subscribe from the welcome page.

Helping Hands is well supported and as need increases (which we believe it will) it is going to prove an invaluable support and blessing. The Ministry Team have faithfully been contacting members of the church family for a chat and catch up. If you haven’t had a call then do call us 😊! And an urgent plea from our friends at the Chichester Foodbank – please do keep donating when and where you can. So – we really are keeping quite busy…

The picture above – Christ’s Entry into Brussels – is all about busy and how through it we can lose our way but lose sight of who and what really matters. It’s a parody of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem which we celebrate on Palm Sunday. What I find so telling is that in all that is going on – in the hurly-burly of the crowd – you really have to search to find where Jesus is…

For the artist James Ensor, it was also a powerful commentary on the times in which he lived and the growing political and social upheavals. Ensor’s crowed is more a mob, threatening to trample the viewer – a crude, ugly, chaotic, dehumanized sea of masks, frauds, clowns, and caricatures. The haloed Christ is at the centre of the turbulence seemingly mostly ignored, a precarious, isolated visionary amidst the hurly-burly of the time. For Ensor, Christ functions as a political spokesman for the poor and oppressed – a humble leader of the true religion, in opposition to all that is false and misleading in the chaos of his time. Mercifully, despite all that we are having to face and the pressure on our political leaders and society more widely, so far our society is not only functioning well, but is discovering new and life giving ways to continue with daily life.

Nevertheless, in Ensor’s picture Christ seems lost – certainly lost to the crowd who, despite having gathered to cheer him on with their ‘Hosannas’, have actually lost sight of just who he is. This true and humble King, riding on a donkey will, over time and eternity, turn the world upside down as he brings about the greatest kingdom of all…a kingdom of justice, mercy and peace. Some of us are already looking forward with hope to those things of God’s kingdom that will be ‘enthroned’ when this present time has past… ‘Hosanna!’

In all our activity, it is my hope and prayer that we will not get lost in all the busy-ness or worse, the self-congratulatory triumph of having so many ‘likes’. What we are doing is seeking to make Christ known and to reach out with his healing and life giving love. To do that we must continue to keep Christ ‘in the picture’ of all that we about during these difficult times.

In the Palm Sunday collect, we even go even beyond that… We prayer that we may be found beside him. Here is a radical equality – an invitation to participate in his kingship! Reflect on just what that means for you… Jesus is the one who is ministering to meet our present needs. Jesus is the one who welcomes us to join in with him for the sake of those for whom he walked the way of the cross – the way to life and life in all its fullness.

Gathering up all those who have asked our prayers – Claire, Derrick, Clive, and Sandra and those who have died, praying for Piers de Berniere-Smart, Pam Gibson and Felix Boyse (Priest) and the particular needs of this time we pray:

True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.
Amen.

Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Assuring you of my prayer and trusting to yours,

Jonathan
Rector

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Harbour Churches Sofa Service

The Sofa Service

A warm invitation to join together as the church family with Jonathan and Jane in prayer and praise from their sofa this Sunday at 10am!

Every blessing
Jonathan and Jane

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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.  
Amen. 

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. 
Amen. 

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,
Amen.

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.
Amen.

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.
Amen.

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:
https://www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional

SACRED SPACE which you can follow by following this link:
https://www.sacredspace.ie/daily-prayer

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 –

Jonathan

Rector

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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
Jonathan
Rector

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Resources available online

Resources available online…

SERVICES

The Daily Service 0945hrs each day on Radio 4 Longwave and online
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wzfs/episodes/player

Songs of praise BBC 1 Sunday at 1315hrs and on BBC iplayer
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b006ttc5/songs-of-praise

Premier Christian Radio each Sunday
7am All Souls in Praise with Noel Tredinnick and online
https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Sunday/All-Souls-in-Praise

8am Hearts and Hymns with Pam Rhodes and online
https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Sunday/Hearts-and-Hymns

10am Worship at home with Simon Ward and online
https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Big-Sunday-Service

WORSHIP SONGS
Praise songs from Hillsongs

Christian hymns of faith

Taize songs

REFLECTION / BIBLE STUDY / QUIET TIME

Lectio 365 – a  contemporary daily prayer time on your Apple or Android phone
https://www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional

Bible in a year – for your Apple or Android phone
https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/

Word Live from Scripture Union
https://Content.scriptureunion.org.uk/wordlive/

Church of England Daily Prayer
https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/join-us-daily-prayer/todays-prayer

CWR – Life everyday podcasts with Jeff Lucas
https://www.cwr.org.uk/podcast

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