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In the jungle!

First, 600 metres of vine arrived, then a plethora of flowers, leaves and a variety of grasses. In the course of a Friday morning, a jungle and a grassland emerged from our ancient Church before our very eyes. Local children from West Wittering Primary School have been practicing for their performance of Lion King – and the transformation of the Church in West Wittering is the backdrop for long days of rehearsals this weekend before the performances on Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th March at 6.00pm. A few tickets are still available, obtainable from the school office. So do come along and see what your school’s children are upto in one of our local Churches!

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Annual Updating of the Church Electoral Rolls

The two Church Electoral Rolls of West Wittering and Birdham with Itchenor have to be updated and presented to the Annual Parochial Church Meetings (APCMs).

The West Wittering meeting will be on Sunday 17th April at 11.30 am at the church, the Birdham with Itchenor meeting will be on Tuesday 19th April at 7.30 at Itchenor Memorial Hall.

New Rolls were created in April 2013 and if you completed an application form at that time or completed one since, you will continue to be on the roll and there is nothing else to do.  New members, who wish to join, will have to fill in an application form.

Who is entitled to be on the Electoral Roll?

You are entitled to have your name entered on the Roll if you are aged 16 and over, and can fulfil one of the following conditions:

  • You are a baptised member of the Church of England and live in the parish.
  • You are a baptised member of the Church of England and do not live in the parish, but have habitually attended public worship in the parish during the six months prior to the application for enrolment.
  • You are a baptised member of another Christian denomination but have habitually attended public worship in the parish during the six months prior to enrolment, and you wish to be considered a member of the Church of England, in addition to the denomination in which you were baptised.

Why should I apply for enrolment on the Church Electoral Roll?

It enables you to participate more fully in the life and government of the Church.  If you are on the Electoral Roll you can elect members of the Parochial Church Council (PCC).  In order to be elected as a sidesman you need to be on the Electoral Roll.

Forms will be available in church or from the Electoral Roll Officers:

Hilary Byrne, Electoral Roll Officer for St Peter and St Paul  (Tel:  671168)

Meryl Mead-Briggs, Electoral Roll Office for St James and St Nicholas (Tel: 511092)

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West Wittering Church Eagle seeks beak, feather and claw care!

Yes, it’s that time of year when the Eagle lectern in West Wittering Church has an annual pamper session with rich beeswax being worked into his noble body so that he remains in peak condition!  Of course the rest of the church also needs an annual spring clean on the same date which will be Saturday, March 12th.  We shall do the work in two separate shifts:

9am to 12.30pm – high level cleaning e.g. windows and window sills

2pm to 5pm – low level cleaning e.g. floors and pews (and Eagle lectern)

There’s a list of jobs on the display board at the back of the church and if you can help, please sign up or ring Stella on 673470.  But hurry, hurry if you want to give TLC to the Eagle!  Freshly made doughnuts, oozing with jam and dusted with castor sugar, will be available to fortify you.

If you volunteer for polishing woodwork, please remember to bring wax polish not silicone spray. Please bring your own cleaning equipment – broom, brush and duster etc.

 

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Birdham spiders had better watch out!

Watch out Birdham spiders, the cobwebs are coming down at St James Church on Saturday 19th March at 10am. Those responsible for cobweb removal will be rewarded with coffee and doughnuts!

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Prayers & Preaching 28th February

Time was when you’d often meet a man walking down the High Street wearing an ‘A’ board and proclaiming loudly ‘Repent for the end of the world is nigh!’ I guess even those from that variety of faith have worked out it’s not the best way to bring the modern man or woman to repentance.

So today’s Gospel strikes a counter cultural message. Jesus offers us a ‘hard saying’ when he proclaims ‘Unless you repent, you will all perish’. However, rather than focussing just on the ‘perish’ we may do well to reflect on the ‘all’. The point Jesus was making is that we are all sinners – even the best of us… Even Mother Teresa talked movingly about her own sense of personal sinfulness. The danger faced by people of faith (maybe like the man with the ‘A’ board) is being too quick to point out the sins of others without addressing the ways in which we personally fall short of what God invites us to be.

So the story that follows of an unproductive fig tree is pertinent. Not least the implication that before we give up on it we might want to try and help it bear fruit with a little digging and manuring. Now… we know that we make manure out of all that icky stuff which we throw on the compost to let it decompose and rot down. It’s not a bad metaphor for our personal sinfulness… We need to take our icky stuff and offer it to God in repentance and then see what God can make of it – and us.

God the great composter… now there’s a striking metaphor.

At the main service at Birdham (9.30am) Jonathan Swindells’ sermon will be “Muck it up” and it is so good that he will use it for the Children’s Service at 11.00 at West Wittering..  At West Wittering (9.30am) Annette Stickley’s sermon theme will be “Blacksmith and the Horseshoe” and Jim Mould’s sermon at Itchenor (11.00) will be “Repent or Perish!”

For those of you wishing to join Evensong at West Wittering Sarah Manouch’s sermon will be ‘The Book of Homilies appointed to be read in church’ and Jim Mould’s theme at Itchenor for Church@6 will be “The Way, the Truth and the Life”

We continue to pray for:

Maurice Stokes, Michael Terry, Josie, Georgina, Edward, Ros & Brian O’Brien, Peter Russell and Charlotte.

and those who have recently died and their loved ones.

Eric Pritchard, Albert Slaughter, David Weir and Derek Horton.

The Ministry Team are only too happy to talk through aspects of their Sermon. If you know of anyone who needs our prayers or would appreciate a visit, please let the Rector or the Parish Administrator know.

The readings for Sunday are:

Morning:

Isaiah 55. 1-9

1 Corinthians 10. 1-13

Luke 13. 1-9

BCP

Ephesians 5. 1-14

Luke 11. 14-28

Evening:

Genesis 28. 10-19a

John 1. 35-end

Collect for Third Sunday of Lent

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified:  mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace;  through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

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Prayers & Preaching 21st February

Those who have kept chickens – especially the ‘suburban’ variety – will be no lover of Mr Fox – however fantastic he is (why always ‘he’?). The sight of a mother hen trying to gather her brood together during a fox attack is heart breaking.

In today’s Gospel Jesus uses ‘fox’ to describe Herod – just as we might describe those whom we cannot trust and whose ways are ‘sly and cunning’. As Luke tells the story (13:31-35), Jesus then goes on to lament for a city which he sees as part of the same culture Herod typifies. Rarely in its long history has Jerusalem been a city at ease with itself – ironic we should call such a place ‘the Holy City’. In the context of the gospel the problem is that Jerusalem, and of course it’s actually the people and not the place, cannot see whose wings of love and peace they are rejecting.

Contemporary Jerusalem still longs to be at peace with itself.  There are those who feel that there will be no peace in the near and middle east until Jerusalem is at peace with herself.

This year’s series of Lent talks ‘Islam – faith to faith’ will explore one aspect of this dilemma. Lent is traditionally the time when we commit to growing in faith. Can we learn about ourselves by seeking to better understand others? Let’s hope so…  for the sake of Jerusalem.

At the main service at Birdham (9.30am) Jim Mould’s sermon will be “The Fox in the Hen House”. At West Wittering (10.00am) George Talbot’s sermon theme will be “Temptation” and at Itchenor (11.00) Songs of Praise will be Hymns with a Story with Eric Eyre’s sermon title of “The Fox and The Hen” – a place of refuge.

For those of you wishing to join Evensong at West Wittering Michael Chater’s sermon will be “Follow That”.

Ever mindful of our own needs we continue to pray for the needs of others:

Maurice Stokes, Michael Terry, Josie, Georgina, Edward, Ros & Brian O’Brien, Peter Russell and David Weir

and those who have recently died and their loved ones.

Gary West, Frank Berry, Eric Pritchard, Albert Slaughter and Derek Horton.

The Ministry Team are only too happy to talk through aspects of their Sermon. If you know of anyone who needs our prayers or would appreciate a visit, please let the Rector or the Parish Administrator know.

Collect for Second Sunday of Lent

Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness:  grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same;  through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

The readings for Sunday are:

Morning:

Genesis 15. 1-12, 17-18

Philippians 3. 17-4.1

Luke 13. 31-end

BCP

1 Thessalonians 4. 1-8

Matthew 15. 21-28

Evening:

Jeremiah 22. 1-9, 13-17

Luke 14. 27-33

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Lent Talks – Islam ….Faith to Faith

At a time of so much ignorance and mistrust about religion and what it can lead too, Chichester Harbour Churches  invites our communities to understand better a religion which is one the most misunderstood and maligned – Islam.

Over five weeks we will encounter Islam in its classical form, beliefs and practices as well as listen to those who are expert in working as Christians with firsthand experience of contemporary Islam and especially those expressions of Islam which have led to the persecution of other faiths, including Christianity.

The talks will be based at Itchenor Memorial Hall (some parking available) starting at 7.30pm every Wednesday from 17th February and lasting for 45mins, to be followed by questions and refreshments.

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A fitting finale – the Bishop is welcomed to come and share

Valentine’s Day was celebrated with a difference at a United Benefice Service to welcome Bishop Emmanuel from Bo! Enthusiastic singing, a Bishop preaching, and a total of 10 licensed or ordained ministers, all robed, made for a memorable occasion!

The full church moved successfully into a full hall, with only a few lost on the way, for the Bring and Share Lunch! Homemade quiches, breads, salads and delicious desserts were much in evidence, although none of them stayed around for long!

Welcome is the name of the game in African communities and many from the benefice have visited Bo and received traditional hospitality, but the Chichester Harbour Churches certainly held their own and can be justly proud of the range of food, drink and society offered to the Bishop – from drinks and canapés to afternoon tea, from fish and chip suppers to the Bring and Share!

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