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Harbour Churches Sofa Service 28th June

‘Worship in the Field’ POSTPONED

This Youtube video explains that the Sofa Service ‘Welcome’ was filed BEFORE it became clear that we cannot legally hold a social distanced outdoor act of worship.

Habour Churches Sofa Service : ‘Welcome’

The worship begins with the Taize chant Adoramus te Domine ‘We adore you Lord’
sung by the Taize Community Choir.

Reflecting on the gospel passage from Matthew 10.40-42, we recall the times we have been ‘welcomed’ and how welcoming others – especially those who ask for our ‘hospitality’ or whom we do not know – is a powerful way by which we can commend God’s love.

The service ends with Stuart Townend’s version of ‘Vagabonds’


The service was filmed BEFORE it became clear that the intended outdoor act of worship, promoted in the video, is not – as yet – allowed by the Government.

Harbour Churches ‘Worship in the Field’ has been postponed
until further notice.

Further details can be found on the website:


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Worship in the Field Postponed


It has been brought to my attention that, until the Government sets out in law the limited circumstances in which groups of 30+ may gather together socially distanced, it would be illegal to hold our intended outdoor socially distanced act of worship.

I hope and pray that faith gatherings will form part of the Government’s ‘limited circumstances’ and that this will be clearly communicated very soon.

I apologise for any confusion which may have arisen as a consequence of the lack of clarity surrounding the easing of lock down for faith groups. It is my intention to ‘Worship in the Field’ as soon as it is legal so to do!

Your parish church building will be open for supervised private socially distanced prayer every Sunday 3pm – 5pm.

The Reverend Jonathan Swindells
Rector, Benefice of West Wittering, Birdham and Itchenor

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Harbour Churches Newsletter 26th June

Jesus said, “They do not need to go away”.
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Matt. 14

Worshipping together again!

I’m really delighted that, from Sunday 5th July, we will be able to gather together again in prayer and praise to celebrate how blessed we are to be God’s cherished people!

Whilst it’s great that our buildings can be open for private prayer every Sunday between 3pm and 5pm, we know that the restrictions of social distancing and the hygiene requirements will inhibit meaningful acts of congregational worship in enclosed buildings.

So… we are extending the warmest invitation to all our church family – as well as those who have got to know us through the Sofa Services (which continue!) or the many other ways we’ve been living faith in lockdown – to join together in worship:

Every Sunday @ 10am in the Redlands Field, Redlands Lane, PO20 8QE

Gathering outside means we can sit together at a safe social distance and maybe even sing! Supervised parking will be available. For those who wish to stay in their car we will have a dedicated ‘drive-in-church’ area.  Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to bring :

  • Something to sit on
  • A brolly for rain… or sunshine😊
  • Something warm to wear if it’s a bit chilly
  • A small amount of white bread and a little red wine/grape juice and cups
  • A flask of coffee and cake for refreshments after worship.

Please arrive by 9.45am and please, please spread the message to those you know to come and share in a truly blessed time of worship together!

Anchored in Him

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The Price is Rice Appeal

The Mother’s Union plans deliveries
Cecil briefs the waiting families

We have been appealing for funding to provide sacks of rice to keep the poorest families in Bo from starvation due to the lockdown created by Coronavirus out there which is spreading rapidly. With no safety net and no opportunity to work or to harvest allotments many are starving and just a small sack of rice (25kg) costing £12 will keep a family alive for a month. This appeal comes jointly from our Church and the Bo Committee and  all the money raised will be shared with the Church in Bo and St Paul’s Secondary School.

The Appeal has raised £4613 so far plus gift aid making a total of £5,328, which is an amazing response. £3,000 has gone out already and more will follow this week. Donations have slowed considerably however so we will be closing the appeal by the end of the month; however further donations will be still be sent out but combined with something else to amortise the transfer fees, and they will still be used to buy rice and delivered to the poorest families either by the Mother’s Union or the School. If you would still like to donate please either send a cheque to the Secretary, Bo School Appeal, 3 Elmstead Gdns, WW, PO20 8NG, or transfer money to the WWPCC (charity a/c) @ HSBC, 40-17-16 a/c 21831461 reference Bo Covid Appeal.

There has been huge gratitude from both school and church and I have received many pictures (see below – more are on the website www.slbsa.co.uk ) from the head teacher Cecil Williams who said at the last distribution people were queueing up just to say thank you for your generosity.

Thank you from all of them and from us, your generosity is keeping many of the poorest people in the world alive.

Sponsored children receive sacks of rice for their families

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Harbour Churches Magazine

Sadly again due to the current Coronavirus restrictions it has been impossible to print and deliver this month’s Harbour Churches Magazine so we are sending it to you digitally. 

We hope that you will enjoy reading this and if you are aware of any friends or neighbours who are subscribers or might like to receive the Magazine then please forward this email. 

Please follow the link below:

Harbour Churches Magazine

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Harbour Churches Sofa Service & Littles

Harbour Churches Sofa Service : ‘Build Back Better’

The prayer of John Wesley ‘Lead Me Lord, make your way plain’, sung by the Catholic church of The Congregacion Maria de Jesus, opens our Sofa Service as we continue to explore what it will mean to us as a church to ‘build back better’ post pandemic.

We are challenged with some hard sayings from Jesus in Matthew 10.24-39 and especially what we have to lose to in order to find fullness of life in Jesus. That rings true to many of us as we look ahead to what we are going to let go of post pandemic.

We are asked to pray for Derrick, Clive, Judy, Judith, Margaret and Prue and especially our Church and Government leaders as they face the challenge to ‘build back better’. Our worship ends with Liberty Evangelical University singing ‘Way Maker’ by Sinach.

The Collect for the Trinity 2

Lord, you have taught us
that all our doings without love are nothing worth:
send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues,
without which whoever lives is counted dead before you.
Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Harbour Churches ‘Littles’ Service      ‘Let My People Go!’

Susan shares the story of Moses and how God set the Israelites free from slavery.

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Harbour Churches Newsletter 19th June

‘BUILD BACK BETTER’ – the new buzz words

Strange times… The RFU, following the national debate on racism, are to re-consider the singing of ‘Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot’ at England games. They don’t want to ban it. They want the fans to know what it is they are singing – a song of radical hope and freedom from slavery. They want to ‘build back better’ with fans who have a deeper understanding of the issue of racism – historic and present.

Strange times… BP will not re-open all of their oil production and refinement facilities. They argue that lockdown has given them the opportunity to re-evaluate the speed at which they move to being a provider of carbon neutral energy. They want to ‘build back better’ for the sake of the environment.

Strange times…. Following lock down, Chichester Cathedral will not re-open their lose making cloister café and the gift shop, if it does re-open, will be moved into the Cathedral.

They have to ‘build back better’ to balance the books!

So, what about us – Harbour Churches? Can we, should we, ‘build back better’? As Rector that is now my main consideration and concern. Like so many other organisations we can’t overlook the opportunities we have been given to create a new normal – NOT building back to where we were, but moving out to build on the many ways in lock down we’ve been able to be such a blessing to our communities. My work is to make sure we hold on to those new ‘blessings’ and be fearless in leaving behind all the ways that we were ‘locked in’ despite having open church buildings.

That challenge is already upon me – and upon you. To open our churches, we need volunteers. Fewer volunteers = less time open (agh! – even though we’ve been more open with closed churches!).  Revd Sarah is doing a great job ensuring that when we do open (Sunday 28th June ?) it will be in the safest way possible. So far we’ve had 16 people volunteer – 2 for Itchenor, 10 for Birdham and 4 for WW. NB 2 volunteers = 1 hour open.

Now, before lock down aka ‘locked-in’, this would have meant that we could open Itchenor for one hour, Birdham for five hours and West Wittering for two.

It’s pretty obvious that the ‘build back better’ solution would be to share out the sixteen people around all three churches – assuming of course that the 16 volunteers are willing to serve ONE church and not just an individual building and its particular congregational club.

As your Rector there is only ONE church I feel called to serve. When we come out of lock down I don’t think I can go back to serving three churches – let alone trying to lead them.

It is now my conviction that the way to ‘build back better’ is to embrace not only what enthuses me in ministry but, I suspect, many others – that the only thing the church is called to do is to build a kingdom of blessing to the glory of God and build it as ONE church blessing not just three villages but so much more!

Assuring you of my prayers and trusting to yours

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