Harbour Churches Newsletter 20th November

The King of love my Shepherd is….

This Sunday we draw the Churches year to a close by celebrating Christ as King. His though, is no earthly ‘ordinary’ kingship. It is also St Cecelia’s Day – the patron saint of music (and Jane’s birthday!). So often it is in the great hymns of the Anglican choral tradition that we hear the deeper truths and meaning of our faith. I find Christ’s kingship so resonantly proclaimed in those words – The King of Love my shepherd is, His goodness faileth never…

Eric captured for me that sense of the intentional, extravagant and unconditional nature of the ‘Christ Love’ in the blog he wrote for The Amblers this week. Let me share it with all of you. May you continue to be blessed in and with His love…

‘The Rainbow of Love’ from Eric Eyre

What is your favourite story from the Bible? It would be good to hear which one is special to you and why. For me, the love story of Ruth is one of the most beautiful accounts of the overcoming power of love in a time of tragedy and crisis.

We begin with a family living in Bethlehem, Israel at a time of dreadful famine. The husband, wife and two sons decide to move to Moab, the land of enemies of the Israelites.

The two sons fall in love and marry two women from that land;  love overcomes the racial barriers. One of the women is Ruth whose name means ‘Friend of All’.

Tragedy strikes; all three men die leaving the women on their own. Naomi, the mother whose name means ‘ pleasant’ decides to go back to Israel but she changes her name to Mara which means ‘ bitterness’. She encourages the two widows to stay in their own land but Ruth says, “Where you go I will go, your people will be my people, your God will be my God” and travels with her to Bethlehem to support her in her grief.

Back in Israel they are destitute so Ruth has to go gleaning in the fields – collecting the grain which remains for the poor people after the harvesters have reaped. The field belongs to a wealthy elderly farmer named Boaz who takes pity on Ruth and tells his workers to treat her well and to leave extra grain for her. Ruth and Boaz fall in love, get married and become great grandparents to King David and this becomes the family line to Jesus.

Ruth demonstrates by her gift of love a rainbow of hope in a time of crisis and loss as she cares for Naomi and adapts to changing circumstances as many are in this time of pandemic. The key word in the story is loving kindness. We all have a gift of love to share.

This week a letter from a Baptist minister called John Harper was sold for £42,000. He wrote this letter just before he departed on the s.s.Titanic and has been described as the bravest person on the ship. He was a widower with a 6 year old daughter. As the ship was sinking he put his daughter in a life raft but gave up his place to others. He also gave away his life jacket to someone in greater need. When in the water he was encouraging people to put their faith in His Saviour. He gave his life for others as Christ did.

My special hymn is ‘O love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee’.

‘Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus’. Romans 8.30.

105 happy children back in school….

A million miles from ‘Bo School’ in many ways, but our local school also needs our support – to combat ‘Covid 19’, an unexpected situation for them as it was for all of us.

It is the unsung jewel in West Wittering’s Parish. Our School has a great reputation, regularly having waiting lists for all its year groups, rated by ‘Ofsted’ as a ‘good’ school and by the ‘Church Education Authority’ as ‘Outstanding’. Behind its walls next to the Church, its facilities are excellent with its own  sports field and outdoor swimming pool. The children between 4-11 – their most formative years – have had no formal schooling for 6 months this past year, and although the School made every effort by teaching online, nothing can replace being in the classroom. This has impacted the educational attainment of the children and it may take up to 2 years to bring all children up to the standard they should be at.

The Head Teacher and Governors believe that with extra teachers and facilities, they can bring the children back to where they should be by the end of the summer term. The Government has given the School a grant of £8,000 but they believe it will cost much more than that and the school are seeking £25,000, plus gift aid, to give us what it will cost.

They are delighted that the Church has offered the use of the Church Rooms and these extra facilities are much needed. But the school needs the staff to tutor these children, to help them to ‘Catch Up’ and to make a real difference. School as we normally see it will just not be enough, we owe it to these children to have the best opportunities and to reverse the educational impact of Covid-19.

If you feel you can support your local Church School towards its target, it would be so appreciated. Donations can be sent either to the School, made payable to their Charity – the ‘FPTA’ – short for Friends, Parents, Teachers Association or directly to their Barclays Bank a/c: FPTA a/c 60779482 branch sort code 20-20-62. If you can let the School know whether you would like your donation treated for Gift Aid and your address, it will mean an extra 25p for every £ donated. Please email office@westwitteringschool.co.uk with the information.

Should you have any questions, please contact Warren Tayler, a Governor, on 514482.

The coronavirus stopped the CAP Money courses planned for last March, but we are now about to launch “Kick Start”. This is a series of on-line sessions designed to help anyone looking for a job or how to make money go further.

Kick Start sessions can help a wide range of people:

  • School or college leavers looking for their first job
  • Mums wanting to return to the job market
  • Adults laid off due to Coronavirus
  • Anyone who wants to take greater control of their finances

We will be offering three video based coaching sessions under two headings:

Looking for a job?

  • Discover your strengths
  • Writing a CV
  • Interview skills

Challenged by cash flow?

  • Making money go further
  • Lifting financial pressure
  • Using the CAP budget tool

This is one part of our vision to bring renewed hope to our communities and, as church members, we invite you to do two things:

  1. PUBLICISE what we are doing to any friend, neighbour or relative who might benefit from these free coaching sessions.
  2. SIGN UP for “Discover your Strengths” as a ‘taster’ session. This will help you see how Kick Start works and so talk about it with confidence.

We are planning two 30 minute taster sessions:

Thursday November 26 at 10.30am Saturday November 28 at 2.30 pm

Anyone interested should contact Roy Dyton on 01243 514639 to register interest and check out the video link. Kick Start is produced by Christians Against Poverty whose debt counselling service is endorsed by Martin Lewis.


Notelets for Sale

Packs of 8 high quality notelets featuring the 4 Altar Falls (2 of each) designed by Polly Meynell for Harbour Churches St. James, Birdham.

They are beautiful and cost £6 a pack or £10 for 2 packs. They are blank inside with a small quotation from John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

They can be useful for any time of the year but the words of Jesus are a source of comfort to all who are anxious and afraid during this pandemic..

Tony and I are continuing to work on the altar kneelers which we hope will be an opportunity for our villages to contribute to with a community ‘Stitch-a-thon’ when we are able. We have been blessed with folk from all  our three churches making priest’s kneelers and seat cushions so when we are back inside our building we can truly celebrate Polly’s  wonderful designs based on the scallop shell, the symbol of pilgrimage.

All costs have been donated so the money will all go to the work of Harbour Churches at St. James and the St. James Centre when it re-opens.

Please contact Susan Monks yarnallmonks@yahoo.co.uk 01243 512881 and she will arrange delivery for you. They will make lovely gifts for Christmas!