Welcome to April from Moira (Posted 2nd April 2020)
Good morning my dear friends. Welcome to April.
I hope you are all doing OK, keeping well and safe.
As we move through this second week of physical isolation I am aware that some of you are finding this new way of life quite difficult. Hang on in there, we may not be able to meet but we can hold each other in our hearts.
It certainly feels that during this Lent we have experienced the ‘desert’ like never before, but do remember the words of Jesus, taken from the last chapter of Matthew, ‘know that I am with you always’.
For those of you who know me well, you will be aware that I do not like technology, in fact I am pretty useless at it. But in this last week and a half, I have had to learn how to use whats-app, whatever that is, I know it keeps a lot of us in touch at the same time. I have discovered how to Skype and hold meetings that way, now that is a bit scary as you have to make sure you have done your hair and got dressed, otherwise you can get caught out. I have also found out about Zoom, similar to Skype. All of these ways of communication were alien to me. But how valuable they have become during this time. I can Skype my grandson every day, listen to him read, and hear what he is getting up to. I now have a teddy called Ashley, and he has one called Nana, we give them a hug when we are missing each other. Perhaps other grandparents could do the same.
What an incredible parish we live in, I have been blown away by the ever growing army of volunteers who are ready, willing and able to collect shopping and medicines for those who are not able to go out. Please do call on them if you need anything, the number is on the little card that came through your door. For those of you who live outside of Fishbourne, I also have a list of people from the church who are offering the same help.
A little tip for this week: when you think, ‘oh let’s do this or that’ and then remember that you can’t, write it down on a piece of paper, pop it into a jar or a little box, then when this is all over, that will be your bucket list.
Do be assured, that I pray for all of you, every single day, and for the whole of our community. Please do not see yourselves as isolated, rather, you are keeping safe.
May the peace of the Lord always be with you.
Love and prayers, from Moira
A message of hope from Jenny Balmire (Posted 29th March 2020)
Please read Ezekiel 37:1-14 first.
When our children were growing up we often went camping in France for our summer holiday. We would take our bikes and cycle around the villages of the Loire valley. One afternoon we stopped to look at an old church. There was no one around so we tried the door and went inside but we got more than we’d bargained for. This church was obviously in the middle of renovations. The floor was being dug up and there covering an area as big as our chancel in Fishbourne was a truly massive pile of human bones. It was several feet high. We were all quite shocked.
Ezekiel’s vision, a whole valley of dry bones must have shocked him too. The dry bones in the valley represented the defeated nations of Israel and Judah. We’re talking 6th century BC. Judah was laid waste and Jerusalem destroyed. Think of those pictures from Syria we see today. The people had been taken captive to Babylon.
You really can’t get any deader than dry bones. But God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones and gives him a message of hope and restoration. In his vision Ezekiel sees the result of God’s word and his Spirit acting on the bones. “The breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.”
Ezekiel’s vision brings us a message of hope for all those situations when we might despair. God is able to do great things. We have to put our trust in him.
So if you have times when you feel despondent, think about the story of the dry bones and imagine “dem dry bones” connecting one to another and being filled with life. Share your feelings with God and ask him to fill you each day with fresh hope.
My love and best wishes to everyone. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Prayer *Walk* Worship (Posted 26th March 2020)
Although we cannot hold public worship in our churches at the moment, let’s work together to keep the prayer life of our parishes going.
We now have the opportunity to do some prayer walking, even if it is just once a day. And anyone can join in, children and adults.
The idea is, you begin with a short prayer, this could be the Lord’s prayer or one you make up yourself, and then you just walk, and you can do this anywhere and at any time.
You don’t have to go too far, or too fast. You may just walk round your garden, your front room or if allowed around the community. Just make sure you are socially distant from anyone else. For some, you may have to walk in your minds eye and in your heart.
As you walk, silently share with God what’s on your mind. No need for special clever words. Say it as it is. Remember your loved ones and your neighbours, as well as those who are struggling at this time. And don’t forget to give thanks for our amazing NHS and army of willing volunteers who are doing a great job in our communities.
Then, if you are able to, take a picture of where you have been, or simply write down a short description, keep a record of where your journeys take you.
Whenever and however you choose to Prayer Walk, be assured that it matters, and God will hear every single one of your prayers.
Let’s be the prayer in our community, this is one thing that the church can do, even though we cannot meet together.
Many thanks and I look forward to hearing how you get on, Moira
Thought for the Week from Lemon-Ted (Posted 26th March 2020)
‘It was that time of the month that my man went to the big shop to buy the supplies of honey and marmalade that keep me going,’ said Lemon-Ted. ‘As I heard the key in the door, I eagerly anticipated the carrier-bags full of goodies – one with honey, one with marmalade and, hopefully, one with sugary treats. He looked crestfallen as he placed one carrier on the kitchen top and took out one jar of honey and one of marmalade.’ ‘Sorry, L-T,’ he said, ‘I was only allowed one jar of each and there were no sugary treats to be had.’ ‘Has the world gone mad?’ L-T asked. ‘In the wild where we bears normally live, the only time that there is no honey to be found is during the coldest winter months. And, it doesn’t really matter then, because us bears are hibernating. My man explained what was going on and how some people had seen fit to stock-pile goods, denying a share to others. But, there it is, I just had to get used to it.’
A few days later and with sugar withdrawal symptoms somewhat under some control, Lemon-Ted said: ‘I have been pondering. I have found something more valuable than honey or marmalade.’ ‘What’s that?’ ‘A hug,’ replied L-T. ‘But, at the moment, we are not allowed to hug. We have to practice something called “social distancing”.’ ‘There are more ways to hug than just the physical,’ said L-T. ‘Such as?’ ‘Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Post a letter or a card. I have even heard people speak of social media, whatever that is. Put a message on the Church website. Smile and wave as people pass by. It just needs a bit of thought and effort. There is no need for anyone in the current situation not to experience a hug, albeit it will have to be a virtual one,’ said L-T with great authority, ‘and such hugs will help fill the void of no physical contact, especially to anyone who feels isolated by what is going on. Go on try it!’
Jesus said that love was the defining characteristic of his followers: ‘By this all shall know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ (John 13:35) Love is the very nature of God himself and, so, love becomes our mandate and our mission. Church is just the medium through which we may carry this out and, in my view, Church was made for times like now. If it is not prepared to engage with the local community at such times, it is not relevant. This is the time for followers of Jesus to show, by their actions, that we have a God who cares. Today’s Gospel text tells of many of Jesus’ emotions: compassion, indignation, sorrow, perhaps frustration. He was a God who expressed deep emotions for people (John 11:33-38), a God whose heart was wrung with the anguish of his people.
He calls us to be the same for those around us. Instead of the inward-looking ‘me, me’, ‘how am I going to cope?’ attitude so prevalent among many (especially, the stockpiling fraternity!), can we show some compassion to anyone who may be finding such isolation even tougher than we are? Can we make a small effort to give a ‘virtual hug’ to a neighbour, a friend, a relative? Lemon-Ted would be chuffed if we did. And, I suspect God would be, too!
A message from Moira (Posted 24th March 2020)
Are you feeling a bit lonely, please do phone one of these wonderful people from our Church who have offered to be available at the end of the phone for a friendly chat.
Barbara Rycroft. 01243 776692
Revd. David Hider. 01243 377636
Richard Bates. 07801 395102
John Sheppard. 07834645420
Sue Harrison. 784983
Ann Gray. 01243 778288
Jennie Christie. 532642
Ken and Pauline. 788190
Mike and Sue Lewis. 784186
This is just an initial list, if you would like to have your name added, please do let me know, either call:01243 920346 or email your details to Moirawickens@aol.com
In these coming months we will need each other like never before. I also have a list of those who have offered practical help, if you need shopping or medicines collected, or if you know of someone in real need, please do contact me, . Likewise if you wanted to add your name to that list, please just let me know.
Finally, following the recent announcement last night, it is with great sadness that we have to close the churches completely. But don’t forget, we are still the church in community, please check that your church friends have subscribed on this website, and invite others who would like spiritual/prayerful support at this time to do the same.
Please keep safe, and let us all play our part in saving lives as we support our wonderful NHS
A Mother’s Day Message from Moira. (Posted 22nd March 2020)
May God Bless you all This Mothering Sunday.
Christ spoke these Motherly words about Jerusalem.
“How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings”.
Let us rejoice this Mothering Sunday that Christ also feels this tender, protective, motherly love for each one of us too.
God of Compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family to himself, strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We may not be able to physically gather together today, but we can be united in prayer. On this Mothering Sunday, may I thank you all for all the “Mothering” you do in this community and beyond.
We are living in extra-ordinary times, we need each other more than ever, and the world needs our prayers, so please, do try and pray each day, do as you have been asked to do by the government, and Make Sure You Wash Your Hands.
It was announced this week, that our actions, the decisions we make to stay indoors, will be our little way of saving lives. So thank you, this will not be easy.
Tonight at 7.00, please light a candle, place it in your window, and please just say a little prayer, for one another and for the communities you live in.
Please do encourage other people to sign up to this way of communication.
The children from Fishbourne School were each asked to paint a picture of a rainbow, and put it in their windows as a sign of hope. At the very same time, Sue Harrison designed one with the Celtic Blessing on it, this should also be seen around the village. The Holy Spirit was obviously at work.
May the Road rise up to meet you,
The wind be always at your back,
The sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall softly on your fields,
And, until we meet again, May God hold you I the palm of His hand.
And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be on you this day and always.
A message from Adrian Moss and David Rodgers
District Councillors for the Harbour Villages Ward. (Posted – 21st March 2020)
March 21st 2020
LOCAL COMMUNITY ACTION FOR CORONA VIRUS
Donnington – Apuldram – Fishbourne – Bosham – Chidham – Hambrook
These are challenging times. As two of your District Councillors David and Adrian are working hard in the community to help support individuals, groups and organisations who are offering support to people in our area.
There is much we can all do to keep people safe and provide support to those who are self isolating or unable to get out and about.
Across the ward there are many local groups offering support. These include Parish Councils, Residents Associations, Churches and individual residents in their smaller communities.
We are endeavouring to help co-ordinate this work and pass information on from the District Council and elsewhere.
Over the next few days we will post updates and information on: facebook.com/harbourvillages.
We do specifically ask people to be careful and work with organised groups to ensure everyone is safeguarded.
Please do contact us urgently if you need help or are involved with a local group; we can put you in touch with people who may be able to help.
Here is some useful information:
West Sussex County Council is responsible for working with local groups and running “Local Volunteer Hubs” which will be run by the Library Service from early next week. More information to follow.
In the meantime if new groups wish to set themselves up we would encourage them to contact Voluntary Action Arun and Chichester www.vaac.org.uk who can offer support.
Information is also available at:
Coast to Capital
We do welcome your feedback and any information you can give us in support of the community.
Adrian Moss David Rodgers
07860 236505 – firstname.lastname@example.org
A newsletter from Cyprus (Posted – 19th March 2020)
A Special Message from Moira. Parish Priest of Fishbourne and Apuldram. (Posted – March 19th 2020)
As the world faces the biggest upheaval most of us have ever encountered, and many are feeling very anxious, I write to let you know how I and your parish church will function over the next few weeks.
Most of you will have heard that all church services are now canceled until further notice. This is only to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
However, this does not mean that we simply cease to be. We are among you.
The church building will be open every day, for everyone whatever their faith, offering a place of quiet and peace, or an opportunity to say a little prayer. I hope to create a prayer board, which will be placed in front of the Altar, where people can write and leave a little prayer if they wish.
The weekly news sheet will be produced each week for as long as possible, and can be read on the websites and on the church notice boards. As will other items of news and updates from me.
As your parish priest please do be assured that you will be prayed for every day, and although I have to be isolated due to a compromised immune system, I can be contacted by phone or email.
Phone: 01243 920346. Email: Moirawickens@aol.com
I am sorry that I cannot physically be available to you. But please do not hesitate to call me, even if you just need a chat. I am compiling a list of folk who have offered to help in practical ways so will be able to put them in touch with you if you need shopping or medicines collected, or perhaps your dog walked.
Likewise, The Rev. David Hider my colleague and friend is also available for you on 01243 377635.
We may not be able to change the situation we and the whole world are faced with, but we can listen to your concerns and pray for you if you wish. It does not matter if you are a member of the church or not, we are here for you all.
I have been enormously encouraged by the amazing amount of good works that are already taking place around our community, so thank you all for your wonderful ideas on how to care for others, we certainly need each other like never before.
Finally, a little note about those special services that we offer at important times of life.
The advice to the church is that if weddings, baptisms or funerals are held, only a very few people, if any will be permitted to attend.
And so my advice to you is to postpone your wedding or baptism, in fact all those who have one of these booked in the near future have already done so.
However, funerals cannot really be postponed. These will be even more difficult and painful than they already are as family and friends are denied the opportunity to really celebrate a loved one’s life. Please do think about planning a wonderful memorial service for later in the year, and do use your church for this, again it does not matter one iota if you are a church goer or not.
Please do check the church websites, do keep in touch, and overall, be assured that the corona virus is NOT a punishment from God.
Be safe, know that you are not alone, and May God Bless you all, love and prayers from Moira