There is nothing ordinary about it. (June 2018)
I can hardly believe that we are almost half way through the year, where does the time go. It’s been a whirlwind of business and change, in the last few months we have continued to worship God, we have celebrated marriages, baptised several babies, and said farewell to loved ones.
We have also celebrated the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, as well as His ascension which reminded us of how Heaven and earth are united as one, Pentecost, the birthday of the church when we welcomed the power of the Holy Spirit once more into our lives.
All of these events were marked by the different colours that you see in church, week by week there was purple, red or gold, but now we go green, the colour which tells us that we are in the ordinary weeks of the year. If you pop into either of our churches you will notice a green Altar frontal in place, and it will stay there for the next few months except for a few odd days when we celebrate a special event.
So do we simply take a bit of a rest, or plan for the next Christmas and Easter, or can we be encouraged to use these coming weeks proactively. Green is in fact the colour of growth, and we are encouraged to reflect on all that we have experienced and consider what difference does it make to our lives as we allow what we have heard and experienced grow in our hearts.
What does it mean to us to know that God, the creator of all is with us, no matter what we face in life?
What impact does it have on us to accept that Jesus actually died for each one of us, setting us free from all that binds us?
How on earth do we comprehend the awesome truth that He rose again and ascended into heaven, giving us all the way to eternal life?
The next few months are in fact our opportunity to pause for a while, open our hearts that little bit more, so as to enable the Good News of Jesus Christ (the Love of God) grow more and more, in our lives and relationships.
There is certainly nothing ordinary about this time of year, it is without doubt life giving, challenging and very exciting.
And so, I encourage you, don’t be afraid to take some time out of the business of life, ponder the truth of the Good News, ask yourself the questions above, and allow yourself to be transformed by God’s life-giving grace.
Oh Nana, how cool is that!! (May 2018)
Many of you will know that my grandson, who is now five years old, never ceases to amaze me by how he sees the world around him.
During the Easter holidays I had shown him a picture of a red telephone box, and told him how, when I and his granddad were young, we would have to leave our house, walk up the road and into one of these to make or receive a phone call. Calls were always pre-arranged so that we would both be at our respective places at the correct time.
Thinking that Ashley would not be too impressed, (given that he is well up to speed with modern technology), I was surprised when he said, ‘Oh Nana, how cool is that’. Now, being aware that he has an amazing imagination, I suspect that he thought that if you entered one of these phone boxes, you could come out as a super hero.
However, he did make me think, the assumption is often made that young people are not interested in the past, but that is far from the truth. The young are in fact fascinated by the stories that older people share with them. They are delighted to here about what life was like, and I am sure there are many grandparents who have regaled their grandchildren with delightful tales of their youth.
One of the great privileges of my work is in being allowed to conduct funeral services for people. The stories I hear about the departed person are incredible, and I am reminded time and time again just how unique each person is.
All of us have a story to tell, and perhaps the most important one is about our faith, how much of a difference Jesus makes in our lives, and yet we forget to do so.
The church is often tempted to ‘put’ on a show, to be entertaining, but in doing so it can lose the beauty and wonder of its history. We should never underestimate the young, they can teach us such a lot.
So in these weeks after Easter, I encourage you to share your story of faith, your experience of different church services, and about how you lived before the technical age we now inhabit. For these things are part of your story, and others would love to hear them.
Please, can you help. Your Church Needs You. (April 2018)
Happy Easter everyone, Alleluia, Christ is risen.
As we rejoice together at this time of year, I would like to ask for your help.
On Saturday 21st April, we are going to give the Church and Churchyard a really good Spring Clean. Every week a faithful group of people Hoover, dust and polish the church so that it is always ready for use. As a way of saying thank you to them, and doing some of the jobs they are unable to do, I invite you to come along, even for just a short while, for some fun as well as work.
This event is for all ages, so please do bring your gardening gloves, dusters, polish and shears etc, and help give this beautiful place in Fishbourne a facelift. If the weather permits, there will be a B.B.Q as well as liquid refreshments.
At the back of church are some lists of the work that we need to do, so if you could put your name down for a job we will be able to see what could be achieved in just one day.
A wonderful group of young dad’s are willing to take on the more strenuous jobs that need to be done, which will be an enormous help. Paint will be supplied, but if you can bring any paint rollers and brushes that you have that would be a great help.
Do bring your friends and neighbours to make this a real community event. And if anyone has a vehicle that could transport the rubbish to the tip, that would be amazing.
Fishbourne church is such a beautiful building, in a very peaceful setting, many people visit it from all around the world. And so many find solace there, even if they are just passing by taking their dog for a walk.
I am hoping that the joy of Easter will spur as many of us as possible into action, as we tackle this Fishbourne Church event.
Thank you in advance.
Love Life, Live Lent, keep going (March 2018)
Lent is without doubt the most beautiful life changing time of the Church year, it is a journey which if we continue to the end enables us on Easter Day to proclaim from the bottom of our hearts,
Alleluia, Christ is risen; he is risen indeed, Alleluia.
But to keep going with whatever we try to take on during Lent, is much easier to say than to do. The world, life, our friends and families all need our time and energy, and sometimes the days go by so fast that this season slips away without us realising it.
To help and encourage us all, our two Lent groups are running during these weeks, one on Wednesday afternoons, the other on Monday evenings, please do not think you have left it too late, you can still join in with one of them.
Mothering Sunday is on 11th March, and special services will be held in both our churches. ‘Mothering’, in scripture requires sacrifice, courage, obedience and risk as well as love. And it requires far more than just biological mothers to take on its joys and challenges, and so on this Sunday we celebrate and give thanks for the ‘Mothering’ of us all. Please do join us and bring your friends.
As March rolls on, we will enter Holy Week, during which we will follow Christ to the upper room, to the cross, until finally we arrive at the empty tomb. Our services this week enable us to experience the journey Jesus himself took.
Palm Sunday is on the 25th, there will be services at normal times in both our churches, when we receive new palm crosses reminding us that we are asked to take up our cross and follow Christ.
Then on Maundy Thursday, 29th, we will re-enact all that took place at the first last supper. Feet are washed, we celebrate the gift of the Eucharist and the church is stripped reminding us of how the early disciples ran away.
Good Friday, 30th, picks up the story from last night, it brings us to the cross with a special service at Fishbourne church, when we are asked to give just one hour of our time. This service starts at 2.00 p.m.
And then, Easter Day, and we Celebrate, there will be services in both our churches, and I think this is the first time, that I can remember anyway, when Easter Day falls on the 1st April, so please, lets all come together and be ‘FOOLS’ for Christ. May God Bless you all during this Holy, life changing time.
Welcome to 2018, may we all believe in others (January 2018)
Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had a peaceful and blessed Christmas time. As we begin a new year I would like to share with you an amazing true story which I feel is encouraging to us all.
At the end of last year, I was asked to conduct a funeral service for a wonderful lady. I met with her adult children to sort out the details and get to know them a bit. As we chatted, the son, who was about my age, asked me if I knew a particular person, of course I did I said, (this person is member of our churches,). And then he shared with me, how during his time at school, this person who was a teacher there, had been an enormous influence on his life. ‘I am who I am today, because of this teacher’ he said, ‘because he believed in me’.
Then at the end of the funeral service, one of the grandsons, who was also grown up by now, said to the same person, ‘thank you, I too am who I am today, because you believed in me’.
It was so amazing that after all the years since their school days, they had never forgotten this particular teacher, and all because he had believed in them, even when others seemed to give up on them. Both these men had achieved great things in their lives simply because someone felt they were worth it.
This really made me pause for thought, wow, we never know how much we influence others, especially in the small things we do or say. We may not all be teachers but it was evident that the greatest thing we can all do is to believe in those around us, even if they get things wrong. We need to believe that they can do great things with their lives, and believe that no-one is beyond the grace of God.
As a new year begins, many people make Resolutions which quickly get forgotten.How about if we all make a resolution to believe, in God, in ourselves and in others, even if we will never know the enormous impact this could have.
2018 is also the year of prayer, and so I would like to invite you all, to say the Lord’s Prayer, just once a day, perhaps in bed, on the bus, or while waiting in a queue, this prayer says all we ever need to say, and who knows what effect it will have on ourselves, the community and beyond.
Throughout the year there will be opportunities for us to learn more about prayer, and experience it in different ways, details of which will be on the pew sheet and in the magazine. But lets begin with ‘Our Father……..’
May God Bless us all in the coming months.
From the Rectory (December 2017)
Dear all, as this year draws to an end, December promises to be an exciting busy month as we await, and prepare for the wonderful celebration of Christmas. Details of all the special events and services can be found on the pew sheet, the church services page and on the notice boards. You will note some changes to or cancellation of the some of the normal Sunday services, this is because Christmas Day is on a Monday.
As always, everyone is very welcome to attend some or all of the services that will be taking place this month, so do invite your friends and neighbours as we celebrate with well known carols and readings the greatest gift of all, a gift that is offered to the whole world year after year.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to those who work so hard at this time of year. If it were not for the Flower arrangers/church decorators, choir, organists, wardens, sides-people, servers, etc, and all who prepare for and lead the services in both our churches, they simply would not take place. So thank you from us all, and I hope that the changes to services will give you a little respite.
It would be very remiss of me not to extend heartfelt thanks to Hillary Young who has given her time, energy and talent over many, many years to ensure that our wonderful magazine arrives in our homes. So thank you Hillary, I don’t want to say how many years you have been involved with the magazine, as it could give a clue to your age. But your encouragement, support and advice to us all has been invaluable, we may still need to call upon your wisdom now and again.
Finally, it is always important for us to remember those less fortunate than ourselves, and so this year, on the first two Sunday’s of December we will be collecting, hats, scarves, gloves, socks and warm clothing which we will deliver to the homeless. There will be a box in each church, so please do pop items into them if you would like to support us in this.
And may God Bless us, our family, friends and neighbours this Christmas Time.
Seeing God in the ordinary. (November 2017)
Since the middle of September some 21 adults and young people have been preparing for their Confirmation which will take place later this month. It is always a great privilege for me to be able to walk with others on this part of their journey in faith. And I have say, I learn as much from them as they hopefully do from me.
At one of the early sessions we were reflecting on the different ways we can know God, and how we can experience His presence with us each day. I shared with the youngsters how lots of people feel a real sense of awe and wonder when they look at nature, and how the created world reveals God’s beauty and majesty in so many ways. There is perhaps nothing more wonderful than watching the sun rise or set as it turns the sky into amazing colours.
Given that it was a lovely evening, I asked them to walk around the outside of the hall, and for each to bring me just one item that said something to them about God. Off they went with great enthusiasm. It was not long before they returned with a variety of objects. Amongst them was a blackberry-for God feeds us, a rose petal reminding us of God’s love, a brick which said something about God’s strength and how we are made strong with Him in our lives. But the object that really surprised me was presented by Katie Turner. With a grin on her face and with great aplomb, she plonked in front of me an ordinary plastic garden chair. A chair that I have to say had seen better days and was a bit dirty and weather beaten. Feeling rather bemused I asked her what the chair said to her about God, her answer blew my mind. In her own wonderful dramatic way, Katie replied, “well, when you feel tired or worn out, when life seems hard, you can simply rest in God”. And with that she slumped into the chair.
What an amazing way to look at an old chair, what depth of thinking and insight. Once again I was reminded, we should never underestimate the young. Their spirituality is so pure and deep, their minds are uncomplicated and in so many ways their hearts are wide open.
So when you next sit in a garden chair, or in any chair for that matter, remember, that you too can rest in God, for He will hold you at all times, especially when you are tired or overburdened. Jesus said, ‘come to me, all you who are weary, and I will give you rest’. Through the eyes of Katie, this rest is to be found even in a battered old garden chair.
So thank you Katie, as I said to you at the time, you along with the others, will do great things for God. and may we all see God in the very ordinary things around us day by day.
Life is so exciting. Embracing the future – (October 2017)
I can hardly believe it, my little Grandson Ashley has just started ‘big’ school. Where on earth has the time gone, it only seems like yesterday that he was brand new, now he is stepping out into the big world, and goodness me, he was so excited about it.
At just four and a half years old, Ashley had counted down the sleeps until the big day arrived. There were no tears, no fears, he simply could not wait to put his uniform on, run down the road and step into his class. He has not been impressed with the staggered start that schools now offer, but he is so proud to announce that he is now a BIG boy.
I’m not sure how long this view of school will last, but it has been a delight to observe how easily he seemed to embrace this next stage of his life. Although to be honest, life itself has always been so very exciting for this young lad.
As I reflected on how fast he had grown up, I realised that life, the whole of life is in fact about moving from one stage to another. The future continually opens up to each of us, like a series of doors that we walk through one by one.
But, are we as excited as Ashley about the new stages of life that we encounter, do we enter them wholeheartedly?, or do they sometimes pass by without us really taking too much notice. The answer I’m sure is most likely yes when we are young, new schools, first jobs, love and relationships can on the whole be wonderful experiences, and we embrace those stages fully.
But as we get older, the wrinkles and creaky bones remind us that we have already done so much, that there are perhaps more years behind us than in front, and maybe we fear what is to come.
Let us remember, that life is a gift, we may not have the energy we always had, but no matter what is going on in our life, we will always have something to offer to those around us, God’s amazing love. So let us all try to embrace the whole of life, may we find something each day to feel excited about, and may we never take life for granted.
Reminders from the Rectory – (September 2017)
Welcome back to all of you who have been away on your summer break. And may God Bless all our young people as they prepare to start a new term at school, college or university. Also a big thank you to those who led our services during August especially the Revd. David Hider.
As we move in to the final quarter of this year, there are lots of special services and events to look forward to.
September 9th is the date for the Annual Ride and Stride, both churches are taking part, and it’s not too late for more of you to join those already signed up. You do not have to go far, you do not even have to ride a bike, you can walk, further details are available in both churches.
Then on the 16th/17th September Ryman’s will open their gardens to the public once more. These are well worth a visit, not only to see the wonderful displays of shrubs and plants, but also to sit for a while and enjoy a cup of tea and home made cake served by the wonderful folk from Apuldram church.
Looking ahead to October, on the 1st, Apuldram church will hold their annual pet service and celebrate Harvest at 2 p.m. All pets are welcome to bring their owners, so do join us as we give thanks for all the love we share with them.
Then open the 8th October, Fishbourne will have their Harvest Festival service, with a wonderful bring and share lunch afterwards. More details will be on the pew sheet.
We will have special services on November 12th to mark Remembrance Day as we pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Later in the month, on the 19th, Bishop Mark will be at Fishbourne church for our confirmation service. Those of you who are preparing for this event, please do try and attend church services as often as you can so as to further understand the joy of worshiping God as part of the church. Confirmation classes will begin on September 17th, 4.00 p.m in Fishbourne church, and run most weeks until 5th November.
Apuldram will be having a special service for the ‘Laying up of boats’, more details re dates and times to follow soon.
And then finally, for those who are hoping to apply for a place at Bishop Luffa school for your young son or daughter, please make sure that you understand the criteria, and if you are hoping for a church support form from me, we look forward to seeing you and your young person at church as often as possible.
Love and prayers, Moira
From the Rectory – (July 2017)
Well goodness me, I can hardly believe that we are over half way through 2017, where has the time gone.
As many of you begin to look forward to the summer break, and hopefully a well-earned holiday, I would like to take this opportunity to say Thank you to those who work so hard at the many social events that are held in each parish.
Just recently, Ryman’s were open once again, and the good people of Apuldram church made and served tea and cake to the many visitors. This event is always a great opportunity to meet new people, and to sit and simply relax in the wonderful garden. Apuldram church also hosted a wonderful concert in June, a fantastic selection of music was provided by David Russell and Terry Stanton. I am not sure how much was raised exactly, but I know it was over £1000. So thank you David and Terry for giving your time and giftedness, and to all the people who attended, it really was a truly perfect evening.
Fishbourne Church and school have just had their annual fete, and what an amazing day that was. Such a lot of work goes into the planning, organising, and running this event, but every year it is a great success. This year the sun shone brightly, and very warmly, and people generously spent a lot of money. Again I am not sure of how much exactly was raised, but the figure at the moment is over £6000. If you were there on Saturday you will have heard that the school will buy new stimulating play equipment for the children, and the church are putting their part towards a new heating system, which may sound a bit odd in the middle of this heat wave, but winter will arrive all too soon.
Events such as these are so important for our communities, because they draw people of all ages together and allow us to relax and enjoy ourselves.
And there is more to come. Ryman’s will be open again later this year, and wonderful Sunday afternoon cream teas will be served in Fishbourne church hall throughout the weeks of summer. Do look out for the posters advertising both of the above. Two of the cream tea afternoons will be in aid of St’ Wilfred’s hospice.
And finally, looking a little bit ahead, in September, the annual ride and stride will be taking place. This is a diocesan event, and involves people riding around, or walking if they wish, to as many churches as they can manage. They get family and friends to sponsor them, and the money raised is shared between the local church and the Churches Historic Fund, which benefits beautiful old buildings like our own. Do listen out for further information, and do join in on the day, either by riding round on your bike, or perhaps offering to serve a refreshing drink to those who will visit our churches from across Sussex. It would be great if Fishbourne could reclaim the team trophy this year, so we are hoping a lot of you will sign up.
Social events are crucial to the life of any church, it is so important to play as well as pray together, so once again, to those who work so hard at organising each one, thank you on behalf of us all.
On this rock I will build my church – (June 2017)
Fishbourne Church has as many of you will know two patron saints. St Mary and of course St Peter.And you may well ask, what is a Patron Saint and why do we have them. In a nutshell, it is a saint chosen to be the special ‘intercessor’ in heaven for a particular place or organisation, such as a parish church, cathedral or hospital. In fact there are patron saints for just about every aspect of life from actors, dentists, musicians, to nurses, refugees and even the weather.
St Peter was the man on whom Jesus said he would build His church, the one who was given the keys to the kingdom.
Now when we think of the Saints, we imagine them to be very holy perfect people. But this is not so. If you read through the New Testament you will come across a great deal about Peter, much of which depicts him as a man who was unsure, a person who could be rash, irritable and at times for too hasty for his own good.
Yes, Peter is a great encouragement to us all, yes he fell short, yes it seemed as if he really did not understand Jesus very well at all and ‘let’ Him down by denying that he knew Him. But Peter was also gentle and firm, a man of great loyalty and love.
It’s quite incredible really, that the man who was a fisherman, married and not well educated would be chosen by Christ to build the church of which we are a part of to this day. Despite his somewhat wobbly start, peter was the one who addressed the crowds at Pentecost and worked miracles in Christ’s name. he refused to be silenced by the Jewish council and went on to admit the first gentile to baptism.
He encourages us to understand, that in Christ we can all do amazing things, and we are privileged to have him as one of our patron saints for Fishbourne. Many parishes hold what’s known as a patronal festival, an occasion of celebration to honour the Saint of their church.
And so, this year, on Sunday 2nd July, there will be a special service at Fishbourne, this service will involve and include the people of Apuldram and will be held at 11.00am. After the service we will have a lovely shared lunch in the hall, where there will be games, fun and hopefully lots of laughter.
So please do join us on this day, bring your family and friends as we give thanks for our patron saint, who not only intercedes on our behalf, buy encourages us even when we get things wrong.
For on this Rock, our churches are built.