2021 January 31 - Pew News


Sunday 31 January 2021 - 4th Sunday of Epiphany

The man with an unclean spirit

At 09:30 we worship virtually in an all-age Service of Parish Communion (5th Sunday of the month)
At 18:00 we offer a virtual service of said Evening Prayer (BCP).

The presiding minister at our 09:30 Service is Andrew Doye, with the assistance of Martin Brown,
The 18:00 service is led by Andrew Doye.
The readings in our morning service are Deuteronomy 18: 15-20 and Mark 1: 21-28

A Special Prayer for The Fourth Sunday of Epiphany (for you to pray at home)

God our creator,
who in the beginning
commanded the light to shine out of darkness:
we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ
may dispel the darkness of ignorance and unbelief,
shine into the hearts of all your people,
and reveal the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

Words from the Rector

“It is all about ‘the word’; the living, healing word; the powerful word, the beautiful word. It’s all about the word .. of God.”
So I began my address during Sunday morning’s worship.

The rich season of Epiphany offers many levels of engagement; many competing and complementary themes; many wonderful episodes in which the person of Christ is presented to the world’s wider attention. And in these key events, not only is he disclosed as the Holy One of
God; but God is disclosed as in our midst, awaiting our recognition and response. The particular theme, though, for me this year has been that of the Word.

We read quite a few times in the season of Christmas, and into this last month, from the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John. It is intriguing and of deep intention. We may be familiar with the opening words, the so-called Prologue: which make for the final lection in many a Christmas Carol
Service. ‘The word became flesh, and dwelt among us ...’ But, for me, this theme has stretched further than ever before into the month at hand.
There’s something very strange about the notion that the pre-existent Christ can be called ‘the word’ - logos (in the Greek New Testament). This idea of rationality, inherent in the very existence of all things and the drawing forth of Creation, might at first seem de-humanising of
Jesus of Nazareth who takes on this title. No-one wants the Galilean reduced to a philosophical concept or to an abstract idea. He is for all of us, deeply human, personal and interactive. He makes a difference in people’s lives. His effect in their midst is to have them stoop and bow; travel the Arabian sands; hear the voice of God; discover freshly their littleness and humility; wonder in amazement; leave their boats and nets; drink of the draught that is God; see themselves afresh, forgiven and released; know healing, dignity, purpose. This man is no
detached principle of the universe. He is warm, flesh and blood, compassionate and compelling. So, why ‘the Word’?

Well the word is ‘of God’ ... and as such is the communication that we need and crave. He is the pronouncement of God, into our community. He is the wisdom and the purpose; the heart and the mind.

When you and I speak, a little of us enters the space between us, and effects connection one to the other. We are ‘given’ in our words. Sometimes this is an accurate offering of our heart; sometimes the words are flawed and misleading; frail representation of who we are and long to be. Nonetheless, they are ‘of us’; and our words become an important means of conversation with the world in which we live.

With God there is no question of error or misrepresentation; no hurried outburst; no wild and raving exclamation. The Word of God is full of grace and truth. This is Jesus. And his Epiphany is at once the epiphany of God. With light he shines, and as the Word he is the glorious expression of the Father. His speaking-forth. This Word is ours to hear - and see! He addresses us; confronts us; consoles us; announces that we are set free.
The word of God is spoken in him. He is there for the discernment. He is there for the humbling. There for the eyes of the world to read; the ears of the nations to hear; and the tongues of the redeemed to tell.

Today in our episode from Mark’s Gospel - chapter 1, verses 21-28 - Jesus came into the synagogue at the lakeside town of Capernaum. He read the words of God and explained them with an authority that was unfamiliar to those who heard. He inhabited the words. He was, and is, the word. He addressed a man who was a mess-of-words, a confusion of identities, and made sense once more of that man’s existence. He rid the man of all that bound him. His holy and authoritative word brought life to that poor individual. The word of God, spoke God upon that scene. And the news of God spread in that instant through the surrounding region. We sometimes say that ‘words matter’; or that our words reveal our hearts. This Word matters. And he reveals the heart of God, and unlocks the hearts of all who listen.

Keep up the conversation!
Andrew Doye

Worship for the week ahead

Monday to Friday 8.30am Morning Prayer (or Communion on Thursday).
Please contact the Rector or Marjorie Kipling if you would like a Zoom invitation

7 February 2021
09:30 Parish Communion with hymns (‘Zoom Service’). CREATIONTIDE.
18:00 Evening Prayer (BCP)

Deanery Prayer Gathering

This Thursday, members of the Deanery will gather to pray for Compton Church and surrounding area. Currently people meet via Zoom, rather than visiting the churches. 

For our prayers (contact the Rector or Wardens to add names to this)

For the parish of Westbourne, its workplaces and residents (especially those in hardship or suffering).
For our nation, fighting the virus, delivering the vaccine, and for all key workers.
For those presently ill or in need of some extra care.
For the families of those who have died in recent weeks.


Call to Prayer

Sadly, in the last 7 days our nation passed the unwelcome milestone of 100,000 deaths attributable to the coronavirus. We join the Archbishops’ encouragement to join in prayer at 6pm each evening in February, and will welcome the tolling of the bell at the Parish Church for two minutes from 5.58pm each day. The following prayers may be a resource, together with the lighting of a candle in the darkness.

A prayer with the nation:
Gracious God,
as we remember before you the thousands who have died,
surround us and all who mourn with your strong compassion.
Be gentle with us in our grief,
protect us from despair,
and give us grace to persevere
and face the future with hope
in Jesus Christ our risen Lord.

A prayer for workers:
God our provider,
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick;
wisdom and understanding
to the scientific community searching for cures;
encouragement and clear-sightedness
to those delivering the vaccines;
imagination and perseverance
to those who enable learning in school or home:
that, through their varied works
and those of others,
much may be achieved,
and lives protected, restored and enriched;
through Christ our Lord, we pray.

A prayer in time of fear, challenge and confusion:
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
from St Patrick’s breastplate

Lent in the Parish

The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which in 2021 falls on 17 February. We plan a number of events and resources to enable your participation in this period of prayer, consideration and re-direction.

On Ash Wednesday itself, you are invited to Morning Prayer at 08:30 and/or Parish Communion at 18:00 hours; both held ‘virtually’. At each there will be the chance to mark (‘sign’) oneself with ashes to recognise this solemn day. You may like to look out for the opportunity to create or save some ashes for this purpose. Only a small amount is needed and they are helpfully crushed and then mixed with a tiny quantity of olive oil. As an alternative, you might prefer to put aside a small quantity of garden earth, which can serve a similar purpose.

Lent groups will be formulated in this coming week. The times I can set aside for my own regular participation (by Zoom) are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am. It is possible that other opportunities for gathering will also be provided. I hope in addition to gather resources from the
Diocese to help prayer and devotions that are not dependent upon Zoom, and can be done at a time suitable for each participant.

I intend to lead a Lenten Quiet Day, for which details will be published soon: a date of Saturday 27 February 2021 is in mind, with provisional timings 09:30-15:30. There will be opportunity and encouragement within the structure of that day to take exercise and spend time alone, and in thought and prayer, as well as any gathered elements.

More activities, including evening events, to follow.

Andrew Doye

The Presentation of Christ (‘Candlemas’), 2 February 2021
Candlemas is a bitter-sweet occasion. It is swathed with the joy of the birth of Jesus, the promised One; but is also shadowed in the premonition of his suffering and death (for which Mary is told, ‘and a sword shall pierce your own soul, too’). The following poem, which we read in two parts this morning, tells this two-fold tale.

POEM: Epiphany Carol
‘Mary most holy, oh maid undefiled,
What do you see when you look at your child?’
‘I see gold poured out where the manger once stood
And his tender feet nailed to a cross of hard wood.’
‘Mary most lowly, immaculate one,
What do you see when you look at your son?’
‘I see incense arising to the dwelling of God
And the rule of armed might where my gentle son trod.’
‘Mary most loving, with whom prayer is poured,
what do you see when you look at your Lord?’
‘I see myrrh and aloes anointing his head
And the babe-at-my-breast in the tomb, pierced and dead.’
’Mary most gracious, whom archangels sing,
‘What do you see when you look at your King?’
‘I see my beloved, soft-laid in a stall,
And the child of my heart raised the ruler of all.’

Closure Notice from 14 January 2021 the following actions have been implemented:

1. Closure of the Parish Church to visitors until further notice. Access will be allowed for the needs of necessary servicing and maintenance and the obtaining and storage of materials and equipment; and for use and upkeep of the Organ.
2. The cessation of all gathered services in the Parish Church, including funerals there. These decisions, you will know, have been made in response to the latest circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, locally and nationally; with particular awareness of the rising level of hospitalisations and the consequent pressures upon the NHS and other providers. The decisions will be a matter of regular review. It is not presently expected that a re-opening of the Church in the middle of the week would take place before 1 March 2021 at the earliest.
‘Zoom’ on weekday mornings - The local church continues to worship at 08:30 (for half an hour), Mondays to Fridays. As restrictions on our movements increase presently, it is suggested this might be of interest to additional members of our congregations or village. You can ‘attend’ with whatever frequency works for you, but to be added to the list of those invited please first contact

The Rector who will be pleased to add you to the daily distribution list. Just send him an email.

Westbourne Help, which did such a good job locally in the earlier months of the pandemic has been called back into being by the Parish Council to help those who are isolating or have no other support over the winter because of Covid-19. Notices are being posted around the village.
If there are causes or people that you wish to bring to the attention of the Church and its praying community, please contact Rector or Wardens, whose details are below.

Printer Printable Version