On Sunday we marked the beginning of Passiontide. The time when we turn our faces towards Jerusalem and get ready to celebrate the mystery of Easter. At Celebrate! we walked alongside Jesus and looked once more at the events of Holy Week.
The first day of Holy Week is the day we call Palm Sunday. As Jesus and his friends walked to Jerusalem, they came to a village nestling in the sun at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Jesus stopped and said to two of his friends. ‘Go into the village. There you will find a donkey. Untie it and bring it to me.’ They did as Jesus had said. A large crowd of people saw Jesus coming along on his donkey and spread their cloaks on the road. Others ran to cut branches from the trees and waved them. The crowds began to shout, ‘Hosanna!’
The temple was the most important building in Jerusalem. It towered high above the streets and houses. Jesus went into the temple. And what did he find? He found all the noise of the town spilling through its doors. Market stallholders were shouting. Sheep and goats were bleating. Doves were flapping and cooing in their wooden cages. He marched into the temple forecourt and drove out everyone who was buying or selling. He turned over the tables of the moneychangers and threw down the benches of those who were selling doves. ‘The scriptures say, “My house should be called a place of prayer. But you have turned it into a den of thieves,”‘ he said.
Jesus went back to the temple each day to teach the people about God. The Pharisees and the chief priests didn’t like what they heard. Jesus’ stories had hard-hitting messages which they realised were often about them! They put their heads together and thought up a plan to trick Jesus into saying something wrong.
‘We have to pay our taxes to the Roman Emperor. We can’t serve him and God! Let’s see what Jesus has to say about that.’
Jesus flipped the coin over in the palm of his hand. ‘Whose picture and name is on this coin?’ he asked. ‘The Emperor’s,’ they replied. ‘Give to the Emperor what belongs to him and give to God what belongs to God,’ said Jesus.
On the day we know as Maundy Thursday, Jesus and his friends gathered together in the Upper Room to celebrate the Passover meal. Jesus bewildered them with his talk of betrayal and death…He surprised them with bread and wine…He humbled them with water and words of love and the Holy Spirit.
Later in the garden of Gethsemene: Judas with the soldiers and his 30 pieces of silver, Peter with his sword, and Jesus in the midst of it all, patient, and solid and accepting – like a lamb to the slaughter.
Peter’s heart must have burned within him as the cock crowed and he denied his Lord three time whilst the soldiers whipped and spat and sneered at the Son of God.
On Good Friday, on a lonely hill outside the city Jesus was crucified while soldiers gambled for his robe. At about three o’clock in the afternoon the Son of God cried out in agony, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and died.
Later that day, the disciples took his body down from the cross and placed him in a tomb nearby. A great stone was rolled in front to close it like a locked door.
On Saturday, Holy Saturday, everything was quiet.
Early on Sunday morning, before the sun had risen, the women went to the tomb. They wanted to be near Jesus one last time. But when they arrived, they found that the stone had been rolled away.
The tomb was empty!
There are family-friendly services throughout Holy Week – why not come along?
Palm Sunday 13th April 10.30am Celebrate! (Meet the donkey at 10am on the Common behind Golden Square and walk to church)
Maundy Thursday 17th April 5.30pm Tea and All Age Worship followed by foot washing
Good Friday 18th April 10am Celebrate!
Easter Day 20th April 10.30am Celebrate!
(With thanks to Sue Doggett and ‘Barnabas in Churches’ whose work our journey was based on)
As we reach the end of the course to prepare our children to receive Holy Communion we looked this week at temptation and saying sorry. We began with the story of Jesus in the wilderness. We gathered in church and opened the bag to find we had a little piece of the desert with us.
After he was baptised, Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the desert where for forty days and forty nights, he stayed alone…talking with God….and wondering which way he should go. Jesus had eaten nothing and he was very hungry.
Then the evil one came to Jesus and said, “if you really are the special Son of God, turn these stones into bread.”…Jesus was very hungry. Bread would taste so good. Jesus wondered…then Jesus said, ‘No!’ Jesus said, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
Then the evil one came to Jesus a second time and took him to Jerusalem, the holy city of God. Here the evil one set Jesus on the highest point of the Temple. The evil one said, “if you really are the special Son of God, prove it. Throw yourself down. For it is written:‘“He will command his angels concerning you,and they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’
Jesus wondered…if angels saved him everyone would know he was special and they would follow him. Then Jesus said, “No! ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
Then the evil one came to Jesus a third time and took him to a very high mountain. “Look,” said the evil one. “Here are all the nations of the world. Look how wonderful they are. I will give all of them to you, if you will worship me.”
It would be wonderful to be king of all these nations. Jesus wondered…then Jesus said, “No! Go away, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’
The evil one left Jesus. And Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God.
Then it was over to Church House to learn a bit about saying sorry for the things we do that are wrong.
First of all, we helped Karen recap the story.
Then we helped Amelia to sequence our memory verse.
We then split into our groups. The older ones learned about how a temptation becomes a sin and they thought hard about the choices we make by looking at the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Little ones were each given a picture of their soul. We talked about how our souls start off all lovely and clean…
…but when we do things that are wrong it is like scribbling all over them…but when we say sorry our souls are wiped clean again.
This was our last session of Welcome to the Lord’s Table before Easter but there are lots of opportunities for families to worship together at St Peter’s before then. You are all invited to join us at our 10.30am family-friendly service every Sunday but especially on
30th March Celebrate! Communion for Mothering Sunday.
6th April Celebrate! All Age Worship – ‘A Walk through Holy Week’
13th April Celebrate! Communion for Palm Sunday
20th April Celebrate! Easter Communion when three of our children will be admitted to Communion
Come and join us.
The Little Fishes gathered this week for their last instalment in the story of Joshua. The People of God had crossed the River Jordan and finally entered the Promised Land after forty years wandering in the desert. They had now reached the city of Jericho.
We shared the story of how the walls of Jericho came tumbling down and then it was time to act it out. Rev’d Peter and James became our chief engineers and helped us build a magnificent wall out of cardboard boxes. We made ourselves some paper trumpets and got ready to march around the city. We had heard in the story how the People of God marched round the city in silence each day. We found this quite hard to do. But then the seventh day arrived and we shouted and yelled and blew on our trumpets and our cardboard walls came tumbling down.
Then it was time for some sticking and we made our own walls of Jericho.
But we just couldn’t leave all those boxes alone so we hid in them…
…and built towers with them…
…and made camps with them.
Little Fishes is our ‘mums and tots’ group which meets every Friday in church from 2pm. There is no charge and all babies, toddlers and pre-school children are very welcome to come along with their carers for songs, stories, craft and play.
The Transfiguration of Jesus and prayer were our themes at In2mission this week. We shared the story of Jesus going up the mountain to talk to God and what happened next in church.
Once over in church House we learnt that prayer is a golden gift from God….
We heard that Jesus knew all about prayer…that he prayed early in the morning…he prayed late into the night…he prayed for this friends…and for those who would have counted themselves his enemies…And we remembered the story when he prayed for little children…how he laid his hands upon them and he blessed them…
One day, when Jesus was praying, his friends came up to him and said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’, so we opened the box and shared the Lord’s Prayer together.
Our heavenly Father is better than the best father we could ever imagine. He cares for us so much that he wants you to call him ‘Daddy’. He loves us even more than a mother hen loves her chicks…OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN…
When we pray we need to remember that our heavenly Father is very holy. He is all that is good… all that is light…HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME…
Our heavenly Father loves us so much that he has spread his love to every corner of the world… north… south… east… west…YOUR KINGDOM COME…YOUR WILL BE DONE…ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
Our heavenly Father loves us so much that he wants us to have every good thing we need…he loves us to ask him… he loves us to share our lives with him.
Our daily bread is not just the toast we have for breakfast… or the ham sandwiches we have for lunch. It is everything we need…our friends…our families…our homes…clothes to keep us warm…food and love to nourish us…GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
Now God knows that we don’t always get things right…and he has given us the ten best ways to help us live and to help us to know when we get things wrong…and He wants us to love as we are loved…FORGIVE US OUR SINS AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST US.
God knows that there are things that make us stumble and fall… there are grey areas when we are not sure whether we are doing right or wrong…LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL…Our Heavenly Father will never, ever turn his back on us… he will never, ever let us go…
YOURS IS THE KINGDOM…THE POWER…AND THE GLORY…FOREVER AND EVER…AMEN.
The Older Ones talked a little bit more about prayer with Karen and used our prayer rocks to help them as they learnt about different types of prayer. They finished with a time of prayer and lit some candles.
The Little Ones coloured their own copy of the Lord’s Prayer to take home.
Not everyone wanted to colour, so with a bit of help from James, one Little One retold the prayer all to himself.
In2mission is our Sunday club to which all children aged 3 and over are very welcome. We meet next on 23rd March during the 10.30am Celebrate! service.
(With thanks to ‘The Lord’s Prayer Unplugged’ by Lucy Moore)
The Churchwardens of Henfield, Shermanbury, and Woodmancote are now able to confirm that the Rev’d Paul Doick is to be our new Vicar/Rector. Paul will take up the incumbency once the statutory 3 month’s notice has been served at his current parish of St John the Baptist, Hove.
Paul and his wife Jan will be joining us in June, and the licensing will take place possibly in July.
The Little Fishes gathered this week to hear the first instalment in the story of Joshua.
We heard that Joshua was feeling very sad because his friend and leader, Moses, had died, and he didn’t know what to do. So we found Joshua’s sad face.
‘Joshua, you will be the leader,’ said God. Joshua was surprised.
‘You will take the people into their new land. They will build homes and be happy.’
Joshua was worried about becoming the leader. ‘Can I really do that?’ He asked.
God told Joshua to remember what Moses had taught him, ‘I will be with you all the time.’ Joshua thought about it and was happy.
Then it was time for colouring, biscuits and play.
Little Fishes is our ‘mums and tots’ group which meets every Friday in church from 2pm. There is no charge and all babies, toddlers and pre-school children are very welcome to come along with their carers for songs, stories, craft and play. Join us next Friday as we find out what happened to Joshua next.
Last Sunday’s theme was ‘Who were Jesus’ friends?’ as we met to continue preparing some of our young people to receive Holy Communion at Easter. In church, we began by hearing how Jesus called his first disciples, Peter and Andrew, James and John, by the Sea of Galilee.
Then it time to learn a little bit more about being disciples over in Church House.
The Little ones fished for disciples to help us learn their names…
…whilst the older ones matched the disciples with their symbols and learnt a little bit about their lives.
Then it was time for some making fun. The Little Ones made their own set of disciples out of playdough.
We counted them several times to make sure that we had 12.
The older ones used some olive oil to draw the cross on each other’s foreheads just like when they were baptised and talked about how they already belonged to Christ. They each made a little clay fish to keep by their beds to remind them to follow Jesus throughout the week ahead.
In2mission meets again on 9th March during the 10.30am Celebrate! Service when we will begin looking at prayer. All children aged 3 and over are welcome to join us.
This afternoon the Little Fishes picked up their story box to discover which story about Jesus they would be sharing but when they shook the box there wasn’t any sound. One Little Fishy suggested it might be a cloud. He might have had inside information because when we opened the box there was a light, fluffy cloud with the message, ‘This is my Son.’
We smoothed out the green grass and counted out the disciples.
When we were sure that we had the right number the story began.
Jesus and his disciples had been teaching in the countryside. Then Jesus told them, ‘I must go to Jerusalem for the Passover. I will be killed, but on the third day I will be alive again.’ The disciples could not believe this.Then he led Peter, James and John to a high mountain to talk with God.
As Jesus was talking with God his face began to shine as bright as the sun and his clothes became dazzling white. Elijah and Moses appeared beside Jesus. Suddenly a cloud covered them.
The disciples were terrified. Then a voice said, ‘This is my special son, whom I love. Listen to him. Looking round the disciples saw only Jesus. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ Jesus said. ‘Come follow me.’
The Little Fishes carefully and quietly helped to pack the story away.
Then it was time for some sticking. We each made our own fluffy, white cloud to help us remember the story.
Little Fishes is our ‘mums and tots’ group which meets every Friday (including half term) in church from 2pm. There is no charge and all babies, toddlers and pre-school children are very welcome to come along with their carers for songs, stories, craft and play. Join us next week for another story about Jesus.
(With thanks to ‘Following Jesus’ by Sonja M Stewart on which our story was based.)
Deanery Confirmation Service with +Martin
The Bishop of Chichester, the Right Reverend Dr. Martin Warner, led a joyful Deanery Confirmation Service at Holy Trinity, Hurstpierpoint on Friday 31st January.
Among the candidates was Henry from Henfield, who was delighted with the experience. If you would like more information about Baptism and Confirmation, please contact St. Peter’s Church Office on 01273 495532.
The rest of the Little Fishes gathered to a resounding rendition of ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. Then it was time to discover what was inside our very sparkly story box.
One Little Fish was insistent there was a fish inside but everyone else said there wasn’t because there wasn’t any water but he was right!
A blue fish with the message, ‘You will be fishers of men’, which sounded like a clue for a story…This is the Sea of Galilee.
Many different people live by the Sea of Galilee…Some are poor…Some are sick…Some are children…Some are in the fishing business.
Jesus said many amazing things and did such wonderful things that people followed him…he came close to the sick…He encouraged the poor…He blessed the children…And he taught the people…’This is the way God wants us to care for each other…this is the way of the kingdom of God.’ But they did not understand, so he said, ‘Come follow Me. I will make you fishers of men.’…Peter and Andrew left their nets to follow Jesus. Then James and John followed too.
Then it was time to make our own fishes. One Little Fishy made a whole shoal of fish!
Little Fishes is our ‘mums and tots’ group which meets every Friday in church from 2pm. There is no charge and all babies, toddlers and pre-school children are very welcome to come along with their carers for stories, songs, craft, play and biscuits. Join us next week for another story about Jesus.
(With thanks to ‘Following Jesus’ by Sonja M Stewart on which our story was based.)