A Prayer for the week

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:
for in your abundant care you have given us fertile land,
rich soil, the seasons in their courses.
You provide seed for sowing, water, light and warmth
to bring forth the miracle of growth.
You give us skill to work the land,
to prepare and nourish it, that it may be fruitful.
Prosper the work of our hands,
and provide abundant crops for your people to share.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

A Prayer for the week (by Sr Margaret Dewey, USPG)

I can only see a little of the road ahead.
I can’t see my final destination.
I can’t even see over the next hill.
and I know there’ll be other ups and downs beyond it –
high points from which one can see quite a long view,
valleys where the hills shut one in.
And some of those clouds may mean storms.
But the great thing is to have started!
thank you for calling me,
and setting my feet on the way.
Thank you for the map of the way,
which is yourself.
help me to persevere.

A Prayer for the week

Creator God,
there is so much that is strange in our lives at present.
Help us to pay attention to your creation,
so that we may see you in the common and everyday.
Shepherd Jesus,
as we walk through this rapidly changing world,
help us to know you walk with us.
If our path runs through the valley of the shadow
may we see your light and know your comfort as you lead us.
Comforting Spirit,
as we go about our ordinary lives, surprise us with glimpses of holy ground.
Blessed Trinity, Creator, Shepherd, Spirit,
surround us with you love, now and always.

Giving at this time

Although our churches are now open for services, our numbers are restricted and many people are not yet ready to return to our church buildings. This means are collections are considerably down, and we have had to cancel our fundraising events. At the same time, our spending has not fallen significantly and we have not reduced what we pay those kind people who keep the churches clean and the churchyards looking so beautiful.
We would love a little more support to make ends meet so if you have been wondering whether you could help the church, now would be a really good time to do so. Ideally, you may wish to support us through the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) which is tax-efficient and helps our administration. We can either send you a form to complete (please email the appropriate church treasurer, or ask Mthr Nicol) or you can phone the PGS directly. Their phone number is 0333 002 1271. You will need to have to hand: your bank account details, whether you wish to increase your gift in line with inflation each year (we hope so but if not we shall still be grateful), confirm if you are eligible for Gift Aid and the PGS code for the church you wish to give to (Highbrook: 102010161 or West Hoathly: 100610170).

A Prayer for Srebrenica Memorial Week

O God of truth and justice,
we remember today the consequences of hatred
in lives brutally extinguished
in hearts torn apart
in memories scarred with pain.
As we remember and honour the victims of hatred,
lead us to sorrow over the sins of humanity.
Draw close, we pray,
to mothers and sisters,
wives and grandmothers
and all relatives and loved ones left behind,
and heal the pain in their souls.
And teach us, O Lord,
to learn how to live for a world
where differences are respected and valued,
and where fear and mistrust
can never overwhelm us
nor vengeance be stirred in our hearts.
Give peace we pray, to the people of Srebrenica;
that their lives may be restored
through your grace.

25 years ago, on 11 July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces, led by General Ratko Mladić overran and captured the town of Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia which had been declared a UN Safe Area. In the days following, more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered and buried in mass graves. Thousands of women, children and the elderly were forcibly deported.
On the 11th July, we honour the victims and survivors of genocide, and pledge to creating a better, stronger, and more cohesive society in the United Kingdom. By doing this we give ourselves hope of illuminating the darkness and creating a safer community for all.

Food bank and the Basket of Blessings by Emma Mahony

Unusually, my eye was drawn to the simple empty ‘basket of blessings’ in the
church door when I entered St Margaret’s after Lockdown, because I felt that
its image had spurred me on to action during the pandemic. With the church
and village hall closed, and with support from Mother Nicol (who was advising
the congregation to put extra food in the supermarket collection points at this
stage), I set about getting four food collection points set up around the
neighbouring villages. In Sharpthorne in our own Costcutter’s, where my son
was working we added the first, then premium organic fare at Plawhatch Farm,
followed by Horsted Keynes Store and the Fellows Barkery in Ardingly.
The response and the generosity of the villages were immediately
overwhelming, and around Easter we were having to re-empty the baskets daily
to make space for all the food. If there had been hoarding in the early days,
people were now giving back all that extra food, and buying some more pasta
and sauce on top.
As I began to take the boxes to the central Emergency Food Hub in Haywards
Heath Town Hall, an additional centre to the Trussell Trust food banks
because they were struggling to manage double their capacity during the
pandemic, I noticed how basic the ingredients were that were being sent out.
With a little help from the fellow foodbank volunteer Lucinda Meagher, a
former employee of the IMPACT foundation, a charity based in Haywards
Heath, and Fiona Rocks in Ardingly, we set about getting funds to add
something extra to these basic boxes.
Within weeks, we were sending out healthy recipes using donations and
additional fresh food, such as eggs and cheese, for families. Before long we had
32 recipe bags going out to 32 families of four or more weekly.
The feedback has been really positive, with many families reporting doing more
cooking together, and asking for outdoor cooking sessions in the summer.
That call to Mother Nicol has resulted in over 1,000 meals going out in the
local area, supported by the generosity of the parish.

Public Worship in church

We are still waiting for government and Church of England guidance to be
published regarding the opening of churches for public worship. Once we
have received this guidance, we will let you know more details on how this will
work for us to enable us to gather again at our churches safely. In the
meantime, please continue to join us for online worship.

A Prayer for the Week by St Julian of Norwich

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.
In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving.
You are our mother, brother, and Saviour.
In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvellous and plenteous grace.
You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.
You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.
Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well,
and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Leavers’ Bibles

At the end of the school year, we will be presenting the 10 Year 6 leavers of West Hoathly Primary School with a Bible – a symbol of our Christian care and nature for the young people of our Church school, and a reminder to them of their time there. If you would like to sponsor a Bible (at a cost of £14.40 per Bible), please speak to Mthr Nicol.