Our Church School

To the members of the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

9 July 2020

Dear Friends,

It is a delight to have the Church open every day once again.   With the rows of seats in the centre of church moved to the side, the Church’s beauty can be appreciated anew.   Seats are now placed socially distanced apart.  I hope those who have already been to church feel that we have done all we can to ensure people feel safe.

Now that the Church is open, this will be the last of the pastoral letters sent weekly, but we shall continue to send booklets to those who are housebound or self-isolating..   ‘Keep on praying and never lose heart.’ (Luke 18.1)   During the lockdown many of us have had more time to reflect and pray.    It is remarkable how often the Gospels mention Jesus praying.  We are told he rises early in the morning to pray on his own (Mark 1.35).  We are told too that his custom was to take part in the public prayers on the Sabbath day in the synagogue (Luke 4.16) In these letters I have tried to suggest different ways of praying, such as meditative prayer paying attention to one’s breathing, or using scripture to pray from – reading slowly, repeating a phrase and seeing what prayer arises.   By these means we build up a spiritual alertness and create a place within where we can retreat wherever we are.  But the summit of Christian prayer remains praying the Thanksgiving together: ‘Do this in memory of me.’

Next Sunday Mass will be said at 8.00, 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30 with the 10.30 Mass again more informal and aimed at children with their families and the 11.30 Mass streamed live and available later via Faceboook for those at home.   Mass is now being offered at 10.30 and 6.00 pm Mondays to Fridays and Saturday at 10.30.   Morning and Evening Prayer are being said at 8.30 and 5.30 pm Mondays to Fridays.  The Rosary will continue to be said on Wednesdays at 10 am and streamed live.

With good wishes and prayers for you all,

Peter

Priest-in-Charge, Christ Church

To the members of the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

2 July 2020

Dear Friends,

 The good news, as I wrote last week, is that from Sunday 5 July we shall be able to invite all who wish to come to church to celebrate the Mass.   The Government’s guidance emphasises the need to maintain social distancing and at present does not permit singing in church.  There is not a specific limitation on numbers attending Mass but it seems prudent to offer a series of Masses on Sunday morning.   So Mass will be said at 8.00, 9.30, 10.30 and 11.30.   The 10.30 Mass will be more informal and aimed at children with their families. The 11.30 Mass will be streamed (not at 10.30 as in past months).   As at present, all celebrations will be in the main body of the Church and you will see a different arrangement of the chairs to permit necessary distancing but of course family units may sit together.   We shall carry out sanitising cleaning between each service.   We shall keep this pattern on a Sunday morning for the next two weeks and then review it.

We shall also resume the celebration of the eucharist at the former times in the week.   So Mass will be at 10.30 and 6.00 pm from Monday to Friday and at 10.30 on Saturday morning.   This is a bolder step.   I am grateful to my fellow clergy for making this possible.   Perhaps we can think about whether we can support this by attending more frequently when we can.  I like to think that none of my colleagues will come to the altar and find no-one with whom to celebrate.

Praying together is easier than prayer on one’s own.  People rely on the prayers we offer each day at Mass, and each day we are given a new portion of holy scripture to ponder.  The depths of meaning contained in the eucharist are never exhausted.  St Thomas Aquinas summed it up in an antiphon he wrote for Corpus Christi:  ‘O sacred feast in which we partake of Christ, his sufferings are remembered, our minds are filled with his grace, and we receive a pledge of the glory which is to be ours, alleluia.’

With good wishes and prayers for you all,

+Peter

Priest-in-Charge, Christ Church

30 Days of Wild – Topaz & Coral Classes

 

To the members of the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

25 June 2020

Dear Friends,

 The good news is that from Saturday 4 July we can hold services in church, albeit under limited circumstances.   At present I am waiting to see the detail of the Government’s guidance and then our Bishop’s reflections on it.   It looks as if, to begin with, we can hold a service of up to 30 people but without allowing singing.  I am consulting with the Churchwardens and clergy about what we should do on a Sunday morning.   I am confident we shall have a Mass at 8 am and that as at present all celebrations will be in the main body of the Church.   What times we have Masses later in the morning needs further thought.   We shall need to maintain social distancing and be careful after each service to sanitise. We are fortunate to have a large and airy church and, with the summer weather, to be able to keep the doors open.  I will send a further letter at this time next week with more detail.

The evidence is that the lock down has exacerbated social tensions.   When I undertook a questionnaire for parishes in Brighton, they mentioned concerns about stress, debt, drug and alcohol abuse, loneliness, student anxieties about relationships and self-worth, the lack of affordable family housing and the cost of activities for lone parents.   We see these challenges also in our own parish, especially through our School.  So there is a lot to think about as we consider our future mission.   One of the tasks of our new Rector is to lead us through a new mission action plan for the next five years.

As Jane Hart and Heather Brice have pointed out in their poems, there have also been blessings during this lock down.  I hope we can at some point exchange more of our reflections about this time.

With good wishes and prayers for you all,

+Peter

Priest-in-Charge, Christ Church and St Mary Magdalene & SS Peter & Paul

School Worship – 16th June 2020

In school we have been continuing our worship time in classes to keep us safely in our ‘bubbles’.  We have been singing along to some of our favourite songs, exploring our termly theme of community and watching Fr Nick’s collective worship videos.  Follow the links below to watch Fr Nick and share our worship at home.

Kindness

Everyone is needed

The Ascension and mental Health Awareness Week

28 May 2020

To the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

Dear Friends,

Next Sunday is Whitsunday, Pentecost, one of the great feast days of the Church, when we remember how the apostles were emboldened by the Holy Spirit to begin spreading the Gospel.  It is often called ‘the birthday of the Church’.

‘The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness’, writes St Paul in his Letter to the Romans.   I feel I cannot do better than commend to you what I wrote previously about a ‘spiritual exercise’.   I have now added a further ‘exercise’ which I find helpful and don’t use as frequently as I profitably could.

We celebrated Fr Christopher Hopkins’ Funeral with solemnity and joy last Wednesday. I was conscious that in other circumstances the Church would have been full for the Mass.   We hope to have a memorial service at a later date. It was a comfort to see a few members of the congregation in the road as we bore the coffin from the Church for burial in Peasmarsh, where he had served as incumbent.    The weather was beautiful.   Former parishioners and friends had gathered at a respectable social distance and he was laid to rest just beyond the east end of the Church, close to the altar where he had ministered for thirty years.

Many thanks to those who have responded in different ways to the letter from the Churchwardens and Treasurer about our current finances.   Trevor Davies tells us that in addition to the monthly deficit of £1,500, which we were vigorously addressing, we are now also losing £3,000 of usual monthly income.

So their letter is repeated in the booklet.

Wishing you Whtisun joy – the Spirit lives and moves in us,

+ Peter

22nd May 2020 Easter

To the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

 Dear Friends,

 A retired priest, Fr Simon Acland, has recently told me this story.  ‘When I was Vicar of St Paul’s in Singapore one of the Chinese parishioners told me about her visits back to China ‘in the old days’ of Chairman Mao.  Chinese from South East Asia continued to visit their families though they were carefully watched.   I asked Joyce how she coped, as a Christian, when Christianity there was forbidden. She told me that when things were really bad she could not meet other Christians but, she added, of course she continued to make her communion.  “But how could she possibly?” I asked.   Joyce told me that there was a bread seller at the local market and, though the authorities didn’t know it, he was an Anglican priest. If, when you went to buy your bread in the morning, you said a password, he would give you bread from a different part of his cart than from where he was selling bread to everyone else. This bread was consecrated. This was the Body of Christ with which he fed the faithful at the cost of his life.’

 After marvelling at his courage, I felt a bit ashamed– we at this time cannot even give the faithful Holy Communion except at the end of life.  But the situations are different.   We are deprived of Church to help save lives.   And then I realised that there are some similarities. Being a Christian means being part of a visible community, the Church.   Our Lord did not leave a corpus of writing with rules to be followed like the old Law – though later the Gospel writers wrote up his memorable doings and sayings.   Jesus asked to be remembered by his followers coming together in a symbolic meal. People sometimes say, ‘I can be just as good a Christian without coming to Church.’  That is to miss the point.   To follow Jesus Christ is to do what he asked us to do to remember him.   It is as a community that we follow him.   The Chinese authorities know how dangerous such a community can be.   Let us hope that soon we can reassemble safely and again become his more visible Body.

We continue to stream the Sunday Mass at 10.30 am and the Rosary on Wednesday at 10 am via Facebook Live.

The  link to see this is:

With prayers day by day for you all,

 + Peter

22nd May 2020

To the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

Dear Friends,

In my last letter I said that we would post the Ascension Day Mass on YouTube, but we have decided to stream the Mass live at 10.30 and then it will be accessible on the Church website. And we shall continue to stream the Sunday Mass at 10.30 am and the Rosary on Wednesday at 10 am via Facebook Live.

A booklet for the Ascension is attached.

With best wishes and continuing prayers,

+ Peter

15th May 2020

Dear Friends,

 Next Thursday the Church celebrates the Lord’s Ascension. The readings for the day are listed in the attached booklet.    I am grateful to Fr Paul Hunt for allowing me to share with you the homily he has written for this major feast day (a ‘solemnity’) of the Church’s year.   We are sorry that the sound quality of the streamed Sunday Mass has not been good.   We continue to experiment and the PCC Standing Committee has encouraged us to buy any further equipment we may need.   On Thursday we shall celebrate Mass in the morning and then post it on YouTube, so that it will be accessible on the Church website throughout the day.    Again this is an experiment which we hope will work but you will already have the readings and a homily.

On the Church’s Facebook page are two photographs of the steeplejacks working on the Church’s spire and tower.  Heritage Stone Access have sent us an interim report to say that overall the condition of the spire and tower is good but there needs to be some repair work.  If you are passing the Church, look up (carefully) and you will see that the ladders are still in place.  We shall now need to agree with our architect, Peter Pritchett, and with Heritage Stone Access what must be done.   All this will require further expenditure.

Last week we posted on the booklet the letter from the Churchwardens.  What we are missing is income especially from the green envelopes and from the collection plate.    Could I ask you to read this letter again in the enclosed booklet and act accordingly?

 If you wish to continue giving through the green envelopes and are running out of envelopes, could you let Trevor Davies, our Honorary Treasurer, know – via a letter, e-mail or phone message to the Parish Office.   The postal address, email address and telephone number are all on the Parish Directory on the last page of the booklet.

 For the first three centuries after Jesus’s death and resurrection Christians worshipped in houses, sometimes extending their houses to accommodate this, but as soon as it was permissible, the Church began buildings specifically for Christian assembly and worship.  For many of us it is through worship in church that we experience most strongly the sense of God’s presence with us.   It is hard to be deprived of this now, but eventually we shall be back in church and in the meantime we can use this time to practise the presence of God in other ways – in prayer and in service.

 The men from Heritage Stone Access commented on the good quality of the repairs to the roof.   Many of you worked hard some years ago to raise the money for this.   We have managed so far to keep our beautiful church in good order and with your help we shall continue to do so, not just for our own benefit but for generations to come.

 With best wishes and continuing prayers,

 + Peter

 Bishop Peter Wheatley          Priest-in-Charge, Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

30 April 2020

To the congregation of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

Dear Friends,

I first met my goddaughter in New Zealand when she was five years old.   We hit it off well and I was allowed to read her a bedtime story.   Every night she wanted the story of Rumpelstiltskin and she knew it so well that I wasn’t allowed to skip a few lines.   The queen has been helped by a little goblin to weave gold thread from straw but the contract is that she must give him her baby unless she can guess his name.   At the third attempt she guesses the name ‘Rumpelstiltskin’.   This was the power of the story for my goddaughter and why she wanted it repeated. If you can name what threatens you, you have overcome the danger or at least begun to overcome it.

It is the same with us now.   Our nervous system starts to calm down when we can name what we are feeling.   Tension is released when we are heard, either by our own inner voice or by someone sympathetic listening.   This is for many of us a diffiicult time.   There are common sense things we can do.   Stretch your body if you are sitting for long periods.  Call at least one other person in the day on the telephone and ask yourself how you feel after that.   There are spiritual resources.  Calm yourself by listening to your breathing and add a prayer to it (see previous letters).  Read a  psalm such as 23 or 121.  Perhaps try learning it by heart.  Remember what you can thank God for.   Some people are enjoying the quiet – if so, don’t feel gulity about this.   Thank God and say a prayer or two for others.

We continue to stream the Sunday Mass at 10.30 am and the Rosary on Wednesdays at 10 am via Facebook Live. The  link to see this is:

https://www.facebook.com/ChChStLeonards/    You may not have access to the internet  but we hope that the enclosed/attached booklet enables you to pray and reflect in your own time.

Christ is risen, alleluia.

Wishing you Easter joy,

Bishop Peter Wheatley          Priest-in-Charge, Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

26th April 2020

Dear Friends,

 We are all in different situations during this lockdown.   Some of us are on our own, some of us are in family groups.   Each of us prays according to our circumstances.   This was the message of St Francis de Sales (1567-1622) in his Introduction to the Devout Life.  ‘When God created the world He commanded each tree to bear fruit after its kind; and even so he bids Christians, the living trees of his Church, to bring forth fruits of devotion, each one according to his kind and vocation.’  He did not expect the pattern of devotion of a nun to be the same as that of a mother in a busy family or someone in full time work. In fact he defines ‘devotion’ in quite active terms as ‘the spiritual alertness which makes respond wholeheartedly and promptly to what love asks of us’. 

But how do we develop spiritual alertness?   St Francis says we must all take time to create an inner space, an inner sanctuary.   We are to place ourselves in the presence of God, perhaps through using the breathing exercise I have previously commended or, one of St Francis’s suggestions: imagine that you are in the company of Jesus – on the road to Emmaus, or at the pool of Bethesda where he heals, or even at the foot of the Cross where he gazes on you silently with compassion.   Maybe this lockdown gives us the time to practise this.   Then however busy or frustrated or lonely we are, we have a place to retreat to, even when engaged on other tasks.  ‘Revolt, doubt, misery, fear (are) all like hungry dogs barking outside the house, while you are secure within.’ 

 We continue to stream the Sunday Mass at 10.30 am and the Rosary on Wednesdays at 10 am via Facebook Live. The  link to see this is:

https://www.facebook.com/ChChStLeonards/   We hope that the weekly booklet enables you to pray and reflect in your own time.

 Christ is risen, alleluia.   Wishing you joy as we continue through Eastertide,

16 April 2020

Dear Friends,

According to a national poll, half the population feel unsafe. Some compare this situation to the Second World War, but the difference is that then people had a sense of impending disaster, now we had little warning. We are in shock.

We are part of God’s amazing creation, and from our evolution over millions of years we have retained some primitive reactions. When an animal senses danger, it takes a decision, either to stand and confront, or run, hide or camoflage. We still have these natural instincts of self-preservation. So when we feel unsafe because of the present epidemic, our body as well as our mind goes into overdrive. Each of us reacts in different ways. Some get a boost of energy; this is not going to get me down and we find lots of things to do. Some feel lost or listless or wanting to cry. Many of us feel a range of these different emotions at different times. And our bodies react to stress in different ways – which can lead to a range of symptoms we don’t usually experience.

Our spiritual resources can help, which is why three weeks ago I sent the Breathing Exercise and the Examen. I am resending them now. Concentrating on our breathing, even for a short while, can lead to calm and a greater sense of awareness of what is going on around us and within us. The Examen helps us to become more honest about what we are feeling as we resume the day, and to be thankful and hopeful.

Fr Nick said at the beginning of the lockdown, ‘This is a marathon not a sprint’ and so it is proving to be. The three of us licensed clergy, Fr Nick, Fr Richard and me, have been trying to keep track of how people are faring, and if you are sensing you would like a chat, you are very welcome to telephone one of us. We enjoy speaking to you. Our telephone numbers and other details are on the last page of the attached Sunday booklet.

We continue to stream the Sunday Mass at 10.30 am and the Rosary on Wednesdays at 10 am via Facebook Live. The link to see this is:

https://www.facebook.com/ChChStLeonards/   Whether you access this or not, we hope that you are enabled to pray and reflect in your own time.

The clergy are allowed to say Mass in private and we do so daily, remembering you all in our prayers there.

Wishing you Easter joy,

Bishop Peter Wheatley Acting Priest-in-Charge, Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea

 

Easter 2020 letter from Mrs Singh and Mr Thorne

Good Friday Service from Diocese of Chichester

The Triduum and Easter Day

9 April 2020

Dear Friends,

We are now on the cusp of the most solemn days of the Church’s year.   I attach patterns of prayer which you may care to use to mark these days.

On Maundy Thursday (today) we shall offer Mass in Church around the time in the late afternoon when Jesus met with his disciples for the Last Supper.

On Good Friday we shall celebrate the Liturgy of the Day beginning at the time of Jesus’s death on the Cross.

On the third day very early in the morning the women come to the tomb and find it empty.   I hope that you will, despite these difficult days, be able to feel something of the joy of Easter.

We shall stream our liturgies on Thursday at 6.30 pm, on Friday at 3.00 pm and on Sunday live at 10.30am via Facebook Live. The  link to see this is:

https://www.facebook.com/ChChStLeonards/   We don’t believe at present that you need to be registered on Facebook to access this (see previous e-mail about this).

You may not wish to view these but we hope that the booklets enable you to pray and reflect in your own time.

As we have said previously, if you are concerned for the welfare of yourself or someone else, please be in touch with one of us.   Human beings were made to be in community (cf. Genesis 2. 18) and it is hard to be cut off from each other.   Our telephone numbers and other details are on the back of the Sunday booklet.

The clergy are allowed to say Mass in private and we continue to do so daily, remembering you all our prayers there.

Wishing you joy at Easter,

Bishop Peter Wheatley

3 April 2020

Dear Friends,

Still in ‘lockdown’ we have to find other ways of celebrating Holy Week.  I am attaching a copy of the Palm Sunday booklet for you to use as you wish.

Each day in Holy Week we follow Jesus on his way to the Cross.  If you look in the booklet you will see listed the readings that are read at Mass from Monday to Wednesday.  The readings from Isaiah about God’s suffering servant give us an insight into Jesus’s self-understanding.   The final song of the servant is read on Good Friday.  On Maundy Thursday Jesus creates a new Israel with a new covenant and a new law.  ‘This is my blood of the new covenant, shed for you and for many, so that sins may be forgiven’ – so that there may be shalom, peace.   And a new law: ‘This is my commandment, “Love one another.”’   On Friday we ask: how does the suffering and death of one man bring life for the whole world?   We look at how Jesus changes our understanding of who God is.  With the reading of the Passion according to St John we explore more deeply the meanings to which the Cross point.  On Saturday evening we see the Passover – the passing over from old religion to new, the new exodus, passing from slavery to freedom.  On Sunday we suddenly understand what has happened.  With St John we see and we believe, because we have faithfully followed Jesus as he makes his way from Bethany on Palm Sunday to Golgotha on Good Friday and the new tomb.

We will again stream our Sunday Mass live at 10.30am on Sunday via Facebook Live. The link to see this is: https://www.facebook.com/ChChStLeonards/     We’ve had feedback that many have been able to watch the live streamed Mass on Facebook without having to sign up; however some have said that they are prompted to sign up.  We think that it may help if you copy and paste the link  https://www.facebook.com/ChChStLeonards/ into your browser address bar rather than simply clicking on it.  Also, if you’re prompted to sign up to Facebook upon coming onto the page, there’s an option you can click called ‘not now’.

We hope that we can stream the Rosary on Wednesday at 10 am, the Maundy Thursday Mass at 6.30 pm on Thursday and the Liturgy on Friday at 3.00 pm.  The video will also be saved there so that you can watch it again if you miss it.  You may not be able or not wish to watch but the enclosed service booklet should enable you to pray and reflect in your own time.   This is a time of retreat, enforced, admittedly, rather than freely chosen, but nevertheless a time that can be used fruitfully.

We hope that you are keeping well.   The clergy remain available (contacts on the back of the service booklet) and I know that we have already been able to contact some of you by telephone.

With our prayers,

Yours in Christ,

+ Peter

 

2nd April 2020

A message from Bishop Peter:

Sadly with the latest Government restrictions we now have to keep the Church building locked, when I know that many have been appreciating the opportunity to come in to pray and reflect.    While we cannot worship in church, and above all miss celebrating the eucharist together, there is a rich tradition in the Church of other forms of devotion.   I thought we should share over the coming weeks some of these other spiritual resources which the Church has.  So attached are a simple way of meditative prayer and what is called the ‘Examen’: a chance to review the events of the day (or lack of them) firstly with thanksgiving and then remembering what emotions we had as we recalled each event.  I hope you will find at least some of them of use to you.

Please also following the links below for Prayer Resources at home:

Many thanks

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Welcome to Christ Church (Church of England) Primary & Nursery Academy.

The school has always been a vital part of the mission and life of the Parish of Christ Church, St Leonards on Sea. The foundation stone was laid, on the original site next to Christ Church, on 4th June 1872, and the school opened on 24th March 1873. So, for 140 years this school has been serving the community.

Although much has changed in St Leonards during those 140 years, the need to educate, care for and nurture our children has not. Everyone at Christ Church considers it to be the greatest privilege to be entrusted with this responsibility.

Our Christian foundation and ethos underpins all that we do here. The day to day life and routine of the school is rooted in Christian prayer and worship. We seek, too, to live the Christian tradition of hospitality, welcoming all who come here in the name of Christ, whether they share our faith or not.

At a time of so much change and uncertainty, in education as much as elsewhere, we continue to keep out eyes fixed on Jesus. In following Him we have life in all its fullness. We believe that this is what education is ultimately about; growing into the fullness of life. As our school motto puts it, “learning to live together, together living to learn.”

It is my prayer that as your child is nurtured and develops throughout their time at Christ Church they will not simply learn all the necessary and important facts and figures, (and they will!), but that they will also know that they are part of a community that values and celebrates the unique gifts that each brings as a gift of God Himself.

I very much look forward to meeting you in the playground soon.

Fr Luke Irvine-Capel

Parish Priest

http://www.christchurchstleonards.co.uk/

For Sunday School information please go to….

http://www.christchurchstleonards.co.uk/young_people.html

Year of Prayer competition

Prayer Competition presentation

Remembrance Day Service

Children’s Pilgrimage to Walsingham