Gospel Reading for Sunday 12th January 2020

Gospel reading for Sunday 12 Jan

Matthew 3: 13-17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

Please speak to Rev Sharon if you would like to explore baptism for yourself or a child. 

TBC Group (To be Confirmed)

The TBC Group is for children in Years 5 and 6 who wish to receive the bread and wine at Communion before they are Confirmed.  There is a 5-session preparation course starting in the new year.  This is a good stepping-stone towards Confirmation which will be offered to this group once they have moved on to secondary school.

If you, or your child, are interested please come along to the initial meeting on Sunday, 12 January 2020 at 5 pm in Church

Vicars Letter

And his name shall be called …..

Wonderful Counsellor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace  (Isaiah 9:6)

Dear Friends

Is this the only way to address our God?  As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus, we see God in a very different light.  There is very little that is ‘mighty’ about a new-born baby!  A new- born is vulnerable, fragile and totally dependent – as was the baby Jesus.  And even more so because Jesus’ mother gave birth a long way from home, without the support of family and friends and in the equivalent of a shed around the back of the Junction Inn.

So rather than addressing God as ‘mighty’ we might pray to our

‘Vulnerable God’ – and we might continue ……

‘you risked everything by emptying yourself to become a human being. 

You come to us as a fragile child to share in our weakness and struggle. 

You grew up and lived in a country surrounded by turmoil and uncertainty. 

Thank you, Vulnerable God that you are ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us) – not judging and condemning from on high but understanding and meeting us in our daily lives.  You know what it’s like to grow up in an earthly family with all the hassles and tensions, the joys and the sorrows.  You know what it’s like to lose family members and friends you love.  You know what it is to suffer injustice and unfairness. 

Thank you, Vulnerable God, that you have lived a fully human life.

When we address God as ‘vulnerable’ we are recognizing that God is right here and alongside us – in the thick of it – in the messiness of life – in the daily struggle.  Jesus, the baby of Bethlehem, the man of Galilee, is also our Mighty God. 

For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given;

And the government shall be upon his shoulders,

And his name shall be called ….

Come and celebrate this glorious Christmas mystery with us!

Christmas blessings,


Care of St Thomas’ Churchyard (beyond the Tanyard)

At this time of year when some will be visiting the Churchyard to place a  Poppy cross or wreath for remembrance, I thought it may be helpful to share the Diocesan Chancellor’s regulations which govern how we tend and care for our Churchyards.

  It is unlawful for a monument, surround or human earthly remains to be introduced into this churchyard without the Vicar’s permission.  Funeral directors will usually advise on this.

 For the tending of graves: ·bulbs and small annual plants may be placed in the soil of any grave; ·plants or cut flowers may be placed in removable sunken containers

in the soil of any grave; ·wreaths, cut flowers and plants and flowers may be removed, when withered, by those authorised to do so by the Vicar; ·we regret that it is necessary to bring your own water; ·please take your rubbish home with you or place in the dustbin provided; do not throw it over the fencing or down by the stream.

 We regret that the following are not permitted: ·kerbs, railings, fencing or chippings ·memorials in the shape of vases, hearts, open books, or even crosses ·memorials incorporating photographs or portraits ·mementoes, windmills, toys or little animals (although we recognise that such additions may be helpful to grieving families in the short term, but the PCC reserves the right to remove should they become unsightly, or untended). ·the use of ‘pet names’ on headstones ·artificial flowers, except for Remembrance Sunday poppies and wreaths.

Burial of Ashes  The system of a smaller plot with a smaller headstone is, sadly, no longer compliant with Chancellor’s Regulations and we will be moving towards a Garden of Remembrance area.  Nothing happens in a hurry in the church(!), but I will be giving you regular updates as we make progress on this. 

Full details of care of St Thomas’ Churchyard can be found on our website at www.stthomasgroombridge.org.uk; and full Chancellors’ regs can be found at https://www.chichester.anglican.org/documents/chancellors-general-directions-2016/

Thank you for your cooperation.  Revd Sharon (01892 864265)

November Letter

Dear Friends

I have no idea as I write this letter as to whether – by the time you read it – we will still be part of Europe – love it, or loathe it.  What I do know is that on the 10th of this month at 10.15 am we will gather as a community in St Thomas’ Church to remember those who have died in war.  Some in our parish remember family members and friends lost in those conflicts more than half a century ago. Some remember loved ones lost in more recent conflicts, or on a peace keeping and humanitarian missions.  We meet on the 10th to remember them.

Last year we commemorated 100 years since Armistice Day which ended the first World War.  The world did not learn from that war, and it is estimated that 70–85 million people perished in World War 2, 3% of the total world population.   Although we continue to honour those who died in WW1, it is no longer with living memories, and I think that will change the nature of future Remembrance Day services. 

I want to share a story with you.  It’s called ‘Tusk Tusk’ by David McKee.

Once upon a time, long long ago, all the elephants in the world were black or white. They loved all creatures … but they loathed each other, and each kept to their own side of the jungle.

One day the black elephants decided to kill all the white elephants.  And the white ones decided to kill the black. The peace-loving elephants from each side went to live deep in the darkest jungle.  They were never seen again.

A battle began.  It went on and on and on, until there were no elephants left.  For years no elephants were seen.  Then one day the grandchildren of the peace-loving elephants came out of the jungle.   They were grey.  Since then the elephants have lived in peace.  But some of the grey elephants noticed that they had different shaped ears to some of the others.   The End.

On 10th November, we will remember with pride those who have died in war, to bring peace to our nation, and other nations.  As always we hope and pray for peace in our world.  That is why I shall be wearing a white poppy alongside the red on Remembrance Sunday.

Every blessing,


Sunday Cafe’ Eucharist Gospel Reading

A reading from the Gospel according to Luke (Luke 17:11-19)

Jesus cleanses ten lepers but only one gives thanks

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’

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