THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

   THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER     
           
The parishes of Bere Regis and Affpuddle in the benefice of West Purbeck     
 
Benefice services today:    Affpuddle 8am Holy Communion       
Bere Regis 10am Parish Communion,  6pm Evensong                Wool 10am  Family Service
 
Welcome to worship.  Our God is a God of surprises. We can never know God’s mind or necessarily what God has planned for us. Perhaps the most that we can say with confidence is that whatever we think we know will be the case is quite likely to change when we hand our lives over to Him. In my own case, we had planned that after ordination I would become a self-supporting minister, remain in my own church and carry on teaching locally. All of this changed when a new priest came to my church and I became more involved in parish ministry. To my surprise I found I was called out of teaching, away from my church to a new home and a whole new way of life. In the reading from Acts today we see Peter challenged to a whole new way of life, in his case to associate with Gentiles and recognise their inclusion with Christ’s saving plan. He would have believed this was only for members of the Jewish Faith, now he sees it is for everyone and that he will be a tool in God’s mission to bring that about. As we move forward in the life of our benefice let’s pray for courage to engage with God’s surprises when they come- which they inevitably will!
                                                                                                                                     Rev Carol
                                                           
Collect for today
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ have overcome death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: grant that, as by your grace going before us you put into our minds good desires, so by your continual help we may bring them to good effect; through Jesus Christ our risen Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
                                                   
First Reading: Acts 11 : 1- 18                                                    
   The apostles and the believers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.  So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticised him  and said, ‘You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them.’
     Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:  ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.  I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles and birds.  Then I heard a voice telling me, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”   I replied, “Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.”  The voice spoke from heaven a second time,  “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”   This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.
   ‘Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying.  The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house.  He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, “Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter.  He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.”
     ‘As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.  Then I remembered what the Lord had said: “John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with  the Holy Spirit.”  So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?’    When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’
 
The  Holy  Gospel:  John 13 : 31-35                                            
    When he was gone, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
    ‘My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: where I am going, you cannot come.
     ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’
                                                       
Prayers
 
For the Church and the community of Christ       
  May each of us remain close to Christ, inseparable from his love and walking His way              ~we pray for the Church of England and ask blessing on Archbishops Justin and John and in our Diocese Bishops Nicolas, Karen and Andrew                ~for those dealing with abuse in the church whether current or historical, for investgators, those invoking disclosure procedures and for all in safeguarding the vulnerable                     ~we pray for all who minister to us here, for Reverends Carol, Jenny and Judy, and our LLMs – please deepen and strengthen their faith and inspire them in all their work in this benefice              ~ please give guidance in the appointment of a new associate priest for these two parishes - those who may consider applying, all those who deal with applicants and we pray for the future team               ~ and for our diocesan partners in the Episcopal Churches the of the Sudan and South Sudan and today for the the Rt Revd Simon Adut Yuang, Bishop of Yirol. 
 
For the world and its leaders
  For peace and and an end to war – in Yemen, Syria and Iraq         ~for order not violence - in Sudan, Sri Lanka and  Northern Ireland                 ~where there are tensions please may there be judgments  based on peace and respect by those involved: so we pray inrespect of the tensions over North Korea, Iran and between America and China            ~for those making and implementing decisions over the environment, waste and reduced carbon emissions                 ~for the leaders of UK and the EU in respect of Brexit            ~for all working to end crime, particularly knife crime on our streets and for all its victims                 
 
For our parishes and community  
   We pray for those to whom we are closest: through birth or marriage or sharing; for our closest neighbours by place; for our neighbours in the street of our village or town; for those in our parish 
~in these places for those who feel marginalised, whether through loneliness or isolation, background, race or disability     ~for the homeless who sleep on the streets  and those who help       ~and for those who receive from the foodbanks and those who run the facility         
 
For the sick and their carers                                                                                                                                               
  We pray for all in hospital or receiving out-patient treatment      ~for those awaiting treatment, or operation or the outcome of tests                ~for all carers          ~for those whose faculties are deteriorating or suffering dementia       ~for those battling issues of the mind          ~ and in our parishes we pray for  Margaret Bartlett,  Jo Powell, John Dewey, Mary Fegan, Mary England  and Ivor Mullins  
 
For the deceased and those who mourn                                                                                                        
 We commend to you Lord, the souls of all who have died; we lift to you those we have known and loved; in our benefice we lift to you those who have died recently and we pray for comfort for family and friends 
                                                           
Post Communion Prayer
  Eternal God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: grant us to walk in his way,
to rejoice in his truth, and to share his risen life; who is alive and reigns, now and for ever. 
                                                 
                                                 
Services next Sunday 26th May:   
   
Affpuddle 10am Parish Communion                             
Bere Regis 10am Parish Communion                           
Wool 10am  Parish Communion                 
Wool 6pm  Healing Eucharist ( with opportunity  to receive prayers for healing and wholeness, together with the laying on of hands and anointing with oil if wished).
   
On Ascension Day, Thursday 30th May, a benefice Eucharist is celebrated at 7pm at Bere Regis. If anyone wishes to join the choir for this service please come along to the rehearsal on Friday 24th at Bere, you will be very welcome.
   
Donations for Christian Aid Week may be made using the red Christian Aid envelopes on the churches and returned to Churchwardens or Lindy Ventham (Affpuddle)