THE THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT                                  

Today’s services:   

 9.15am Parish Eucharist at Affpuddle

11.00am Mattins followed by shortened Communion at Bere Regis


Rev Carol:     Welcome to worship on the third Sunday in Lent. In the epistle reading last week, St Paul encouraged the Christians at Philippi to stand firm against the pressures from the powerful elite there to adopt Roman practices, in particular worship of Caesar. In this week’s epistle to the Corinthians, and also the gospel reading, the emphasis is again ‘stand firm’ but also considers what happens when don’t or can’t and we slip?  The gospel encourages us to not give up and count everything as loss but be prepared to give things another go. I find it helpful to try to remember that in all things Christ loves us as we are and, when we repent and turn again to Him, He is always there to forgive us and welcome us back.

Collect for today  
Eternal God, give us insight to discern your will for us, to give up what harms us, and to seek the perfection we are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Epistle Reading:  1 Corinthiams 10 : 1-13 
    For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.  They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
        Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.’ We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did – and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test Christ, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.
      These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can  endure it.
Holy  Gospel:  Luke 13  : 1-9
     Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.  Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.’
      Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?”
    ‘“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’
For the Church and the community of Christ                
 We pray for each one of us for our spiritual lives: finding Him through prayer, worship, reading and contemplation                      ~ we ask for strength to steer away from those things of temptation that reduce and demean us                  ~guide your Church with those difficult issues which it faces:  same sex relationships, the relevance of faith for the young, disparity of wealth, those who seek a right to terminate their own life              ~guide the three bishops in this diocese              ~and the ordained ministers in this benefice              ~we pray for the Sunday afternoon meetings at Wool considering ethical issues                   ~for other dioceses, parishes and congregations we each may know and love
~in our Diocesan partnership we  pray for the Episcopal Churches in the Sudan and South Sudan and today for Rt Revd Elijah Matueny, Bishop of Cueibet.
For the world and its leaders
 For peace not war between countries and peoples  –  for  Yemen, Syria and Iraq, for Gaza, Israel and Palestine, for India and Pakistan, Korea                    ~for civil order not violence or threats  - South Sudan, Nigeria, Venezuela and Christchurch in New Zealand             ~for those suffering the devastation of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique                 ~ for all working to improve the quality and standard of life in the developing world: access to clean water, sufficient food, fair trade,  the provision of health services and education                ~ for all partaking in Brexit decisions in Parliament, Government and the EU            
For our parishes and community
 Lord if we face real problems like a shortage of food and medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit then we ask for your strength and inspiration  - to  help our neighbours. colleagues, any who are adversely affected                       ~and we pray for any in our community  going through a difficult time or crisis for other reasons                   ~for those relying on foodbanks both here in Purbeck and elsewhere             ~for farmers and those working the land as we prepare to change the clocks shortly - those with livestock, those planting and tending crops, the water-cress growers, all involved in milk production and distribution           
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 and those who give support            ~for those whose faculties are deteriorating or suffering dementia       ~for those battling depression or issues of the mind          ~ and in our parishes we pray for Ted Cox, Margaret Bartlett,  Jo Powell, John Dewey, Linda Thomas, 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 each have known and loved; in our beneficiary we lift to you those who have died recently and we pray for comfort for their family and friends 
Post Communion Prayer:     
 Merciful Lord, grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Midweek Communion at Bere Regis is at 12 noon on Wednesday 27th March followed by Lent Lunch
The annual count for Fairer Share based on membership attendance is underway across the diocese
The Church Electoral Roll is being revised this year as required by the Diocese. Forms should be completed and signed, then returned to the electoral roll keeper for the parish – for Bere Regis Sylvia Bayliss and for Affpuddle Richard Killer. Parish AGMs are on Wednesday 24th April for  Bere Regis and Sunday 28 April for Affpuddle
At Wool the second session of the moral issues course looks at the sanctity of life and euthanasia- at the D’Urberville Centre at 4pm today, Sunday.
Services next Sunday 31st March - Mothering Sunday: 
9.15am Parish Eucharist at Affpuddle      
11.00am Mothering Family Service at Bere Regis