PACT Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

May 30th – June 5th

First of all a very big thank you to the ministers  who, despite the many calls on their time, were able to forward items of Thanksgiving and Prayer.  Without those contributions this booklet would not have happened.

Each responded with a slightly different style and I resisted the temptation to squeeze all into a single format but let something of their uniqueness enrich our week.

I must confess that coming from a non-conformist background I was somewhat taken aback by the number of prayer requests that related to the fabric of church buildings rather than the witness and life of the ‘living stones’ with all their joys and sorrows.   In putting together this brief prayer diary I have however been humbled.

Humbled by the realisation that scattered across this rural area there are so many church buildings where Christians have worshipped for centuries.   Humbled by the fact that in Word and Sacrament the story of Jesus has been continuously told and enacted Sunday after Sunday.  And humbled by the sacrifice and faithfulness of those who have worked so hard to maintain them.

I am sure our enemy would love all traces of God’s goodness to rot, decay and cease to be.  That enemy would also love us, the church, to go away and to  ‘bite and devour each other’.

Covid means we cannot be together this week in ways we have in the past but may there be a special grace on this area this week as we stand together and pray for each other.

Love

Jonathan

Monday 31st

Praying for the Church with Jesus. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me”.  John 17 : 20-21 20 

  • Today we are praying for the work of Canon John Green. St John the Baptist, Sutton; St Agatha, Coates; St Richard, Burton; St Mary, Barlavington and Holy Cross, Bignor

Sutton,  St John the Baptist

Thanksgiving: our new altar frontal, donated in Tony Yates’ memory – just what the church needs.

Petition: Low level and occasional vandalism in the churchyard and a way to solve this while keeping peace in the community.

Petition: to fund the cleaning of our Victorian stained glass windows, not urgent but necessary fairly soon.

Bignor,  The Holy Cross

Thanksgiving: like St John’s, the Holy Cross has been one of the churches we have been able to worship in safely; it has been a joy.

Petition: the tiles on the roof and the bellcote keep falling – how to stop the slide swiftly and effectively.

Petition: to welcome back all those who are reluctant to return to church after a series of lockdowns.

Barlavington,  St Mary the Virgin

Thanksgiving: that we are still able to worship God in this remote church in such a unique setting.

Petition: a swift programme of work to stabilise our end walls.

Petition: funding to pay for the repairs.

Coates, St Agatha

Thanksgiving: as the better weather comes we are able to use the churchyard for open air worship.

Petition: may we continue to remain open for private prayer, even though the church is too small for regular Sunday worship.

Petition: that the church may continue to be an inspiration for a small community.

Burton,  St Richard

Thanksgiving: for the work of the warden and the members of the committee (this applies to all five churches – we are blessed with dedicated people).

Petition: that we may have the weather to continue to hold openair services in the churchyard.

Petition: ways to build even more bridges with the ‘big house’ and the other residents.

John writes: “ I thank God for all the people who have been so loyal through such a difficult time”.

Tuesday 1st

Praying for the Church with the Apostle Paul. “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”. Ephesians 3: 17 – 19

  • Today we are praying for the work of Father Peter Newsam . The Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Petworth and St Anthony & St George, Duncton

Thanksgiving
We give thanks to God for a growth in community and solidarity within the parish in the last year, as well as a renewed thirst for knowledge and growth in faith.

Prayer

  • We pray for the successful return of our Parish Family Groups as the lockdown eases, a renewal of old friendships and the growth of new ones.
  • We pray for all the missionary and charitable organisations supported by our parish, that God may bless and assist them, and help us all to know the importance of human solidarity and fraternity.
  • We are also praying today for the leadership team of Petworth Community Church

Thanksgiving

Give thanks for the gift of worship during the pandemic which has reached beyond formal gatherings.

Prayer

For some time we have felt God calling us to prayerfully reflect on our past and the way forward and we will shortly be holding a Church Meeting to bring this season to a conclusion.   Please therefore pray for clarity, openness  and above all unity and love.

Please also pray for the following things which have always, and continue to be, at the very heart of the Community Church family:

1. Prayer for schools in the PACT area and in particular for the work of Splash

2. Prayer for the young people of Petworth and the work of the Sylvia Beaufoy Centre

3. Prayer for communities around the world who are not able to access the vaccine and health care we have enjoyed. We particularly pray for the Sonninke and Rohynga people groups and those known to us working with them.

Wednesday 2nd

Praying for the Church with the Apostle Paul. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God”. Philippians 1 : 9

  • Today we are praying for the work of Rev. Vivien Turner.  St Giles, Graffham

The worship group have submitted the following:

Dear Lord,

During the pandemic we have much to be thankful for…

  • for Reverend Vivien, a constant presence throughout these many months, encouraging our faith in times of difficulty, and for her husband Phillip, rising to the technical challenges of online worship.
  • for Jeeva and Vasu in our village shop, cheerfully providing us with all we could possibly need, and organising home deliveries to those isolating
  • for our postmen and all those providing essential services
  • for our beautiful countryside and wildlife
  • and not least for our friends and neighbours whose smiles and greetings in the street have daily lifted our spirits.

We have been truly blessed.

  • Asking for something? Very difficult. World peace!!
  • I go back to somehow or other vaccinating the world because until we do there will be no world freedom.

Accept this heartfelt prayer, in the name of your beloved Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ

Amen

  • We also pray today for work of Canon Mark Gilbert.  St Mary, Petworth and St Bartholomew, Egdean

Thursday 3rd

Praying for the Church with the Apostle Paul. “ For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God… “Colossians 1 : 9 – 10

  • Today we are praying for the work of Rev David Crooks.  Holy Trinity, Duncton; All Hallows, Tillington and St Mary the Virgin, Upwaltham; St Mary, Fittleworth and St Mary the Virgin, Stopham

Fittleworth

We give thanks that we held together online, while we were unable to meet in church.                                   We pray:-

  • For our plans to build a small parish room
  • That new musicians will come forward, making possible live music in church once more.

Stopham

We give thanks that we are planning a Flower Festival for 2021.  We pray :-

  • For this summer’s wedding couple
  • That we can identify the funds to repair a stained-glass window

Tillington:

  1. Thanksgiving Prayer:
  2. Finding a new Vicar, provision of the Church Cottage  instead of our Rectory, and no deaths because of Covid.

2. Items for Prayer :

  • That a new Churchwarden will be happy to come forward.
  • That the influence of All Hallows throughout the village will bear fruit in people coming to faith.

Duncton

We give thanks that our village life and community has held strong during the past difficult months.    We pray:-

  • For our church school
  • That plans for a shared outdoor service on Trinity Sunday will go well.

Upwaltham

We give thanks that services in the church have now resumed.    We pray :-

  • That the costs of repairs to the roof are affordable.
  • That new people will come forward to love and care for the church.

Friday 4th

Praying with Jesus“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23: 34

  • Today we are praying for the work of Rev. Clive Jenkins.    St John the Baptist, Kirdford; Holy Trinity, Plaistow;  St Peter ad Vincula, Wisborough Green
  • Firstly, that we/I can use the time to minister to the needs of the local communities as they emerge from Lockdown, meeting folk and listening to them.
  • Secondly, to encourage one another to take this time to review what we do and see were we need to put our energies in the coming weeks and months.
  • And thirdly, to give thanks to the Lord that we are able to move forward together as two Parishes,  seeking to build on the firm foundations that have been laid and trusting that the Holy Spirit may guide and direct us.
  • We also pray today for the work of Rev Paul Mallinson.   St John the Evangelist, Bury; St Nicholas, Houghton; St Giles, Coldwaltham and St Botolph, Hardham
  • We also pray today for the work of Rev. Anne Lewitt.   United Reformed Church – Petworth, Pulborough & Billingshurst

Saturday 5th.

Praying with Jesus“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,10 your kingdom come, your will be done,     on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread.  12 And forgive us our debts,    as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,   but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen”

  • Today we are praying for the work of Rev.Kate Bailey.   St Michael, Northchapel; St Laurence, Lurgashall and Holy Trinity, Ebernoe

Items for Thanksgiving:  obviously for all 3 churches that we are now open for services again, then for each church:

Lurgashall –  new gates that have been installed as a gift from parishioners to mark their 65th wedding anniversary, prayers for ways to reach out to those in the community who do not come to Church, and prayers for the 4 couples getting married this summer, the two families preparing for a baptism for their babies, and for the fete now being held on 26th June.

Northchapel – new inner glass doors being installed in memory of a late parishioner – a plan that has taken several years to come to fruition, and prayers for the 1 couple getting married this summer and one family baptism.  Prayers for the resumption of fund raising to pay for vital repairs, that in doing so the community will be drawn closer together

Ebernoe – church was recently re-roofed and should last for many more years.  Again prayers for 2 couples getting married and two baptisms happening this year.  Prayers for their online auction and fund raising efforts, and that people will soon be able to get out and see each other once again.  

  • We also pray today for the PACT Holiday Club.
  • We thank God that Emma Sneller has agreed to take over the running of the Holiday Club.   A real answer to prayer.
  • Please pray that a good team will emerge to work alongside Emma.
  • Pray for wisdom with regards to practical issues relating to numbers and appropriate response to Covid.

Pray that God will richly bless this event to children and families after