Easter 4

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER Hymns 111, 296, 114, 124

FIRST READING Acts 2.42-47 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 23

Response: The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

1. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me: to revive my drooping spirit. R.

2. He guides me along the right path: he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear:
You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort. R

3. You have prepared a banquet for me: in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil: my cup is overflowing. R.

4. Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me: all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell: for ever and ever. R.

SECOND READING 1 Peter 2.19-25 For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

GOSPEL John 10.1-10 ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

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ST MICHAEL'S NEWS

A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly. Today we hold our Annual Parish Church Meeting, to which all are invited. Many thanks to Paul, who has generously provided sparkling wine and nibbles to make the occasion still more enjoyable.

STRAWBERRY FAIR – URGENT! For work reasons, Sara is not in church today but is most anxious to receive ideas and offers of help for our Strawberry Fair on 1^st^ July. It is later than we think, and if the Fair is to go ahead, Sara needs to know who will support her. Please contact her, swiftly, on 07837 919761 or 01622 682675.

Readers' List for May:

Warmest thanks to all our readers! If unable to read on the day listed, please try to make an arrangement with another reader.

Sunday 7^th^ May: Acts and Psalm Alison Heywood, 2nd reading Mike Trout
Sunday 14th May: Acts and Psalm Eta/Zangi, 2^nd^ reading Paul Jones
Sunday 21^st^ May: Acts and Psalm: Catherine Garland, 2^nd^ reading Katja Svarts
Pentecost: Acts and Psalm Ralph Baldock, 2^nd^ reading Margaret Gatehouse

Don't forget our Parish Lunch to celebrate the Coronation – next Sunday after Mass! Any late offers of food or help, please, to Alison Ponter.

Our Tower will be in action on the Coronation weekend:

Ringing for the King at St Michael and All Angels Maidstone 
Friday May 5th 1/4 peal 8pm
Saturday May 6th 1/4 peal 5:30pm
Sunday May 7th 1/4 peal 3:30pm

Do read the very impressive Tower Report, among the APCM paperwork.

A special thank you to Treasurer Nelly, whose inconspicuous but indispensable work preparing our accounts has been approached with such patience and professionalism.

Vacancy News: Our advertisement has now appeared. Please pray that the right priest will respond!

Emerge is a local Christian charity devoted to befriending young people who have been self-harming or attempting suicide. The number of these in this part of Kent runs into hundreds every year, the vast majority of them teenage girls. Emerge seeks to train volunteers to support such young people, in crisis or recovery, whether in hospital or in the community. It also seeks prayers and donations. For information, please email info@emergeadvocacy.com.

Having a clear-out? Make a Difference Maidstone (MADM) seeks items of furniture that could be repaired or upcycled, for sale in its shop or for people who have no furniture. Other household items are likely to be welcome also. Kent County Council is supporting this initiative to save usable items from being dumped. Enquiries, please, to 01622 687414.

Can you help a neighbour parish? The new St Faith's Community Centre is almost completed, but as it approaches the last lap it has been offered a crowdfunding page by Aviva. Any gift of less than £250 (per household) will be matched by Aviva if it arrives before May 26^th^. The crowdfunding link is https//www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/st-faiths-centre-2-1.

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