Easter 6

6^th^ SUNDAY OF EASTER Hymns 374, 103, 272, 478

FIRST READING Acts 17.22-31 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.” Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 66 Response: Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.

1. Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise: say to God. “How tremendous your deeds!” R.

2. “Before you all the earth shall bow; shall sing to you, sing to your name!”
Come and see the works of God; tremendous his deeds among men. R.

3. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him; he rules for ever by his might. R.

4. Come and hear, all who fear God; I will tell what he did for my soul:
Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer: nor withhold his love from me. R.

SECOND READING 1 Peter 3.13-22 Now who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight people, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

GOSPEL John 14.15-21 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. ‘I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’

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 – Ascension Day - 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.

Ascension Day: Please note that the 10.30 am Thursday Mass this week is our Ascension Day Mass. If you are not at work, why not come and celebrate this very important feast day?

Thank you to everyone whose generous contributions of food, drink, decorating and hard work delivered such an enjoyable Coronation celebration lunch last Sunday, and particular thanks to Alison Ponter for drawing it all together.

The PCC meets on Wednesday 24^th^ May. Any apologies, or items to be included in the Agenda, to Vice-Chairman Paul Jones, please.

“As I was going to Strawberry Fair…“ What can we do to encourage the customers to come to our Strawberry Fair on Saturday afternoon, July 1st? The strawberry teas will be the central attraction, but what other ideas can we suggest – and put into operation – to entertain those who come, and make some extra money? Sara will be most grateful for ideas and offers of help - tombola prizes, raffle prizes, home-made goodies, publicising, and, of course, setting-up and washing-up. Please contact Sara on 07837 919761 or email sara_pointer@msn.com.

First impressions matter… Coming into an unfamiliar church for the first time can be difficult – especially for a newcomer who may have little experience of churches, or who may never have visited a church that does things in quite the way St Michael's does. A person at the back of the church who can welcome newcomers, show them which book is which and direct them towards the refreshments after Mass is doing a hugely important job. Can YOU volunteer to take on this job occasionally? If so, do speak to Jonathan or Paul. NB If a newcomer comes to sit in a nearby pew, particularly if he or she has arrived late and may not have picked up books, we can all offer help if it seems to be needed. People would generally rather have too much help than too little, and a bit of friendly concern can mean such a lot.

A Fashion Show with a Difference! MADM (local charity Making a Difference Maidstone) is organising a Fashion Show of formal/bridal wear at MidKent College on 26^th^ May. All the outfits shown will be secondhand – a chance to address the cost of living crisis, to encourage recycling, to raise money for MADM – and to see how glamorous a quality second-hand fashion item can be! Refreshments will be available, admission is free, and donations on the day will be much appreciated. There is actually going to be a pop-up shop! There will be two sessions -12.30 pm and 2 pm – and you can make sure of a place if you reserve your free ticket by scanning the QR code on the poster in the narthex. This show will go on for just under an hour and is in our own locality (Oakwood Road) – do support it if you can!

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?

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