Epiphany 3

THIRD SUNDAY OF EPIPHANY Hymns 353, 50, 302, 393

FIRST READING Genesis 14.17-20 After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.


Response: Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

You shall eat the fruit of the toil of your hands; it shall go well with you, and happy shall you be.

Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

Your wife within your house shall be like a fruitful vine;

your children round your table, like fresh olive branches.

Thus shall the one be blest who fears the Lord.

Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

The Lord from out of Zion bless you,

that you may see Jerusalem in prosperity all the days of your life.

May you see your children’s children, and may there be peace upon Israel.

Blessed are all those who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

SECOND READING Revelation 19.6-10 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure’— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’

GOSPEL John 2.1-11 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

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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 Matthias, 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.

Looking forward to another welcome…. Not only have we been able to announce the exciting news that Fr John Ainslie is shortly to become our new Vicar, but we now have a date for his Licensing Service, which will be on the evening of 21st March (time still to be announced). This is an important date not only for our congregation but also for the way in which St Michael's relates to the surrounding community. Invitations will be going out before long; if you know someone from outside the congregation who might like to be invited, please have a word with Eleanor. It will be a particular joy to have our new parish priest with us for Holy Week and Easter.

Sue has created a beautiful card (thank you, Sue!) and is bringing it to Mass so that we can send our greetings to our future Vicar. Please make sure you sign it!

About our new Vicar: After reading Physics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge, Fr John followed a career in the field of renewable energy, particularly in connection with the development of wind farms, and in the preparing and presenting of expert evidence for the related Inquiries. He was ordained Deacon in 2017 and Priest in 2018, and since then has served as Assistant Minister in three benefices in the diocese of Oxford (most recently at All Saints', Boyne Hill, Maidenhead), during which time he mounted various initiatives in mission and outreach. In addition, he has had responsibilities at diocesan level, notably as a member of the Oxford Diocesan Environmental Task Group. He brings a wealth of experience (church and non-church) to his ministry here - experience that will be of great value not only to St Michael's but to our deanery and diocese. We assure Fr John of our support and our prayers, and hope that he and his dog Rosa will be very happy in Maidstone.

Looking towards Lent:

Canterbury Cathedral is planning a Quiet Day based on the “Joyous Mysteries” on Saturday 3^rd^ February, 10am-4pm. “An opportunity to contemplate the life of Christ, through scripture and the ancient devotional practice of the rosary.” FREE but booking required – for details, visit https://www.canterbury-cathedral.org/whats-on/events/.

Saturday 10th February, 10 am-1pm: an online retreat in preparation for Lent entitled “Companions on the Way,” - tickets £15, or £10 for Church Times subscribers. Details and tickets at https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/companions-on-the-way-a-retreat-in-preparation-for-lent.

And remember our own Lenten Frugal Lunch on Sunday, 25th February – join us for soup and bread-and-cheese and give the price of your usual Sunday lunch to a charity for the hungry! If you are willing to give a hand with the shopping, serving or washing-up, please speak to Sara.

From Our Tower:

Kent County Association, Maidstone, Kent, St Michael and All Angels

Sunday, 14 January 2024 in 41m (6–1–24 in C)

1296 Lightfoot Surprise Minor

  1. Emma Jarvis
  2. Jacqueline Barlow
  3. Philip Jarvis
  4. Mark Elvers
  5. Stephen Coaker
  6. Neil Jones (C)

Remembering Ann Rust (10/1/22) and Norman Rust (18/1/20) R.I.P..

Rung on the Saints Day of Euphrasius the Martyr

Reminder: Valerie Stickland's funeral takes place at Vinters Park on 31st January at 1.15.

Grateful thanks to Margaret S., who has very kindly taken charge of laundering the altar linen.

After Fr John's Licensing on March 21st, we shall of course be providing refreshments in the Parish Hall for those who attend the service, including those who will have travelled from Maidenhead. It isn't too soon to think about ways in which you could help on that important evening. Alison and Sue will be very happy to hear from you!

Among the sick we pray for :Paul, Margaret, Ellie, Pauline, Rue, Fr Leon, Antony, Fran, Ellie, Tom, Joseph, Peter, Joan, Margaret, Lindsay, Glynis, Ethan, Sarah, and Yvonne.

Among the Departed: Ivy Parry, Stan Penney, Lily Chanler, Hazel Warriner, Maureen Tresnan, Norman Rust.