Easter 5

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER Hymns 125 (omit starred verses), 271,376, 114

FIRST READING Acts 8.26-40 Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Get up and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over to this chariot and join it.’ So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.’ The eunuch asked Philip, ‘About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?’ He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 22 R All the ends of the earth shall turn to you, O Lord

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly: I will perform my vows in
the presence of those who worship him.
25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied, and those who seek the Lord
shall praise him:
‘May your heart live for ever!’ R

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.
27 For kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules over the nations. R

28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; all who
go down to the dust fall before him.
29 My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they
shall be known as the Lord’s for ever.
30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving
deeds that he has done. R

SECOND READING 1 John 4.7-21 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

GOSPEL John 15.1-8 ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

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


Priest-in-Charge Fr John Ainslie (revjohnainslie@gmail.com; 01628 629827)

A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us for refreshments in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Our Services in the coming week: Thursday – Mass at 10.30 am; Sunday – Mass at 10.30 am.

Today, please stay in church after Mass for our Annual Meeting. This falls into two parts – the Annual Meeting for the Election of Churchwardens and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting – and will take place in church immediately after Mass. Elections at the Parochial Church Meeting include those of Deanery Synod members and PCC members. Are you willing to serve, or can you encourage someone else? Do you want to share your hopes for the future of St Michael's? If you need hard copies of any of the paperwork, some are available in the narthex.

Peggy Thresh – wartime aircraft mechanic, physiotherapist, wife of distinguished plant biologist Michael, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother of a talented family, devoted member of St Michael's (particularly in the area of our music) – died peacefully at The Grove on the morning of April 23rd, aged 102. May she rest in peace and arise in glory. We all have wonderful memories of Peggy, and there will certainly be an opportunity to share them at a memorial service at St Michael's – date to be announced.

From Our Tower:

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

Sunday, 21 April 2024 in 39m (6–1–24 in C)

1250 Yorkshire Surprise Major

  1. Jane L Kostelnyk
  2. Paul Barton
  3. Philip Jarvis
  4. Mark Elvers
  5. Jacqueline Barlow
  6. Pam Thomas
  7. Mike Birkbeck
  8. Neil Jones (C)

A 70th birthday compliment to the ringer of the 2nd (20th April).

Friends of Kent Churches – the charity supported by the Ride and Stride event held every September – is 75 years old this year. Ride and Stride 2024 will take place on September 14th, and a special evensong at All Saints', Maidstone, is planned for 3.30 pm on September 21st. It isn't too early to Indicate that you would like to attend; email frofkch@outlook.com. And please note that Heritage Open Day will coincide, as usual, with Ride and Stride on September 14th, and we shall open the church, as usual, to welcome visitors who come to enjoy our Angel Windows. This year's theme is “Routes, Networks, Connections” - please start having ideas!

Readers' list for May. Many thanks to all our readers! If unable to read on the day listed, please feel free to swap with another reader.

May 5 Acts + Ps Mike Trout, NT Alison Heywood
May 12 Acts +Ps Ralph Baldock, NT Margaret Gatehouse
May 19 Acts + Ps Eleanor Relle, NT William Danes-Volkov
May 26 Acts + Ps Team Kwalombota, NT Catherine Garland

Easy Good Deeds!

Simon at 27, Maryland Drive, Barming collects items for Ukraine, which are sent off in regular consignments. Medical and veterinary supplies (even if recently out of date, even if partly used), old towels etc. (but not duvets) and animal food (even if a bit out of date or partly used) are particularly welcome.

Don't forget Jacqui's stamp box in the narthex – she will send off your used stamps to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Please allow a generous half-inch of envelope around your stamp!

We pray for sick people everywhere, including: Paul, Margaret, Ellie, Pauline, Rue, Fr Leon, Antony, Fran, Ellie, Tom, Joseph, Peter, Joan, Margaret, Lindsay, Glynis, Ethan, Sarah, Yvonne, Ruby, HM The King and Catherine, Princess of Wales.

And among the Departed: Peggy Thresh, recently departed, and those whose year's mind falls at this time, including: Harry Mills, Mary Taylor, Kathleen Clifford, Isabel Brooks, John Tester.