Benefice of Seaview, St Helens, Brading & Yaverland
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Drawing showing the extent of the Anglican Benefice of Seaview, St Helens, Brading & Yaverland on the Isle of Wight

Benefice Blog

2019 Regatta Service at St Peter's, Seaview

Photograph of Regatta Service 2019 - 1

The love that makes a community...
We thank you for our loving community in this village and, at its heart, our church.  We ask you to bless friends and family who share our worship here today and all who are dear to us.  Bless and care for all your people: especially we remember those who have neither family nor friends or a safe place to be.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We thank you for our history and our traditions. For sails that glow like coloured jewels in the sunshine; the sleek warm wood of the rowing boats and dinghies lovingly made and maintained over the years.  For the week’s activities on the water as we master the waves, and for the beach sports: feeling the wind in our hair and the breeze on our faces.  We rejoice in our health and our strength and we ask you to keep safe all those who have neither power nor hope in this world.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We ask you to acknowledge all the ways we have served one another and helped others; kindnesses given significant or small.  Those small acts known only to the giver and to your Self, Lord.  Guide all in this community and in the world; doing good, not for adulation or accolades, but for its own sake.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

We delight in the winning: in the glow of pride reflected in our silver cups, in our smiles, in our eyes and in our faces.  It is good to use and utilise these gifts from God.  Gentle Jesus, help us, also, to accept defeat.  To understand that losing is a gift also; building resilience and resourcefulness and harnessing humility.  It is in just BEING in this world that matters.  Contentment in taking part, and being a part, without working solely for reward.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Lord, we thank you for the gift of time.  Time away from everyday life and daily cares: time to stop and reflect.  Whether on a yoga mat in the Bay, walking along the shoreline or out at sea.  Time to be: with others;  with ourselves  … with You.  Bless and sustain all people in the world who have no time: no time away from war, from work or from their worries.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer  

Finally, Lord, we thank you for the opportunity to be able to give as well as to receive.

Having absorbed summer all this week and flushed with its warmth, we ask that You help us now to carry with us the strength, the knowledge and the memories made: in service to our other communities.  To touch the wider world with a little of Seaview’s magic and to make a difference.

We ask that You thaw the hearts of all who are hopeless, bring peace to the anxious and weary; reveal Your love in the hearts and lives of all Your people.

May we find community within ourselves; a meeting of mind, body and soul, in order that we are strengthened in Your goodness to make a difference.

We thank You for our Regatta week, well played, and the Seaview summer, sustaining us and carrying us forward…. 

… Until the next time.

Merciful Father
Accept these prayers for the sake of Your son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Photograph of Regatta Service 2019 - 2

Photograph of Regatta Service 2019 - 3

Photograph of Regatta Service 2019 - 4

Gilly Meadows

25 August 2019

Eco Church

The driving ethos behind eco church is the desire for the church to be active in the world, following the way of Jesus in our real lives and a hopeful, creative vision for the future. It is about speaking out for justice and lives renewed by the simplicity and love that Jesus taught us. It is about doing something, making a difference and supporting each other in our desire to build a world of justice and beauty for all.

It seems that we are on our way to achieving our Gold Award for Eco church at St Helens as so may things are now up and running and 'boxes have been ticked'. This is a considerable achievement and it is proving to be great fun and inspirational. We have surveyed our churchyard, we have created a natural recreational space (labyrinth), and we have created a regular Eco church meeting. We have put things in the Parish News, attended fayres and gone on Lobbies to London and we have an active web site ( We are praying for the earth and its natural habitats and some of our liturgies and special services have that focus. The things we have yet to achieve are:

Checking our cleaning products are eco friendly, and tea and coffee are fair trade, and looking into ways to reduce plastic use and bulk buy organic food. Looking into native tree planting (where and what - and would St Helens school be interested?). Making Bat Boxes, Bird Boxes, Bug Hotels and Hedgehog boxes. Inviting speakers and looking at our personal environmental 'footprint' and thinking about digging a pond, (where and how and what design). We are also looking at LOAF and locally campaigning for a reduction in single use plastic.

LOAF.... One of the Eco church commitments is to promote LOAF food... that is Local, Organic, Animal friendly and Fairtrade. Something that is becoming evident is that the UK needs to think again about it's food production and as a nation of gardeners, it is terrible that over half of our food is imported. There is a growing interest in local small scale food production here on the Island and on educating school children in the art of horticulture with free green houses for schools (from APS Salads) and small scale intensive agriculture (from the Modern Kitchen Garden) and eco church is part of the networking, and that strengthens our local food economy. Follow updates on the web site.

Action on Plastic... As part of Eco church we are also committed to campaigning for environmental issues. The following campaign has been initiated on the Island and is something that you may be interested in joining. Follow updates on the web site and watch this program if you want to be inspired. On the Last Saturday of the month from 9.30 to 11.30 at Supermarkets around the island, a peaceful and hopeful protest involves bringing your reusable containers for the food you buy, removing the packaging from your regular shop and putting it in trolleys at Customer services. The first event was in Sainsbury's in June and the second at Tesco in July.


Sunday 11th 10am Eco Sunday Communion followed by Eco church 11am to 12 noon A walk round the churchyard to look for places to plant trees and dig a pond and place animal homes. Wildlife management plan.
Sunday 25
th 3.30pm Eco Church Making animal homes.

Sunday 8th 10am Eco Sunday Communion followed by Eco Church 11am to 12 noon Stephen Dominy, Regional co-coordinator for Christian Aid, to preach on the environment followed by a discussion about how we can be involved and connected to global environmental campaigning. Putting the animal habitats in place.
Saturday 14th Ride and Stride walk through the Haven Benefice visiting the churches. Beginning at Yaverland Church at 10am.
Saturday 21
st and 28th Community Apple pressing days (TBA)
Sunday 22
nd 10am St Helens Harvest Festival and 3.30pm Eco Church.The food we eat... looking at LOAF and fair-trade and a possible food coop.

If any of the above interests you or you have skills or time to offer then please do contact me on 07500 007437

Whatever else eco church is, mainly it is about US doing all we can.

God Bless


August 2019

What are the Commons?

In our family we have recently been reading and discussing a book about Piracy.  In it piracy is not sanitised and made noble but it is however seen as an inevitable act of rebellion against the removal of rights and liberties from the common man (seaman in historical terms). The Author stresses that there is an idea called 'the commons'. This is space that is not in private or corporate ownership or bound up in copyright. It is thought, music, land, invention and food production that is FREE, free to use and enjoy by all people. In the book he describes the historic land enclosures and the annual beating of the bounds within the parishes that was literally the beating down of fences that encroached on the common land where the ordinary people lived and farmed.

(Please click here to see Kester Brewin speaking at TEDxExeter on Pirates.)

Over the centuries we have lost so much in the privatisation of our lives to the point where our children travel all over the world looking for freedom; freedom to light a fire outside in a field with friends, to wander over land without fences. We look in this country for places of freedom, sailing on the sea, playing on our beaches, places were no one seems to be in ownership and we are treading on nobody's toes! Another place that is truly 'common' is the church. Your churches are yours by right and heritage.  You can enter and you have a right to be part of the services that take place there. You should never feel that you are entering a closed club or a private building.  You should never need a welcome (although you will surely get one!) because it is your space to wander in, sit in, create in, pray in. This weekend at St Helens Church we have enjoyed the 300yrs celebration flower festival and were entertained on Saturday night by the 'Scottish Fiddlers'. They played music from 300yrs that was 'common'. The tunes they played were for the ordinary people, for the sailors, the fishermen, for isolated rural communities to dance to. As we listened so it seemed the music was in tune with all we are trying to achieve in our churches. The inclusion, the community, the extraordinary beauty of a community bringing their talents and creativity together in the flower arrangements, the hospitality and the music.

God Bless


July 2019


At the end of last month our beloved vicar Jill Carman died. She was suffering from terminal cancer but still her passing was a shock to us all. On the day before she died she jointly lead a 'Service for times of Need' in St Catherine's chapel where she prayed for all those there and offered blessing by the laying on of hands along with the Revds Ali and Michael. The service was peaceful and the people present were moved by the quiet peace and gentle encouragement that it offered.

The service was a recognition that life is not easy and that there are many griefs and trials to be born in our mortal lives and in the lives of those we love. We are not promised material blessing or physical healing from God but we are offered a firm psychological hand to hold and a path to wholeness and well-being that may include the restoration of our lives. The following words are from the forward to the service that was developed in the lona community in Scotland.

'We all stand in need of restoration and in this ministry we recognise that this also has a social dimension. The healing of divided communities, the healing of the earth itself, has a place alongside the mending of broken bodies, hurt minds and wounded hearts and of the hurts and divisions within ourselves. So too our prayers are complementary with the work of medicine and other forms of healing, which are also channels of God's loving and transforming action. In this service anyone may name particular people and places and situations for which prayers are specifically asked. We do this because each person and situation is known to God, not as a problem to be solved but as a focus for God's acceptance and love. We are nof seeking to change God but to change the world; and we trust God that our prayers will be heeded, although we do not know when or how that will happen'.

The prayers that we said offered this plea,
God of compassion and love
we offer you all our suffering and pain.
Give us strength to bear our weakness,
healing even when there is no cure,
peace in the midst of turmoil,
and love to fill the spaces of our lives

For Jill there was 'Healing when there is no cure' and we are thankful for this even as we acknowledge that it is hard for those of us left behind; for her beloved family whom she adored and her village and church community whom she served with grace and fortitude even in her pain.

As we live in this fleshy, mortal world where life is a precious gift for a season so we dare to say that death can be a healing and that there is love and grace in mourning.

God Bless,

Rev Ali

PS If you ever want a place to talk about death and dying then please do contact the church, we are here to help in many practical ways and to offer a listening ear for as long as you need it.

June 2019

What does "Inclusion" really mean?

On our Haven benefice web site we say that we are an ‘open and inclusive church’. For those people who know about these things it means that we are fully accepting and welcoming of all people regardless of gender, sexuality, race or culture. Which means, to put it clearly so that we can't be misunderstood, that we in these churches recognise that God's grace and blessing, love and acceptance is for all people. The Church of England is a present undergoing a long hard look at itself with regards to its attitudes towards the Blessing of same sex civil partnerships and theological responses to the growing public debate around sexual and gender identity. As yet here is little clarity and guidance from the governing centre of the church but with the appointment of our new archdeacon, who comes to us with his male partner, it seems that individual churches need to speak out.

A sermon on Pride that I preached last year, that is available on this web site, makes clear the position I hold. This is that it is not enough to be quietly inclusive, we need to make this known. The reason for this is that the assumption of the public is that the church is discriminatory and if we don’t say that we are not, we will be colluding with a picture of God's exclusive favour that we fundamentally disagree with. We hold this inclusive and graceful understanding of God as a cornerstone of our witness to the world and of our love for all creation.

We in the Haven Benefice welcome our new archdeacon and his partner to the island and look forward to his wisdom and insight among us. His installation service is on the 18th May at the Minster in Newport at 5pm.

God Blessing


May 2019

Or the sermon can be found on the sermon podcast site.

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