Welcome to St. Bartholomew’s, Burwash


The 16th Sunday after Trinity – 27 September 2020



O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers

of your people who call upon you;

and grant that they may both perceive and know

what things they ought to do,

and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Exodus 17:1-7; Philippians 2:1-13; Mtt. 21:23-32.

Despite the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves due to Covid 19, our response to it started quite well. There was a sense that we were all in this together. Lockdown brought opportunities for acts of kindness and concern, the vulnerable were protected, there was a sense of common commitment, of a shared crises being faced. But then, as guidelines changed, and the weather grew warmer, and the numbers affected by the disease decreased so the cracks began to appear, and the quarrels broke out: questions are raised, authority is challenged, the blame game begins and an air of discontent prevails. But lest we despair too much at our current plight, it is perhaps worth reflecting that such quarrelling and discontent would seem to be part of the human condition, and for confirmation of this we have only to look at today’s readings.

Poor old Moses! You really do have to feel for him. He rescues his people from slavery, leads them out of captivity but at the first sign of difficulty the quarrels break out and discontent spreads like wildfire through the camp. To get the full impact of what is going on here we have to remember that this account was written long after the events to which it refers occurred, and by the time it was written, Moses had become a super hero in his peoples shared memory, and we do love a super-hero! The trouble with super heroes is that they quickly become super-human, endowed with special powers and that detracts from their real humanity But at the time, we have a man grappling with the dilemmas of leadership and struggling with a difficult situation, and like many of us would he thinks “God, what shall I do?”

The authors of these Bible stories tend to write up their characters as if they had a hot line to God, but no, that’s not the way to think of them. Think of them rather as being like us, caught up in the complexities of life, struggling to make sense of faith, searching and hoping for inspiration. Those are surely the feelings with which those who are trying to live a life of faith will readily identify.

We should think in this way too about Jesus, who, in the Hebrew tradition from which the gospel writers sprang, has also been written up as a super hero. But the real thrust of the original concept of the Incarnation, of God becoming man, was that in doing so he accepted all the limitations of being human, and that meant sharing in all the doubts, fears, insecurities and discontent that you and I face. So here too we have a man, an extraordinary man no doubt, but a man of his time, trying to lead people in a new direction, and faced with quarrels and obstruction at every turn, as today’s gospel reading shows. The Temple priests and elders question his authority, and when he challenges them in return they fall to quarrelling among themselves. Oh the frustration and the agony for a man with a vision of how things could be. What the gospels don’t tell us, except by inference, is the self-doubt, the undermining of confidence that such confrontations as today’s gospel extract must have inflicted. Why else does Jesus need to go off so often to be alone if not to cling to his faith in both himself and God?

Likewise St. Paul, dogged all his life by controversy and conflict, writing to his friends in Philippi, who were in the middle of a humdinger of a quarrel over who was most important among them, points them back to the example of Jesus: “who did not think to snatch at equality with God and made himself nothing”, and he closes this letter with the words “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit”.

Moses, Jesus, Paul, these were people who struggled with the human condition which is beset with complexities at every turn.   Moses at the very dawn of faith who struggled with the idea of a single God; Jesus who struggled with what kind of Messiah God wanted; Paul with the kind of life-style expected of believers in the way of Jesus. Through faith, both in themselves and in God they came to a perception, a knowledge of how to act and they found the power to follow it through.

Which brings us to today’s Collect, collecting up these thoughts for us for today to ponder in the situation in which we find ourselves:

Lord, hear the prayers of your people

and grant that we may both

perceive and know what things we should do

and may have grace and power to fulfil them faithfully.

Perception and knowledge in these perplexing times for our leaders and those who bear the heavy responsibility of making decisions that affect all our lives. Perception and knowledge for ourselves to see and understand what is right, but also to question what is wrong, and grace, a word nuanced with a myriad of meanings: poise; elegance; charm; refinement; dignity and kindness, which is perhaps why Paul uses it of Jesus. Grace that we may all live through this moment in a manner that enhances life for others, and the power, the strength, to see it through.


From the Churchwardens


We now embark on a long period – perhaps between one and two years – while a new Rector is found and appointed. It is a complicated process which has to follow a strict legal pathway and which has to satisfy not just Burwash but also Burwash Weald and Etchingham, as nowadays we are all together in a united benefice.

During the vacancy, a number of priests and a lay reader have kindly agreed to look after us week by week, for which we are truly grateful. There are arrangements (listed in the village magazine each month and on this website) for giving pastoral care and dealing with weddings and baptisms.

We want to try to keep things going as near to normally as possible, but the Covid restrictions do make that difficult. We are only able at present to hold one service a week, with limited numbers. We still ask you to continue to email us each week that you would like to attend. Special services like Remembrance Sunday and Christmas regrettably look very likely to be far from normal. We will try to keep everyone informed of developments via this website, the magazine and the e-bulletins.

During this vacancy, we particularly ask for your whole-hearted help and support, and please do contact one of us if you think things are going wrong. We really need to know.

Vicky Patterson ( thymeplace@gmail.com )

Richard Harden ( rh@richardharden.co.uk )



The work to replace the roof on St Bartholomew's church has begun. Please take care when walking through the churchyard. During the duration of the work the church will remain closed except for services.


United Benefice of Burwash,  Burwash Weald & Etchingham  

Normal weekly pattern of Churches opened for private prayer                                                                        


All Churches



All Churches



Assumption of Blessed Mary &

St Nicholas

9am – 4pm


St Philip

9am - 4pm


All Churches



All Churches



All Churches

Closed following Morning Services




                                   Parish Safegaurding notice12.1905/12/19

If you are unfamiliar with any of our services we hope these notes will be of  use to you and that we will be able to welcome you into our Parish family:


Our normal* service pattern is as follows :

  • Every Sunday at 8am – Holy Communion - a traditional said celebration of the Eucharist taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) 
  • 1st Sunday of each month at 10.00- Family Service- a short service aimed at families to come along to worship and have fun. Children and young people are encouraged to actively participate.. Coffee is served afterwards.  
  • 1st Sunday of each month at 6pm- Evensong – a traditional evening service as set out in the Book of Common prayer. The service includes readings, psalms and hymns 
  • 2nd Sunday of each month at 10am - Matins - a traditional morning  service as set out in the Book of Common prayer. The service includes readings, psalms and hymns. 
  • 3rd Sunday (& 5th if applicable) of each month at 10am - Family Communion – using a version of Common Worship liturgy which reflects the richness and variety of worship which is available for use Sunday by Sunday. Coffee is served afterwards. 
  • 4th Sunday of each month at 10am - Parish Communion - a celebration of the Eucharist using Common Worship which uses more modern language together with additional readings and hymns

  • Also on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of each month our Sunday Club meets during the main 10am service at the Rectory from 9.45am. The Sunday Club then normally join the Church Family in the Church at 10.45am. Please contact Celia Merchant or one of the Sunday Club Leaders for more details.

At all our services there are facilities for pre school children.Toys & books are always available in our Childrens Corner.

*Please check for changes to service patterns in the Burwash Village Magazine each month or on our website.


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