Welcome to St. Bartholomew’s, Burwash


Palm Sunday 2020

Having worked in a day nursery for a number of years prior to ordination I enjoyed watching the TV programme Secret Lives of 4 year Olds. Hidden cameras and microphones were placed in a nursery whilst a team of child experts in another room observed as the children interacted with each other. It was interesting and sometimes very amusing viewing as friendships were made and broken. Temptations resisted by some indulged by others. Acts of kindness and yes selfishness too.

It also demonstrated how fickle humans can be in our relationships. A child who, one minute surrounded by friends, was just as rapidly shunned and turned away from the group when the team they were leading lost a game.

For the Jews, living under the cloud of the Roman occupation, it seemed as though their prayers had been answered. For years they had been waiting and praying for the one who would come and rescue them. The people had heard great things about this man called Jesus. His reputation had spread. This was their promised Messiah. The one who would overthrow the Romans and bring peace and freedom to a beleaguered people once more. He was going to save them. The future looked full of hope and promise with him at the top. And so as Jesus rode into Jerusalem they turned out in their masses, waving and cheering. Welcoming him and hailing him as their King.

But how quickly with the fickleness of human nature they turned. As Jesus moved through the week teaching his disciples cleansing the temple, denouncing the rich and powerful, suddenly he wasn’t the messiah they had been hoping for. He wasn’t going to be a great war lord sweeping through the land. Rather he was pointing out the error of their ways. How dare he! Their hope and praise turned into disgust and hatred. We will see Jesus arrested, mocked, beaten to within an inch of his life.The cry of Hosanna turned to “Crucify him” .Marched through the streets like a common criminal he will be nailed on a cross.

The priests and doctors of the law, the scribes and the elders had hated him from the beginning but the people would not have changed so quickly if they had not been deeply disappointed as their immediate expectations had not been fulfilled. Yet it was this crucified man who before long was to be the spiritual magnet for people from all nations for generation upon generation.

The people wanted to be rescued from evil and oppression but Jesus was going to rescue them from evil at its fullest depths, not just the surface evil of the Roman occupation and exploitation by the rich. Precisely because Jesus says yes to their deepest needs he will have to say no or wait to the desires of which they are conscious and have expressed.

The people of Jerusalem welcoming their saviour are going to be disappointed but that disappointment is going to be at surface level. Deep down Jesus’ arrival at the great city is indeed the moment when their salvation is dawning. The hosannas were justified though not for the reasons they had supposed.  

God knows our deepest needs. When we pray for help He will answer. Perhaps not immediately, nor in the way we imagined but more thoroughly and more deeply than perhaps we wanted or imagined.

Today we celebrate Christ’s triumphal entry in to Jerusalem but not with our usual procession along the High Street and singing the familiar hymns in church. As I celebrate Holy Communion alone in the Rectory some of you will be praying with me from your own homes, watching a service on TV or streamed live via the internet. Some will listen to a radio broadcast. Perhaps at lunch time you will sing along to Songs of Praise.

We are all gradually settling into our new routines. Dining tables converted into office work stations, communicating with family members via whatsapp, keeping children amused, or, personally, re-discovering the joy of just sitting in the garden for an hour with a book and the dog without feeling guilty.

During this coming Holy week as we reflect upon Jesus’ journey to the cross may we, in whatever we are doing, rest with him and welcome him into our hearts and our minds. Whilst we wait for God to answer our prayers may we not display the fickleness of humanity by turning away when they are not answered in the time and way we want but have patience and trust as with compassion, mercy and love God continues to see and meet the deepest needs of ourselves and our hurting world as He did that first Good Friday.


Palm Sunday will be different this year. No procession through the High Street or singing the familiar hymns in church. However there will be palm crosses in the church porch. Please do take one when you are out for your daily walk.

Alternatively if you are unable to get to the church and feel like a creative challenge how about making your own. There are plenty of tutorials to be found on You Tube.

I will be celebrating Holy Communion in the Rectory again at 10am on Sunday and if you would like a prayer said for yourself or somebody else please let me know. I will also be posting a homily on the Web Site. Again if you would like a copy please e mail me.

Any donations to the Food Bank basket (also in the church porch) will, for the duration of the Corona Virus crisis, be given to the Bexhill and Battle Food Bank. If you wish to continue to support Family Support Work their website gives details as to how you can make financial donations on line.



Our community will be constantly in my prayers but if you wish prayers for yourself or somebody close to you please contact Rev Sally by phone or e mail.

In addition a short weekly homily based on the Gospel for the day is being put on the church website and circulated via the St Bartholomew’s e bulletin. If you wish to receive a copy by e mail please contact Rev Sally.

Please continue to help Family Support Work care for vulnerable families by leaving your donations in the basket in the church porch (please maintain safe distancing and wash your hands as soon as possible)

These are challenging times for us all and the situation is constantly changing. However we are a strong community and by continuing to care for one another and drawing strength from our faith we will come through the darkness of these days to the light the other side.

You are all in my prayers.

God Bless

Rev Sally x




Exceptional dispensation has been granted to a priest (licensed or with PTO in this diocese) to celebrate the Eucharist without a congregation during the course of the present restrictions.  At 10am on Sunday Morning I propose to celebrate communion here in the Rectory for the foreseeable future.

During that time I will be holding you all in my heart and prayers.  May I ask that you also pause from your activities at that time and join me in praying for ourselves, our church, community, nation and world. The Church of England website contains a number of prayer resources and links to live streamed services.



The following would have been published in the April edition of the Burwash Village Magazine

Dear Friends,

The supermarket shelves are empty of toilet rolls, tea bags and paracetamol the main topic of conversation has moved from the incessant rain and flooding to the Corona Virus.

There are families who have sadly lost a loved one through the illness. Others are in quarantine or distancing themselves from family and friends. Businesses and international commerce are being affected. Travel and sporting fixtures cancelled. We are constantly being reminded on what to do, or not to do, to try and prevent the spread of the virus. And now we are no longer able to hold the usual pattern of services in our churches. In the space of a few short weeks life has changed for many people around the world and reaction to these changes differ from person to person.

When interviewed for TV news reports some shrug their shoulders and are stoical about the changes to their daily lives. Others are more fearful or apprehensive about what the next days or weeks might bring.

It is a fact of life that, Corona Virus or not, we constantly face changes. Some changes we choose others, such as now, are inflicted upon us because of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Some changes we embrace with enthusiasm, excitement and joy. Others instil feelings of uncertainty, fear or even sorrow.

Though this year we will be unable to celebrate Easter together in church we should still hold onto the encouraging and re-assuring promise of new life through the resurrection of Christ.  But to reach that we first have to travel with Jesus on his journey to the cross. A journey which for Christ, in his humanity, brought fear, sorrow and pain. Emotions shared today by millions in our community, our nation and our world

A loving father or mother holds out their arms ready to gather their child in an embrace which promises unconditional love. On the cross God held out his arms in love for us His children, giving us strength and courage to sustain us during all the changes of life. As we face the uncertainties in our lives, both now and in the future, may we take shelter in God’s outstretched arms.

He is risen. Halleluiah!

God Bless you all


Rev Sally Epps

Rector of Burwash, Burwash Weald & Etchingham




Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches

In line with Government instructions our church is now closed.

Rev Sally will continue to say Morning and Evening Prayer at the Rectory at 9am and 5pm. She asks you to join with her from you own homes in praying for our community, our nation and our world.

If you need to speak to a Priest please telephone or e mail Rev Sally 01435 882301


God Bless you all. 



 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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