Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Courage is never more needed in these unprecedented times... Courage in navigating alarming difference with peace & faith as God's distinctive people, hope-filled and always seeking His face!
In the light of the announced closure of public gatherings, along with the wider Church of England, we are invited to respond to the challenge of this time, by becoming a 'radically different kind of church rooted in prayer and serving others'. Full comms from Church of England HQ here, and the detailed letter from our Archbishops here. It's always been an exciting privilege to serve the historic vocation of the church by serving all, and this reality is never more clear than at present in these unique days. The necessity to close church buildings for public worship is remarkable as it last happened in 1208. All public worship, activities and ministry at St Peters & St Pauls apart from emergency pastoral care and funerals is suspended from 22nd March for the foreseeable future. Our lifegroups may continue to meet in homes by private agreement as they are gatherings with under twenty persons. In all things wisdom and courage, in the Holy Spirit!
Panic has it's roots in fear, and peace is found through faith in Jesus. In these unchartered waters, I urge you not to face things alone, reach out, email or message myself and within our church family we will seek to serve all within the limitations of our resources. ‘Social distancing’ doesn’t necessitate ‘social isolation’, so let’s stay connected! Call, text or whatsapp on 077990-72845 for a listening ear & some company at the other end of a phone. In the words of Archbishop Justin Welby & Archbishop John Sentamu, “Where is our hope? It is in the end in the love and faithfulness of a God whom we may have forgotten, but whose action and character is expressed in millions of acts of love by every person in this country.” We are good news people!
As the people of God throughout all the ages we are people who sing, and so we did sing heartily like never before, songs of declaration on Sunday past. Adam who's part of our church staff team has put this free spotify playlist together, Jeremy Marshall speaks powerfully to the fear of death & dying, Craig Philbrick's, digital tools for discipleship right now!, Sam Wells wrote this really helpful piece about 'something more infectious!' and Mary DeMuth's beautiful pandemic prayer.
We'll keep adding resources and links in the coming days, with 3-minute encouragements from Ephesians daily on his social media or here on youtube, other occasional video messages, resources and live streaming on our church facebook page. We plan to live stream on Sunday mornings at 1030 for around 30-minutes and each day livestreaming at 12noon with a 3-minute encouragement! Please adopt the call to prayer this Sunday as part of the national church, and light up your windows at 7pm this Sunday 22nd March, as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished!
Words from Kitty O'Meara, “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." Words from Jesus, "We love because He first loved us..."