So here we are in that place again, possibly better prepared but also possibly more anxious and concerned because we have been here before. We recognise the many disappointments that all of us experience at this time not least because we were enjoying being able to express ourselves as a church family and community over the last four Sundays. Please know that Julie and I are praying for you and want to support and help in whatever way is possible, so do please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we’d love to serve you and yours best we can.
Last week when we gathered there was a powerful sense of the presence of God as we declared over our church, our households and individual situations, our parish, community and our nation that God is sovereign and reigns over all – that hasn’t changed as I sit and write this; He has been, is and will always be the Sovereign Lord God who reigns above it all. Let’s take heart from that truth and lean in to the strength and wisdom of our Heavenly Father in these days. The church building may be closed once again but God is still at work in our world and we, His people, are here to be the hands, feet and aroma of Christ in this parish. Let’s strengthen and encourage each other in Life Groups, (contact me if you are not already in one) our Wednesday morning prayer time at 0830am via Zoom and our re-instated post online church zoom at 1030 from Sunday 8th November.
Yesterday parliament voted for this second lockdown and, as a result places of worship will be closed for communal worship, weddings are sadly banned save for exceptional circumstances and funerals limited to 30 people. There will be a special and very limited exemption for Remembrance Sunday this week, click here for more details. Our worship service will therefore revert to online solely at 0930am. Deep dismay and frustration has been expressed to government about the new restrictions on churches and key national faith leaders have written to the Prime Minister as a result. Whatever our personal views we can and should pray for mercy on our nation and wisdom and patience for the ministers and officials who are having to implement a policy that is not necessarily of their choosing. The Evangelical Alliance and the Anglican Archbishops have called for this to be a month of prayer including a National Day of Prayer on Friday 13 November. As a church family we will be continuing to pray for the nation as part of our praying together on Wednesday mornings; let’s also take up the challenge to pray particularly next Friday. The Anglican Archbishops letter is attached here.
We had to take the opportunity yesterday to pre-record some segments of our online Christmas offering and are very grateful to those who took part at such short notice and to Jane for the beautiful Christmas floral decoration – St Paul’s looked at its best in simple beauty. Watch my recorded video greeting as we head into Lockdown 2.0.
As we look ahead over these next weeks and months as a church, we want to continue to be a people of blessing; the Community Compassion Fund exists to assist those in the parish community who are in need so please do make any referrals via phone or email to myself or via the Church Office. I am continuing to work closely with HPC, SDC and KCC to facilitate services and supplies as previously – so that no-one needs go hungry or feel forgotten and uncared for: with a wave of new requests and needs before us. As a community we can ensure that no one, children, adults and the elderly, goes hungry!
Whatever you are facing or feeling, do not face it alone: there are many willing, loving & caring people across our church family and wider community who are able and wanting to help. Do just ask and we’ll try to help… However limiting the days ahead, my prayer is that your vision of God’s enlarges for the kingdom of God truly has not been dented, despite all the challenges, pain and loss of 2020.
With our prayerful thanks for you