A message from the rector

Dear all,

I am sorry to have to write and advise you that in response to the Government announcement yesterday the Methodist Church has decided that we cannot meet as church for the foreseeable future.  This includes Sundays and all groups connected to the church meeting on our premises.  Lent groups and prayer meetings, lunch groups and coffee everything must stop even business meetings!

This will leave many socially isolated and I along with others are looking into how we might make conference telephone calls together so we can speak in small groups as well as ways those of us who use social media can communicate.  In the meantime, I do urge you to make phone calls to friends and family, whether they are in the church or not especially when you know those people are isolating themselves because they are in vulnerable groups and live alone.   

I especially encourage our pastoral friends to call people on their list.  If you have a big list and have permission to share telephone numbers from the person you are speaking to, share the load.  I don’t encourage people to visit, especially I say this to older people and those in vulnerable groups.  However, you may discover in your conversation that someone has a practical need for supplies or something else.  Please call or email me if you can offer to respond to any needs identified.  And if you find such need but shouldn’t meet it yourself because of age or vulnerability know you can pass it on.  The church needs to act as a body in this with each playing their part. If you make a call and it is difficult please phone me and let me know.  I will also be making phone calls, let me know if I can lighten your load.

The Methodist Church website says, We should not be afraid “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7.

God of all hope we call on you today.
We pray for those who are living in fear:
Fear of illness, fear for loved ones, fear of other’s reactions to them.
May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.

We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty.
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend worship.
Grant us your wisdom.

Holy God, we remember that you have promised that
Nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you. Amen

The best thing we can do is pray.  Take this time as gift from God to spend with him praying and reading scripture.  There are lots of resources online but if you want a series of readings to follow or prayer resources let me know. 

Kate and Mike Rawlings have suggested we all pray at 2pm and 8pm about the Coronavirus.  You may like to join in and set a reminder on your phone.  Whenever we pray, let us pray

·         For all who are in leadership political, scientific and medical that they may discern the best way to proceed.

·         For those searching for a cure

·         For those on the frontline Dr’s, nurses, health care assistants, carers, cleaners and clerks in hospitals and care/nursing homes.  That they are protected and have the stamina for the task.

·         For the sick that they may be healed

·         For those who are worried and feeling isolated and that may be a prayer for yourself

·         For the Church to be an effective witness of God’s love and be able to respond appropriately.

I shall be setting up a prayer chain so if you want to be part of that please get in touch by email or phone.  In a prayer chain when a request comes in you pray and pass it on to the next person in the chain and so the message gets down the chain.

I shall be sending out letters like this of encouragement and to keep us connected so please supply news, jokes anything you think might bring us closer together.  If anyone wants to write something or share testimony of what God is doing in you at this time please let me have it.

This is a great opportunity for us to be church and show our love to the community.  We will discover new ways of being church together and really learn how to be church outside the building because we can’t go to the building.  I wonder what this experience will teach us about being church and what really matters.  Things we won’t want to lose when we do get back inside the building. 

One of my favourite verses of scripture is Romans 8 verse 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.”  I wonder what good God will bring out of this period of confinement.  Remember to write it down so one of our first services can be to thank God for the good that he has brought out of this situation

You can keep up to date on the Coronavirus on Methodist.org.uk and follow the links.  This is also the place to find resources for Sunday and your own service to do at home.  I am attaching this Sunday’s service.  Either print it off for yourself or post it through the door of someone on your pastoral list.

There’s probably lots in this letter you wish I had said so please get in touch and let me know what you think would be helpful for your support and what further information you need.

God bless and much love