Rev Chris update 8th November

Dear all

So, we have entered a second lockdown which, sadly, means that we have had to suspend public worship in our buildings. However online services will continue, and I will be presenting one on this coming Remembrance Sunday at 10.30am with a two-minute silence at 11am.

We asked people in the community to let us have home made poppies to add to a display at church and I have been blown away by the response that has come from many individuals as well as pre-schools and schools.

If you are passing church please do take time to pause and reflect upon the meaning of the poppies, certainly in the context of those that lost their lives in times of conflict, but also to remember the current challenges facing our nation and the world – for those who have lost a loved one in this pandemic, for those working hard in the NHS and the care sector, for those making difficult decisions in government and locally, for those suffering that are lonely and afraid, for those whose livelihoods are at stake.

I think that I can say with confidence that the recent months have been stressful for us all in one way or another. Entering a second lockdown only heightens that, however it came to me that we can turn a negative into a positive and use this time to reflect on the year, with all its difficulties, and see what we have learnt about ourselves and the world around us and think in terms of how we can use that to see things in a new and encouraging ways.

As part of that time of reflection I would encourage you to join in with a national campaign from the Archbishop to engage in a time of PRAYER FOR THE NATION. Attached to this email is a Prayer Booklet that can be used as an aid to prayer. The encouragement is to pray at 6pm each day during this lockdown and it is hoped that churches will ring a bell each day at that time.

During the first lockdown we established ourselves as a Community Hub offering help and support where possible. This took the form of doing shopping and picking up prescriptions for those isolating, being a friendly voice to talk to on the phone, as a collection point for the foodbank, and helping with funding for situations of significant need. This support is still available and if you are in need, or know of others in such a situation, then please do make contact and we will do what we can.

We are staying optimistic that the Christmas market (5th December) and Christmas Tree Festival (18th to 20th December) will go ahead. We are also working on our Christmas services and will let you know about those as soon as we can.

In the meantime, services will continue online at least until the end of lockdown. Next week Anthea Mitchell will be presenting that online service. Anthea is in training for ordained ministry and is doing a placement with us for a few weeks. Hers will be a very particular type of ministry but I will let her tell you about that next week.

Every blessing,

Rev Chris