Just a fraction of the Easter food delivery - including 40 bunches of tulips!
I don't know what challenges you've been facing this week; possibly you're dealing with really aching loneliness, or worried about money, health or loved ones; maybe you're trying to carry out the impossible task of running a homeschool while simultaneously doing your day job; or maybe you're dealing with really heartbreaking things every day on the front line.
If you need to pour out your soul to God then you're in good company. Isn't the Bible full of people doing just that? It even gives us the words to use when we've run out of words ourselves; Psalm 42 is a great example.
I'm praying that for all of us God will be our Rock this week as He directs His love towards us.
'These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him...'
FIGURES TO CELEBRATE THIS WEEK
volunteer drivers delivering Chippy Larder/Mary's Meals in Chippy and beyond 293
visitors to our Virtual Sunday page 1 number of chickens attending last week's Sunday Coffee & Chat
A WEEK OF LOVE
Philip Sharman, delivery-man extraordinaire, updates us on the rapidly expanding food distribution operation.
Distributing food and more…
Well, we’ve just completed our seventh weekly food distribution… its hard to comprehend that it has been going on for so long already!
This Friday saw 40 volunteer drivers deliver boxes of non-perishable goods and bags of fruit and veg from the ‘Chippy Larder’ to over 300 households in Chippy and surrounding villages within a 10-mile radius, with over 160 of these families also receiving ‘Mary’s Meals’ (feeding about 440 people nearly 1,000 individual meals), and over 140 primary-school-age children receiving a ‘Creating Space’ craft bag. A further 150 families collected their Chippy Larder provisions from the Leisure Centre. In total, 450 families per week are now receiving support.
We have come a long way from the first event on 20th March with delivery of 25 boxes and 175 self-collections!
It has been wonderful to witness God’s hand behind the coming together of four very different activities (Chippy Larder, Food Bank, Mary’s Meals and Creating Space) to work together, to develop a shared volunteer delivery network, and to meet the growing needs of a steadily increasing number of individuals and families in the area.
It has also been exciting to catch a foretaste of God’s plans for The Branch, with the open space there housing nine chest freezers and an industrial chiller unit – all packed full with food one day, completely emptied out the next, only to fill up again over the following few days ready for the next Friday!
Please pray that we are able to continue to support local people in these vital, practical ways for as long as it takes. Please pray that through our actions and care they may see the love that Jesus has for each of them.
IMPORTANT NEWS FROM JAMES & EMMA
This week would have marked the start of our sabbatical term, but like so many other people, we wanted to share with you that we have had to change our plans. Much of what we had hoped to do will no longer be possible this year and will have to be deferred until next summer, but we do both still intend to step back for a few weeks from mid-June for a much shorter period of retreat, study and rest.
Martha has kindly agreed to take the helm while James is away, and Emma will also be handing over as much as possible of the Outreach activities that she has been coordinating. We are extremely grateful both to Martha and to the rest of our wonderful Staff Team for enabling us to do this and would very much appreciate your prayers for us to be able to use the time wisely.
-James & Emma
FIRST PRIORITY PRAYER
Prayer: 1st Priority (Weds 6th May, 7.30-8.30pm) & The Branch (every Monday, 12-1pm).
We have much to pray about during this time of lock-down, not only for our plans as a church to reach out into our community and serve God faithfully, but also with so many people feeling the pressure in different ways, here and across the globe.
Zoom has proven to be an amazing tool to help us come together and bring our concerns before God in prayer, even when physically we’re stuck at home, so please do join us at 7.30pm on Wednesday 6th May for 1st Priority Prayer (click below for the Zoom link).
Also, if you’d like to join us to pray weekly on a Monday - particularly about everything that’s happening with The Branch, but also more widely - then please e-mail email@example.com, and she’ll send you a weekly Zoom link.
The youth team are bringing you an opportunity to get together with either your family or as a solo player to get your brains in gear and join in on a fun filled quiz. With a range of categories for everyone, we hope you will get involved via Zoom on Friday 1st May at 7pm.
If you would like to enter and receive the zoom invite, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The winner will receive a prize delivered to their door! Now there is an incentive!
Following the success of last week's pre-service coffee, (which was also attended by two gerbils and a chicken) this Sunday we’d like to once again invite you to join us for a pre-service coffee (bring your own!) and chance to say hi to each other.
James will host this week, and put one light-hearted question to whoever wants to come and join us for 20mins. If you don’t feel like talking, that’s fine too - just come and join in and see some friendly faces.
Not being in the same building each Sunday, we miss those opportunities to catch five minutes with someone to find out how they are and what they've been up to.
This week we asked the Bell family (Jamie, Rachael, Cressida, Tatiana & Zac) just that. Rachael talks to us about the stresses and joys of having grown-up children back at home and a business to run, and finding blessing in the ordinary things we see around us...
Everyone has questions about what life is all about. We believe that everyone should have a chance to share those questions, explore the Christian faith and give their point of view.
Alpha is a place where you can ask those questions in an honest, friendly and open environment.
In recent months at St Mary's, God has been extending our vision to serve the town in an exciting, ambitious and creative way at a time of substantially increasing need for many within our community...
So many people in our community feel the weight of debt, and we are passionate about helping to release anyone we can from a life sentence of debt and poverty. At St Mary's we are working with Christians Against Poverty to bring good news, hope and freedom. If you need support, we'd love to hear from you.