One of the church families celebrates Jesus' love and light this autumn
We were just wrapping up "Setting a Watch" prayer yesterday when one of the church family commented how the sessions were "strangely addictive". I couldn't agree more!
I've always found prayer meetings a bit hard going! As someone who doesn't always find it easy coming up with lots of words on the spot, prayer meetings sometimes become more focussed on worrying about finding enough things to say than actually focussing on God. Hopefully most people aren't that silly!
So I've surprised myself that the prayer times at 6pm have become a bit of an oasis in my day - a point when I know I can meet with church family and we can collectively share dreams, concerns and longings with our loving Father as well as spurring each other on. To me it's like we're working on a collage or a patchwork quilt together - everyone adding their unique and diverse pieces each day and then offering the whole beautiful tangle up to God.
The meetings are short - and therefore short prayers work well. The meetings are informal - no one seems to mind if people join from an unusual location or dip out of the meeting to turn on the oven. Everyone is invited, even if it's only now and again. Prayers cover all sorts of types and topics. Sometimes there's silence but it's not "awkward" silence; it's a chance to enjoy God's company together.
Don't miss out on Philippa's "Setting a Watch FAQs" below!
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Last Saturday but one we embarked on a very wet and windy youth hike. Due to numbers we separated into two groups. One group, led by John Marshall and Ben Waddilove, took the group of nine boys from Top School and Remix. The other group of young people from the church went with me and Hannah Charles, 8 of us in total.
We set off from the Parish Rooms to walk up to Salford and back along the Salt Way and home through the fields. The group of boys took a longer route through Over Norton which we had intended to follow but, being new to the area, I went the wrong way – which turned out to be a shorter walk. I would like to say this was my intention, as a couple of those in my group had to walk gingerly due to slippy footwear!
Both routes were extremely muddy, and the wind and rain added to the fun. The conditions were very poor, but that only made the whole experience more enjoyable and memorable. We had a few slips, a couple of lost shoes, and even a race up the hill coming out of Salford Village as we headed back into Chippy. Some time was also enjoyed in the park, particularly on the zip-wire, with John and Ben’s group – my group were less keen for this despite my persuasive encouragement.
We are very blessed to have such spirited young people to work with – and such tolerant and understanding parents who I’m sure were overjoyed at the prospect of taking their wet and muddy children home in their car…
SETTING A WATCH: WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
If you're yet to discover the "Setting a Watch" prayer slots then this could be just for you!
Here Philippa talks to us about her experiences so far with "Setting a Watch" prayer, explains why she would even want to pray with people that early in the morning(!), and then goes through some of the questions that people might have about joining in.
On Thursday evening, 19th November, at 7.30pm, we will have our termly opportunity to gather with members of other churches within the town to pray for each other and for the wider community.
Do please join us if you can. A Zoom link will be shared nearer the time.
Our annual church meeting gives us the chance to reflect (over a glass of Prosecco!) on what God has been doing through the church, to elect our churchwardens and PCC members, and to celebrate together what God is leading us into.
Usually this would take place before Easter, while the Annual Report for the preceding year is still reasonably fresh, but Covid forced the postponement of the 2020 meeting. It was originally hoped that, by delaying it, we would be able to gather in person, but that is sadly still not possible.
The revised date for our meeting is now Sunday 22nd November 2020, at 12.30pm, when we will gather on Zoom for the elections and presentation of the 2019 Annual Report. Do please join us, and please feel free to pour your own glass of fizz for the occasion!
Accounts are available to view here. The Zoom link will be in next week's Mary's Matters.
MORE INCREDIBLE NEWS!
While we were still rejoicing in the generosity and support of the church family following Gift Day, last week we received the amazing news that another incredibly generous benefactor will be giving us £500,000 towards the development of The Branch!
It is so encouraging to see how the vision that God has given us to serve and address the deep needs around us is capturing attention and drawing in support.
Please keep praying that this will catalyse even greater involvement from the wider community as others are taken with us on this exciting journey.
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.