This week we share with you some of the ways that we continue to shine God's light into our community, support each other as family, and grow in the love of God.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Sunday services in church are on pause until further notice.
Each Sunday we'll be posting a Virtual Sunday video on our website and YouTube channel.
On pause until further notice
Setting a Watch
Continues daily at 6am and 6pm, via Zoom
Building to Serve Prayer Meeting
Continues every Monday at noon, via Zoom
MARY'S MEALS HITS 30,000
Mary’s Meals: Here we go again!
As this edition of Mary’s Matters hits your screens, a significant milestone is being reached with Mary’s Meals (MM) distribution – the 30,000th MM portion is being delivered by one of our fantastic Volunteer Drivers! While this is a huge testament to the effort and commitment that has gone into the shopping, preparation, cooking, boxing, freezing, packing, loading, driving and delivering activities, it is also a sobering reminder of the increasing level of need in our community for help at this challenging time…
We started distributing Mary’s Meals (in partnership with The Chippy Larder) back in late March last year, just after Lockdown 1 was imposed, and we carried on what turned out to be an enormous operation involving nearly 100 volunteers right the way through that Lockdown and on through the school Summer Holidays, only stopping once the schools were back in September. Our breather didn’t last long – as Chippy climbed up through the Tiers we prepared for the inevitable Lockdown 2, and within two days of it starting at the beginning of November, we had re-staffed The Branch and re-activated our team of Drivers and were back in operation, keeping going through to just before Christmas, when we delivered a double load to see our MM recipients through to the New Year. With Lockdown 3 commencing immediately after Christmas was over, we were ready to go again on 8th January.
114 households received an MM food delivery plus a ‘New Year Cleaning Pack’ today, with 19 drivers out delivering in Chippy and villages in an 8-mile radius of The Branch. Those drivers see and hear first-hand how vital MMs are in helping families and individuals cope, week by week, and they are often overwhelmed by thankful (and sometimes tearful) comments.
How much longer this service will be needed is not clear. In the meantime, we will pass other milestones – our 1,000th Delivery Round driven, our 5,000th MM Bag delivered and, if we do have to keep going until Easter, our first anniversary… something none of us expected.
In the meantime we thank God for our Branch volunteers and Driver Team, for the funds to pay for the food, for Wild Thyme and others for cooking the delicious food. We have never run out of any of these resources and there has always been enough (surprisingly often down to the last frozen portion or driver available)… God’s provision!
As one of the provisions for our children and families during this lockdown, each week is filled with Alliteration Days! Each one focuses on something you can do or learn or think about through Facebook posts and videos. This week has been the first and we have had so much fun completing tasks and learning new things.
Mindful Monday: Mondays are for taking pause and mindfully connecting with our living God. Through prayer, worship and reading His word. We are able to get our week off to a great start by taking the time to come closer to God and asking him to walk with us.
Tasty Tuesday: Tuesdays are for making treats! Following a step by step video or by creatively making your own, we can feel connected by finding some time to make a similar ‘mess’ in the kitchen. Tasty Tuesday encourages you to take even a short break from your routine and share in some self love as well as getting fed emotionally and physically. This last week, we made smoothies!
Wonder Wednesday: Wednesdays are for learning something new. Asking the question “have you ever wondered…?” is sure to get your mind working. This week we discovered that human bodies actually glow, we just can’t see it because the intensity of the light is 1000 times lower than the sensitivity of our eyes. This got us thinking about being the light of the world and not hiding the love of Jesus. There is so much joy to be found in learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with others.
Thoughtful Thursday: Thursday is for thinking about other people. It can be hard in lockdown to connect with people when you aren’t seeing a lot of them, but we are reminding ourselves of how important it is to think about other people and what we can do for them however small. This week we thought about how smiles are contagious and can be spread from one person to another. A study done in Sweden showed that it was hard for someone to frown if another person was smiling and how seeing someone smile can cause your own muscles to twitch into a smile of your own. The challenge was to smile at at least one person on Thursday, whether that was when we were out for a walk or on Zoom or even just with people at home!
Fun-Filled Friday: Fridays are for having fun. We might do anything from dancing to playing or drawing to making! This week we learnt how to draw a simple fox in six steps. Not only is it fun to try something new and learn something together but it can inspire us to try other things, to be open to opportunities and to share with others.
Every day this is encouraging us to stay connected and support each other.
KEEP THOSE LETTERS COMING IN!
All these letters have arrived on Judith’s door mat in the last week for her to deliver to the care homes for their residents. She writes, “I love to have this opportunity to arrive at reception at the care home and have a chance on the doorstep to pass on our good wishes and to keep this contact with the residents alive.”
The carers are delighted to receive these as they are then able to hand them out and use the opportunity to initiate conversations with the residents. Last week you will have seen the photo of the hamper that one of the care homes sent to the team in appreciation of this ministry.
None of us know the people we are writing to, but with a prayer for God to use our imaginations, we write about the picture on the card, memories that they ignite and generally about what is happening around us.
There are still more residents we could write to and so if anyone else would like to join in with this, just contact Judith.
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.