Please find below our news from this week. Praying that you know God's love wherever you're reading this from.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
Finding ways of keeping in touch with our church family, despite the restrictions of self isolation and ‘social distancing’ has been rewarded by some lovely outcomes these last weeks and we hope will have a real benefit for the future.
‘Social distancing’ is a strange term – it’s not what we are about!
Physical distancing, yes, for now. I think this is a better description, because we thrive on being social.
The telephone has made a comeback!
Our ‘phone web’ now stretches out from our 40 volunteers, to those who are not on email, to those who are not linked to small groups and out to our neighbours and friends via your connections, and the ‘kindness cards’ that have been distributed to all the homes down our streets. This way we can link anyone into the church’s care for our community and signpost people to the help that they may need.
We started with the aim of keeping in touch with our church family and then taking the example of Jesus, we have then looked beyond ourselves to include anyone who would like to get involved.
What has been impressed on me, through the wonderful response I have received via the emails that you have sent, is the enthusiasm you have shown to pick up the phone and connect with folk. I have had people stop to call to me in the garden, telling me what joy they’ve had in the chats on the phone and the connections they have made, and dozens of emails of thanks for this simple idea!
So thank you for picking up the phone, and be encouraged to keep up with the contacts you have made and extend this out further to your neighbours and acquaintances so that we can build a great web of care and kindness that can last well into the future and build stronger social cohesion, not distancing!
Just a fraction of the feedback we've been getting about the phone web:
“I do appreciate being connected with the telephone friends."
“We much appreciate your concern for our welfare - carry on the good work”
“We are so thankful that there is somewhere we can go for help”
“It’s lovely to be able to connect with people. Thank you for getting us all together”
“As we did our Chippy News / St Mary's card drop we met people who had heard about the Branch so all good news spreading.”
PRAYING FOR BUILDING TO SERVE
Our first virtual prayer meeting on Monday last week was a great success. A lovely group congregated online, using the zoom virtual platform, with one prayer linking in on the phone! It is very simple to do.
If you would like to join us this Monday at 12pm please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can send you a link that will allow you to join in at the appointed time. Thank you for your prayers!
MAUNDY THURSDAY COMMUNION
We'd love you to join us in celebrating Holy Communion this Maundy Thursday. David Salter will be presiding from his home and we'll be meeting via Zoom.
By using Zoom we have the added bonus of being able to see each other's faces, so we'll have a real sense of being able to celebrate together!
"Our Easter services are cancelled. Our Easter hope is not."
With Easter just around the corner we've found some creative ways that we can still celebrate together. Click below to see what's coming up.
If you're missing your usual One Way or Ignite session then fret not! The team are working hard to make sure that there's something just for you this Sunday. Look out for the "It's Sunday!" email reminder this Sunday.
RESOURCES OF THE WEEK
If you have a chance, don't forget to have a browse of our website, where there are lots of great resources for worshipping and thriving at home. Our two favourites this week are:
"We are not alone" sung acapella. The staff team's no. 1 song for strength and encouragement at the moment. We hope it does the same for you.
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.