Here are some news stories from this week. Praying that you know God's presence wherever you're reading this from.
"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast."
“The people that walk in darkness will see a great light. For those that live in a land of deep darkness a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2
When the Nurture Room closed down last week I felt very concerned about not being in touch with the children I see on a daily basis. The reality of this situation is tough for us all, but for children it is even harder to understand. For parents the anxiety is about keeping young ones occupied, calm and happy.
We wanted to make sure we kept connected to the children in our community and so the Nurture Room has gone online and Creating Space Chippy is born! If you are on Instagram you can follow @creatingspace.chippy for daily posts with craft ideas, wellbeing messages, storytelling plus art sent in from #CreativeKidsOfChippy! It is proving popular and has been a really positive way of staying in touch with the Nurture Room and Remix young people plus others in the local area.
We are also attracting attention from as far away as Malta and Guam, Micronesia! Please follow along – it will be great to have you along on the ride!
Each week we are also handing out 100+ Family Activity bags based around a theme. A family focused craft, colouring sheets, suggestions of music and movement, outside activities, ideas to spark writing and general encouragement. Since the bags were released on Wednesday there has been a great response! We will also be posting the activity sheets on the website so do check in and share with family and friends.
One of the most amazing things about this situation has been drawing together and working with others in the local area and seeing the generosity of people from all around. We have been totally blessed with some wonderful gestures of kindness. 250 Easter eggs donated by Chastleton House @ntchastleton and craft materials donated by Thrive https://www.thrive-northox.co.uk/ are just a couple.
We love this community and all the families in it. Please pray that despite the most extraordinary of circumstances and the hardship and anxiety that is to come, God will show himself through the love and compassion that we show for each other and the creative way that we can find to shift our lives.
Sending love & light to you all,
This season of isolation has given us millennials and Gen Z’s an opportunity to connect in different ways, which has been super exciting, despite all the fear and uncertainty in our world at present. We have been able to launch our ‘making disciples’ theme this week using Google Hangouts. Such is the amount of young people wanting to meet we are having to move platform this Sunday.
We also have enjoyed a virtual prayer meeting together, lifting up the needs of our world and each other to the Lord. We have been enjoying catching up together and despite being in isolation, we are well connected! God has opened up new windows for us to engage with each other, encouraging each other to shine brightly in our current digital worlds and homes.
Check it out above: Yes, you are right, we did have a monkey in our virtual youth group!
MARY'S MEALS/CHIPPY LARDER UPDATE
Nick helping to set up Mary's Meals at The Branch
Well, the week has continued to be busy and we're bracing ourselves for our first major food distribution today (Friday), 300 people are registered, so PLEASE PRAY.
Through it all we have seen GOD’S MAJESTY & PROVISION -
a large donation meant that we could buy an industrial fridge to take dairy & chilled projects for Chippy Larder
Aldi have been amazing and let us in at 7.45am each morning to shop in an empty store - which allows us to whizz round & add stock the freezers each day
people have lent freezers - if you have a CHEST FREEZER that you could empty & loan that would be incredible (we will collect)
volunteers have been fantastic, and we’re so grateful to Philip Sharman for stepping up to coordinate them all
we’ve partnered with The Chippy Larder for all our distribution & delivery
local people have been so generous - a man kindly tested all the refrigeration to check it was up to standard out of hours and for free
we cleared Costa as it closed and Isobel & I had a hilarious evening driving around Chippy dropping off paninis & cake to lots of the families we work with, as well as the health centre & schools!
Milk donated from Costa!
But the most amazing thing has been to see how THE BRANCH has become the hub for all this activity and has been turned into the perfect storehouse for all the goods which are being donated and distributed.
The weeks ahead seem overwhelming, already 5 local food banks have collapsed through demand and lack of volunteers (due to self isolating). I know we will need "bread & fish miracles” several times in the weeks ahead, but we trust in a God who knows the need and provides.
THIS Saturday morning (10.30-12.30) might you be free to come to the Parish Rooms and pick up a street of Chippy News Fliers? These have all the crucial information we need to get through every postbox in Chippy to keep everyone connected.
VERY IMPORTANTLY, to keep everyone safe you have to be between 16-70, and feeling fit and well. If you are able please click below, a lovely lady called Mariah is coordinating this and would love to know you are able to help & will send you further safety guidelines.
Don't forget... if you need food, help or just a chat then please don't hesitate to get in touch. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01608 646202 between 10am and 12noon, or 07418 059434 if it's more urgent.
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.