To all our church family…
Click on the video to hear Dave’s message to our churches at this time – Wednesday 19th March 2020.
We live in unprecedented times and in this season are learning to do church differently and be a different sort of church. Whilst we may not be able to gather in person for the foreseeable future, we can still connect in different ways to be the church, to support each other, to worship our God who is the same, yesterday, today and for ever, and to ‘partner with God in the flourishing of our communities’ at this time.
Things are continually changing, but here is where we are at, at the moment:
Sunday Worship, Home Worship Packs & Spurring one another in in our faith
We are now operating ‘St Andrew’s & All Saints on-line’ services every Sunday. We’ll be seeking to stream two pre-recorded services each Sunday from our homes now: a traditional service , and a contemporary service. The contemporary service package will also contain resources for children and youth provision. Both these services will be available here on a Sunday morning from 8:30am to view from the comfort of your home or wherever you are.
We’ve already sent out over 70 ‘Home Worship packs’ for members of our traditional services and those not online so that people can still follow our services and be resourced for personal daily prayer. The packs contain our blue service book with morning and evening prayer in, the Church of England lectionary readings for each day, our ‘Noon prayer at the time of Coronavirus’ sheets and a palm cross. If you have not received a pack and would like it delivered to you then please contact the church office.
We’ve also got a lot of online resources at this time which we hope will sustain you at this time and we’ll continue to add to this in the coming weeks. See our discipleship-resources page.
We’re looking to put out regular video or written testimonies of different people in our congregations so that we can keep in touch with each other and keep ‘spurring one another on.’ If you have a testimony to share, ideally record it on your phone or ipad and email it in, or write it up and send it in to email@example.com. The first one has been done already and we’ll send it out soon.
Before all else, at this time, we are called to pray for our community, our nation and world and encourage one another in our confidence in the Lord. Ideas of what to pray for can be downloaded here How should we pray. 2/7 have produced some excellent resources too – click here.
- Prayer at Noon. We’re calling the church to prayer every day at 12 noon for 10 mins. As our church buildings are now closed, we will all be praying from home. Please do join us. as we pray for our town, nation and world and for specific requests that have come in via our firstname.lastname@example.org email. We’d love you to join with us, on your own or with those in your household You can download the special Noon day prayer here: Noon prayer at the time of cornavirus
- We’ve also have a booklet of daily prayers, lectionary readings and special prayers for this time which we’ve adapted from another church. You can download it here: coronavirus prayers and daily prayer
- We are encouraging church members to keep using the prayer chain as normal (email@example.com)
- We’re developing new ways of caring for each other at this time, particularly for those not in Life Groups, and we will provide everyone who is not in a Life Group with a Pastoral Buddy shortly.
- Please do let the church office know if you are self-isolating or if you fall ill so that we can support and pray for you, and continue to use the prayer chain where necessary.
- We are looking to create a group of volunteers who are able to do jobs, shopping, make phone calls etc. at this time, and we are working closely with local councillors and other organisations on this. So if you need anything please call your pastoral buddy or life group leaders or the church office (which will redirect you now to a new number to call).
- We are aware there will be several people in the church family who will be hit hard financially because of this virus and we want to seek to live out the model of the early church so that there is ‘no one who is in need’ (Acts 4:34). Last year we set up the blessings fund (God’s prompting perhaps in the light of what was coming!) and we want to ask for extra donations to that fund (or maybe you could set up an extra standing order for this season) from those that can afford it so that we can support those who are in difficulty. If you can donate then please get in touch with Andy Lymer (firstname.lastname@example.org or donate online to PCC St Andrew’s: ACCOUNT NO: 01127892 SORT CODE: 30-95-41 and label it ‘Blessings fund’). We’ll also be directing some of our main church funds into the Blessings Fund at this time.
- If you find yourself in particular hardship and needing assistance, then please do let us know because we want to support you. Please contact Dave, Peter or our treasurers Andy Lymer or Paul Southern who will treat your request in confidence.
- We have already this week have an amazing story of generosity and provision for one family through the Blessings Fund and it has meant so much.
- UPDATE on this… as of 23rd March we had £3,500 of extra donations come in from church members which we are beginning to distribute. This is an amazing encouragement and visible sign of the church being the church at this time. Thank you so much to all who have given generously and please do let us know if you are in need.
SERVING our Community
We are called, as the church, particularly to serve others and look out for the vulnerable and needy at this time. As our over 70s will largely be out of action, we particularly are calling on the rest of us – and our young people – to step up to this.
We have set up a separate webpage for our community to access: Commuity Support Page. Please do share this on social media and amongst friends and neighbours and will be continually updated with ways we are able to support out communities.
We’ve produced our own ‘self isolating support’ postcards with details of what we are offering as a church, which can be downloaded here: St Andrew’s & All Saints Community postcards, and we encourage you to distribute these to immediate neighbours if you feel able.
If you can offer any support in the following areas then please let the church office know:
• Looking out and offering support to vulnerable people in our congregations and in our communities.
• Volunteering to be available to support others – to do shopping, other errands, make phone calls etc. If you can offer support, please email the church office.
• Phoning a vulnerable person (or 2 or 3!) each day to check in on them and give them some company over the phone.
• Foodbank donations and volunteering – Foodbank donations are already significantly down and therefore those who need it most will soon be struggling. Can you donate extra at this time to the Foodbank? Donations will be still being collected from the basket at St Andrew’s.The Foodbank is also needing new volunteers as many of their volunteers are over 70 currently. If you can offer any support please contact Peter Buchanan directly.
SHARING the hope and love of God
At this time of crisis, we have a real opportunity not just to demonstrate God’s love but to share the love and hope of God with others. The Chinese Christians in Wuhan have found they have had ‘unprecedented opportunities to spread the Gospel of Jesus to those around them with many becoming Christians since the outbreak of this virus.’ So let’s prepared to share the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).
- Offer to pray – for anyone you come into contact with who might appreciate it. At this time, we will almost certainly find people more open to prayer than normal.
- Offer the hope and love of Jesus
- Pray for opportunities to share the hope we have.
- Be prepared to share something of your story
- You might like to point people to the TRY PRAYING APP which they can download for free and try out.
Thank you for all you are doing the ‘be the church’ at this time. I am so grateful for the amazing team we have here and each of us has a part to play at this time – and most important of all, which everyone can do, is to pray.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
May we live and share peace well even in these difficult times.
Dave and the Leadership teams.