Dear sisters and brothers
The write of Ecclesiastes said "For everything there is a season. A time for every activity under heaven". He was taking stock of the world between horizons of birth and death, noticing it is full of puzzles, of which humanity appears to be the main one!
In the landscape of time, God's people have known the story of recent months many times - of separation from each other, of faith communities gathered and dispersed, of suffering, of change, of what feels like wilderness at times, and many more comparisons that we have noticed as we've gone through the impact of the pandemic It has felt puzzling (perhaps even the "folly" that the writer of Ecclesiastes speaks of) as we've tried to navigate government advice, our own internal wrestling with anxiety, as well as trying to envisage what 'normal' will be. It has indeed been a season like no other.
We are now entering another season. In creation, we turn from Summer to Autumn ... although the gift of the return to warm weather over recent days has been such a blessing! And as we are gathering again for worship, so we enter another season in the way we continue to journey as church.
I have been so grateful to Chris Dursley for the online Monday evening prayer on Facebook. This seemed particularly popular during lockdown, and we feel it is now time to cease this online offering.
In addition, we have been pleased to offer the St Martin's phone line for access to an audio weekly message and sermon. Again, it is apparent the need for this has ceased, and so the service will finish at the end of September.
This Sunday is Creation Sunday, and as well as a communion service at 9.30am, we look forward to our outdoor service of praise and thanksgiving at 11.30am, including bring your own picnic, and a treasure hunt for children in the grounds of the church, Do please bring a pen with you! We will be observing all government guidelines to ensure we can meet safely.
Over coming weeks, we look forward to exploring different ways to gather in our worship, and in community, as the "Community of Acts" continues to develop. Please be in touch with Laura to find out more about the Acts community. We also hope to explore ways to gather in study and prayer beyond Sunday morning, and in the ways we can engage with the online community. I would love to hear from you with any ideas or hopes you have. It will be a season of more creation in our ideas and in trying new things. It will also be a season of returning to some familiar patterns - particularly gathering for communion at 8.30am on Sunday mornings, and Morning Prayer on Fridays, both from mid-October: watch this space for more information.
I am so grateful to you, for your faithful commitment, for the ways you 'are' in our beautiful parish, and I continue to pray for you. As last week, please also send me your "lockdown stories" or pictures, or poems, so we can create a special magazine to gather our stories together.
With every blessing, as ever
Rev Becky Waring
Vicar St Martins Knowle
Area Dean Bristol South