Tuesday 24th March 2020
Dear friends, brothers and sisters,
More grace and peace from St. Mary’s.
Allow me to flag up this is both a long and very important message! Setting out our plans for being church for the foreseeable future, so hang in there and please get to the end!
This morning, I went to St. Michael’s in Felton and prayed in church for the last time, tidied up the church before locking it for I don’t know how long. Veronica and Roger did the same at St. Mary’s. As I was locking up, the reality we all know dawned on me– that the church building may be closed, but the church is very much alive, because the church is us.
As I mentioned last week we, the Church of England, and St. Mary’s, have not shut up shop, instead, we are learning how to be church in new ways – both in prayer and service. In that spirit, for this Sunday (and hopefully for a few weeks to come), we will be sharing worship online via our You Tube channel. On Sunday, you should find a video there so you can share in our services together. The link is also be on our A Church Near You page in the notice for the online service.
I want to encourage us all very strongly to join in on Sunday – so if you can, please do join in at 9.20am as you ‘usually’ would. If you can’t make it on Sunday, the broadcast is available throughout the week on You Tube. To support everyone in joining in, I have produced a simple booklet of liturgy and prayers which we will use during our time together online. It is attached and on the website, but you should receive a copy of this through your letterbox in the next couple of days! Finally, can I encourage you to light a candle in your window as you join us – as a sign of solidarity with each other that we are doing this together.
The pew sheet will be the primary form of printed communication as a church, so please look out for it in your inbox! It will have the readings for the service on the back, and a letter from me on the front. If you can’t access You Tube, I will make some suggestions in the pew sheet on how best to take part. Also, please let me know how you are doing or any stories, things that amused you, etc as it is really important we share stuff together as a church family at this time. Yes, I do mean clutter up my inbox!
In addition to joining together on a Sunday, I want to encourage us to pray together during the week – at times such as these, acting together is really important.
We as a church are committed to uplifting you and the whole community to God in prayer each day – I believe it is an important ‘offering’ that we can make as the church in this our community. I will be holding St. Michael’s and Felton at 9am each day and Michael, Val & Roger will be holding St. Mary’s and Longframlington at 9.30am each day. So please join them!
To help us to pray at home, I have attached a list of prayer resources and a couple of prayer resources I have created – all of which should drop through your letterbox in the next couple of days! Please do use them!
Finally, I am confident I don’t need to say this, but don’t forget to ‘phone/facetime/What’s App a friend’ – don’t wait for someone to phone you, but pick up the phone and see how they are doing. The more we support each other at this time, the better we will fare ourselves. So don’t be shy, and if you don’t have someone’s number – I probably do! So ask me and I’ll make it happen – it’s good to talk as BT used to say!
In the meantime, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on screen on Sunday (sort of!) and may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.