March 19th 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
We are in uncharted waters and unprecedented times! But we are not down hearted! Yes, we are all concerned, but our hope is in God. As Paul says in his letter to the Roman Christians all that time ago,
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.
As we go into this strange world of self-isolation, my prayer is that we will become far more aware of the importance of the relationships and connectedness between all people. People of every race, colour, creed and background share exactly the same concerns and hopes. We are all God’s creation and He knows and loves everyone of us. In the physical separateness that is being imposed upon us, we draw closer together in prayer and in friendship expressed in our thoughts, on the phone and through social media.
I want to emphasise that just because church services have stopped for the time being, worship, prayer and acts of kindness have not stopped. Our church leaders are encouraging us all, to the extent we are able, to pray and act (the link to Archbishop Justin Welby is on our website, the address of which is given below). There is a whole network of support emerging across the Benefice, to ensure that the most vulnerable in our communities get the practical help they need. This is great, and I would encourage those of us who are fit and able to give time to such initiatives.
I would encourage everyone to keep visiting this Team Ministry website where we will be keeping people up to date on latest developments.
You will also be able participate in acts of worship being conducted at St Augustine’s by going to www.facebook.com/st.augustines.rugeley at the times set out over leaf. One of the things I pray will come out of this situation is that we value even more keenly, our unity. Last week, just before the need to close our church buildings for services was announced we were preparing to publish a new Benefice Prayer. Here it is, please use it every day:
“God of all comfort and strength, in these times of uncertainty and fearfulness give your people the strength, patience and compassion to minister your love and grace to all. May the warmth of our welcome be communicated through our smiling faces and the words we speak. We thank you that you have called us to be part of the fellowship of faith in the Brereton, Rugeley and Armitage Team Ministry. Build us we pray into communities of hope and love, being one united church meeting in different places. Continue to grow us in number, and also in a more trusting and deeper relationship with you. Continue to show us your vision for the ways we can best serve the people in our community.
Draw us into a shared love for you, and unity in the ways we seek to serve; that together we might declare your love for all people and see your Kingdom come. In the name of Jesus Christ our saviour. Amen”
With love in Christ, David (Team Rector)