WEEKLY UPDATE

12th July 2020

We just want to acknowledge how hard another lockdown feels for many of us. The world felt as if it was just opening up again when suddenly we found out we would all have to enter a strict lockdown again. Be gentle with yourselves and those around you as we all navigate these strange times.

You don’t have to use all your time “productively”. Do not worry if you haven’t scrubbed your whole house, planted a whole new garden or learnt to bake the perfect sourdough. Sometimes getting through each day and caring for those around us is more than enough.

While lockdown can feel tiring, scary and hard, God is still with us. In the midst of it all the kingdom is still breaking in. God is in the messiness and the mundane. I wonder where God is for you at the moment in this lockdown? For me, Teash, I have been finding God and comfort in cat cuddles, the perfect cup of tea, gathering around the dinner table with those I live with and regular calls with my grandmother.

Please also know that if you are struggling, if you need someone to talk to or if you need some assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. 

This Sunday 12th July we will use Zoom for our morning service at 10am. There will be no one present at church, but we can all gather together online in the comfort and safety of our homes and in your pj’s if you wish.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81080146203?pwd=SjZ0b3Z4T0ZnZWRoODJZU2EwaE1IQT09

Meeting ID: 810 8014 6203

Password: 804492

Bible reading Romans 8:1-11 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A1-11&version=NIV

Joy in July

Yep, it sounds a bit kitsch and quite counterintuitive. After all, it’s mid-winter in Melbourne, we’re already carrying some loads from a tough year and COVID-19 cases have soared in the last 2 weeks necessitating suburbs re-entering lock-down. Jollying people into contrived joy is not what this church is about. And yet… there is a sense in which being people of the way of Jesus does change our perspective. Yes, we experience fear, frustration, fragility, weariness and grief… and that can evoke times of darkness within us. But those things need not define us. There is another narrative at work within the life of our faith community. God lives with us and among us and so forgiveness and compassion and hope and justice and kindness also weave through our life and service. We pray that Joy in July will not cheapen us but send us deeper into God’s love which is not derailed by anything that has been happening.

We’d like to invite someone to share their story on each Sunday in July. We’d also like to include stories in the weekly update and in video links. If you have a story that you’d like to tell, write or film, please get in touch with Teash at teash@stkildabaptist.org and she will find a way to help you share your story.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE

28th June 2020

This Sunday 28th June our worship service will be via Facebook Live at 10am.

You can watch it live on Facebook from 10am, just add our page to follow and we will be there.

We understand that not everyone has a Facebook account but you can go to the church website https://stkildabaptist.org.au/ go to the contact us page and click on the Find us on Facebook link and watch the service there.

There will be a Zoom morning get together after the service for anyone who wants to join in, separate email will be sent.

Attendance at the church building will be by invite only for the present time as we can only accommodate 20 people in the church space due to the current government restrictions, but everyone is welcome to join in by Facebook. There is a list of the Sunday morning groups attached and this week is Grp 3 joining in. I will email each group when it is your turn to attend.

When you arrive you will be asked to: 

  1. fill in an attendance register for contact tracing, 
  2. sanitize your hands, 
  3. refrain from hand shaking and hugging 
  4.  maintain a safe 1.5m distance at all times. 
  5. If you are unwell, please stay at home.

More information about the BUV guidelines that we are following during this stage 2 of the Covid Safe period can be found on the BUV website https://www.buv.com.au/news/covid-19-church-resources or on the attached document.

This Sunday 28th June is our annual NAIDOC service which Digby will be leading and we will hear from Teash and Josh Glover from Indigenous Hospitality House. The theme for NAIDOC week, which has been postponed until Nov, is  ‘Always was, always will be.’

We are planning to bind over 400 small sticks to symbolise those who died while in custody. They will be included in the NAIDOC service on June 28th and remain at the Church as a visual reminder of this ongoing injustice. 

Bible reading Matthew 10: 40-42 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+10%3A+40-42&version=NIV

Seasons of Stories – Places of joy

Back in March, Scott Morrison told us that this could be the hardest year of our lives. Indeed there have been bushfires, floods, COVID-19 social restrictions, the loss of jobs, income and the opportunities to meet together and clear evidence of social stress, prejudice and violence. Within our church community, we’ve also had a wave of loss, grief, trauma and illness and some long waiting. As a church we don’t gloss over these things. They are real and they affect us. But they are not everything.

There are other stories that we haven’t told yet: stories of unexpected gifts we’ve received – things we’ve discovered about ourselves, about God, about our church community, about being “people of the way of Jesus”. In July, we’d like to share some of those stories and let one another in on our sources of hope and joy. The story could be as simple as the joy of seeing a familiar, friendly face in the street. It could be as deep as some new discovery transforming your view of yourself or of God. It could be a story of how you’ve felt the care of God, neighbours or church community.

We’d like to invite someone to share their story on each Sunday in July. We’d also like to include stories in the weekly update and in video links. If you have a story that you’d like to tell, write or film, please get in touch with Teash at teash@stkildabaptist.org and she will find a way to help you share your story.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE

21st June 2020

This Sunday 21st June our worship service will be via Facebook Live at 10am.

You can watch it live on Facebook from 10am, just add our page to follow and we will be there. Last week we had 62 engagements on Facebook and 20 at church, our numbers are growing!

Refugee Week & Racism 

This Sunday we will focus on the plight of refugees here and throughout the world. Tim McCowan will be preaching, and we will hear from others from our Asylum Seeker Advocacy Group

If people would like to sign the petition to oppose the removal of mobile phones (only lifeline to family, legal and medical supports) and strip searches without warrant of those seeking asylum, here is the link…  https://action.asrc.org.au/phones-are-a-lifeline 

If any from SKEBC would like to give towards an agency supporting those seeking asylum- they can donate through this ASRC link…https://www.asrc.org.au/_support/?utm_source=campaigns&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=WA_CN_eDM_petition_dutton

PRAYER POINTS

  • Those who were brought to Melbourne for medical treatment but held in hotels without receiving treatment or protection from COVID-19; and the hundreds who have been classified as genuine refugees by UNHCR, but have remained in detention for more than 7 years; 
    • Pray for the conscience of our ministers of parliament, that they would recognise the inhumanity and cruelty of the proposed policy to remove mobile phones and subject vulnerable people to strip searches with dogs and no protections, and oppose this as unnecessary and dangerous for the human rights. 
  • a prayer for refugees and asylum seekers throughout the world who are at greater risk of contracting COVID 19 because of their cramped and unsanitary living conditions. Especially we pray for those closer to home who have been held for indefinite detention for 7 long years for committing no crime. We pray for those on Nauru, in Port Moresby, in detention centres in Australia and crowded conditions in hotels Sydney and Melbourne. We pray for their mental health and the strength to keep going until there is a change of heart by the government.
  • With growing concern and deep dismay, we have watched the escalating events of the last couple of weeks, beginning with the horrifying killing of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis, and now encompassing peaceful protests and violent riots, throughout the world. We express solidarity with all those who are suffering now: from grief, heartbreak, abuses to dignity, violence, hatred, and purposely sown division.
  • We pray for wisdom for our leaders as we begin the process of easing social restrictions.
  • We hold close all those impacted by the social restrictions, especially those who live alone, individuals and families affected by domestic violence and those whose good mental health routines have been disrupted.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE

14th June 2020

This Sunday 7th June our worship service will be via Facebook Live at 10am.

You can watch it live on Facebook from 10am, just add our page to follow and we will be there.

We understand that not everyone has a Facebook account but you can go to the church website https://stkildabaptist.org.au/ go to the contact us page and click on the Find us on Facebook link and watch the service there.

  We are trialling Facebook Live as it seems much easier to setup and the video is there for all to see after. It will hopefully be easier to manage than Zoom but we value your feedback on the services.  

Attendance at the church building will be by invite only for the present time as we can only accommodate 20 people in the church space due to the current government restrictions, but everyone is welcome to join in by Facebook.

When you arrive you will be asked to: 

  1. fill in an attendance register for contact tracing, 
  2. sanitize your hands, 
  3. refrain from hand shaking and hugging 
  4.  maintain a safe 1.5m distance at all times. 
  5. If you are unwell, please stay at home.

More information about the BUV guidelines that we are following during this stage 2 of the Covid Safe period can be found on the BUV website https://www.buv.com.au/news/covid-19-church-resources or on the attached document.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE

31st May 2020

This Sunday 31st May will be Stephen’s last day with us as interim pastor. We will have a Zoom morning tea catch up starting at 10.45 for an 11am thank you to Stephen. Bring your cuppa and cake and meet up online!

Next Sunday 7th June our worship service will be via Zoom at 10am. Felicity will be leading and Teash will bring the message.

National Reconciliation Week  2020 Theme – In This Together

27 May – 3 June

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We strive towards a more just, equitable nation by championing unity and mutual respect as we come together and connect with one another.

On this journey, Australians are all In This Together; every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.

The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 17th May 2020

This Sunday, May 17th, we will hold a special induction service for Katecia Tayor at 10.00 via ZOOM.

Our usual pre recorded service will be back next week and you can watch it before joining in for the church meeting!

Here is a link to the Confined 11 virtual exhibition featuring artworks by Indigenous artists currently in or recently released from prisons in Victoria, Australia. Presenting 300 artworks from 286 artists, Confined 11 creates a strong visual metaphor for the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system. It is the biggest exhibition ever presented by The Torch. https://thetorch.org.au/exhibition/confined-11/

Poet Tomos Roberts and His Fairytale Video That’s Gone Viral

Kiwi-born Welsh YouTuber and poet, Tomos Roberts, aka Probably Tomfoolery, has shown us a ray of sunshine through what seems like grey skies with his pandemic poem, “The Great Realisation”. And, the video that has been viewed by a staggering 24 million people worldwide.

“And so when we found the cure, and were allowed to go outside; we all preferred the world we found to the one we’d left behind.”

 Watch the fabulous video on YouTube here.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 10th May 2020

A special induction service for Katecia Taylor will take place next Sunday May 17th at 10.00 via ZOOM so that the whole church community can be part of this significant event for Katecia and all of us. An invite will be sent out next week.

We will hold church Meeting via Zoom on Sunday 24th May at 11am. Items on the agenda include the kitchen renovation, pastoral report, finance report and bringing forward some names of people who wish to become members

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our online services over the past 8 weeks and especially to Stephen who puts it all together for us. We have had some wonderful contributions from our musicians and we would love to hear from our other artists in our community. If you have some art work, poetry, photography or something else that has creatively sprung forth during these shut in days, please let us know as we would love to share and inspire each other with our creativity and joy and wonder that continues to inspire and comfort us.

Some keep the Sabbath going to church by Emily Dickinson

Some keep the Sabbath going to church —
I keep it, staying at Home —
With a Bobolink for a Chorister —
And an Orchard, for a Dome —

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice —
I just wear my Wings —
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton — sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman —
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last —
I’m going, all along.

In an age of worldwide pandemic and “stay at home” orders, this poem has perhaps never been more pertinent – though Dickinson slyly leaves ambiguous whether the narrator here is a person or a bird (“Orchard, for a Dome,” “wear my Wings,” etc.). In any case, we can all say “Amen” to the theological spirit of these verses, with their affirmation of the natural world as a cathedral that, pandemic or not, is always open.

And for some beautiful uplifting singing listen to The Blessing –  https://youtu.be/PUtll3mNj5U

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 5th April 2020

Even though our Sunday morning worship services have closed until further notice we hope that you have been able to watch the online service we prepared last week. If you have trouble accessing this please let us know and we will try to help you through the issues. We want to assure you that lots of thought has already been offered to creative ways to keep our community connected, supported and cared for.

  • Each week we will make available a short, pre-recorded service you can participate in on your computer or mobile phone. You may like to watch it at 10am on Sunday morning – or any time during the week. Stephen has done a lot of creative work to facilitate this. This Sunday’s Palm Sunday service includes David, Andrew, Ross, Judith, Di and Stephen. You can watch the service at:

 https://stkildabaptist.org.au/sermons/ use the following password StKi!d@B@ptist1954

Holy Week will look and feel very different this year, but we will still offer an online ecumenical Good Friday service, Easter Sunday service and hopefully an online reflective service during the week, stay tuned for details.

From the pastors:

Hi everyone. The words “unprecedented”, “strange” and “surreal” seem to dominate our social conversation. Some of us are now living our lives almost entirely within the confines of our units, rooms, or homes. Some of us are in roles that put us on the front line of health care or rethinking how to deliver services to vulnerable people. I suspect we are all under strain as so much that is nurturing for us is lost and many behaviours that are instinctive for us need to be constantly reconsidered.

It’s important to validate the strain we are under. Many people are talking about heightened levels of fatigue or not sleeping well at night. The combination of heavier burdens and fewer resources is significant. This is a time for compassion both for ourselves as we adjust to new realities and for others who are doing the same.

Within the mix of all this, I continue to experience the way we are finding to reinforce community: phone calls, text messages and little gifts delivered to people’s doorsteps are all emerging as important features of community life at this time. We are working on a system to ensure that nobody loses contact. And we continue to remember that God knows us and feels our strain and holds us even in times like this.

So, we enter Holy Week. We will miss Community Kitchen and MOTH this week, we will miss our beautiful, quiet Maundy Thursday reflective service, our ecumenical Good Friday Service and gathering on Sunday morning. But the message remains the same. God stops at nothing in self-emptying love to give life and healing and forgiveness and freedom to us.

PRAYER POINTS

  • Those who are especially vulnerable and those who are very frightened
  • We commend, applaud and uphold all people who are working at the frontline during this time. To all we offer our thanks and support.
  • For our friends from CK who relied on the company as much as the meal
  • Those who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut and the financial stress this brings
  • For our leaders we ask for wisdom in managing these unprecedented times

A prayer for us all

Creating God, open to us

Light for our darkness,

Courage for our fear,

Hope for our despair,

Loving God, open to us

Wisdom for our confusion,

Forgiveness for our failings,

Love for our hate.

Spirit of Peace, open to us

Peace in our turmoil,

Joy in our sorrow,

Strength in our weakness.

Generous god, open our hearts

To receive the gifts of your Spirit.

Amen.

Howard Thurman

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 29 March 2020

Here we are, this is our new reality. Some of us are alone, many of us are scared, all of us are in this together. Remember that we belong to one another. We move together in spirit so we will remember none of us goes alone. We belong to one another and we will care for one another.

Here is a message from the BUV God is bigger than the virus – balancing fear and anxiety with faith and trust in God 

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around us, there are natural and understandable reasons to feel fearful and anxious. Our world has changed dramatically in a very short space of time and we find ourselves in circumstances we have never experienced before in our lifetime. The constant stream of grim news, job losses, strain on the health system, the physical isolation and restrictions create stress and uncertainty.  And yet, as people of faith, in these challenging days, it is vital we remind ourselves of God’s character, his goodness, faithfulness and power. In the words of Psalm 46: 1 God is our Refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear… As we encourage ourselves and one another with the many promises and truths of God in scripture, as we worship God and lean into his kindness and love, may we experience the essence of Phil 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Even though our Sunday morning worship services have closed until further notice we hope that you have been able to watch the online service we prepared last week. If you have trouble accessing this please let us know and we will try to help you through the issues. We want to assure you that lots of thought has already been offered to creative ways to keep our community connected, supported and cared for. These include:

  • Each week we will make available a short, pre-recorded service you can participate in on your computer or mobile phone. You may like to watch it at 10am on Sunday morning – or any time during the week. Stephen has done a lot of creative work to facilitate this. This Sunday’s service includes Sally, Alan Marr, Bill and Stephen. You can watch the service at:

 https://stkildabaptist.org.au/sermons/ use the following password StKi!d@B@ptist1954

  • On Wednesday the Community Kitchen management committee met and we made the very difficult decision to close CK. We explored a range of possible alternatives and different ways of logistics but each still carries risk and while the food is an essential part of CK it was also pointed out that our sense of deep community and the care of each other is also paramount. Ross and all involved with CK will continue to reach out to those we have contact details for and if any concerns come to you and you think Ross might be able to assist then please don’t hesitate to contact him. 
  • A recommendation from the Pastoral Search Committee to appoint a new co-pastor on 5th April, has been postponed. We are still hoping to find an innovative and safe way to meet to consider and at this time have set the date for 19th April, although we may need a little more time to explore options and put logistics in place. We’ll keep you posted.
  • In the next week or so, we will be sharing plans to ensure that pastoral care networks are enhanced, and any needs can be heard and addressed. We will be especially proactive about regular connection with members of the community who may be especially vulnerable at this time. Please feel free to phone Stephen (0400 827 410), Sally (0402 402 348) or Ross (0412 383 162). Andrew (0409 217 750)
  • All groups using our building have cancelled their meetings for the foreseeable future. We are mindful of the stress this brings for the Anon groups who use our space and pray that they can maintain contact online with those who offer them support.
  • For those who experience significant financial stress during this time due to loss of income we assure you that while “most of us enjoy considerable comfort and security, we believe that no-one in our Christian community should have to live below the poverty line”. (FairShare Scheme) Please talk to one of our Pastors, Andrew, Ross or Stephen if you are struggling financially or emotionally during this difficult time.

With the loss of daily routines, life can feel very unsettled. Here is a very simple resource to bring some rhythm and peace to the days that you may be spending with your normal routine disrupted City Liturgy,

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar

PRAYER POINTS

  • Those who are especially vulnerable and those who are very frightened
  • For our friends from CK who relied on the company as much as the meal
  • Some of our members are having medical tests at present and we seek wisdom and peace.
  • Those who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut and the financial stress this brings
  • For our leaders we ask for wisdom in managing these unprecedented times

Let’s not despair. God hasn’t forgotten us. And God, giver of life and love, continues to beckon us to celebrate the hope and peace of God’s presence. 

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

Weekly update 22nd March2020

UPDATES 

You will all be aware of the growing concern about the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community. The medical experts advise us that one of the best things we can do is to slow the rate of infection by practicing good hygiene and minimising social contact. This is important for everyone and particularly our older members who may be more severely impacted.

On Thursday night our deacons met and agreed that the best contribution we can make to our community’s wellbeing is to discontinue Sunday morning worship services until further notice. We share the grief many will feel about this. But we want to assure you that lots of thought has already been offered to creative ways to keep our community connected, supported and cared for. These include:

·         Each week we will make available a short, pre-recorded service you can participate in on your computer or mobile phone. You may like to watch it at 10am on Sunday morning – or any time during the week. Stephen has done a lot of creative work to facilitate this. This Sunday’s service includes Andrew, Bill, Stephen and Sally. You can watch the service at:

 https://stkildabaptist.org.au/sermons/ use the following password StKi!d@B@ptist1954

                (It may not be available until later tonight)

·         We will cancel our Lenten reflective services on Thursday nights and our April MOTH is also cancelled.

·         We have cancelled our quarterly church meeting for this Sunday, 22nd March. We are still hoping to find an innovative and safe way to meet to consider a recommendation from the Pastoral Search Committee to appoint a new co-pastor on 5th April, although we may need a little more time to explore options and put logistics in place. We’ll keep you posted.

·         We suggest that smaller groups – home groups and planning meetings – can make their own decisions about proceeding. They are encouraged to follow government medical advice when deciding whether to continue meeting in homes. Members are reminded to be particularly diligent about hand washing, food handling and social distancing. If you are not feeling well then stay home. Where possible Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp meetings may be considered.

·         In the next week or so, we will be sharing plans to ensure that pastoral care networks are enhanced, and any needs can be heard and addressed. We will be especially proactive about regular connection with members of the community who may be especially vulnerable at this time. Please feel free to phone Stephen (0400 827 410), Sally (0402 402 348) or Ross (0412 383 162). Andrew is taking a week’s leave this week.

·         Community Kitchen is still operating but we are only providing take away meals and fresh food parcels. There is no tea or coffee provided and people are not allowed inside the building. We are aware of the stress this may cause for many who come to CK for the social interaction but we are also very aware of the vulnerability of many of those who come to CK. 

·         Sally is in touch with our various hall users about implications for their groups. 

·         About 20% of our weekly offering is given on Sunday mornings. Please consider making your offering electronically so that we can continue to pay our staff! Our bank details are A/C Name: St Kilda Baptist Church BSB: 633 000 Account: 150 286 532

·         For those who experience significant financial stress during this time due to loss of income we assure you that while “most of us enjoy considerable comfort and security, we believe that no-one in our Christian community should have to live below the poverty line”. (FairShare Scheme) Please talk to one of our Pastors, Andrew, Ross or Stephen if you are struggling financially or emotionally during this difficult time.

It would be fair to say that few of us have experienced anything like this in our lives. So many places where we find nurture, recreation and growth seem to be closing their doors. We are not immune from the fear in our community. If you are finding it all disorientating and frightening, you are not alone.

But there is hope. We’ve heard a lot about social distancing this week, a concept that feels so out of step with the mission of the Gospel. But what if we thought of it as “spatial distancing” with enhanced “spiritual connection”? What if we saw this as an opportunity to enhance ways that community life can be sustained through increased interaction by phone and over our electronic devices and through acts of thoughtfulness and care? What if the cancellations in our calendars became time to read, reflect and pray?

When we embraced the theme “Into the deep” for Lent, we had no idea of the depths to which we would be invited. But deep places are connecting places with God and the things that really matter to us. Our whole faith is based on the story of Jesus who enters a place of deepest fear and destructive power, is overwhelmed… and yet he lives and shares his life with us.

Let’s not despair. God hasn’t forgotten us. And God, giver of life and love, continues to beckon us to celebrate the hope and peace of God’s presence.  

PRAYER POINTS

·         Those who are especially vulnerable and those who are very frightened

·         Some of our members are having medical tests at present and we seek wisdom and peace.

·         We think of Luke, Dani, Simin and Hooman who are all concerned for loved ones in Iran with the Coronavirus threat.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God 

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone. 

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions, 

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.