St James Updates

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Last updated: Friday 20th March 2020

  • Full statement from the Church of England here: Guidance for churches
  • Latest communication from Revd Russ Gant below

Dear Friends,

Hello from the confines of the Vicarage!  As we follow the Church of England's guidance and are therefore no longer able to gather for times of collective prayer and worship, I am hoping to provide a video reflection as often as I can.

Today's reflection on Psalm 22, can be viewed here 

These reflections will be in addition to a recorded Sunday 'service' which will be available to view via YouTube at 9:15am each Sunday morning.  The Sunday service will be accompanied by some excellent all age resources from Adele for you to use with your children and grandchildren.  Please do be creative!

This Sunday is Mothering Sunday.  It will be especially hard for those of us who are unable to be with our mothers or children for whatever reason.  Churches Together in England are encouraging all Christians to a day of national prayer this Sunday.  I will include more details in Sunday's online service, but I want to encourage all of you that can, to take part with me.  I am going to commit to a day of fasting and prayer from sunrise to sunset - for our world, our nation, our church and each of us.  Fast if you can - but not if you are older, unwell or pregnant, and whenever you would usually eat a meal, spend time in prayer and in God's word instead.

As of Monday, we will be starting to make regular phone contact with all those who we know to be older, self-isolating, or who have indicated that they would appreciate a call.  If you would like to speak to myself, Adele or one of the Parish Friends, please do reply by email, or call the Church Office on (01252) 792402.

I am also attaching an update from Holly Tree Surgery for your information.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27: 1

With my love and blessings,

Russ

Revd. Russ W. Gant - Vicar

 

18 March 2020

Dear Friends,

It is with a very heavy heart that I write to confirm what you may have already heard through the media that, on the advice of the Government and the instruction of their Graces, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, until further notice, services of public worship at St. James' Church will be suspended.  This includes all corporate prayer meetings and life groups.   

The church will remain open should you wish to use the space for individual prayer and private reflection, but please continue to observe social distancing (maintaining a sensible distance) from anyone else using the space.  Please also wash your hands before you leave home, use the hand gel provided upon entry and exit and wash your hands again when you return home.

On Sunday at 9:15am I hope to broadcast (probably via Youtube, but further details to follow) a simple time of worship with prayers, Bible reading and reflection as well as leading us through the Communion liturgy.  You might like to have some bread and wine available to join in at home.  I will email the link later in the week.

This decision to cease public worship has a number of potentially positive and negative impacts on us as a church family.  So please would you pray about the following and consider how you can respond:

  • First and foremost, please do not give up praying!  In the hardest times, God's people are called to turn back in prayer and seek the Lord's wisdom and guidance.  Pray especially for our schools, medical staff and those working on research and developing a vaccine.
  • Secondly, this situation gives us a renewed opportunity to consider what it means to be the Body of Christ in the world and to think about new ways to love and serve our neighbours.  Please pray for every opportunity to bless others at this difficult time.
  • If you are self-isolating, or simply in need of a friendly voice, please do call the office on (01252) 792402.  If you need to, leave a message and we will call you back and offer any support we can.
  • Pray for the practicalities of setting up an online broadcast - not part of my current skill set
  • Please continue to make donations to the Foodbank.  It will be needed now more than ever and pray for those who are most in need of the Foodbank's services.
  • Because we will not be meeting together, we will not be taking up a collection.  Most of you now give electronically (by standing order or via the Parish Giving Scheme), but the church's income will very likely take a hit.  Please pray to the Lord of the harvest for his provision so that our ongoing ministry is not adversely affected.
  • Please pray for those considering baptism, wedding couples and bereaved families.  As yet we are still awaiting advice on how to conduct these special services whilst protecting people, but no doubt some will have to be postponed.

This is obviously a situation in which we as church leaders, are learning and adapting daily - please bear with us, monitor emails and pass this message to others who may not have access to, or regularly check emails.  I am currently having to self-isolate as we have had symptoms in the family, so we have two children at home for 14 days to care for.

Some words of hope to reflect on:

“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

"And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

"And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." ~ Kitty O'Meara

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing RIGHT NOW! and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." (Matthew 6: 34 from the Message version)

Yours in the hope of Christ,

Russ

Useful links:

NHS 111 online  

Government guidance

NHS Overview

New guidance for carehomes




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