Dear Brothers and Sisters
Peace be with you!
Are you keeping up with are the changes at the moment? It seems every time we turn on the news there are more changes – things opening up, things closing down, you can go out, but some people can’t, you should wear a mask, you shouldn’t wear a mask. Now many people have been told it is up to their discretion if they want to leave the house. How do you feel about making that decision? For some people it is not a problem, they have been out and about getting essentials, etc. This week I went to the supermarket for the first time since March and it was a different experience. My local supermarket was the same on the outside, but was very different on the inside. Aisles had changed, signs, markings on the floor, hand sanitizers, warnings not to touch products, till shields, social distancing (although there were only three of us in the supermarket at 9.15pm), not as much choice or stock as usual, a sense of worry or fear from people.
Over the last week or so we have been told we can open churches for private prayer and for services. I think many of us will experience the same thing when we feel able to go back to church. The building will look the same on the outside, but on the inside everything will be very different. We will not be able to turn up at church and have the same warmth and welcome as we are used to – not least because we will not be able to share a hug or handshake. My only hope is that we are able to turn our gaze to God and focus on him rather than the restrictions and rules.
We have decided to open our churches for private prayer from Tuesday 7th, and services from Sunday 19th of July (details below). These will be very different to what we have experienced in the past, and certainly not ‘back to normal’. Being open for private prayer will mean you can come in to church and sit and reflect in the quiet. The services will be a very short service of the word or morning prayer lasting only 20-30 minutes. People are working to make sure we can make the area as safe as possible for us to minimise the risks.
People should not feel they have to come to either prayer or the service. By all means continue accessing services at home and online. Please come only when you feel safe to do so. I will continue to put out the Bags of Hope and those who are doing pastoral visiting, phone calls and making contact will continue to do so for as long as is needed.
In other news there are some things that have still been happening while the lockdown has been on. Riverside have continued their plan to do regeneration work in Palace Fields and Hallwood Park and are looking at various opportunities. We have been contacted about a few that sound really exciting and that we can be involved in! We hope to have more full details in the next two weeks, so watch this space!
Prayers and blessings for you all.
Bethesda open for private prayer:
Tuesday 7th & 14th July – 2-3pm
Thursday 9th & 16th July 10.30 – 11.30am
Sunday 12th July 10.30 – 11.30am
St Mark’s open for private prayer:
Wednesday 15th July, 10.30 – 11.30am
Services 19th July 10.30am at both St Mark’s and Bethesda
Readings for 5 July
Zechariah’s prophesy anticipates the coming of Christ, whose humble, all-encompassing rule will bring peace to warring nations, freedom and restoration to God’s oppressed people.
Paul laments that his desire to obey God’s laws is continually sabotaged by forces within that drive sinful behaviour. Only God’s power through Christ can bring release.
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-end.
Jesus notes how this generation resists those whom God has sent. He invites those who are humble and needy to receive from him as he reveals God’s kingdom.
REACHING OUT TO GOD IN PRAYER
Collect for Fourth Sunday after Trinity
Gracious Father, by the obedience of Jesus
you brought salvation to our wayward world:
draw us into harmony with your will,
that we may ﬁnd all things restored in him, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
The topic for July is for people who live in fear, confusion and distress
Almighty God, who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave him glory, that we might have hope: have mercy on all in despair, for whom life has lost its meaning and for whom hope has become extinct. Come to them in pity and power to renew their faith; and enable them to honour you by believing you are able to make all things new, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for family and friends:
Spirit of the Living God, pour out your blessing on those who need your healing touch,
Prayer for local churches:
We pray for churches as they seek to provide care and support for their congregations and communities. This week we pray especially for:
Trinity Methodist Church.
Prayer for our neighbours
At this difficult and worrying time, we pray for our neighbours in:
St.Austell Close, The Copse, The Glen,
The Knoll, The Uplands, Tintagel Close
Psalm 121: v 1 – 2
I lift my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Contact numbers to call if you want to talk, receive prayer or are in need
Vicarage: 01928 713101 or m – 07493853027
or contact Anita at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to add people to the prayer list, contact email@example.com or phone 01928 716050.