Newsletter 12th July

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Sunday 12th July

Zooming back to reality?

We’ve reached an exciting stage in our plans to restart Sunday morning services in St. Michael’s – which some might think is the boring part! We’ve written our Risk Assessment, planned the pew seating to meet social distancing rules, devised job descriptions for Stewards, prepared the building and many other things to make sure everyone is safe, as well as very welcome. The next step is to put all of those plans before the PCC on Monday evening – and we look forward to telling you lots more in next week’s Newsletter!

In the meantime, could this Sunday’s service at 10:15am on Zoom be the last one? Then let’s make it a service of wonderful worship and praise! We plan to have many people taking part, and though it won’t be longer than usual we’ll be packing quite a lot in. So do join us to celebrate all we’ve been able to do in lockdown, and to pray for a happy and safe return to Church. The Zoom numbers are above – and remember that if you can’t get on a computer, you can dial in on 0203 481 5240 and key in those numbers when prompted.

Evening Prayer in Church this Sunday and Wednesday

It was really good to see people in Church for Evening Prayer this past week, and to see us test our procedures so that we are ready for a big Sunday morning service. We are continuing Evening Prayer this Sunday and Wednesday at 4pm: do come along if you’re not at work; it’s great to be back!

 

Bible Study this Thursday afternoon and evening

We’re also in the Zoom Room on Thursdays for informal Bible Study. There are two different sessions, at 2:30pm and 7:30pm., for just an hour. The sessions are quite different, but both are looking at the development of the early Church, seeing the Holy Spirit and the disciples doing exciting things for the Lord under the leadership of Peter and Paul.

 

Our next PCC meeting is on Monday

As well as making decisions on opening the Church, the PCC will be grappling with the Church’s and Halls’ crippling finances, due to the Covid-19 situation. Please pray for the us, as we will be making tough decisions on Monday.

 

 

The new Church toilet is coming along

Work has started on replacing our composting toilet with one of those new-fangled ones that actually flush – yes, the Church’s plumbing is entering the 20th Century! Actually, that’s not fair, because ten years ago it was a good idea to install an environmentally-friendly composting toilet. But as attendances grew, it just couldn’t cope and we are now installing a new drainage system which will join with the drainage from Myland Parish Halls. The contractors are currently digging the trench to the hall, and it won’t be long before the new ceramic ware is installed.

 

Hayward’s Hope

Worship at home can be very rewarding, and of course the Lord is pleased when we do! There are lots of worship resources on the web, including our very own Hayward’s Hope in Isolation, which Sarah & Tim Hayward and family host on YouTube. All the weekly videos stay online and are available to view anytime.

 

 

Last chance for ‘Bag 2 School’

Don’t forget that you can clear out unwanted textiles and raise money for the Church by bringing it to the Halls for ‘Bag 2 School’! If you have any good quality (not stained or ripped) adults’ & children’s clothes, paired shoes (tied together please), hats, belts, handbags or soft toys, bring them to Myland Parish Halls this Wednesday between 9.30am and 12.30pm. Unfortunately, bedding, curtains, towels, household linen, bric-a-brac or school uniforms cannot be accepted. There’s already quite a large amount ready for collection; it all gets picked up after this Wednesday!

 

And finally…. A reflection

By Rt Revd Peter Hill, Acting Bishop of Chelmsford

‘Waiting for our souls to catch up’

There is an ancient story of a rich traveller who was determined to see the rest of the world as much and as fast as he could. Setting off on his journey to foreign lands he hired some common men to carry his baggage behind him as he journeyed. After several days of sweat and toil the baggage carriers stopped and sat down in the middle of the road. The rich man was furious and asked them what on earth they were doing. The men replied calmly and simply, “You are going too fast, we are waiting for our souls to catch us up.’

We are at a danger point in our journey through this pandemic. As restrictions are lifted it would be easy for us to rush back to our previous lifestyles and ignore the common-sense hygiene and social distancing guidelines that have protected so many people’s physical health thus far.

For some of us, who have been eager for lockdown to be over, it would be easiest now to rush out and slip back into doing what we have always done in the way that we have always done it, without reflecting on what we have learnt these last three months and how that should transform our lives.

For others, the return may be feeling like an unwelcome burden and dread. How are we going to cope with a new world with even more pressing responsibilities and need? The reality for all of us will no doubt be a mixture of the two! Also, we need to recognise that though we have not been out and about much lately, Church leadership in lockdown has been energy sapping and tiring, and just being a Christian may have been tiring too.

In recent days I have been pointed again and again to Matthew 11:28,29. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. However lockdown has affected us we need to take a deep breath at this point, let go of our burdens, pray, and let our souls catch us up. In Jesus’ day oxen were held together for ploughing by wooden yokes which needed to be a comfortable and easy fit. There is a lovely legend saying that above Jesus’ Carpenter shop in Nazareth was a sign that said, ‘Well-fitting yokes made here’! In our journey of life we are called to fit comfortably and easily with our Lord and master. That is the way, he says, we truly learn from him. And we are reminded that the word ‘disciple’ means ‘learner’.

So as our Christian discipleships emerge at this crucial time, we need to recall that we remain apprenticed to Jesus who does not want us to rush back into ill-fitting and burdensome ways.

How will you catch your breath and work that out?

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Yours in His name,

Ray, Hazel, Sarah, John, Lesley, Jill, Sarah