Newsletter 17th May

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Sixth Sunday of Easter

How are you keeping, in these tough days? Are you well? Getting fitter or fatter? More frustrated, waiting for release from captivity, the go-ahead to resume working life and to visit family and friends? Surely now it’s a matter of waiting just a little longer before we begin the slow journey to normality.

 

In the meantime, it’s so good that our Church relationships continue in many different ways. In the Lord’s name we thank everyone for being in contact with one another by telephone, taking part in the WhatsApp Group, and of course joining us on Zoom for our regular Sunday service. We hope to see you this Sunday at 10:15 using the same meeting number 474-970-7143 and password 2820.

Here’s a photo from 25 of the 27 homes that joined us last week.

 

Our dear friend David Whitehorn

We were so desperately sorry to learn last week that our beloved David had died, quite peacefully at home. Although he had been unwell for some time it is such a shock to lose him, and our hearts go out to Sheila and all the family at this time.

Sheila thanks us for the flowers sent to her on behalf of the Church; and a number of people have placed words of tribute on WhatsApp in his memory. They are really lovely words, and Hazel has put them together onto a card and sent them to Sheila. We thought you’d like to see it, please click on this link: /content/pages/documents/1589531519.pdf

 

cid:image011.png@01D626D8.1E825E20This Sunday is National Sports Sunday. There are 151,000 Sports Clubs in the UK, which is similar to the number of Churches. Those clubs have over 25 million members – what a massive mission field! Our service on Sunday will include prayers for everyone who is a member of the community of sport, especially at this time when almost all sport is on hold.

If you can join us for the service, we suggest that you bring with you some kind of token of your favourite sport, to share with the rest of us.

 

Thursday is Ascension Day

Thursday 21st May, 40 days after Easter, is the day we remember Jesus ascending to take his place on the throne of heaven. Ray will be posting a sermon on YouTube, following on from His Easter Message. Follow this link to watch it from Thursday. We’ll also be distributing the next Daily prayer sheet this week, as that begins on Ascension Day.

 

Free Prayer Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on ...Points for prayer

You will know that there’s Prayer Cross in Church, which people can’t use right now, and a Prayer List – people we pray for each day during Morning Prayer. If you would like to add a name or a situation to that list, please email Ray or John, and we will do so. Prayer is powerful, together or apart, and it is a blessing for us to be able to pray for one another.

 

Colchester CAP Debt Centre – Day of prayer

CAP in Colchester, who care for all who are suffering poverty, have asked that Monday of this week is a Day of Prayer for Colchester – that we particularly remember in our daily Morning Prayer God’s work throughout the town, for unity and for whatever the Lord places on your heart.

 

Our Christian Book Club

The next book that St. Michael’s Christian Book Club will be reading is ‘Letters to the Church’ by Francis Chan. It looks very interesting! If you are a member of the Club, Ray has your book for collection or delivery; if not, and you have the time to read at the moment, why not contact Ray and join us?

 

 

Christianity and Coronavirus

If you are looking for an article to read about the Christian’s reaction to the epidemic, then try this article in Time Magazine written by Tom Wright, former Bishop of Durham and a prolific author. You may not agree, but you will certainly think!

 

Consultation – the next Bishop of Chelmsford

Following Bishop Stephen’s appointment as Archbishop of York, the Diocese have opened a consultation process to hear people’s views on what is needed in our next Diocesan Bishop. Everyone can have their say – read about it and make your points on the website here.

 

Anxiety Buster

Do you need an anxiety buster, having watched all the Covid-19 updates on TV? Then here it is – another video from Hayward’s Hope, which you can view here.

 

And finally…. a reflection

from Revd Hazel Greenland

 

In your unfailing love you lead your people

whom you have redeemed.

Exodus 15 v 13

I have meditated much on this wonderful verse over the past few weeks. It’s part of Moses’ song of praise to God, after God has led the people out of slavery in Egypt and across the Red Sea. It’s also a refrain from Morning Prayer for Easter in Common Worship.

Let’s look at what each small phrase reminds us about God:

In your unfailing love – God’s love for us is unending, unshakeable, unconditional, it will never end, never fail. God’s very nature is love, God’s very essence, the centre of God’s being is love. Nothing can change that. Nothing can separate us from it and it is the motivation for all that God does.

You lead – God goes before, always; remember the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. God’s presence never left his people in the time of Moses and never leaves us now. God always goes ahead. God knows what lies ahead and when we follow, we find that he is already there; wherever we walk, he walks with us, walking ahead of us, beside us and behind. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31 v 8.

Your people – we belong to God. When we believe and trust in God, God calls us his own children. We are brought into the family of God, we belong to God and to each other. We are never alone. God made a promise to Abraham – “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant (my everlasting promise) between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Genesis 17 v 7.

Whom you have redeemed – To redeem means to pay off or clear by payment a debt. For the children of Israel, it meant they were rescued from the cruelty of the Egyptians. When Jesus died another exchange also took place. Our sins which separated us from God needed redeeming. Jesus died in my place and we are redeemed, rescued, the promise of new life, a new relationship with God has come.

Now we are God’s people, we belong to the family of God and God leads us in his unfailing love.

Why not take some time this week to meditate on each phrase? Read each one slowly and ponder God’s love for you; know that God is leading you; be reassured that you are God’s child; that you are redeemed. Amen

Yours in His name,

 

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