Newsletter 24th May

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The Sunday after Ascension

‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’ said the Bard. Few would agree that there is sweetness in the very real sense of loss as we are separated, even temporarily, from those we love. That’s what we’re all enduring during lockdown, of course, and we have to remind ourselves that there will be a sweet reunion when all this is over. And even when, for some of us, that separation will be much longer – until we meet one another at Jesus’ side – we know that day will certainly come. With that assurance, we celebrate Jesus’ Ascension then look forward to Pentecost, Trinity and all kinds of freedom.

 

Let’s do that together in our Sunday service, when Ray will be preaching. The Church door on Zoom will swing open at 10:15am using the same codes as usual -

meeting number 474-970-7143 and password 2820.

 

Last Sunday’s service

It was so good to see new faces again last Sunday – including Sue Chamberlain, all the way from Australia! Sue is due to fly back on 25th May. Some had to miss out though, as they had caring duties to do. Please pray especially for Lesley Hindle’s mum, Hazel Greenland’s mum  and Di Ayton’s mum, and of course for Lesley, Hazel, Di and their families as they devote so much time, and all of their love, to that important task.

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Afternoon Tea each Wednesday at 4pm

Are you missing our informal chats at the back of Church? Knit & Natter? Coffee Mornings? Then why not come along (on Zoom!) to our Afternoon Teas on Wednesdays at 4pm. It’s a totally informal time when we can chat with friends. We’re sorry you have to make your own tea, but we’ll work on that technology for the future! See you on Wednesday; use the same numbers above, then see who else joins us!

 

Ray’s Ascension Day message

Ray is recording a sermon for Ascension Day, which we can all view on YouTube. Click here to view it. It’s good to see Ray in Church!

 

Daily Prayer

Our next Daily Prayer also begins on Ascension Day; we hope you have it to hand, as it was sent with an extra Newsletter on Monday. If you need a copy, click this link to email us and we’ll send it through.

 

Thy Kingdom Come

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ is a global prayer movement taking place between Ascension and Pentecost that invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. In 2019 Christians from 172 countries took part in praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ. During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, it is hoped that everyone who takes part will deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ, pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus, and pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness. Let’s do that – and if it helps, there are lots of resources on the web at https://www.thykingdomcome.global/.

Will we soon be able to go into Church?

We hope so, but not yet. Ray has been allowed in, to record his Ascension Day message, and now we hear that it is possible for Contractors to enter to undertake contract and repair work – so you may see people going in and out under controlled circumstances. When there’s more news, we’ll be delighted to tell you!

And finally…. a reflection

from The Most Revd and Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York. His last Ascension Day reflection before retirement and he is succeeded by Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell:

Departing from those we dearly love and care for is not easy. Sometimes we find it difficult to put our departure into words. But not Jesus – He tells his disciples, eleven of them, to go to a mountain in Galilee, where He is going to say: ‘I am departing, ascending to the Father, your Father’. And He says to them: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been committed to me. Go, therefore, to all nations and make them my disciples, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you. I will be with you always, to the end of time.’

Wow! Jesus says to his eleven disciples – I am giving you the greatest commission in history. I am sending you to go out and make all nations my disciples, my friends. I am also sending you out to teach them and observe the very thing that I have commanded you. And I am also sending you in the same authority, in the same power that has been committed to me. And of course you and I know that on the Day of Pentecost that promise of power was unleashed on the disciples, filling the room with the Spirit’s presence like a mighty wind, filling their hearts and warming them for Jesus, and on their heads – tongues of fire, reminding them that they can be cleansed, can be forgiven for the past, given new life in the present, hope for the future, and then they can go out and share the Good News. And then He says to them: ‘I am with you always, to the end of time’.

So Christ, yes, departed from His disciples, is the ever-present friend; so is the Holy Spirit ever-present in our hearts, and both the Holy Spirit and Jesus are constantly praying for us. Yes, departing isn’t easy, but for those who are in Jesus, they are assured of the presence of the Lord, of His power, and the greatest, greatest mission in history – to make all nations the disciples of Jesus. And we too, like those eleven disciples, are commanded to do the same thing; to go with the authority of Jesus and go with His power and in His strength, and go out to make other people Christ’s friends. I was ten years old when I encountered the risen Jesus. And ever since, as daily I pray to be filled with the Spirit, the same authority and the same power, I tell other people that Jesus is inviting you to be His friend.

 

+ John Sentamu

Yours in His name,

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