Letter from the clergy - Friday 19 June 2020

First published on: 19th June 2020

Dear Friends,

Looking forward to Sunday, Shirley will be preaching, so do tune in if you can to our online service.

We’d still love to hear your views on our online and dial-in services, so please help us by completing a short survey or by completing the paper copy that Lorna and Lesley deliver to those of you not on e-mail, along with goodies baked by ABC Church, which has been a lovely feature of the last few weeks. Thank you so much to the ABC families for reaching out with gifts and messages of hope to our older church members. I know they have been much appreciated.

The reason why we’re asking is because we know it will be a long time before we will be allowed to hold services in church, and even then, restrictions will still be in place, so we want to do all that we can to keep you going spiritually, and to help you feel connected with God and with each other. There are of course also some really good services and programmes on the BBC, which is good. We are hoping to be able to open church for prayer in July, once all the safety measures are in place, and we hope that you’ll find this to be a blessing, though of course it’s not the same as being able to gather for fellowship or for worship. It is the government that prevents us from opening for services, including weddings and baptisms, by law, so we need to be patient.

Many of us are feeling a bit weary with the relentless nature of the coronavirus situation, and the uncertainty over how long it will last. Unpredictability which is not of our making is a good recipe for stress and anxiety, so what can we do that might help? The most important thing seems to be to have a rhythm for each day, with regular times for a walk, eating regularly, doing things we enjoy, and getting enough sleep. For Christians, we can add to this daily prayer time, Bible reading, and reflection, perhaps writing down how we feel, expressing our anxiety, or sadness at what we’ve lost, and practising the art of gratitude, finding things and people to be thankful for, and thanking God for them in our prayers.

You may find the Psalms especially helpful, as they cover the whole range of emotions and life experience. Reading the Psalms will help us to get in touch with our feelings, and will encourage us to hold on with faith, whatever situation we are in. My favourite is Psalm 27: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid.’ Why not take a fresh look at the Psalms this week, and see which one speaks to you?  

A few weeks ago I mentioned the Church of England’s new Daily Hope phone line. It’s a freephone number, 0800 804 8044, and has some helpful prayers and hymns to listen to, which are changed regularly. Do give it a try. Many people have found it supportive, and inspiring.

Blessing for this week

(Northumbria Community blessing for wilderness times, adapted)

When you no longer know how to be, may the Father take you on your deeper journey.
When you no longer know what to do, may the Spirit reveal to you what he is calling you to.
When all feels lost, may you know your home in Christ.
May you know the love and blessing of God. Amen.

With grace and peace,
Sue McWhinney         
sue@stjohnsfarsley.org.uk         
07484 181699


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