Letter from the clergy - Friday 9 October 2020

First published on: 9th October 2020

Dear All,

We know that for many of you a 9.30am morning service in church is too early, and that you would prefer a later start, especially as we approach winter. We discussed the various options at PCC this week, balancing the fact that we don’t have many clergy/service leaders, and we also need to provide service cover at Rodley twice a month. Mindful that we would like to enable as many people as possible to return to church, we have decided to try having a 10.30am Communion service on Sunday 8th November, which will be a special Remembrance Sunday service. We are hoping to return to having an 8.30am Communion service as well in due course, but we will not be able to do that before Gareth arrives. We will let you know in these letters and via the website when we are able to return to a more normal pattern with two services on each Sunday. Our online services will continue, with a simpler Morning Worship style on Sundays during the month of November, and our Wednesday dial-in services. See the notice sheet for details.

At the start of November, we would normally have a memorial service, a quiet reflective service when we remember those we have lost. This year, given that we have all lost so much due to the Covid pandemic, Shirley will be doing a meditation on the theme of loss at 11am on Sunday 1st November to which we are all invited. It will be a reflective service with readings, prayers, candles, and music, exploring loss in its wider sense, especially the loss of touch, now that we are not meant to be comforting one another with a hug, unless we are in the same ‘bubble’, due to the risk of infection. In the midst of this loss our Lord has come to bring light in the darkness, healing to body, mind, and soul, and the comfort of knowing that he is present among us as we support one another and travel this road together. Do put the date in your diary.

There is much to be thankful for despite all the losses. In our first reading on Sunday, Philippians 4.1-9, St Paul writes 'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.'  This is a really good reading to hold on to, especially if you are feeling weary with the ongoing Covid situation, or are feeling anxious about anything, or fearful for your health. It is a good reminder that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed very near, pouring out his Spirit of peace upon us, transforming situations, and setting our hearts on fire with love for him, as we say in the opening prayer of Morning Prayer. Being joyful, and actively rejoicing, praising God in all the circumstances of life, is something that will keep things in perspective, but we do need to be intentional, to keep working at it. Whatever the storms of life, and uncertainties that we are facing, turning to God with an attitude of praise and trust will always help. As will St Paul’s further advice in this passage, to fill our minds with whatever is lovely, wholesome, true, and praiseworthy. Why not read this passage every day this week, and let it sink in and feed your soul?

A Prayer

May you grow in grace,
knowing that each day brings new beginnings,
and that God knows your fears and your aspirations,
and has already prepared the way ahead for you.
May God bless you with his peace. Amen.   

With grace and peace,
Sue McWhinney         
07484 181699

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