“But seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
This Friday is Victory in Europe day. It seems strange to be celebrating 75 years since the end of war on our continent when we are experiencing the most disruptive events that have occurred for our society since then!
As we look back to the end of one war, we look forward hopefully to the end of another conflict - this time it's with a virus, rather than the Nazis.
The period immediately after World War II was a difficult one. The country was heavily in debt, there was continuing rationing and no doubt the continuing grief and trauma caused by the war itself. Yet, coming out of the war the country didn't fall into despair and anxiety, but moved forward with new vision and hope for a better society. It was during that time, for example, that the NHS was started!
As Christians during this time of lockdown and in the post-lockdown world that will follow, we too are called to reject anxiety and work to help build a better world. We are called to seek God's kingdom, first, and trust that God, our Heavenly Father, will provide for our basic needs.
This week's email includes:
- Join in this Sunday - pictures and videos to contribute...
- Last Sunday - links to last week's sermon
- Weekly Focus: Mission Online
- Prayer Requests
- Notices in Brief: Including VE Day Quiz, Climbing Kilimanjaro for Tearfund, Archbishop's Hope Line
- Further links for you to explore and enjoy.
Join in this Sunday: Have you made, drawn or created something to help celebrate Victory in Europe day? It would be great to show them as part of our Sunday service this week. Please send in photos and we will try and include them in the service.
Also, it would be great to start this week's service with a response based on 1 Peter 5:7 ("Cast all your burden on God, because He cares for you.") Please send a very brief video with you or your family saying simply:
"Because He cares for you!"
Please send videos or photos by email, wetransfer.com or Whatsapp (07769 871520).
Don't forget to join us on YouTube this Sunday (the video should be available from 6am on Sunday).
Last Sunday: If you missed Last Sunday's talk, True Wealth (Matthew 6:19-24), then you can listen or watch here .
Weekly Focus: Mission Online
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced churches up and down the country to radically change the way they operate. A recent report put it this way, "Last month [churches] were the Odeon, this month we are Netflix."
On VE day if you wanted to see a film you had to go out at a set time to a set place to watch your movie. In 2020, you can stay on your sofa and watch your film whenever you choose!
In February if you wanted to access a service at St. Luke's you had to come to the church building at 10:30am on a Sunday or miss out. Now you can watch it on YouTube without leaving your house at whatever time you choose (on Sunday or Monday).
Of course, being part of church is far more than simply watching a service. There is something really important about meeting each other in person in order to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25) and that requires people gathering together in the same place at the same time.I look forward to the day when we are able to physically gather in church again. Nonetheless, we are learning that there are some real missional advantages to also being online.
A survey at the weekend discovered that during the Lockdown almost 1 in 4 adults say they have watched an online church service. Amongst 18-34 year olds it is 1 in 3 - and they are the age group least likely to be found in church! Indeed, many people are finding that it is much easier to invite people to watch an online service than it is to invite them to a real service.
Online services also mean that those who cannot make it to church, either occasionally because of work or more permanently because of ill health, can still keep up with the services.
We will return to physical gatherings of people, but we also need to think how we can continue to show our services online and make the most of this new mission opportunity.
In the meantime, let's try and make the most of the evangelistic opportunities of online services. Why not invite people you know to watch our online service? Or share the YouTube link on Facebook or similar? This week's service will be talking about anxiety, so it will be relevant!
Be assured I will do my best to check that people are happy for the requests to be shared before including them.
- For Nathan Court, who is in hospital at the Royal Marsden with a relapse of Leukemia.
- For Shirley Crabb who is in a lot of pain, because of the delayed operation on her hip.
- Give thanks that Audrey's sister, Evelyn is now home from hospital, but pray that she will have the care she needs. Please pray as well for Keith her cousin who is supporting her.
- For Joy Smithers. Give thanks that she is settling into the new Care Home in Folkestone and pray that she will be able to regain the mobility she had before her accident.
- For Gordon Warren. They have decided it is not possible for Gordon to have any Chemo at present and it is unclear how serious the cancer is. So please pray for peace and that the cancer is slow growing.
- For those who have lost loved ones as a result of the Pandemic.
- For all NHS staff, paramedics and care home workers. For safety, resilience and strength as they are called on to work harder in these emotionally draining circumstances.
- For those feeling lonely, missing the usual visits of family and friends.
- For those struggling with mental health, especially in the present circumstances.
- For business, school and other leaders as they prepare and make plans for the future transition out of lockdown.
- Pray for wisdom for the government as they continue to work to provide the necessary equipment and tests and make the best plans for us to come out of lockdown.
A prayer for VE Day
From the Act of Commitment for Peace
Lord God our Father,
we pledge ourselves to serve you and all humankind, in the cause of peace,
for the relief of want and suffering,
and for the praise of your name.
Guide us by your Spirit;
give us wisdom;
give us courage;
give us hope;
and keep us faithful now and always.
VE Day church Quiz, this Friday (8th May) at 7:30pm. For those who are able to gather on Zoom this should be a great fun event. You can either let me know your team in advance or just turn up and I'll put you in a team. The teams will meet in 'break-out-rooms', a bit like mini-Zoom meetings to discuss the answers to the questions, then we will go through the answers all together. There will be a few questions about the war, but there will also be a variety of questions on all kind of topics! Everyone welcome. Bring yourself, invite a friend!
To join us just click on the button below at around 7:30pm Friday:
(Meeting ID: 541 875 3952; Password: Matthew)
Matthew Dawson is climbing the height of Kilimanjaro over 28 days on the stairs! He is raising money for Christian organisation Tearfund which works in some of the poorest countries in the world. He climbs three flights of stairs 38 times a day. We have 32 steps up and down.
The effect of COVID-19 on those in the poorest countries of the world is likely to be devastating, so all monies raise will go to those who desperately need our help. They often do not have clean water to drink or wash their hands in and those in refugee camps can not socially distance and do not have enough food or clean water.
If you would like to find out more or donate, the click the button below:
Vanessa's Fund Raising for the Food Bank. Well done to Vanessa who has now raised £2,105 for the Churches Together in Ramsgate Food Bank.
Archbishop's Hope Line: If you want an extra Spiritual input and especially if you don't do online, then there is a helpline, where you can listen to a 20 minute mini-service from the Archbishop. A new service is available everyday. It's a freephone number: 0800 804 8044.
This week three links again!
The UK Blessing
Watch this video of people from a whole host of different churches up and down the country singing a blessing.Order of Service for VE Day
This is a bit of history: the order of service for Victory Europe day for Westminster Abbey.Everybody Welcome Online
This is the paper looking at what has happened to church going online since the lockdown started. It's a long read, but well worth reflecting on.
Don't forget to join us on YouTube this Sunday (Video should be available from 6am on Sunday).
Yours in Christ,