Newsletter 19th July

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Sunday 19th July

It’s back to Church this Sunday morning!

Yes, we’re truly delighted to announce that there’s a service of Holy Communion in St. Michael’s at 10:15am this Sunday morning. We’d like to say that everything’s back to normal, and we will make it as ‘normal’ as possible – but we will see some changes. Our main purpose on Sunday will be to worship the Lord together – and our main concern is to make sure we do that safely. So read on for the arrangements we have made:

Arriving at Church

When you get Church, you’ll be welcomed by Stewards who have been trained in the new procedures. They will welcome you into Church and offer hand sanitiser spray and guide you to a seat. We’ll also make a note of who attends – and take contact details for anyone who is new to us – just in case we need to ‘track and trace’.

Social distancing

We have decided to operate a 2-metre social distancing policy, so not all pews will be available. We have the option of adopting the policy of ‘1 metre plus’ which would mean the obligatory use of face coverings, but would prefer to leave the wearing of face coverings a matter of personal choice. If the Government changes its rules on that, we will let you know. Please be guided by our stewards to make sure we all stay as safe as possible.

The service

It will be a service of Holy Communion using the words you’ll recognise, which will be projected onto the screen. We’re not allowed to sing, and we are guided to make the service ‘no longer than is necessary’ – so that means a shorter sermon too! At communion, we will receive bread only; we are not yet allowed to share the common cup. But we’re working to make sure the service is a blessing to us as well as to the Lord!

If you can’t get to Church

If you can’t attend Church because you are shielding or clinically vulnerable, please let us know. It’s important that we stay in contact with you, and you with us. Just email us or ring Ray, John or the office.

Live streaming

We’ve really enjoyed our Zoom services; it’s great to see each other and to chat after the service. If you really can’t get to Church to do that in person, we’re going to try streaming the service on Facebook Live. You don’t need to download any software to see it – just search on the web for ‘Facebook St Michaels Myland’ and scroll down to see the service happening live. Better still – just click here to go there; there’s an introductory video there already.

Hayward’s Hope

36F97F4EAs well as being live on Facebook, we have the YouTube channel hosted by Sarah & Tim Hayward and family. It’s called Hayward’s Hope; there are new videos every week and they stay online to be viewed anytime.

Church Offerings

Another instruction we have received about Covid-19 is that we shouldn’t take up an offering in Church. We will be asked to place our regular giving in the jar at the back of the Church, which will be cleared regularly. If you can’t get to Church, please do remember that Royal Mail still deliver our bills! Whether you are with us in person or on screen, may we encourage you to play your part as a member by supporting us in every way, including financially. Thank you!

Bible Study this Thursday afternoon and evening

We’re still on Zoom for Bible Studies! Yes, Bible Study continues at 2:30pm on Thursdays, with another group at 7:30pm on Thursdays. The afternoon group is learning about St. Paul, from his various escapades in the Acts of the Apostles and his letters; and the evening group is taking a broader look at the book of Acts.

It’s exciting stuff; if you’re free at either time, do log on using the numbers on the left.

Daily Prayer, and services on Wednesdays

We’d love to be in Church every day – but for the moment we have to leave 72 hours between services. So there is a service of Morning Prayer at 10:15am each Wednesday. Do join us for this time of quiet reflection and prayer.

 

Attached to this Newsletter is the latest Daily Prayer sheet, with Psalms and readings. may these times of personal prayer be a blessing to you.

More progress with the new Church toilet

As you arrive at Church, you may see that the grass by the Churchyard path has been disturbed – there is now a drain from the Church for the first time in its 166-year history! When it’s all connected to the drains at Myland Parish Halls, our Contractor will install the new flushing toilet.

 

Thank you!

A massive thank-you to everyone who donated clothes etc. to ‘Bag to School’. You’re helping others of course – and also helping the Church because we will receive a payment for all the donations.

 

As we gradually return to normal ways of ‘being Church’, we expect that there will be less changes to report each week – so we think that this is the moment to make our Newsletters fortnightly from now on. We hope to see you in Church, on Bible Study or around Myland each week; but if that’s not possible for you, please do stay in touch!

And finally…. A reflection

by Revd John Chandler

Getting back to Church will be a step into the unknown. That’s a strange thing to say, when we know our Church building so well, and know our Church family quite well too. But for almost all of us, we have not known direct contact with the people or the building for quite a few months, and setting out to travel to Church is something we will have to get used to again! And when we get there, what will it be like? Will everything be the same as before? Not exactly. Will the same people be there? Not all of them. Will I feel the same as I enter? Probably not – there’ll be mixed emotions in everyone including elation, relief, expectation and certainly just a little fear too.

There’s a phrase in the Bible that’s repeated 81 times. It’s ‘Do not be afraid’. You’ll read it in many books from Genesis to Revelation spoken by God, angels, prophets and Jesus Himself. It seems that it’s the first phrase we hear every time there’s a big change ahead, whether it’s a journey to a new land, the surprising arrival of angels with good news, or Jesus preparing His disciples for tough times ahead.

That comforting phrase is usually followed by another. It’s this: ‘For I am with you’. The Lord calls us to step out in faith so many times in our lives, and through our faith in Jesus we have His promise that He is with us always (Matthew 28:20) assuring us that we need not be afraid. Now let’s be clear – God certainly wants us to take every care with the body He has given us and the circumstances where He has placed us – and to protect those around us. That’s what we’ll be doing, as we welcome everyone into Church on Sunday, and you will be taking good care as well. Thank you for that!

And every single time we read those phrases in the Bible, they are followed by a promise. In Genesis, it’s ‘I will make you into a great nation’ or ‘I am your shield, your great reward’. In Exodus, it’s ‘The Lord will bring you deliverance’. In Deuteronomy, it’s ‘The Lord will fight for you’. In 1 Chronicles it is ‘He will never fail you nor forsake you’. In Isaiah, it’s ‘For I myself will help you, says the Lord’. Get the picture? We can rely on our almighty God. In the New Testament, one reason not to be afraid is that the Lord promises to be with us as we tell others the Good News about Him. Don’t we often fear that too – persecution, ridicule or just apathy? If that were to happen (and it probably won’t) then it’s not our problem; we will have done our duty, and we can expect the Lord to honour what we do, by speaking words of comfort and encouragement to others.

So what are you afraid of? If you can work that out, the Lord will take the fear away!

Yours in His name,

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