Newsletter 1st May

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Life in lockdown may be rather different for you this week, with cooler and rainy weather – all the better for encouraging children to do their school work! But just think of those poor souls who actually have to go out to work…..

We’d liketo say a big ‘thank-you’ to everyone who has been looking out for neighbours & Church friends as well as their families, even when it’s difficult or impossible to visit them. The sign outside the Church is becoming more real every day!

Worship this week

We’ll be worshipping together again at 10:15am this coming Sunday, with one or two changes to the format to keep everyone in anticipation! The meeting details for Zoom are the same though –

Meeting number 474-970-7143

Password 2820

Last week, over 40 people joined us, which was brilliant - and we could beat that this week. We do realise that some people just can’t join us – possibly because they’re at work, or because of technical issues – so for you in particular, here’s a ‘screen grab’ sent to us by Justin, so that you can be reminded of what we look like!

Theme of the Day – 1 Peter 2:4-10 ‘You, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house’.

Bring a stone – Hazel will be preaching, and has asked that we bring a stone to the service – have it beside you as you worship, and the reason will soon be made clear.

Bring a drink – It’s not a communion service, but when Jesus commanded that we have a meal together, it was to remember what He has done for us, and also to celebrate that He has made us one family. So let’s have a coffee and a nibble during the service!

If you would like help to join the service online, contact any of the people above and they’ll tell you how they did it – or ring Revd John who usually sets up the meeting. See you on Sunday!

Daily Morning Prayer – The next issue of our Morning Prayer begins on 1st May, and it was emailed out to everyone on Tuesday morning. If you need another copy, just ask. Imagine lots of us saying, reading and praying the same thing every day; many are also trying to do it at the same time, at 10am.

Prayers for use during the Coronavirus outbreak – The Church of England’s website, here, has lots of words we can use when words are so hard to find.

Time to Pray – That’s the title of the Church of England Daily Prayer App, downloadable from Google Play or the i-Store; it has all the words of Morning, Evening and Night Prayer including the chosen readings, Psalm and Collect.

3 videos – Here are three YouTube videos which are very relevant to today’s main issues; one from our Sarah, and two from Spring Harvest – click on the title to view them.

Haywards Hope in Isolation: Day 41 – Faith, Hope and Love

Jeff Lucas: Living for Jesus in turbulent times

Justin Brierley – Why doesn’t God just end Coronavirus and mend the world?

 Fundraising in lockdown

Many of us are doing more online shopping these days. Did you know that you can raise money for St. Michael’s as you do that? Over 4,000 retailers are part of this scheme, and all you have to do is:

1.   Click here to go to our page on the easyfundraising website

2.   Click on ‘support this cause’ and create an account

3.   Download the ‘donation reminder’ onto your browser

4.   Shop as normal, and we will receive a free donation for every purchase you make!

 Keeping in touch

Don’t you long for the day we shake hands again in Church? Anything short of that just doesn’t seem right! In the meantime, do stay in touch with your leaders:

Revd Ray Gibbs 01206 843926

Revd Hazel Greenland 07707 894526

Revd Sarah Hayward 07828 046193

Revd John Chandler 01206 366930

Lesley Hindle 07708 954990

Jill Bollen 01206 851434

Sarah King 07518 437488

And finally…. a reflection

The Rt Revd Peter Hill, Bishop of Barking and standing in as Bishop of Chelmsford

‘The Latest from a Long-Sighted Bishop’

I am physically long sighted. That is why I need specs. Everything close up is blurred and without glasses I can’t read a thing! Yet I need to see close-up as well as at a distance. Seeing close up is the immediate priority in our ministries at this time of pandemic.

That little word ‘see’ occurs frequently in the New Testament, but in English it translates a variety of types of sight present in the original written in Greek. The different Greek words range from a casual glance to deep transformative insight. The latter is often translated behold, in older versions of our Bibles. Behold is a much stronger ‘seeing’ word and is used most often in relation to Jesus e.g. John 1:36 when John the Baptist, pointing his disciples to Jesus says, “Behold, the Lamb of God“.

I believe this is very much a time for beholding, that deep sight that is so needed in our lives and ministries. This extraordinary and demanding time of lockdown, which none of us anticipated at the start of the year, has changed almost everything. So I ask the question again, but differently:

How are you beholding things are, at the present time?

What deeper things are being revealed?

What close-up things is the Lord calling us to in these times?

We are in a significant ‘in-between time’ as the Church of Christ; the strangest time since the 2nd World War. We don’t know exactly when or how we will emerge from this vicious Covid– 19 pandemic. In the meantime we must continue to minister to those who are vulnerable and in need and grieve with those who have lost ones they love. That is our primary mandate from our Lord. Thank you so much for all you are doing and enabling in these respects.

But we must also behold how God maybe transforming us as disciples and ministers of the Gospel in the midst of this awful crisis.

What are we learning afresh? And how are we going to do things differently and effectively in the days to come when we emerge into whatever the new normal becomes?

With my long sightedness I can often miss the important things right under my nose. Let’s join together and encourage one another in more prayerful and powerful beholding, as we look and see with the eyes of our Risen Lord.


Yours in His name,

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