GS02

Week 28

Dear Friends

Week twenty Eight. And a warm welcome to our new friends from Westcot (who it was a pleasure to meet last Sunday) and at Long Hanborough and Sutton (whom I meet via Zoom this Sunday coming).

I have recently listened to the PM talking biblically with the "New Jerusalem" and the new mantra when talking about Britain post Covid19:

Build
Back
Better

And I wish him well. And I agree with the sentiment of a different tomorrow. A better tomorrow. There's no doubt we've all been through troubled times, but there have been glimpses of positive things amidst the darkness of Covid19. During Lockdown a lot of folks were able to work from home and that worked well (productivity did not suffer, for example) and boy, was it noticeable how much less congested (and therefore less polluted) were roads were as a result. The air was cleaner (especially in the cities) and nature "breathed" a sigh of relief. Was it just me or did you see more butterflies etc in the garden this summer?

So however "Build Back Better" is unfolded in due course, I hope it will include a new concern for the environment. I hope it will allow new ways of working that includes less polluting commuting. The ambition for wind turbines providing all our energy by 2030 is laudable. Let's hope the intention is followed with delivery!

And I do hope the church takes the opportunity take a look at its way of being and ask "can we too as a community of faith "Build back better?" It sometimes feels to me that we are so tied up in process and administrations that this is at the expense of mission and outreach. Our diaries are crammed with meetings. I've even had meetings about meetings! So can we look at clusters of churches for meetings like property, finance, even Church Councils? Make the most efficient use of our time and energies. And what about Zoom meetings in the winter months to save our folk travelling in the dark winter months across a very large new Circuit? Okay, I'm not the greatest fan of Zoom, but it works (we recently had a District Synod via Zoom with 147 attending — that's at least 50 cars not congesting the roads and polluting the environment). Perhaps we could agree that at least one such gathering per year could be via Zoom?

But it's not just about meetings; it's about mission and outreach. There is not doubt Covid19 has sparked a renewed interest in Spirituality, especially online. We must seize the moment for reaching out in love to offer the love of God through Jesus by all means available to us, including online. That might be daunting to some, but you have surprised me how many of our folks have mastered Zoom. "Build back better" in church terms challenges us to drop the "we've always done it this way" mindset and to accept that in 2020 the world changed and we must as a church change too. It's time to find a new confidence in the Gospel and our part in promoting the Mission of the church. We have a real opportunity to change to make the church fit to face the challenge of tomorrow.

With kindest Regards.

Fred

This week's Devotional

Read: Matthew 22:1-14 (Lectionary reading)

Read: StF 670

We have nothing to give
That didn't first come from Your hands
We have nothing to offer You
Which You did not provide
Every good, perfect gift comes from
Your kind and gracious heart
And all we do is give back to You
What always has been Yours

Lord, we're breathing the breath
That You gave us to breathe
To worship You, to worship You
And we're singing these songs
With the very same breath
To worship You, to worship You

Who has given to You
That it should be paid back to him?
Who has given to You
As if You needed anything?
From You, and to You, and through You
Come all things, O Lord
And all we do is give back to You
What always has been Yours

Lord, we're breathing the breath
That You gave us to breathe
To worship You, to worship You
And we're singing these songs
With the very same breath
To worship You, to worship You

You can listen to this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbi1yCdN8eg

Pray:
Lord God, we pray for all the people diagnosed with Coronavirus this week. We pray for the families of those who lost their lives this week.

We pray for doctors and healthcare workers who minister to them. Lord, keep them safe.

We pray for funeral directors and those who work at crematoria in these challenging and heartbreaking times. Lord, Keep them safe.

We pray for those at university whose experience is different from that which they expected. Lord, keep them safe too.

We pray for the victims of the failures of the Church of England who allowed child sex abusers "to hide" in it's number. Forgive the failures of the church, may it learn from those mistakes and bring healing to the victims.

We pray for our church that we might be renewed for mission and outreach. Equip us all to seize both the challenge and opportunity of the post Covid19 world that we pray for. Lord, keep us safe.

To that anticipated day, we ask your continuing blessing on all those working for a vaccine and other treatments for Coronavirus. Lord, keep them safe.

In Jesus' name we pray.
Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thing is the Kingdom,
The power and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.

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