17th May Pew Sheet - Wyre Forest West Group of Parishes


17th May Pew Sheet


Dear Friends,

 

Although there have been some minor changes to the advice this week, for most of us the situation is still very much the same – we are encouraged to stay at home! The advice for our church buildings is also still very much the same. On Monday 11th May the Government stated that places of worship could be open again before July. However, the House of Bishops latest ruling (Thursday 7th) is that only the Vicar is allowed to enter the church building to pray, ring a bell (as long as we can do it from the ground floor i.e. don’t go up a bell tower) or live stream themselves praying. Until the Bishops change this advice, all our church buildings remain closed.


That does not however, mean that we are not active. Throughout the villages in our community individuals are active. Some can get out and about and are doing shopping and collecting of prescriptions for others. Others are keeping in touch by telephone or over the garden wall checking that everyone is ok and not in need of anything. Our worship still continues in our homes. Some I know are joining me ‘virtually’ on a Sunday morning for worship at 10.00 a.m. using an order of service that is available on our website or which can be emailed or posted to you. This week I have also been able to obtain copies of a new book that has been produced by the Church of England containing some prayers about the crisis, personal prayers, prayers with children and an order of service for daily morning and night prayer, which use each day. If you would like to receive a copy of this prayer book or our Sunday service, then please contact me.


So, we are still very active despite not being in our buildings and our first Bible reading today from the book of Acts reminds us that ‘The God who made the world and everything it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands.’ He is very active, out in our communities, working in and through us, coming alongside us through this very difficult time. Our gospel reading for today from St John makes it very clear ‘You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.’


I find these words very comforting in a world that has changed so quickly not just for a few but for everyone. It can feel like we are living on the set for an apocalyptic film. Life has changed, possibly for the foreseeable future. People are walking around wearing masks, we have to queue to be allowed into our supermarkets, we have to experience many people through Perspex screens and we are not allowed to visit friends or relatives let alone hug them. I find it quite frightening and there is a sense of fear around many people and situations. But, our God speaks to us, piercing our fear through the words of Jesus which can provide us with such comfort: ‘In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live… and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.’


Although we can’t go into our church buildings, I would still encourage you to spend some special time with God. Let the words of our Bible readings speak to you, sink in, and surround you so that you know that you are truly loved by God.


There are many resources available for worship on the TV, local radio, YouTube, Facebook and the internet and many, many people are finding these very helpful. People who haven’t been to church for years or who have, in recent years, found attending church difficult have reengaged with worship that they can join in with in their own homes. Why not try something yourself. You can sing to your hearts content and at the top of your voice or sit quietly listening to someone reading the Bible or praying. There is something to suit everyone.


Whilst we find ourselves in difficult situations, we should not forget those around the world who find themselves in far more challenging environments. This last week has been Christian Aid Week and their website reminds us that ‘Coronavirus has shown us that our futures are bound more tightly together than ever before. And now it is spreading across the world’s poorest countries, putting people living in poverty at great risk. These people are already facing a lack of water, food, and healthcare. Some are homeless. Some are living with underlying health issues such as HIV. As coronavirus infection rates speed up, they will feel the impacts of the virus deeply. We must respond now.


Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all.’

Unfortunately, the usual envelope collections and events that are held during Christian Aid week have not been possible. If you are able, please could I ask you to consider donating using their website donate.christianaid.org.uk. I am sure that any possible donation will be put to good use helping those who have far less than us.


Each week we include the names of those who have asked for our prayers. If you know of anyone who would like prayers said (please check with them that they are happy for their names to appear on our pew sheet) then please let me know. If anyone would like me to include them in my private prayers, which I say twice a day, then please let me have details.


I look forward to being able to see you all just as soon as possible but in the meantime, you are all in my prayers. If you would like me to phone you for a chat please get in touch and if there is anything practical that I may be able to help with, please contact me.


Now go in peace to love and serve the Lord.


God our Father, whose Son Jesus Christ gives the water of eternal life: may we thirst for you, the spring of life and source of goodness; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen


With All my Blessings Rev Sallie

 

Bible Readings for this Sunday – 6th Sunday of Easter


Acts 17.22-31, Psalm 66.7-18, 1 Peter 3.13-22, John 14.15-21


Collect for this week


Risen Christ, by the lakeside you renewed your call to your disciples: help your Church to obey your command and draw the nations to the fire of your love, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Requests for Prayer


Please continue to pray for all those who are ill, especially Annie Round, Paul Mills, Freddie Kemp, Sylvia Jenkins, Susan Godwin, Edna Mills, Jill Cockerton, Mary McGrath, Lucy Fischer, Pearl Green, Margaret Wright, Polly, Maureen Boswell, Sylvia Perkins, Dennis Judd and Joan Abrahall. We also pray for all those suffering with, and affected by, Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Pray for the family and friends of all those who have recently died – Eric Bytheway, and for all those who continue to mourn.