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20 JUNE 2020
An Email to Stella from Bishop Peter
Monday is Windrush Day and marks the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at the Tilbury Docks. The former troop carrier was carrying Jamaican and other British Commonwealth citizens from the West Indies to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.
I want to draw your attention to two events happening over the next few days and encourage you to make them known in your own parishes:
Church of England Online Service, Sunday 9 am
The Church of England’s online weekly service will hear a call for action to build a fairer world ahead of a minute’s silence to lament the racism experienced by the Windrush generation and other black and minority ethnic people.
Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Rector of St Peter’s Church in Walworth, south east
London will lead the service in which the sermon will describe racism as one of
the three pandemics faced by the world, alongside the climate crisis and Covid-19.
Father Andrew Moughtin-Mumby, Rector of St Peter’s Church in Walworth, south east London will lead the service in which the sermon will describe racism as one of the three pandemics faced by the world, alongside the climate crisis and Covid-19.
As well as promoting the service in your communications, I would also encourage you to incorporate prayers and a silence into your own online worship.
Two minutes silence to mark Windrush Day, Monday 11 am
On Monday 22 June at 11 am, bishops, clergy, cathedrals and parishes across the Church of England are encouraged to keep two minutes silence to lament the suffering of the Windrush Generation and wider issues of racism in society. Please do make this known in your own parishes and encourage people to participate.
hope these events and others taking place to mark Windrush Day will help us to
reflect upon and lament the evil of racism in our past and the racism that
persists in our society today. We pray for all those who suffer from racism and
ask for God’s grace and courage as we seek forgiveness, reconciliation and
healing. We commit ourselves to working better together for justice, equality
and freedom from oppression for all.
I hope these events and others taking place to mark Windrush Day will help us to reflect upon and lament the evil of racism in our past and the racism that persists in our society today. We pray for all those who suffer from racism and ask for God’s grace and courage as we seek forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. We commit ourselves to working better together for justice, equality and freedom from oppression for all.
Yours in Christ
STELLA 16 JUNE
What, you ask, is 'Butt dust'? Read on and you'll discover the joy in it! These are original and genuine. No adult is this creative!!
We are all the same age this year. Apparently this occurs once every thousand years, so it will not happen again in our lifetime and generation. It reminds me that we are created equal in God's sight.
Add the age you are (or will be this year, if your birthday hasn't happened yet!) to the year you were born, eg 1960, 1970 etc and the total is 2020!
Have fun doing this with all the members of your household and pass on to others to try it too.
God bless you and yours
6th June 2020
A Prayer from Bishop David Hamid:
God of justice,
In your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception.
Open our eyes
to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being.
Open our minds
to do the hard work of learning what racism is, and is in us.
Open our hearts
to repent of attitudes, behaviours, and speech which demean others.
Open our ears
to hear the cries of those wounded by discrimination.
Fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds,
build bridges, forgive and be forgiven,
and establish peace and equality for all in
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Message from Stella, we will be attempting to sing the verses below at our 'phone' service this week.
Please have your Bibles open at Psalm 51
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mould ,me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
FROM STELLA 17 MAY
As we say, out of the mouth of babes!
A mother talking to her autistic 5 year old about Covid 19. Enjoy
1. What is the coronavirus? (Heidi: ‘It’s a big cough that goes all round the world.’)
2. Who is the prime minister? (Heidi: ‘He’s the boss of the whole wide world.’)
3. How many days have we been in lockdown? (Heidi: ‘About 100.’)
4. Do you want to go back to school? (Heidi: ‘Yes.’)
5. Who is the first person you are going to hug when lockdown ends? (Heidi: ‘Nell.’ Best friend from school)
6. Where is the first place you want to go? (Heidi: ‘To my park.’)
7. What do you think we can do to get rid of the Corona virus? (Heidi: ‘Stay at home and stay safe.’)
8. Is mummy a good teacher? (Heidi: ‘Err, no! Because you’re very boring.’)
9. If coronavirus was an animal what animal would it be? (Heidi: ‘Pig.’)
10. How did the coronavirus start? (Heidi: ‘Someone ate a bat.’)
11. If you had to wear protective clothing, what would it be? (Heidi: ‘A t-shirt, a jacket, a coat, and some trousers and socks and shoes…. Oh, and a mask!’)
Out of the mouths of babes! And, just because 11 is an odd number and 12 is a good biblical number, here is a twelfth question for you to ask your children:
12. What do you think Jesus would like us to do during lockdown?
5 MAY 2020.
There's a song called UK Blessing that was released yesterday by uk artists as a blessing on the national this time. Do check it out on You tube - it's about 6 minutes long. The words are taken straight from the priestly blessing in the Scriptures from Numbers 6: 24-26.
I am really impressed by the fact that the collaboration is between so many different churches and denominations and styles of music. Enjoy and let other people know about it. Let's share good news too.
Also, this Friday is a bank holiday to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Enjoy it and do something different.
Thank you for all you are doing to support one another, be kind to yourself and others too.
PTL that we're getting through this together. Remember if you need help with shopping, Hilary has a dispensation and can do some shopping, so let her know. Remember the night prayer we have on Tuesdays at 8-30pm, Saying the Lord's Prayer together and prayers and socialising on Wednesdays at 11am, Thursday Bible Study at 3pm and of course Sundays at 10am.
God bless you all
1 MAy 2020
Hope everyone's keeping well.
Just to say that the Church of England today launched a new initiative, Daily Hope - a free phone telephone line of hymns, reflections and prayers that's on 24/7. Please pass the number to everyone and make use of it too. 0800 804 8044.
God bless you all. Stay safe and be kind to one another
Blessings on you all
Reflections of the virus..........................
1. Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half with a drinking problem.
2. I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune, now I turn it like I'm cracking a safe.
3. I need to practice social distancing with the refrigerator.
4. I still haven't decided where to go for my Summer Holiday - the living room or the bedroom?5. Every few days, try your jeans on just to make sure they still fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
6. I don't think anyone expected when we changed the clocks, we'd go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone.
7. This morning, I saw my neighbour talking to her cat again. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. When I got back into the house, I told my dog and we both laughed.
8. My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee, it cleans the toilet.
9. I'm so excited it's time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?
10.I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to "Puerto Backyarda" cos I'm getting real tired of "Los Livingroom".
11.Classified ad: - Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.
12. Better 6 feet apart than 6 feet under....
!Hello everyone. 2 April 2020
Hope you're all keeping safe and well. How are you finding doing a weekly timetable.Thank you for joining me doing the Lord's Prayer every Wednesday at 11am and also praying for one another and the community from 11am until 12 noon on Thursdays.
What new things are you learning and how is it going? Did anyone sign up to the Tom Wright course - how are you finding it?
Let me encourage you with part of my readings.
"Learning to tune in to God can only ever be beneficial. This is what Jesus describes as seeking first God's kingdom (Matthew 6: 33). The challenge is to move away from allowing the pressures of life to dictate both mood and behaviour. It is choosing to seize the initiative and determining how I will show up in my world and imposing God's rule within my time/space experience". Prayer. I want to turn to you, Lord, and feed off your love and grace before stepping into my day. Help me find a routine to become God-aware from my first thought. Amen.
I want to try and find you different things to do and think about also. Did you know that there are five human love languages as proposed by a christian, Dr Gary Chapman. Each of us has a primary love language, but we all need them all maybe at different times - the primary one is always there. They are
1 Words of affirmation. This love language expresses love with words that build up. Verbal compliment don't have to be complicated - the simplest and shortest praises can be the most effective.
2 Acts of service. The motto for this one can be "action speaks louder than words". This love language expresses itself by doing things that you know the person would like.
3 Receiving gifts. This love language isn't necessarily materialistic; it just means that a meaningful and thoughtful gift makes the person feel loved and appreciated. This is different than acts of service where you show affection by performing acts to help the person.
4 Quality time. This is all about undivided attention. No television, no smartphone or any other distraction. It doesn't mean you can't curl up on the settee to watch Netflix!
5. Physical touch. To people with this love language, nothing is more impactful - a touch on the shoulder, a hug.
Each one is important and expresses love in its own way.
Do you know what your primary love language is and do you know what are the ones of each member of your household. You have time to discover the primary love language of each member of your household. Some may be a bit more difficult to carry out at this time, but I know you are all really creative. Have some fun with it. Sit down together and try and guess or work out what they are, if you know, practice it and be kind to each other and others you are in contact with too.
I love the Psalms and particularly those of David that exhorts us to encourage ourselves and trust God. Read Psalm 46 and as aPsalm of praise read 47 too. If you're bored of using Happy Birthday tune when washing hands, you can use
Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below, praise him above you heavenly host, praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Praises to God really lifts the spirit too.
Hope the young one are doing well too.
I shall be putting the Sunday readings on the website again and did you know that Sunday was Palm Sunday and we will then be in Holy Week. Readings for Holy Week are published on this site in TODAY AT ST ANDREWS they are renewed each morning.
Attached is something the whole family can get involved with. Got it from the Baptist website. Enjoy and let me know how it goes. You know the saying every cloud has a silver lining. Well, as a result of not so many cars on the road, the air pollution level has dropped.
Thank you for continuing to care for and love one another.
God bless you all
PS Please pray for Kate and her family at this time as her brother, Eric, died recently due to Covid 19. May the Lord comfort, support and strengthen them all at this difficult time. keep safe
TEN THINGS TO DO
Ten easy things to do … to help us talk to each other … listen … be calm and relax … be quiet and still … and, perhaps, be silent … Go outside and listen to the birds. I wonder how many different songs you can hear.
Go to the same place every day, stand still just for a minute or so … and look. Ask yourself each day, ‘I wonder how it is different from yesterday?’
Make a ‘person’ to look after. You could cut a stick-person out of some cardboard packaging that comes through the door; wet some kitchen paper or loo roll and make a tube person round your finger, dry it on the window sill and then give it a face; turn a sock into a person on your hand. Each day take your person for a little walk and talk to them. Tell them what you see. What do they say back to you?
Look out of the window and watch for people walking past. There may not be very many. When you see someone, say, ‘God bless you.’ They won’t hear you, but you will share in God’s blessing of every person in the world.
If you can go out and find a flower, count how many petals it has. You could find a different kind of flower each day. Could you keep a list of what you have found?
Look out of the window and watch the clouds. I wonder what shapes you can see. I wonder how many different colours you can see in the sky at once.
Once a day, before you eat something, think where it might have come from. Imagine its journey to your plate. Say thank you.
Find a nearby tree. Visit it every day, just for a minute or two. Watch how it changes.
Lie on your back. Close your eyes and listen for one minute. I wonder what you can hear. Do this in a different place every day.
Learn the Lord’s Prayer together and say it every day. Choose a
bit each day to think about more
Written for our examples: For such a time as this. 8th April 2020
In the last few weeks we've all had to quickly get used to spending a lot of time at home and indoors. This challenging situation has been a huge disruption on our daily lives.
During difficult times like this, I turn to the bible to try to make sense of it, and this time around one of the stories that came to mind was the story of Esther. Esther was a young Jewish woman who had been brought up by her cousin Mordecai. Under very unusual circumstances which we can only explain as God's providence, she found herself chosen to be queen of Persia, the wife of king Xerxes.
The story goes that shortly after Esther became queen, her cousin Mordecai found himself in conflict with a man called Haman, king Xerxes' second-in-command. Haman was so furious with Mordecai that he planned to have not only Mordecai killed, but all the Jews as well. And remember queen Esther was also a Jew.
Haman was so crafty that somehow, he managed to get the king to turn his plan into a law, and for a while it looked as though the Jews were doomed.
Mordecai responded by contacting queen Esther and urging her to do something to save her people from this threat and telling her that this may be the main reason God had allowed her to be queen. This is where this famous verse comes from:
Esther chapter 4
14 If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
Esther took up the challenge from her cousin, courageously deciding to risk her life to save her people. She made up her plans very carefully and prayerfully. She sent out a message and asked all the Jews to fast and pray with her, while she acted. In the meantime, God was working behind the scenes, making the king restless one night which led him to read through his record books that night, trying to cure his insomnia. He discovered that Mordecai once saved his life from a plot to assassinate him and was surprised that Mordecai hadn’t been rewarded for this. And by the way the king didn’t know that queen Esther was Jewish, or that she was related to Mordecai. About the same time, Esther also took a risk and approached the king, without appointment and managed to win him over. Esther told the king of Haman's plot against the Jews, and Haman was doomed. The Jews were saved. You can read the whole fascinating story from the book of Esther.
Although Esther was queen, with all the privileges that this brought, I suspect that she must have felt afraid, powerless, outnumbered, helpless, may be lonely and isolated. She could only approach the king by appointment. She was not free to stay in contact with her own people, her cousin had advised her against this right from start because he thought it best that she kept her family background and nationality secret. This means that although her cousin was a government official working at the palace, she could not meet and talk to him face to face. They only communicated by sending messages through other people.
This sounds a bit like the situation we find ourselves in at the moment. Some of us aren’t allowed to visit our parents, and even if you're helping a neighbour or friend you have to do it from a distance. As a church we can't meet to worship, pray together and support each other. Thank God for new technology. FaceTime has become a valuable part of my life, helping me to stay in touch with my children and grandchildren.
Just like the story of Esther, there are always opportunities for Christians in times of crisis. God is always at work and we have the opportunity to participate in his plan. Opportunities to shine as a light in our streets, neighbourhoods and communities. Yours might be praying for your community. Or checking in on the elderly, helping someone with shopping if they can’t go out. Whatever it is that the Lord puts on your heart, big or small, will make a difference to someone. Sometimes it's just calling someone and speaking words of encouragement. Pray and ask the Lord what he wants you to do, and then do it. God may have placed you where you are for a time like this.
Although we may not understand everything happening around us, like Esther and Mordecai, let's trust God and keep our integrity.
Listen to this: ‘Waymaker’ by Michael W. Smith
You can use the following code:
<iframe width="320" height="180" src="https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/XCpbeVFgs4E"; frameborder="0" allow="encrypted-media; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
I pray that the same Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead will strengthen your hearts and minds and those of your loved ones in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Finally, this Holy Week, let’s remember our Saviour, who, in the days before his death, comforted His disciples with these words:
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Amen
FROM HILDA EASTER DAY
EASTER SUNDAY 12TH APRIL 2020
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!
A prayer regarding the coronavirus crisis
The Jesuits in America have circulated a prayer related to the current coronavirus crisis which I think many will find useful – you may like to use it as it is or may be add your own specific prayers as you pray through it.
Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us.
A SONG CELEBRATING THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD
From Hilda 29 April 2020
How Long O Lord?
(Suggestion: To get the most out of this please read the 3 chapters of Habakkuk first.)
The UK was put into lockdown on 23 March in an unprecedented step to attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus. Nearly 5 weeks later, we still don’t know when these measures will be lifted. How are you bearing up? What keeps you going?
When the lockdown began, the Scripture that kept coming to mind is, ‘the just shall live by faith’. The more I thought about this the more I didn’t know what to do with it or how to process it in light of the current coronavirus pandemic. I couldn’t just send such a Scripture to friends and family without it sounding like one of those “clever” Christian clichés. One thing that really gets to me is when people throw easy answers at you when you’re going through difficulty. So, I got searching the Bible.
If you search for this verse you will find that it does actually appear in more than one place in the Bible – most of these are in the New Testament. Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11 and Heb. 10:38
The one that I’m going to talk about is the one found in a very short Old Testament book, tucked between 1&2 Chronicles and the book of Zechariah. That book is Habakkuk.
After reading Habakkuk, I think I’m just about ready to attempt unpacking what the Bible means when it says ‘the just or the righteous shall live by faith’ and how understanding this can give us some of the practical ways that we can respond to these unprecedented times that we and the rest of the world find ourselves living in.
Habakkuk 2:4 says “the just shall live by his faith,” it is the key verse in this little book.
The prophet Habakkuk was living through uncertain times – the circumstances may have been different to ours but his opening words “how long, O Lord, must I call for help?” are enough for us to see that Habakkuk was as puzzled about his situation as we are about the times we’re living in. In fact, most of chapter 1 is devoted to Habakkuk’s questions to God.
Habakkuk was a prophet to God’s people in Judah (the Southern Kingdom). The situation which Habakkuk is facing is the imminent invasion of the Southern Kingdom by the Babylonians. The southern kingdom was in rebellion to God, there was violence, conflict and injustice. Habakkuk was troubled by what he saw, and he asked God difficult questions about it.
It may not sound like it at first, but the book of Habakkuk is all about faith. Faith that God is still in control of this world regardless of whatever is happening, and regardless of the apparent triumph of evil. This little book helps us to know how to have faith in God in a chaotic, disturbing and uncertain world.
Faith is one of those words that is misunderstood by many. We tend to have a sanitised picture of faith. Question: How do you picture faith? A super-hero Christian! Someone who is always at peace, or one who finds it easy to accept things with no questions asked, no struggles, someone who breezes through life or someone who has all the answers?
Habakkuk is going to show us a different picture of faith. That faith is not dressed up, it’s raw, and it’s honest. The prophet confronts us with a faith with no pretending, a faith that complains, a faith that questions. I like this prophet, he is real, down to earth.
A lot of times we think that expressing any kind of doubt is a lack of faith. Habakkuk shows us that real faith asks questions. After all God knows when we have questions on our minds. Habakkuk’s example should encourage us as we struggle to move from doubt to faith.
“How long O Lord” sounds like someone who is doubting, but this is a cry of faith, not doubt. If you do a search, you will discover that this phrase is found quite a few times in the bible. Habakkuk is not alone in asking ‘how long’. We should not be afraid to ask questions of God.
If you have ever driven children on a long car journey you will know how many times this question comes up, 10 minutes into the journey ‘are we there yet’, swiftly followed by ‘how long…’; and another half hour later ‘are we nearly there … but how long?’ Annoying as it is, there is nothing wrong with asking such a question. What this question is expressing is, ‘right now, I’m in a place I don’t want to be,’ and that ‘I really want to arrive at a place we’re heading to.’ I think we all agree that God is still in control; he is at work, and he is taking us (and his world) to a destination.
The danger when going through difficulty is that we may:
1. Ignore what is going on and do nothing
2. We despair – ‘everything is wrong’ ‘woe is me’ etc
3. We start to accuse God ‘why me?’ ‘why did you do that bad thing to me,…my?’
4. We try to fix it ourselves.
But faith doesn’t ignore what’s happening, it doesn’t despair or accuse God, faith does not try to fix things without God. Faith cries out to God and says how long, what is going on God? I don’t understand. It’s too much to bear. It’s all very confusing or it’s overwhelming. It’s gone on for too long God, how much longer?
In verse 5 of the first chapter of Habakkuk, God answers and says I’m going to do something. Isn’t it great! Habakkuk prays, and God answers. Jesus promises us over and over that if we pray, God will answer. God tells Habakkuk that he is raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people!’ God is raising up these ruthless people as his rod of correction for his own people who are misbehaving. But this is not what Habakkuk expected to hear when he prayed, for him this sounds worse, it’s not going to make things better. I’m sure he would have preferred something like, I’m sending you a good strong king who will make it all good or something of the sort. But God says he will deal with the wickedness of his people by sending the Babylonians after them.
Habakkuk doesn’t just say, ‘O, okay, thank you’. No, something is still bothering him, in chapter 1 verse 12 he asks another question – he asks God, but why are you doing that? Are you planning to wipe us out? God answers again. Most of chapter 2 is God’s answer to this second question. With questions answered and a new understanding of God’s power and love, in chapter 3 Habakkuk responds with a song of faith. Take a look at chapter 3:17-19, it shows a new resolve to trust God, no matter what happens. That’s how the just live by faith! Banking your hope on God no matter what. Coronavirus or no coronavirus.
What we see in Habakkuk is a very good example of how to pray when you have questions on your mind or are confused about a situation. This is faith questioning, faith in action, faith seeking understanding. Pouring it all out to God and asking what is going on.
In his trouble and confusion, Habakkuk does not ignore God, accuse him, despair or try to take things into his own hands but we see him wrestling in prayer to find answers from God.
After he has done this in chapter 2 verse 1 he says – now that I’ve given my complaint to God, I’m going to wait and listen to what he says to me, how he will answer my questions. That is what faith does, it questions, and then it listens for an answer. Question: When you pray, do you stop and listen to what God might want to say to you in response?
God tells Habakkuk he is going to deal with what is wrong. He spells out his vision. Things are heading to the day when the glory of God will fill this earth. When all that is wrong will be made right. God is working – we can trust him. ‘The righteous shall live by faith’ – means there is hope for those who put their trust in God as calamity comes. We can trust him because he has already worked through his Son Jesus to save the world. At the cross God died for us so that those who are his enemies could become his friends. God is in control, we can trust him.
It’s not wrong for us to have doubts, despair, fear, unbelief or whatever struggles we have, these are valid responses to the things we face, it’s what we do with these thoughts and feelings that matters. The honest, raw faith of Habakkuk drew him to God. He is a model for us, he shows us what to do when we are struggling – turn it over to God, we can boldly and confidently take our complaints to God. Habakkuk shows us there is a God in heaven who is in control, a God who listens and answers when we pray. A God who cares and understands what we’re going through. A God who is full of love, grace and kindness. A God in heaven who one day will fill this earth with his glory (chapter 2 verse 14).
So let’s take all our fears, doubts, questions and so forth to our heavenly Father, he won’t mind, he wants us to do that, and he will answer us. So, when you watch or read the news next time, feel free to cry out ‘how long O God!’ Then wait, listen, and see what he says in answer to your prayers.
A Song by Stuart Townend: How Long?
And the following link is a song especially for Junior Church and young adults, which we all are!
What a friend we have in Jesus: African children’s choir
- CHURCH ROAD
- E17 6AR