These are strange and troubling times indeed in which we find ourselves. In a move unprecedented in our nation’s history the churches are having to close their doors in a time of national crisis. We, too, at Sandhurst and Yateley Methodist Church have had – for the time being – to cease meeting together for public worship.
During this time our regular meetings and activities will also cease. This includes our prayer meetings, Bible study groups, house groups, coffee mornings, Praise & Prayer, Rejoice, film nights, Club 15 and our biggest outreach and community group: Babes & Tots. Please remember all these groups and the people connected with them in your prayers.
Nevertheless, we continue to worship and pray and share Bible study in whatever ways we can. Most importantly, we continue to support one another through phone calls, emails and social media. Not everyone will have access to the latter of course but for those who do, Facebook is proving to be not such a bad thing after all (who’d have thought?!) and sending messages of hope and encouragement via WhatsApp and Messenger is another way to remind people they are not forgotten.
For those who are self-isolating and especially those who live alone, this is a particularly difficult time. The stewards, pastoral visitors and myself have been working out ways we can best support you and we are in the process of setting up a network of people who can keep in touch with each other on a regular basis to check that all is well. We have also been thinking about how we can support our neighbours and are producing a flyer to be distributed in the local residential roads, giving a contact email for those who may need practical or emotional help or prayer.
Barbara will still be producing a weekly noticesheet and I invite any of you who have readings, poems or stories to send them to her – even jokes providing they are suitable for a church noticesheet! Sue will also be looking for items for the May newsletter to replace the reports from our regular groups so dig out anything you’ve been saving for a rainy day.
On a weekly basis there will be a message up on the website, sometimes from me, sometimes from one of our Local Preachers. Please do access this if you can.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges for us as Christians is that Easter Sunday this year will be very different. However, the message of Easter does not change according to circumstances. It is still a message of hope-fulfilled, of death-defeated, of love-triumphant! How we proclaim it may call for imagination and ingenuity but we have some ideas already – keep reading the notices to find out more nearer the time. It is a timeless message and needs to be heard more than ever.
I want to close by assuring you of my prayers for each of you always, but never more so than during this time of separation and anxiety and to share some words from Psalm 46 with you:
Psalm 46: 1 – 7
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
With love and prayers,