In the next few Newsletters I want to pick up on a some things that we talked about on our Annual Church Meeting Sunday a couple of weeks ago. Today…

The Schools & Families Project

It was wonderful to have both Hannah and Rachel there and to hear from them how they have adapted their work over the past months to the current situation, including the reopening this term of Searchlights, our after school club. Hannah and Rachel work really closely together and, as Rachel also works at St Paul’s, this has made it possible to launch a new joint Youth Club on Wednesday evenings. This is great news and means that our young people will be able to meet a wider group of others in a Christian environment. At the moment we are using St Paul’s hall – it’s huge and gives a very safe space for them to meet in.

Hannah is also working hard to speak to senior teachers in schools to see how her work can continue under the new restrictions. We are so pleased that schools want to participate in the Shoebox Scheme once more. Also, Hannah is back teaching RE in Cann Hall. As well, she is producing videos for assemblies for teachers to use in their classrooms , as there are no big assemblies any more. (Hannah’s Harvest one is now on our YouTube channel!)

So, on the Annual Meeting Sunday we were really excited to commission Hannah and Rachel for the next 3 years of the project. Philippa, Lydia, Andy and Helen, representing all the children and families helped by the project, then led us in praying for them and their work.

Although we have not yet got the full funding the project – there is good news on this too. Our target is £115,387 for everything for the full 3 years. We have already raised £24,535 as a church, by carefully stewarding money from previous years and through our appeal in the spring. A further £10,100 has been pledged by church members, and we think we can commit a further £13,320 from church funds. We are also very grateful to the Tabeel Trust for a grant of £15,000. This means that we are well over half way there – I’ll let you do the maths!! However, we do need to get support from a few more charitable trusts to reach our target. Two of these will be looking at our project over the next few weeks – so please do pray. And thank you so much for all your giving and your support. Mark


IT IS ALL FREE! 

All of the “Thought for the Day” summer series, each based on one of the Psalms, is still there on our YouTube channel, so that you can catch up on any that you missed. These were contributed by lots of different people, including Guy. Each is only about 10 minutes long, so they are great for a quick dip into God’s word and a prayer at any point of the day. 

As there was really good feedback about this summer series, I have decided to continue with a “Thursday Thought” during the Autumn. This will become available early on Thursday morning and they can be watched at any time. The first ones come from myself and Mark Holdaway and look at some of the Psalms that we didn’t have time for in the summer. However, if they are well used, we may cover some other things as the weeks go by. Mark 

We want children and families to be as involved as possible in our church activities and always to feel very welcome. This is why we are planning to start up Sunday Funtime at the St Mark’s Morning Service again in October. (It is also great that they can join in with the Searchlights after school club, which has started up again on Mondays at St John’s.) 

However, we know that, with the current restrictions on what we can do it’s not always easy for children (or their parents) at our church services just now. That’s why we will make sure that there will always be a Children’s Spot and a Children’s Challenge in our Online Worship at 11am on YouTube on Sunday Morning – so that they can take part in this service. 

Also, we will continue with Family Time at 4pm each Sunday on YouTube, until we are able to provide more in our church buildings. And Good Fruit Club has started again on YouTube at 4pm on Wednesdays – so there will be lots of fun for families there too! 

If you have any more ideas about what we should be doing, please let me know. Thanks, Mark.


Church back in our buildings 

Thank you so much to all those who have been able to make it back to St John’s and St Mark’s on Sunday mornings. It is really wonderful to have such a good number there. I know it’s a bit strange with the hand sanitiser, the face coverings and the chairs spaced out and all the other things that we have to do at the moment – but I know, as well, that everyone is willing to do these to keep each other safe. 

The live services are about 40 minutes long – and then there is time to chat to people outside afterwards – though we need to stick to small groups of 6 or less. We are going back to our usual pattern of having Holy Communion once a month at each church – otherwise we will be using the Morning Prayer sheets. 

We realise that not everyone is able to come to a live service just yet – so we will be continuing with the YouTube services and the CDs – they always have a children’s spot, prayers led by a member of the congregation and a full sermon. If you can both get to a live service and see the one on YouTube that is best of all – we hope that will give the best mixture of praise and worship, prayer, Bible teaching and fellowship. Thanks very much for supporting our services as we just do our best at this strange and difficult time. Mark