Newsletter 14th February
It’s time for a short newsletter to update you with some of what is going on in the church, and make sure you know that life is continuing for us even though we are hunkered down in our own homes for so much of the time.
We have more encouraging news that the numbers of cases of Covid-19 continue to fall and that many more people have been vaccinated; so we can continue to hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter. However, we know that many people are still ill and dying from this awful infection and remember the countless thousands who have already lost their lives. We will keep them and their families in our prayers.
As you know our services are still online only. We will be reviewing this later in the month when new guidance is issued. It seems likely that even when we start to allow some people to come to the church building for services, the numbers will have to be limited and so we will need to continue to make the services available online.
The details of how to connect to our church services are now published on the website along with the service sheet for that service.
We very much want to be able to come together in the church but are very conscious of the risks and of our responsibility not to contribute to unnecessary infections.
Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday and we will have a service of Holy Communion led by Rev Chris Duncan at 10am. Details of this are on our website at this link: https://www.stmaryschartham.org/Groups/357519/Ash_Wednesday.aspx
I hope you can join us for this service to mark the beginning of Lent.
This year we have 3 groups meeting for a Lent course. We are following the Church of England’s six week course ‘Live Lent, God’s story, our story‘. Have a look at our church website to find out more about the course and to download the course material or order a booklet.
The groups are meeting on Tuesday evenings, Thursday mornings and Saturday mornings, so if you are interested there should be one to suit you.
Please contact Cathy Arnold to find out more details: email email@example.com or phone her on 01227 731960.
Weekly prayer meeting:
This Monday, 15th February, we are starting a weekly prayer meeting. Some of you may have taken part in Louise’s Intentional Prayer initiative and so been praying for our church and this is an opportunity to continue to be part of a prayer group.
Because of the restrictions this too has to be online-only for the time being - although we will of course move into the church building as soon as the situation allows.
Please have a look at the details of this on the church website at this link: https://www.stmaryschartham.org/Groups/357117/Prayer_Meeting.aspx
Intentional Prayer (a note from Rev Louise):
We have now come to the end of our first season of Intentional Prayer. Thank you if you have felt able to take part in this - however frequently or infrequently. It has been very positive to know we have been sharing more deeply in our prayers for St Mary's. I would be really pleased to hear how the Intentional Prayer has gone for you - whether or not you engaged with it, any particular insights or struggles or surprises - anything you'd like to let me know about. You can email me, and if you'd like a chat, we can make a diary date. Whilst this season is coming to an end can I ask you to keep praying for Gods healing and guidance for the church. Louise
Good news! Our new editor, Chris Amos, has been working hard to produce the first edition for a year and it will be published in March. The current restrictions mean it can’t be printed in its usual form and so, to start with, it will be an online one. But it will be designed so that you can easily print it for yourself or anybody you know who doesn’t have access to the internet.
We will let you know how to access this as soon as it is available.
Church annual meeting (APCM):
Our APCM was scheduled to take place in March but, on the advice of our Archdeacon, we have postponed it until May in the hope that we may be able to meet in the church.
The electoral roll will be published before the APCM. We try to keep this accurate so if you aren’t yet on the roll, or if you aren’t sure, please contact Tim Kidd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for somebody to take on the role of Electoral Roll officer. This is not at all arduous and takes very little time. Only basic computer skills are needed to keep it up to date. If you might be interested please contact Tim to find out more about it.
Please could I encourage anybody who still hasn’t registered on our church website to do so as this makes it much easier for us to keep in touch.
To register, visit the church site at https://www.stmaryschartham.org/ and find the “Register” in the top right hand corner.
If you have any questions about these or other issues please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Finally, some words of comfort from the book of Psalms:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
However difficult things become, Jesus will always be there by our side to support and comfort us.
May God bless you all in these difficult times.