Wednesday Reflections 22.07.20

22 Jul 20

Dear church

 - Faith can be like riding a bicycle: if you stop peddling, you fall off.

Just like prayer, reading the Bible and worshipping God.
I hope you are managing to keep waiting on the Lord?
"No matter how long it takes when God works, it's always worth the wait."

" But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: They shall mount up with wings of eagles. They shall run and not be weary: and they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah." 15.36

Very soon we can look forward to the opening of the churches in the benefice
I attach the plan as a reminder which was sent last weeek.
Services at the moment will continue in printed form (as attachments and hardcopies) through August and will be reviewed for September month on month, once we can start using books.   
Ansley 
To let you know, Margaret A., churchwarden, and Ian, husband, are on holiday until a week on Friday.
Please remember them in prayer, that they may have a good time away and return refreshed.

So, I hope you have a good rest of week and I attach a few items for your encouragement.

This is his story - Sir Alec Guinnes, the famous actor 

Actor, Alec Guinness – This is ‘his story, his song’
In his autobiography, Blessings in Disguise, the late actor Alec Guinness wrote that as he was walking up Kingsway in the middle of an afternoon, he had an impulse to start running. He ran until he reached a little church. He’d never been there before, but he caught his breath and knelt to pray. For the next ten minutes he “was lost to the world.”
Alec Guinness explained the compulsion as a “rather nonsensical gesture of love,” an outburst of thanksgiving. He ran to the church and fell on his knees in prayer not long after March 24, 1956, the day he had converted to Christianity after years of being an atheist.
Alec Guinness, in a move reflective of the movement of the Holy Spirit in his life, learned in part what “fearing God” is all about. Although Scripture uses the word “fear,” God doesn’t want us to be afraid of him. Instead, he wants us to realize how magnificent, awe-inspiring and deserving of our worship he is.
Interestingly, knowing that God desires our worship also helps us understand just how special we are to him. This can lead us into a more active relationship with God. God always expresses his love in some kind of action toward us, and he desires that we return our loving expressions in action, as well as in trusting his leading and following his commands for our life.
God’s love, coupled with our sense of awe and reverence, leads us to action. It led Alec Guinness to run down the street and then fall on his knees in thanksgiving and adoration. Perhaps you’ve only recently come to know about God’s grace revealed through Jesus Christ. Perhaps you’ve been his devoted follower for years. Or perhaps you’re just looking for a fresh experience of God in your life. What actions will you take today to express your “fear of God”?
Don’t be afraid to go for it!
To Take Away
Describe in your own words what it means to fear God.
How does knowing that God desires our worship help us understand how special we        
are to him?
What actions can you take to express your love to God?

Coming back to church - a reflection

Coming back to church – A Bible passage to ponder

Deuteronomy chapter 12 verses 10 to 14

10 But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety. 11 Then to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name – there you are to bring everything I command you: your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, and all the choice possessions you have vowed to the LORD. 12 And there rejoice before the LORD your God – you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns who have no land allotted to them or any inheritance of their own. 13 Be careful not to sacrifice your burnt offerings anywhere you please. 14 Offer them only at the place the LORD will choose in one of your tribes, and there observe everything I command you.

Verse 10 He will give you rest: A peaceful situation—free from external threat and oppression, and untroubled within by conflict, famine or plague.
Verse 12 Rejoice before the Lord, your God: Joy, based on the Lord’s blessings, was to be a major feature of Hebrew life and worship in the promised land.
Verse 13 not . . . anywhere you please: Sacrifices and offerings to the Lord were to be brought only to the central sanctuary, not to the various Canaanite worship sites.  Our central sanctuary is the Cross.

Picture. Place yourself in the text; how do you feel about the news of the tabernacle that is coming? (In our case, our churches re-opening) The Canaanites have many places of worship (in our times, those who follow after other gods such as materialism, selfish desires) Why do you think it is important for you and fellow Christians to have a centralized place for worship, such as church? Imagine what normal worship in the tabernacle would be like - the smell of the burnt offerings and the sights of the sacrifices and tithes. Families are eating and rejoicing all around you. What does it sound like? How will God’s presence abide in our place of worship when it re-opens?
Pray. Praise God for how Jesus allows us full access to the presence of God (Hebrews 10v19–20). Thank God for physically making His dwelling among us (John 1v14). How does God’s presence abide in your place of worship today?


Next Wednesday's prayer preparation timetable at each church in the B

WEDNESDAY MORNING PRAYER 
PRIOR TO CHURCHES OPENING IN AUGUST

Wednesday 29TH July 2020

ST MICHAEL’S – 10.00am to 10.15am

ST WILFRID’S – 10.30am to 10.45am

ST JOHN’S – 11.00am to 11.15am

ST LAURENCE – 11.30am to 11.45am

If you are able come along, join us in a short time of prayer as we prepare to open our churches in the benefice.  Social distancing and the usual guidelines will apply.

Be safe and God Bless,
John

PLANS FOR RE-OPENING THE CHURCHES IN THE BENEFICE
A. The Sundays in August and September will be joint benefice services held in different churches at 10.30am to celebrate, offer thanksgiving and encourage one another.  The August services are as follows:
1. 2nd August at St Laurence
2. 9th August at St Wilfrid’s
3. 16th August at St John’s
4. 23rd August at St Wilfrid’s
5. 30th August at St Laurence with Virtual Flower Festival weekend (details tba)

B. No services at St Michael’s at this stage due to the health - related issues of the building, especially damp and mould, and the sharing of premises with the community centre.  A plan will need to be discussed with the Community centre: church members needed to help with this.

C. Hygiene: Entering and leaving the church, hand sanitisers, social distancing, cleaning and other issues are being addressed, as well as organising stewards to officiate.
D. Organists: Frances is able to play the organ at the churches, if the usual organists do not wish to attend due to age and health restrictions. Regular organists should not feel either pressurised to play or cast aside because they are vulnerable.  It depends on who is available and willing.  Singing may or may not be permitted by August/September
E. Service books and hymn books: Printed sheets will be placed on the pews at correct social distancing for attendees.  These can be kept or left after each service.
F. Communion: Not permitted at the moment.  This may not happen for a while.
G. Offertory: Separate plates will be made available for Ansley and Arley.  They will be suitably placed at entrance and exit points.
H. A list of volunteers needed to be stewards or helpers, in readiness for our first Sunday service after 4 months, will be compiled.
I. After one of the services, it would be good for the PCCs to meet outside to update each other on how things are going.  This will give you a short time together, without me, to catch up on how the profile for the incumbent vacancy is progressing.
J. Baptisms and weddings are planned go ahead from October, but they will be strictly regulated in line with the latest guidelines.
K. Funerals will be dealt with on an individual basis in line with regulatory guidelines.

On Wednesday, 29th July, I plan to have a 15 minute outside morning meeting at each of the churches for prayer.  Anyone who is not isolated is encouraged to join Frances and myself.  Details to be announced.
Finally, the inside of each church will be checked, cleaned and prepared in advance, ready for Sunday openings.
Much of what is planned is subject to change, depending on the latest government updates.


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Rev. John's July Jottings

If you are sometimes asked, ‘How has the lockdown been affecting you?’ I imagine most of your answers have been around health, food supplies, maybe feeling lonely, being stuck indoors and missing family and friends. As the lockdown begins to ease, as it has been, we are ...

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Rev. John Langlands

 It is with great pleasure that I would like to welcome you to St Laurence.  Frances, my wife, and I have received a very warm welcome ourselves, so you will not be disappointed when you visit St Laurence.  I am also the Curate of the other churches in Ansley and Arley – St John’s, St Michael’s and St Wilfrid’s.

Being in a rural and farming area in the north part of Coventry Diocese is like coming home for us.  A number of years ago I pastored a church in rural Norfolk which was mainly surrounded by arable farms with some pigs and chickens.  The strong sense of community life was something very special.  This should be particularly valued in these days when many folk live such individual, separate and often lonely lives. 

We have just had hot off the press a visiting card which I hope reflects what our church stands for: ‘You will not walk alone.  Together we are with you on life’s journey’.  Over these next weeks, months and years, I hope we can get to know you better and that you will find Frances and myself not just ‘churchy’ people but friends as well, who enjoy life and plenty of laughter!