VICAR'S LETTER

Dear friends,  27th March, 2020.
 
I pray and hope you are all keeping well.
 
We are going to be holding a service on Sunday morning on an internet platform called Zoom. Don't worry if you've never heard of it or used it before. If you follow the instructions below you'll be able to join in the service (hopefully). If you don't have a webcam I'm afraid this won't work but we will record the service and send you the  link so that you can watch it later.
 
Make sure that you are are all set up and ready to go by 0955 as the service will start promptly at 1000 and finish at 1040. Don't forget that the clocks 'spring' forward on Saturday night.
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If you're using a computer, follow these instructions:
Click on this link    https://us04web.zoom.us/j/3233170826      and when promoted click 'Join Zoom meeting'.
 
     If you're using a  smart phone or tablet - follow these instructions :
 
     1.It will ask you to ‘Download Zoom’ somewhere on the screen.
     2. This usually appears on the bottom left of the screen.
     3. Once it has downloaded you can click and open it.
  1. It will open the meeting ready to start.
  2. You will need to turn on the video and sound by
    clicking on the microphone and video picture at the bottom of the scree   In the future clicking on the invite link will ask you to ‘open Zoom’ rather than downloading it again.
     
    I will send through the order of service tomorrow.  Thanks to Ruth Yeates for producing this for us. I have attached the words to 'Lord of all hopefulness' that we will (hopefully ) sing during the service.
     
    The service an 'agape meal'  - make sure you have some bread and wine (or fruit juice) ready to eat and drink at the relevant point in the service. This is not a Eucharist in the way we are familiar. We shall not be using the Eucharistic Prayer and words of Consecration as we normally do in church. The service will allow us to remember Jesus though and share in this form of communion together. I very much hope this will work for us. We are all learning new technology as we go along - we will see!
     

Dear friends,

 
I have attached the prayer list that we use in church for you to use in your daily prayers. I know that people will find this to be a great comfort and blessings. If there is anyone else who you would like to be added to the list then email me back (having asked their permission) and I will add them on to it and circulate again.

Please hold up in your prayers:

Neil Hillis

Annette Schofield

Clive & Viv Russell

Margaret Wright

Simon & Jill Yarwood

Steve Gurden

Francis Prentice

Penny Rayner

Philip Jones

Daphne Lowther

David Langman

Envelope giving to church:
 
A number of people have been in touch with Ann Challis about their envelope giving. Anne has asked me to say that anyone who has planned giving envelopes,  and wish to continue giving,  then use them as normal but store them somewhere at home and the church will (gladly) welcome them from you as and when we open again. Do contact Anne direct is you ned further advice on this.
 
Lectio365: Ann Hand has been in touch with me to say how helpful and useful this resource is in our prayer life. Do click on this link to find out more. 
 
 
Today is the Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary (nine months to Christmas . . .yey!). We remember the angel Gabriel coming to the young Mary and her willingness to be all that God asked of her.  She said; 'May it be to me as you have said'. Mary said yes to God with all her questions, worries for the future and the insecurity this news would have undoubtedly brought to her. Perhaps there's something in this for us all to reflect on in these uncertain times. May we say 'yes' to God today who wants to be 'born in us' despite the uncertainty and worries we may be carrying for our families, loved ones and ourselves. May we be Christ bearers to others who need us and may each of us know His real tangible presence as Mary did.
 
God bless you
 
Craig.  25th March).
 
Dear friend,
I hope this email find you all well. We are all experiencing very strange times at the moment. One of the emotions that looms large understandably is fear. None of us know what the next few months will hold. However, if we all follow the directives from Prime Minister and Government then together, we will come through this and be able to resume our normal lives once again. It is vital that we all play our part and pull together. It is interesting that Jesus said: ‘Fear not’ in the Bible more than anything else! Why? because fear can not only debilitate us but imprison us. Paul reminds us that ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free’ (Gal 5.1). Do not be afraid therefore to share your feelings, anxieties and fears with God who want you to come to him with all that you are. During your prayers let him know how you feel and trust him to fill you with his peace. As Bishop John said recently in an email to clergy; ‘Our fruitfulness flows from our rootedness in Christ. Jeremiah reminds us of this: “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, they shall be like a tree planted by water sending out its roots by the stream.  It shall not fear when the heat comes.” Jer.17.7-8. Just as the now clean water in Venice is apparently attracting fish once again, so our lives, entrusted to God, can become sources of the abundant fertility of God.”
 
Video from The Vicar: please do click on this link: https://youtu.be/3eJpBd6pJhc
  
The Pope is calling Christians throughout the world to stop at 11:00 am tomorrow (Wednesday – UK time) and to say the Lord’s Prayer. Bishop Christopher is supporting this initiative and invites us all to pray together then. Tomorrow is the Feast day of the Annunciation where we remember the angel Gabriel's message to Mary that she would conceive and bring forth the Christ. Let us pray too tomorrow especially that Christ may be born afresh in us!
Discipleship resources you may find helpful:
How do we keep our faith strong in this time and how do we maintain a rhythm of prayer and worship?
The diocese has produced a sheet of helpful resources...click on this link:
 
On a practical level - If any of you need anything - items of food, a prescription collecting or anything such as this that you cannot get for yourselves, then you must contact myself or Sylvaine Gravestock (home 01789 550313) mobile 07921774404 or email sylvainehg@hotmail.com                                                                       I am grateful to Sylvaine for co-ordinating ‘Team Shottery’ who are here to help should you need it. They will contact you and arrange to get what you need.
Share some words! – if any of you would like to share some words of encouragement for everyone at church to read then send something through to me. I’ll share on email (or on a video!) at a later date!
In term of the vicarage – Our son Elliot seems to me recovering and so far . . . the rest of us at home don’t appear to be showing any signs of going down with anything. We’re  still in isolation until a week Friday!!
 
Prayer team: As the church is now locked, those in need of prayer for themselves or loved ones and friends may now send their prayer request by e-mail to Susie Fletcher whose e-mail address is susiefletcher@jamalaya.co.uk  and mobile is 07833592648
The prayer request will be circulated by Susie to the rest of the Listen and Prayer team (8 of us). 
 At 11am every Sunday the team pray over those on the list. It will remain on the list for 4 weeks. The request may be renewed again if they wish.
As usual, these requests will be treated in the strictest of confidence by the team.
 
As we are not meeting in church at the moment we cannot read out names (during our intercessions)  from the weekly sheet of those who have asked for prayer. I am very happy to keep a list of names here and let you all have those names to remember in your daily prayers at home. I will include in a subsequent mailing for you.
 
 
 God bless you, 
 
 Craig.  24th March. 

 

Dear friends,

What we are all experiencing at this time is unprecedented. It is so hard for us in that, for a while, we cannot meet together as a Christian community to worship God and pray. It makes it even harder as we approach Holy Week and Easter. However, we remain the church of God and the people of St. Andrew’s. Our faith in God and trust in his everlasting love for us is untouched. 

In the weeks ahead we need to continue to be God church together although for now, in most part, separated. We need to be exploring new ways of not only keeping in touch but also of praying with and for one another. Please click on this link to find a video message from me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNNeQVmJxEU

I have attached for you a simple liturgy for morning and evening prayer. I am calling this ‘St Andrew’s Liturgy’. I would encourage you to print this off and use one of the offices each day (as you can and wish to) – of course pray them both if you wish and have time. It is very powerful to know that we are praying together and will go some way to keeping us all connected. As the Archbishop has said; “Being a member of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead, our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.” 

Please do use the Church of England website. It’s full of other prayers and worship resources to help you pray.

Please note too that the Archbishop of Canterbury will lead a national broadcast on Sunday 22nd March across BBC radio at 8am. Let’s join in this together. We are all invited to light a candle and place it in our windows this coming Mothering Sunday at 7.00pm as a sign of Christ light shining in the darkness.

Our celebration of Easter this year is going to feel very strange as we will not be able to get together in the way we would wish. But Holy Week could be a profound experience of walking the way of the cross and experiencing the isolation that Jesus experienced as everyone fell away and he faced the cross alone. I will be sending through some material as we approach Holy week, that may be helpful as you move through the week.

Many of you will be feeling anxious at the moment even fearful. Please note that St Andrew’s church building remains open during the day. Please do come and spend time in church on your own, or with a loved one. The prayer corner is a lovely part of the church and I would encourage you to use it and pray there if you can.

We have brought together a group of wonderful people who are available should any of you need anything practical like items of shopping etc.. Do contact me if you need anything and I will get someone to be in touch. 

Please be assured of my prayers for all of you. We trust in a God much bigger than what we are currently facing and through His grace we will come through together.

May God bless you

Reverend Craig, Vicar.

 SEE LITURGIES ON SERVICES PAGE

Blessings on this Mothering Sunday. Follow this link https://youtu.be/9g0Z6b2Wh8E

Dear friends,

Coronavirus

We are currently in unprecedented times. The following statement is a summary of a letter sent to all clergy from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York:

As the challenge of the coronavirus grips the world, and as the government asks every individual and every organisation to rethink its life, we are now asking the Church of England in all its parishes to serve all people in a new way.

Public worship will have to stop for a season. Our usual pattern of Sunday services and other mid-week gatherings must be put on hold. But this does not mean that the Church of England has shut up shop. Far from it.

  1. Clergy and Christians in our worshipping community will continue their pattern of daily prayer for this Parish of Shottery, Bishopton and its people. Whilst for now this will not be in public worship, prayer will still be offered for the nation and for the world.
  2. St. Andrew’s will remain open for private prayer during the day for people to come and pray and spend some time in quiet reflection.
  3. Many people are going to suffer during these coming months as the coronavirus reaches its peak. Many of you will be grieving and fearful. We, the Church of Jesus Christ, with our sisters and brothers from other Christian churches, will continue to provide practical care and support for the elderly and vulnerable and we offer our services to all those who are beginning to think through how best to provide for those in need.

Being a part of the Church of England is going to look very different in the days ahead. Our life is going to be less characterised by attendance at church on Sunday, and more characterised by the prayer and service we offer each day.

We may not be able to pray with people in the ways that we are used to, but we will certainly pray for people.

We have called along with our fellow church leaders for a day of prayer and action this coming Sunday Mothering Sunday (22nd March). Mothering Sunday has always been both a day of celebration for many and a sensitive and emotional day for some. Wherever you are this Sunday please do join in this day of prayer and action and remember specially those who are sick or anxious and all involved in our Health Service.

As one action we are calling on everyone to place a lighted candle in their window at 7.00 p.m. as a sign of solidarity and hope in the light of Christ that can never be extinguished.

Please pray for our government and nation, for each other, and especially those who work in our health and emergency services.

With love and prayers

Reverend Craig, Vicar of Shottery & Bishopton.  17th March, 2020.