Weekly email. w/b 4th January 2021
Welcome to “Twelfth Night”, at least if you’re still counting by this stage of January. In some households today is the day to to take down the Christmas decorations, pack them into the attic for another year, to look back over the Christmas season fondly and to plough on into 2021. It’s also the day of thinking about the visit of the wise men, and of the Magi bringing their gifts and worshipping Jesus.
With Lockdown 3.0 beginning it probably feels very different, and we could all do with a fresh helping of “comfort and joy” with the new year diets. These are continuing difficult times that many find themselves in, and some pretty sobering news around at the moment. Rather than pack the decorations away I’m glad to see at least some of the homes locally keep their lights on for some weeks yet. And whilst it’s unlikely you’re going to get any visitors turning up on your doorsteps having “travelled afar” and bearing gifts, we do pray for wisdom for our leaders in these dark days.
In the light of recent news we have decided to close the church for public worship for the next few weeks. That’s not been an easy decision to make, but we recognise the very significant rise in COVID cases locally, and want to look out for the wellbeing of everyone who is part of our family at Trinity Churches. Though our buildings will be closed, we remain very much “open for business” in terms of our presence online, on the phone, in neighbourhoods and schools, and in prayer. Read on for something of what that looks like, and how we want to continue to be people of ‘faith, hope and love’ in these troubling times.
With our prayers, and gratitude, as always.
Vicar of Meole Brace and Area Dean of Shrewsbury
Pyjama Church kicks the day off at 9.30am with half an hour of story, worship and prayer from the Messy Church team. There are also various children and youth meet-ups as Sunday goes on which are hosted by Judith and Craig.
10.30am sees our mid morning gathering, livestreamed from Holy Trinity Church. This features worship, various contributions by people from across Trinity Churches, and a chance to pray with each other. This Sunday sees week two of “The Bible Series – Experience a better story” as we look at how the big story of the Bible can inspire and equip us to live as God’s people. At the end of that we meet for post-church coffee over ZOOM which can be a great place to connect up with people and chat informally.
Sunday Evenings will see a monthly gathering. So on 17th January at 6.30pm we’ll meet on ZOOM for an evening of worship and prayer, giving an opportunity to meet together, worship in a more informal setting, and pray for our nation and our church.
We are also working over the next few days at a new set of prayer stations around the Churchyard of Holy Trinity Meole Brace, which would be a way of you coming to a special place and finding some prompts to prayer.
Are there things we can be doing to support you? And how might we help you support people who are part of your neighbourhood? There are various ways in which we might be doing this:
- Looking for a listening ear? There are a number of people with experience and willingness to pick up the phone and chat to those for whom that would be helpful. We’re reactivating the phone networks across the congregations for those who are feeling most vulnerable or might be lonely at the moment.
- Wondering how to make ends meet? We work with Shrewsbury Food Hub, Shrewsbury Food Bank, and various other local networks to support households who are struggling. As vicar I do also have a discretionary pot of money which might be available to help if there are particular needs locally.
- Want someone to pray for you? We’d love to be part of that, and there’s a network of people who pray regularly for particular pastoral and personal needs of people who across Shrewsbury and beyond.
- Looking to connect children and young people up with others? Our youth and childrens teams host various midweek and Sunday meet-ups for different ages and stages, and so alongside home learning we’d love to offer that opportunity to families locally.
- Want to join in but don’t have any gadgets? Whether for you or those you know, we are continuing our weekly “dial-a-service” from Trinity Churches on 01743 298249. We’re also recommending the national “Daily Hope” phone service on 0800 804 8044.
We’re also going to produce a new resource for readings and prayers which we hope will be a resource that many people can use each day, alongside six o’clock live. The theme of this next publication will be “growing faith.”
The Wellbeing Journey starts on Tuesday 12th January at 7.30pm on ZOOM. We’ve just under forty people signed up already, but very much room for more. And please do think about others who might be interested in the course along with you.
Over eight weeks we’re going to be exploring what it means to live well: body, mind and spirit. It’s based around key areas of wellbeing – physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial and vocational – to help you discover how to run on a full tank. Each week we’ll be using some really great video material and interactive content to explore wellbeing. Alongside the course there’s a book “God’s plan for your wellbeing”, with 50 daily thoughts to help you through the series.
Let us know you’re coming
Our daily 6pm gathering where we hear scripture, reflect, worship and pray. It lasts for about 20 minutes, and there’s a lovely sense of community and meeting together. All are very welcome to join us, either “live” at 6pm itself or catching up sometime after that.
During January and February 2020 we’re going to be following the Bible Society’s material “The Bible – experience a better story” which over seven weeks will give us a glimpse of the big story of the Bible. At a time when our own stories can feel fragile and fractured, it’s good to be reminded of a bigger and better story of our own, and the hope of God being at work.
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