On June 23rd the government announced that places of worship could re-open for public worship from July 5th. Since then we have been reading the guidance and putting the necessary precautions in place. Yesterday evening St. Paul’s Church Council met (half in the hall, half via Zoom) for the first time since March 10th. We unanimously agreed to re-open St. Paul’s for 10.30am Sunday morning services from the beginning of August (Sunday August 2nd). We aim, whenever possible, to continue to stream services online so that those who are still shielding are included. With physical distancing and no singing, this will be very different from church as we have known it, but, with great caution, this is our first step into the future. Please see the COVID-19 webpage for further details.
Last Sunday’s Gospel reading was the Parable of the Sower from Matthew 13. That day the Church Mission Society ‘Weekend Focus’, written by Ian Adams, their Mission Spirituality Advisor, was based on verse 8. I have borrowed his thought and prayer this week:
‘Other seeds fell on good soil
and brought forth grain,
some a hundredfold…’
‘You are not responsible for the crop or the harvest; but if you commit to truly receiving whatever you need to be good soil, then grain will, in God’s grace, come. As you have been receiving, so you will find yourself giving. New life will emerge where you are.’
As I receive from you, so I pray
will you enable me
to give something of your resurrection life
to those to whom I am called.
I phoned Ruby on Monday – and discovered that, sadly, her sister in Grenada has died. The funeral will take place tomorrow, Thursday 16th. Ruby is part of a large family and usually all would gather for such an occasion, but in the current circumstances that is not possible. Please hold them in your prayers.
A mystery envelope arrived in the post last Thursday. When I opened it, I discovered a wonderful surprise – a cheque for £3,000 from a former member of St. Paul’s, specifically to pay for the most urgent roof repairs. I have sent a heartfelt letter of thanks – and am chasing the roofer to find out when he can fit us into his busy schedule.
Until next Wednesday:
Keep safe, keep well, keep faith, keep praying and God bless,
Vicar of St Paul’s East Ham