Dear Church Family friends,
What a difference a day makes! The sky is blue and there is warmth in the sun … for the first time in what seems like ages. More certain signs of spring. Just when we needed some encouragement, things in the natural world begin to look a bit brighter. God is good.
For the moment, we are still following the main message: “stay at home”. Our church building is open for private prayer: Mon to Fri 8am to 12noon; and our public services are being offered on-line on Zoom and YouTube. Our next step is to see what might be possible in-person for Holy Week and Easter. Watch this space!
Lent is a time of preparation marked by penitence. Over 30 people are enjoying our groups this year. We are adding a Quiet Day to the programme. This will be on Tuesday 23 March from 10am to 4pm. In the past we have been to Ascot Priory and to Warfield Church, Bracknell. This year we will be “at home” and on Zoom. More details next week, but please do save the date if you would like to join us.
The Prayer Room and Prayer Walking
The Prayer Room has been refreshed for Lent. Come and see the new Lent Wall on your daily exercise. And, if you are able to get out and about, why not use the time to pause at different points on your route, to pray for those around us in the town: the schools, the Town Council, the university, the shops and businesses, the Care Homes and those whose work it is to keep Farnham clean, tidy and colourful.
You may recall that at the start of the first lockdown we advertised that we would like to make a patchwork hanging to mark this time of isolation and challenge. The finished piece of work is now on view in St Andrew’s Church, near the Prayer Room. Do pop by and have a look … it is truly amazing! Thank you so much to all those who made this wonderful creative work possible.
A gentle reminder that when we come into St George’s Chapel, we need to keep socially-distanced and wear masks, please, even if we are the only person in the building. I am hugely grateful to the members of the hospitality team who continue to “host” each weekday.
Saturdays at 7pm : Zoom Code (599 647 1397)
Do plan to join us for “Come Dine With Me” (Saturday 20 March). We are intending to offer a couple of recipes for us to follow (one veggie and one meat option). The idea is that we make the meal together at 7pm with our Zoom calls going in our kitchens; and then, at 7.30pm, we sit down in our own homes and eat together remotely until 8pm or thereabouts! We have tried this as a family, and have found it works really well. Do, please, let Emma in the office know if you would like to check in and join with us. Recipes available next week!
Our Annual Parochial Church Meeting will be on Sunday 25 April at 10am. We will be looking back in our reports at the calendar year 2020. If, somehow, we can make this an in-person event, we intend to do so.
Sunday 7 March
9.15am Pre-service prayers (Zoom Code 463 669 5984)
10am Morning Service (Zoom Code 599 647 1397)
KOSTA Online (YouTube)
12noon Morning Service (Recording on YouTube)
6.30pm “Songs of Praise” (Zoom Code 599 647 1397)
Monday 8 March 8.30am Morning Prayer (Zoom Code 599 647 1397)
Tuesday 9 March 11.30am Holy Communion No service
Wednesday 10 March 7.30pm Lent Groups
Thursday 11 March 11am Lent Group, 7pm Youth Alpha, 7.30pm Lent Group
At home: this week has involved some initial groundwork in the garden for the new season (David and Kathryn), and supporting a bereaved family after an unexpected death overseas (Josh).
And finally, a short reflection on one of Morning Prayer Bible Readings from John 6, this week:
41 The people started grumbling about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 So they said, “This man is Jesus son of Joseph, isn’t he? We know his father and mother. How, then, does he now say he came down from heaven?”
43 Jesus answered, “Stop grumbling among yourselves. 44 People cannot come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me; and I will raise them to life on the last day.
On Sunday morning I was speaking about the Challenge of Misunderstanding. In summary, from John 8, we saw misunderstanding about the fact that:
- the baby born at Christmas is the man who died at Calvary;
- the man who lived in Galilee was not just a man – he was God himself in human form
And then we reminded ourselves of present day misunderstandings about the place of the church in society:
- it’s not important
- it’s not for me
Here, in John 6, we encounter more of the misunderstanding in the people Jesus met and spent time with. These people grumbled, John tells us. Clearly, they did not realise that Jesus (God himself in human form) was all they needed for daily living (bread) and was both supernatural and divine (from heaven).
So, he tells them to stop grumbling! He tells them that people will come to him (be intrigued by him, decide to follow him and give their lives to him) as God the Father draws them. And, in following Jesus, they will begin a journey which ends in eternity. He will raise them to life on the last day, he says.
What a great promise for our journey this Lent! We have a Saviour who has come down from heaven. We have a Father who draws us to follow his Son. And we have the words of eternal life, which can be personally ours, spoken to us by name.
Kathryn joins me in assuring you of our continuing thoughts and prayers.
With all good wishes, as ever,
David 3 March 2021