Newsletter & Service March 2020

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Dear Friends,
Please be assured of the love and prayers of your church family as together we face the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

We are aware that on Mothering Sunday we have so often met together to worship and give thanks for family life.

In the past families would return to their 'Mother Church' to be reunited with family and friends, and as Christians we have been found praising God for his parental care, his amazing love and his great faithfulness.

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

We are not able to gather for worship or meet as we would like with family and friends but we can be reassured that whilst we may be isolated, we are not alone.

We are not alone because 'The Lord watches over us', indeed he watches over you — with that same compassionate care (Psalm 121).

We are not alone because family and friends are there to support us — and as part of God's family the church be assured that we will seek to watch over one another in great love and care.

Watch Over One Another in Love!

I believe we all have an important part to play as we watch over one another in love.

Pick up the phone and ring one-another much more than you may have done before! Just a few minutes can make such a difference.

Ask how people are, listen out for those in need, encourage one another and find some good news to share. On ringing my dad, as a 90-year-old farmer he said, 'Well its good news for the cows around Glastonbury — they will have plenty of grass to eat this year' — he makes me laugh sometimes!

Pray for one another — why not write down a short list of people and just spend some quiet moments asking God to strengthen them for each day. Know that you can pray and be encouraged — you are being prayed for!

Pass on any concerns of those you may feel need extra help and support — ring, email, talk to someone.

Ways to Worship
The Methodist Church have provided a weekly printed sheet (email attachment) to help us share in worship whilst at home.

At 10am on Sunday I would encourage you to use this resource, knowing that you are joining with others doing the same.

Daily Devotions and Sunday Worship can be enjoyed via the URC Church by copying and pasting this link into your google search bar: https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ Give it a try — you might recognise Rev Michael Hopkins from The Spire, Farnham who is speaking on Sunday!

A live stream service can also be found by searching the resources found on the 'Singing the Faith Plus' web site.

You could listen to Premier Christian Radio on a Sunday Morning with Pam Rhodes 8-10am followed by Morning Worship at 10am.

Not into technology? — then why not take the time to read two or three chapters a day of Marks Gospel and use a hymn book to say or sing or pray familiar words.

Light a candle of hope:
A national call to prayer
Presidents of Churches Together in England have issued a call to prayer in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is for all churches and people of prayer to join on Sunday 22nd March, Mothering Sunday at 7pm.

They write:
This Mothering Sunday, 22nd March, we are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer and Action. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds. At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.

And in other News...!

I am grateful to the many people who are finding creative ways to support and encourage one another, for example:
The Boys Brigade at Alton already have plans to contact their members on a Friday BB night and give them various challenges to do, photo's to shoot and competitions to enter as they seek to support them — great idea for many of our groups!

A member at Alton has offered to produce a regular quiz to add to our weekly bulletin so that we can keep our brains ticking — maybe Lin will ask for the answers to be emailed to her — watch this space! (No cheating!)

A household at Rowledge have invited people to send to them prayer requests so that they can use their time to especially pray.

The Church leaders in Alton have joined others in sending out a slip of paper so that those who are able can ask their neighbours if they need help. There is also a special email address for specific requests that will be answered each day. (See attached forms to download)

We hope to send out a mailing each week so that we keep in touch — any ideas, acts of kindness, news, fun activities, photos and creative ways to fill your time appreciated — please email me!
Every blessing — Philip

Prayer
Lord of the day, Lord of the night
Lord of betwixt shades, I'm held in your sight.
Lord of the sea, Lord of the Land,
Lord of all places, I'm held in your hand.
Lord of the storm, Lord of the calm,
Lord of all weather, I'm held in your palm.
Lord of the joy, Lord of the pain,
Lord of all feeling, with you I'll remain.
(Joy Blake)

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