Newsletter May 10th 2020

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Dear Friends,
Quite understandably many of us have been concerned about our own health and welfare during the present pandemic. We have kept a safe distance, gone for a daily walk, stayed at home, shopped only when necessary and sang 'Happy Birthday' twice whilst washing our hands!

We are grateful to the NHS, PPE and all the specialist care given when needed. Toilet roll, egg and flour shortages came as a shock to the system as did rationing essential items and queuing for half an hour at the local supermarket before gaining entry.

Key workers have continued at work, parents have home schooled, the refuse has been collected and some of us have even got home deliveries of compost to keep the garden growing.
We have tried to be available to help our neighbours, keep in contact with friends and play our part in offering support in challenging times.

Our Christian faith challenges us not just to love our neighbours close at hand but also to show practical compassion towards those who are most vulnerable and needy around the world. We are aware that the Coronavirus will impact most on those who are desperately poor, those in refugee camps and those living in cramped and impoverished conditions.

One organisation that helps us to support others in times of crisis is of course Christian Aid.
Christian Aid's response to the present crisis is explained as follows:

We are drawing on our experience from the Ebola crisis and helping communities to prevent and delay infection.

We are providing essential soap, water and handwashing training.

We are ensuring urgent health messages get through to help keep people safe.
We are working through our networks of church partners and faith-based organisations to reach the most vulnerable at this critical time.

Here's just one example of what Christian Aid has been doing:

Christian Aid has been working with Rohingya men, women and children since they were forced to flee Myanmar three years ago.
Living in a refugee camp is already challenging at the best of times. Camps are overcrowded and lack proper hygiene which increases the potential for the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Across the refugee camps, 80% of families report having at least one person with a serious illness requiring medical treatment.
In addition, 80% of families report having problems with their temporary shelters and only 67% report having soap.
The coronavirus pandemic compounds the situation and puts their lives at increased risk.

As a young lad I used to be asked by my mother to go around the village and deliver Christian Aid envelopes. A few days later we would return and collect the donations given. In the present circumstances such methods of fundraising are not practical and many of the usual fundraising events cannot go ahead but supporting Christian Aid couldn't be easier.

Just donate on line at www.christianaid.org. or give over the telephone by calling 02075232269.
'Coronavirus impacts all of us.

Ways to Worship

Sunday Worship — Hymns, Songs, Readings and Reflections led by Philip and friends from Alton Methodist Church. This week Rev Chris Blake will give a talk.
Please visit the Alton Methodist Church web site front page — available on Sunday mornings: www.altonmethodist.org.uk

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

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship at 8.10am

BBC 1 'Sunday Worship' — from Hereford Cathedral led by the Bishop of Dover. (10.45am — check time)

The BBC also offer 'Songs of Praise' at 1:15pm VE Day Celebrations with Katherine Jenkins.

A prayer for times of isolation
'For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come... will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Romans 8:38-39)
God of heaven and earth, in these times of isolation, apart from loved ones distant from friends away from neighbours thank you that there is nothing in all of creation, not even coronavirus, that is able to separate us from your love.
And may your love that never fails continue to be shared through the kindness of strangers looking out for each other, for neighbours near and far all recognising our shared vulnerability, each of us grateful for every breath, and willing everyone to know the gift of a full and healthy life. Keep us all in your care. Amen.

(Thanks to Christian Aid Worship Resources)

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