Newsletter May 9th 2021

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Dear Friends,
We are so blessed to live in a land that is full of abundance. As spring blossom fills the garden, trees burst into leaf and the sun begins to shine there is a renewed sense of hope that better days are ahead. As the vaccination programme continues apace, families and friends reunite, business opens, and churches plan to come back together we have so much to be thankful for.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
His love endures for ever!

As we enjoy the prospect of better days ahead, we are encouraged to think, pray and consider how we might help and support those for whom life is more difficult.

Christian Aid Week is held this year from the 10th to 16th May and seeks to raise funds to help those living in poverty.

This year it focuses on the effects of climate change and states:
The climate emergency is one of the greatest injustices we face.
The climate crisis hurts us all. But people living in poverty fight the worst of it every day.

Christian Aid tell the story of Rose.
Rose is caught in a cycle of climate chaos. From severe drought to flooding, extreme weather robs her of what she needs to survive: a reliable source of water.
When she was a child, Rose remembers how often the rains would fall, giving fruit to the baobab trees and providing plenty of nutritious food to eat.
'When I was a young girl, there was plenty of food,' Rose says. Now, the rains are totally unreliable. The climate crisis has galvanised extreme weather and Rose's community are feeling the brunt of it. For months at a time, Rose and her family lives with drought.
Because of climate change, I worry a lot about food. I pray to God that the rainfall will become normal like it used to be. Rose Katanu Jonathan.

Rose strives to provide for her grandchildren who live with her. She does all she can to give them happy childhoods, like the times she remembers when there was plenty of food. But the climate crisis is driving her to the brink.
In times of drought, Rose sets out on a long and dangerous journey every morning to collect water for her family. She walks on an empty stomach.
'Because I am old, I can't walk very fast. When I get home, I just rest in the evening. I have no energy to do anything else.'
When the rains do come the nearby dam is not wide enough or deep enough for everyone's needs and soon runs out of water too quickly.
With a reliable source of water, people like Rose would be free from long, painful journeys. They would be able to grow fresh vegetables to eat.
And they would be able to protect themselves from the dangers of coronavirus.

Gifts raised during Christian Aid Week will help communities like this to build better earth dams, sow drought-tolerant crops and set up an advocacy group to demand change to put a stop on the climate crisis.
If you would like to support the work of Christian Aid in this coming week, visit their website, click on the link below or look out for ways in which you can support local appeals.

Beauty for brokenness
Hope for despair
Lord, in the suffering
This is our prayer
Bread for the children
Justice, joy, peace
Sunrise to sunset
Your kingdom increase!

God of the poor
Friend of the weak
Give us compassion we pray
Melt our cold hearts
Let tears fall like rain
Come, change our love
From a spark to a flame

Graham Kendrick

Alton Food Bank Shopping List May 2021
We are very grateful for the amazing work our local food banks do to help those in difficulty within our own communities.

Please buy an item from this list of items for the foodbank
Rice (dried)
Sponge puddings (long life)
Chocolate spread
Fruit Juice (long life)
Liquid hand soap
PLEASE NO Baked Beans, Soup, Pads, or Tampons

Alton Service 23rd May at 10am in Church — Special Request!

Liam Sheridan is taking the service and writes: At the Pentecost service I thought it would be good to share people's stories of experiencing the Holy Spirit in their lives. Please could people contact Liam if they have a story to share? It could be something big or small.

Alton Spring Walk
With spring flowers blooming and Covid restrictions easing, the first Alton church Seasonal Walk for more than a year is being planned. The Spring Saunter will take place on the morning of Tuesday 18th May. If you would like to come along, please contact David Allan to obtain the details of meeting time and place.

Worship Service
The On-Line Service this week is led by Rev Sam Funnell (Deputy Chair of the South East District) & Rev Philip Simpkins
We are planning for live services to return in our circuit churches from Sunday May 23rd.

May God bless us with wonder at creation's glory. May God bless us with fury at creation's spoiling. May God bless us with courage at this critical hour. And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon us and on all creation, this day and for the future to come. Amen. (Christian Aid)

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