Chapel Street Methodist Church

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Minister's Letter, 31 March

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

I wonder how you have been getting on in this last week? Well, I hope. I know from talking to many of you on the phone that you are adapting well to the new situation with all the robustness that the British demonstrate in adversity! Let me encourage you to support and pray for those who have particular difficulties. This is not a good time to be ‘ordinarily ill’. Being newly bereaved is even worse than ever, and people are dying of all sorts of causes every day. Our friends at Drift have been shaken by the terrible road accident at the bottom of their lane. Not everything is about Coronavirus, and God is concerned with everyone’s specific needs. I recall how Jesus when travelling to heal Jairus’ daughter, stops to make time for the lady who touched his cloak. The whole crowd was concentrating on THE BIG THING that day which was stopping Jairus’ daughter dying. Jesus does that but He also deals with another person with a completely different agenda.

Even in national crisis, we have our aches and pains. One elderly gentleman was told by his doctor that the pain in his left leg was just the result of his age. He replied that it couldn’t be his age, because his right leg was just as old as the left one, and it didn’t hurt!

I was amused to hear that if you are fed up with singing Happy Birthday twice every time you wash your hands, saying the Lord’s Prayer takes exactly the right length of time. ‘Forgive us our trespasses’ fits in well with handwashing.

Next week will be Holy Week, so I will give you some prior notice as to what I have in mind for a week when we normally have lots of extra services. On the website, I will post a reading, sermon and prayers for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as well as Easter Day.  On Maundy Thursday and Easter Day, I will also include the words of the Communion Service and I will break the bread and drink the wine in my home. I encourage you to get your own bread and wine ready and share it with me and everyone else who is listening. I will give you more details and timings next week.

This week I want to say a word about sustainability. Over these coming weeks, organising a regular sustained supply of everyday food will be more important than how many loo rolls or how much pasta people have got piled up today (and where is all that pasta?!)  In keeping in contact with people, or even helping people, try and do it in way that will work for both of you over many weeks. At the moment, people can be exhausted with endless phone calls and emails. In a few weeks we still need to be in contact and have fresh things to say. It is wearing when everyone will only talk about the virus situation. It is refreshing if you can bring other things into your conversation, good news about your garden or your walking, or your family. Try and remember that if you are contacting someone pastorally the call is primarily for their benefit rather than yours. We need to hear people, but not to spread our anxiety.

Let me leave you with a great verse: ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You because he trusts in You.’  Isaiah 26.3

Warm regards and every blessing,

Alastair's signature

Published at 15:28 on 31 March 2020

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