September E-Magazine 2020
In this edition of E-Magazine we have:
A suggestion on how to pray with a short service you can use at home
Stories of Lockdown from the following people:
Diane from St James
Sources of Help during the Pandemic
For a full printable magazine click the file below
Sept mag 2020 Print Ready 20.08.2020
Download PDF • 443KB
Introduction from Ian
I feel that this edition of the magazine should begin with the words "Welcome back!" It is not that we have ever gone away, but this is the first edition of the magazine since the lockdown began back in March and it feels as though we are beginning a new phase. Sadly, it will be quite clear to everyone that things are not back to normal in the way we had hoped back in March but the publication of this edition of the magazine is one more step towards re-establishing the life of the Parish.
As a Ministry Team we have been doing quite a bit of thinking about the journey out of lockdown and have concluded that it is very likely that things will never quite return to the way they were in February. In particular, the requirements for hygiene and social distancing make our 'normal' pattern of Sunday
services impossible (particularly at St. Mary’s) and we are
looking at new ways of meeting the needs of everyone who worships in the Parish. In particular we have been reminded that God is always calling us on to something better than the past and is the one who makes all things new. This is
especially borne out in the Messianic prophecies in the second half of the book of Isaiah. So, we want to be sensitive to God's leading in these times and resist the temptation of rushing back into the old ways. Over the next few weeks, I will be asking some of our families to engage in a conversation about how we can structure family worship better to engage the younger
generation and also meet the needs of those who are used to a more traditional style of worship. Finding the right balance will require creativity and a sensitivity to the leading of God's Spirit but is a challenge that we should rise to.
I am well aware that for many of you it will be too soon to
return to church so we intend to keep the online services going for the foreseeable future. To ensure that those of you
watching from home feel that you are connecting with a
real-time service we will be live-streaming services from now on. Each week we are learning how to improve the quality and we are investing in some equipment that will make things more straight-forward and mean that we can live-stream from
different churches around the Parish. We also recognise that an online service may be with us to stay so that we can cater for those who are ill or house-bound.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your amazingly generous response to the Parish Gift Day in
July. We raised an amazing £5,400 from across the four churches which has helped greatly in managing the Parish
finances through this difficult period. The finances still remain a bit of a challenge because of the loss of rental income, but we are hoping that with the start of September most of our regular lettings will resume to minimise any further impact.
Lastly, Joanne has been leading us in thinking through the
pastoral needs that might exist as we come out of lockdown and particularly looking at the need to address loneliness and mental health issues. We plan to start a couple of initiatives in the autumn to address some of these issues (such as a walking group and re-establishing places to meet, albeit in a socially distanced way) so if you are interested in any of these
initiatives please contact Joanne and she will point you on the right direction.
Above all, stay safe, keep trusting in God, remain hopeful and make Jesus visible in your life.
A Suggestion on How to Pray
Prayer is the centre of the Christian life but sometimes it can be hard to know where to begin. I often find that having a structure helps me get the conversation with God going. I also find that reading the bible regularly and praying the psalms connects me with Jesus and all those millions of Christians who have gone before us. These words have inspired millions through history so they might just inspire me too. In the section below a prayer guide, together with questions to ask ourselves before we pray and a short service that you can do at home.
I hope you find this useful.
There is no right way to pray but our prayer life must be balanced. It should include each of these
aspects of prayer.
Before you begin to pray in whatever way, spend some time asking yourself these questions.
What do I regret and want forgiveness for?
What has been good and I am thankful for?
Which 5 people or
situations do I want to pray for?
What do I want to bring to God for my own needs?
What is the best thing about God to adore?
Psalms for the week:
Sunday Psalm 104.26-32
Monday Psalm 21.1-7
Tuesday Psalm 29
Wednesday Psalm 46
Thursday Psalm 84
Friday Psalm 93
Saturday Psalm 98
Reading the Bible,
where to start
The best place to begin reading the bible is with one of the
Gospels. This year on Sundays we are working our way through Matthew’s Gospel. A good place to begin is Matthew Chapter 3.
Most bibles separate chapters into sections with headings. An easy way to read is to start at chapter 3 and choose to read either the whole chapter or the next section.
A Short Daily Prayer
O God, make speed to save us
O Lord, make haste to help us.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as the Lord; all creation worships you,
the Father everlasting.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Say the Psalm set for the day followed by
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning is now and shall be forever.
Read the Reading set for the day
At the end of the reading pause and think
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Pray your own prayers for
the church around the
world, things in the news,
your family and friends,
those who are sick.
End with the Lord’s Prayer.
Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God
Lockdown Reflections by Mike Collis
Little did I realise when I left St. Peter’s on the evening of March 15th that it would be my last church service for the
foreseeable future. Just over a week later a full UK lockdown was announced and life as we all knew it changed completely.
For me the lockdown was somewhat reminiscent of the first six months of 2019 when I was unable to drive and became reliant on others for shopping or going to church. People’s kindness, help and support was a Godsend.
Having lived alone for a number of years I was not daunted by lockdown. I have always liked routine and I have my hobbies and interests, in particular gardening. In that respect I was lucky: I had placed a vegetable seed order in November and in January had ordered bedding plant plugs for delivery in late March. The week before lockdown all my composts and bark chippings were delivered. All this enabled me to grow over 800 plants including tomatoes and cucumbers.
However, lockdown meant I was unable to do my own shopping and became totally reliant on my daughters and grandchildren for this. I was unable to go to the gym, so with a new static bike and dumbbells i set up my own home mini gym. But most important of all I was unable to attend church services. How I have missed this. No more weekly fellowship, no more spiritual refreshment, no more long sermons; on second thoughts that one may be a blessing. Unfortunately, digital church services did not give me what I needed.
I therefore acted to fill my spiritual void. Hywel recommended an app called “Pray As You Go’ which was not bad. Then Ian recommended Lectio365 which has become my daily spiritual driver. It is based on the word PRAY: Pause, Rejoice and
Reflect, Ask and Yield. Lectio365 recommends the book “How to Pray’ by Pete Greig. I have read this uplifting book several times. I also downloaded ‘Sunday Worship’ and ‘Reflections for Sundays’: these books enable me to work through the weekly church service and read reflections on the readings which gives them a new dimension.
Lockdown has therefore enabled me to expand and develop my spiritual journey giving me new understanding and the ability to pray in a new and more meaningful way.
Lockdown Reflections by Joshua Hodge
Hello, my name is Joshua Hodge, I am 17 years old and I am currently studying at Cotswold Edge Sixth Form and regularly go to St. Nicholas church. During lockdown, there have been a surprising amount of positive aspects that have affected my life. For example, I have had a chance to talk to my online friends a lot more while at home, since we are not at school. This means I have been able to spend more time and get to know them better. These online friends include people from as close as London to as far away as Copenhagen, all of which I have been in contact with significantly more than I was before lockdown happened. Also, I have become far more grateful for things I usually do that I haven’t been able to do as often
recently, such as going on walks with my family, meeting up with my friends in real life and being able to talk to my
teachers in person to either gain advice from them or to get resources from them which will help with my learning.
What I have not enjoyed as much, however, is the way school has changed for me. Because school is now all online, contact with my teachers is very limited, meaning it is harder to gain help from them if I am struggling with my work, or if their
instructions are not completely clear. This means, at times, schoolwork can be a lot more difficult for me to complete to a standard I am content with. Also, at home, it can be very easy for me to become distracted, and hard to be motivated, making schoolwork yet more difficult for me. Another negative aspect of lockdown is the cancellation of gatherings / events I like to take part in. This mainly includes band rehearsals and parkrun. Since lockdown both have been cancelled, meaning I have not been able to take part in either, which is a shame, because those things are often the highlight of my day, and it is sad to have gone 5 months without either.
During lockdown, my religion has been key throughout. Before the summer started, each week, I would join a zoom meeting with Rooted+, which is a youth group I am a part of. This has served as a constant reminder that God is always here for me, even when I may not be going to church, or may not be taking part in a leadership role at Messy Church. And each week, we were taught a different way to see God acting in our lives, even when nothing may seem to be going well for us. What we were taught has strongly helped me get closer to God, and lockdown has given me time to reflect on it, twice more than usual.
A brief look at life under lockdown by Jim Bradshaw
On 23rd March Premier Boris Johnson ‘locked down’
England. Scotland and Wales decided their own precautions. My initial thought was that, being retired, not much would change.
I was wrong of course, but the changes were not all negative.
Not being able to go out as and when I wanted soon began to chafe. I went shopping for food and necessities once a week, plus the occasional walk into town to collect a prescription.
Using the car only occasionally for short trips meant the battery ran down, especially when I forgot to switch off the dash-cam. I had to recharge it every couple of weeks. As I write, the car just yesterday had its first good long run since the start of
lockdown. Finally, the fuel and exhaust (CO2 saving) engine management was operating again now that I had a fully charged battery.
Of course it was not all bad. The garden is looking better than it has since I retired, not just because of new plants. I cleared and tidied an overgrown area beside the garage. The one
totally new element of my garden is where I dug up part of the lawn to create a small fruit and veg bed. I picked the first home grown raspberries shortly before penning this.
Another good aspect is the time it provided for a little creative writing, in addition to my weekly blog. I completed my first
fully original short story, which has been submitted to a
magazine to see if it is good enough for publication. My thanks to my friend J. for proof reading prior to submission.
The Tuesday Group has continued throughout the lockdown, initially using Zoom video conferencing then, in the summer evenings, meeting in my garden, with appropriate social
distancing. If restrictions are still in place later in the year, I guess we’ll be back to zooming again as the evenings darken and cool.
I can’t claim any particular spiritual insights during the period covered by this article, but I have found many of the parish’s online offerings welcome, supportive and comforting, especially the early morning broadcasts, which I came to a bit late.
As I write this fairly early in the morning I am listening to Sounds Of The Sixties on the radio. I like music that may not have been written with any religious intent but can sometimes be interpreted as carrying a Christian message, albeit
unintentional. I am struck by lines from an old Petula Clark song being played while I write - The Other Man’s Grass (Is Always Greener). The lines that caught my attention:
“But just be thankful for what you've got”.
“And just as long as you are there beside me,
I know that I could ask for nothing more”
Reflections from Diane, keyworker and lifelong
worshipper at St James Westerleigh.
Being classed as a key worker, I have been fortunate to
continue working throughout lockdown.
Outside work, like everyone else I could not stray far from home so found I had the luxury of time for reading and painting. More importantly, thank goodness for my garden – my oasis, literally a godsend to me.
Over the weeks I have noticed my neighbours showing more concern for each other, chatting on doorsteps. We even had a socially-distanced tea party on VE Day, which is heartening. Looking back, the lovely things people have done for each other, even for total strangers, highlighted in the news, have been
truly uplifting. Also, where I work in a large supermarket, the front of the store has been plastered in rainbows thanking the NHS and key workers – how lovely is that?
From the start of lockdown it has been hard not having contact with close family, so regular telephone calls have been really
important. It has been a worrying time for everyone. Your
concern is for your loved ones, both family and friends, who you just want to stay safe. When my husband Pete fell ill, we
realised how much we rely on normal access to medical care. After weeks of telephone consultations we twice had to call an ambulance. The paramedics were brilliant, but not being allowed to accompany him to hospital was difficult for both of us.
Hearing the news from around the world every day, the
mounting losses and all the grief, certainly put things into
perspective. I have really missed our Sunday services at St James, and the weekly coffee mornings. I have not been able to ring the bells or to arrange flowers in church (my quiet time, and something I feel privileged to do). The church garden has also suffered through lack of attention. In the scheme of things these are small sacrifices.
My work as a cleaning colleague at the store has changed quite a lot during lockdown. I am part of a large team who help keep the store running. Much of my time is spent sanitising whatever colleagues and customers come into contact with. I have
Always considered myself a small cog in a large machine, but have come to realise that what I do is helping to keep others
safe, preventing illness and the spread of the virus, which makes me quite proud. At the very beginning of lockdown at our store and across the country we witnessed the panic buying and hoarding of essential items, despite government
assurances that there was enough for everyone. I found this disturbing and frustrating, seeing nothing left for the vulnerable and busy NHS workers. Rationing appeared, as well as special shopping hours for key workers and the elderly to ensure fair shares for
Walking to work every day I noticed immediately the lack of cars on the roads and aircraft in the sky. The quietness was
refreshing; to hear birds and bees going about their business was lovely. I am not a techy person, but being able to access the Parish services on YouTube has helped in this time of worry and uncertainty. Seeing familiar faces gave some normality back to me in these exceptional times, and helped me reflect on what is important in my life.
Sources of Help - taken from
the Focus Magazine & other places
With restrictions easing it’s easy to think it’s all over, but for many
people it is not. Young people who can’t get a job, people who have
suddenly lost income and can’t pay bills, people who have lost their job or afraid of losing it, vulnerable people worried about the risks of going out, people whose mental health is suffering, or victims of
domestic abuse. Remember there is help:
Citizens Advice Bureau: (03444 111 444 for free advice on issues including financial or employment problems – and how to find your way through the maze of grants to help you.
Food Bank: The Candle, 88 Station Road, if you cannot afford food or want to donate cash or food. http://www.ctr-yate.org/the-candle
CoviD-19 Support Group: (a network of local groups including
churches, voluntary groups and town and parish councils) has a
superb network of volunteers willing to help neighbours – find them on Facebook.
Mental health: Samaritans 116 123 are the 24/7 starting point in a crisis. A range of services are at oneyou.southglos.gov.uk or ring them on 01454 865337 Mon-Thurs 9-5 or Fri 9-4.30.
Domestic abuse: locally 0800 4700 280 10-4 Monday to Friday or the 24/7 national link 0808 2000 247.
Local home deliveries: Myyate.co.uk has lots of info on local firms
doing home delivery.
If you’re not sure who to ask, call Yate Town Council 01454 866506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will do their best to find you the right contacts.
Family Food 4 Free—Facebook page.
For more information on how to use the service or to make a
donation, go to the Family Food 4 Free Facebook page. Donations and collections can be made at 33 Woodmans Road, Chipping Sodbury
Southern Brooks Community Partnerships have been contracted by South Gloucestershire Council to provide a support service,
11am – 7pm Monday to Friday; 12noon – 6pm Saturday and Sunday.
Website: https://southernbrooks.org.uk/ Telephone: 0333 577 4666
Shireway Heart Starters - First-aid trained community responders linked to Shireway Community Centre - are delivering prescriptions by day and at night are patrolling suicide hotspots alongside Suicide
Prevention Bristol. Offers: crisis support, prescription collection
Telephone: 07585304205 Email: Bristol.email@example.com
Social media: shireway.heartstarters.facebook page