Dear Brothers and Sisters.
As you all know lockdown has once again meant that we are required by law to close churches for public acts of worship. This feels hard after so much work to make our churches safe. However, I find hope in the fact that the churches will be allowed to remain open for private prayer. We are also allowed to take an outside walk with one other person and I encourage people if they want to to do this for pastoral support. In the meantime do not hesitate to contact any of the Ministry team, or pastoral connect teams, if you want to talk. If you don’t know who to contact then get in touch with me via phone or email and I will make some suggestions. 01179650856
We are now in what the Church of England has for a number of years called Kingdom Season. It marks the time between All Saints Day, last week, through until the festival of Christ the King (22nd November). It takes in themes of remembrance and redemption. It culminates in the end of the Churches liturgical year as we then look to start afresh on Advent Sunday. There is an energy to Kingdom season, not dissimilar to that running the last mile of a race. There is a recognised tiredness, but also a sense of completion and knowing that we are going to make it. It is a time of what I have often known as “thin lines”. As Revd Janey reminded us on All Saints Day - we are children of God – and we are also bound to those who have gone before us and those who will come after. The space between heaven and earth is closer than we might think or feel at times. In this month of lockdown, in this kingdom season, my hope and prayer is that we might as people of the resurrection and children of hope know those thin lines and the closeness of God to us in Christ.
This Sunday marks Remembrance. Recognising this, the government guidelines for this Sunday are slightly different to the rest of November. There is a call by the British Royal Legion to have a doorstep Remembrance. To stand on your doorstep at 11am and mark the silence as a community. I encourage you to participate in this if you can. As a church we will mark this with the ringing of our bells at both churches in the Parish and so you may from your doorstep be able to hear them.
Alongside this the following will also be available for us
Open for Private prayer 10.30am – 12 noon.
Online service which will begin just before 11am, with readings, prayers, a talk and the silence marked. This can be accessed via the website and facebook group. Here is the running order of this service.
The bell at church will be rung to mark the end of the 2 minute silence
Open for Private Prayer from 10am-11.30am.
There will be a short said service outside at the memorial in Fishponds Park starting at 10.55am with the bells rung to mark the silence. You will have to socially distance and remain in your bubble. There will be a QR NHS Track and Trace to log in to in order to recognise your presence at this.
I have attached the weekly notices
a poppy template that you can colour in and put in your window,
a church at home activity sheet which is really excellent so do take a look,
I have also attached a letter from the Bishop of Bristol.
Bishop Viv has written to us all about the possible shape for our local parishes and diocese in the coming months. It is a call to listen and a call to prayer to discern where Christ is leading us. Please do read the attachment and/or listen to her on the link below.
There will be a coffee and chat as usual at 11.45 and do join us as fellowship together, catching up with how we are is even more important than perhaps before.
The details are Coffee and Chat - Time: Sunday 11:45
Meeting ID: 922 2627 5253 - Passcode: 200369
So with my blessings and prayers. I look forward to seeing you and being with you in myriad of ways this month.
“God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46.1)
“I lift m eyes to the hills – from whence will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121.2)
Revd Lizzie Kesteven
Vicar of All Saints and St Marys Churches Fishponds