GREETINGS to you for Sunday 19 April – ‘Low’ Sunday
We sincerely hope that you enjoyed a blessèd and joyful Eastertide, although under very different circumstances to any we have ever experienced, with churches closed and worship available only on the radio, TV and online. And of course: privately and in our own homes.
It is good to know that so many of you are finding the shared prayers and reflections to be a source of comfort in these self-isolating and socially distancing times. Thank you also for the many pictures sent to me …and which you may have seen on display at the front of church and on the church notice board. Thank you to Mark Head for creating the tomb next to the church porch …and for being up on Easter morning even earlier than I was to roll away the stone and to place lilies and a lighted candle at the entrance. And thank you to St. Andrew’s for decorating their church gates with beautiful Easter images.
If you are you are reading this, you are one of the majority on the internet, but there are those who ‘do not do internet’. Thankfully, I know that here in Walmsley Parish, lots of people are ringing friends and neighbours to keep in touch, which is so helpful and very much appreciated.
However, if you think of anyone who would value a posted set of prayers and reflections or – better still – if you know of a family member with internet who could receive an e-mail on their behalf and print off the resources for them, perhaps when they take supplies or visit for a chat at a ‘socially acceptable’ distance, please let us know.
Some heart-breaking news to share:
It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected death on 14 April of Martin Willis who, with his son Oscar, volunteered over many years to deal with the churchyard waste bins and has been a good friend of Walmsley Church in so many other ways. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Claire, and their family.
- Message from Archbishop Welby
- Word on the Streets
- Mothers’ Union
- Message from the Team Rector
- Useful links
I end with a prayer from the Children Changing Places Project in Bolton.
This was shared on social media last week and sums up how we should put our hope in prayer:
Thank You that when all hope seemed lost after Jesus’ death,
He rose up from the grave!
We pray today for all who are feeling discouraged & sad.
Please help us to put our hope in You & praise You through it all.
Stay safe and keep well. If anyone wishes to add anything that would be of help and interest in future mailings, kindly let me know.
Please know that you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Stay safe.
Love and blessings,
Church Warden + Authorised Lay Minister for Pastoral Care
Message from Archbishop Welby
“At Easter the world is turned the right way up – life triumphs over death.
During Coronavirus our values are also being turned around. We’re seeing the vital importance of people and things we had previously overlooked.”
How true this is …and how emotional is our Thursday evening applause and thanks to the NHS for the vital service they are providing.
Word on the Streets
A group which provides information for Christians involved in social action in their local communities and in their workplaces and which often posts on social media: Word on the streets describe this time as,
‘A theology of disruption. Interruption is God’s invitation. God is inviting us to see him all around us, in the lives of others, in our conversations, in our serving those in need. It is one of God’s ways of waking us up to what’s around us.’
We invite you to share in the annual ‘WAVE OF PRAYER’ from Mothers’ Union:
Prayer is central to the work of Mothers’ Union and, each year, a special service is held called the WAVE OF PRAYER. For 2020, this was scheduled to be held between 23 to 25 April and its theme is: Courage ~ Building hope and confidence.
For Members of the MU, our “Wave of Prayer” is a continuous expression of our commitment in prayer to each other, which runs throughout the year and encompasses all the places in which we are represented. We are all part of the worldwide prayer circle.
So that you can share this special service between Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 April, I attach the service sheet, sent to me by Jenny Murphy (thank you).
I include also prayers from the MU Association in our Walmsley Parish prayer booklet.
A message from our Team Rector, Canon Peter Reiss:
Easter continues – the event of the Resurrection is celebrated but the truth of the resurrection remains; The event – God raised him from the tomb; the ongoing result – God, the God of life, is with us.
And the impact of the virus also continues for now, and we have to live with it. School should be starting again, but it isn’t. People should have been celebrating in our pubs and restaurants, but they weren’t. We should be going back to work, and we are not (in many cases). Family and/or friends or people we know are sick, some gravely ill.
It may feel like Easter didn’t work this year, even though we tried hard.
There have been some funny memes and jokes going around including one of police arresting Jesus on Easter Day for breaking his isolation by coming out of the tomb. But in all honesty, there is not much fun or humour in all this, and our hospitals are getting ever fuller, and our Funeral Directors busier and busier.
It is over a month since we were locked down, though our “lock-down” is not as severe as in many countries, nor are our conditions in this area as hard as for many who live in populated areas, or overcrowded streets.
As we have reflected in recent weeks, this situation is not one with an instant remedy. It is a tragedy causing suffering, and it is a challenge to our modern highly integrated way of life – everything can get passed on quicker. In worldly terms, the resurrection did not make things fine for the disciples, but it gave them the assurance of God with them, and God’s promises to be made sure, in their circumstances.
In a tragic crisis, let us continue to help each other, encourage each other, and support each other. If people need help, please call us and we will do what we can.
And let us pray with hope for a time when our school is full of children again, our pubs and shops and community spaces bustle, we can shake hands and hug, we can worship together, we can do what communities should do and be together.
Service resources will continue to be available on the St Anne’s with St James’ website. Services will also be available on the Youtube Channel and Facebook each Sunday, along with ideas for families and readings and resources. Please keep in touch.
May God guide us, guard us and lead us at this time,
You can follow along with the readings using the Service Sheet.
The service will be available online this morning, check our Facebook page for the video link.
From this week our Sunday “video” service will include church members doing readings and prayers, and we would love to include more from parishioners, either as video clips or as images and prayers and reflections sent in. Please do send us images and prayers and ideas.
As well as the “video” service there will be a downloadable service with readings and prayers each week; these are on the website under the resources and Parish Blog tabs. If you haven’t seen the new look website please have a look – https://stanneswithstjames.co.uk/ and also the new Turton Team Website https://turtonmoorlandteam.co.uk/ and the Turton Moorland Team Youtube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFilXhO-sxlBQTSvSG8N7Xw