Weekly Newsletter - 28th March 2020
I hope you’re enjoying this quiet time; it seems as if everyone is taking advantage of the chance to catch up with long-delayed tasks, to get on top of the gardening and do some spring-cleaning (amongst other activities!).
It was moving to see so many people applaud the NHS workers on Thursday night, and those who were not aware of this event will be able to join in next Thursday at 8pm from their windows or front door. Boris Johnson thanked the many different groups who are playing their part in tackling the virus, as well as the contribution of the whole nation, whether through activity, staying inside their homes, or keeping in touch with others. Please keep our leaders and the vast team working behind the scenes in your prayers, as well as the leaders of nations around the world. The Methodist Prayer Manual helps us to keep others in our prayers so that we don’t exclude any country, and it’s at times like this that we realise what a wonderful resource this is.
This time last week we had three activities going on in our churches and today we have none, so the property teams are complying with connexional guidance found on the Methodist Church website under Coronavirus Guidance for Property. A big thank you to everyone involved.
TMCP (Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes) continue to work behind the scenes, answering many of the questions that are raised by local churches. They are undertaking a vast variety of work, and are true to their mission of supporting and providing information for neighbourhood churches and circuits. For those needing to know, the regular Covid-19 updates can be found on their website.
For those wanting to volunteer helping others, the Covid-19 Community Volunteering is up and running and can be accessed at Manchester Community Central
Alternatively, if you can volunteer to help in one of our church kitchens making and packing food parcels your help would be greatly appreciated. This is a part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority actions. Of course those in a recognised risk category can't contribute, but if we have enough offers of help we will be able to mobilise teams who can keep food flowing to the very vulnerable across the Manchester & Stockport District. On Friday night alone the circuit delivered meals for over 60 people, but there is still a huge need in the area, so please email me if you are able to assist with this.
Whilst churches are not open for worship, the worship resources sheet is available on the Sale Methodist Churches website (https://www.salemethodistchurches.org.uk). Just click on ‘Worship Resources’ and then ‘Worship at Home Sheets’ to download a copy in pdf or word format. There is also a list of other resources for home worship, I’d love to know your thoughts on them, please do let me know.
"Could you write a short prayer for Facebook?”
Matt, our Circuit Communications Officer, is looking for people who could offer to write a short prayer of about 50 words, which he can post as a daily prayer on the Circuit Facebook page.
If you are interested, please send your prayer to https://forms.gle/vcvskjX8EY1gcp3t6 and each day from next week he'll post one each morning on Facebook.
Holy Week and Easter
It looks most unlikely that we will be able to celebrate together this Easter. I will be taking the opportunity to walk round Sale Water Park at 06.00 (the time of our normal Sunrise Service); I will not be singing, but I will be praying!
A number of years ago the Methodist Conference made a decision that Online Holy Communion was not permissible. Instead, the Ministries Team are planning a series of materials that might be used for worship during Holy Week and to allow Easter to be celebrated in a new and creative way during this time of enforced exile– these will follow shortly. One will be a series of posters designed by the 3Generate team. These can be printed at home and displayed in your window as a way of enabling us to witness to our neighbours.
The Ministries Team would like to collate your ideas for celebrating Easter this year. To submit your ideas please click here
They are also working with the Faith and Order liturgical sub-committee to produce a special act of worship, which will include Holy Communion, to be used when people can return to their church buildings.
Rites of Passage
We are unable to celebrate baptisms or weddings for the foreseeable future, so over the next couple of days families who’ve booked will be informed accordingly. Please keep these families, who will naturally be disappointed, in your prayers. Concerning those who are bereaved, please pray for the families at this time. Due to the limited number allowed to attend funerals, the services unfortunately have a very different feel to them ...however this is the best that can be offered under current circumstances.
It appears most people are being looked after and catered for where necessary, but if you know of someone who isn’t in a network, please notify your pastoral coordinator (the list was included last week).
As we progress through Lent, it is a glorious opportunity to have this quiet time to reflect on our Christian lives. Having been challenged in previous weeks as to what we believe and what our response to Jesus is, it seems appropriate that the Black Cap thinking (risk assessment) of this week’s Lent book should be applied to our faith (it seems to be applied to much of society at the moment!)
God’s grace and peace,