Dear friends

We are approaching the end of our first week of staying at home.  For some, of course, it has been longer because they have been self-isolating or because through frailty or illness there is no change from normal.  For me, I have enjoyed being able to take food deliveries to people who cannot leave their homes and it has been very moving to hear their gratitude because I’m the only person they have seen for days.  I have also been touched again by phone calls checking to see how everyone at the Rectory is doing.  Tim and I are trying to make sure we contact everyone from time to time, but it’s great to know that many others are taking time to phone one another.  Do let me know if you have made new friends as a result!

It has also been an encouragement to join with others online for Friday45 and our Sunday Worship last weekend.  We are planning the same this weekend; Friday45 is this evening at 7:00, and our Sunday Worship is at 10:30 when we’ll be looking at Jesus’ trial in Luke 22:63-23:25.  You can join in with by simply clicking here. On Sunday this week we are trying a couple of new things so again please bear with us if there are teething difficulties.  We’re going to try some singing, but don’t worry: no-one else will be able to hear you!  After the service, there will be extra sessions for The Grid and for our children. 

We are excited to be adding two more activities to our schedule.  Firstly, from Monday I shall be leading a service of Daily Prayer at 8:00am from Monday to Saturday; you can join me in the usual way via the website. 

Secondly, I am going to be running the Discipleship Explored course.  It’s a great way to learn more about living the Christian life, and a number of people in the church have used it to prepare for Confirmation.  Please let me know if you would like to join in, together with a note of the best time and day for you.  We have other ideas which we’ll be offering in the next week or two.

I am very pleased that we are opening a Covid-19 Support Hub at the Good Shepherd in collaboration with Basingstoke Voluntary Action.  We are already a satellite of the Foodbank and we are also receiving and distributing slightly out-of-date food from M&S.  A number of people have already helped with collecting and delivering items to the vulnerable and self-isolating; please let me know if you would like to join the team.

Do please keep in touch, particularly if you would value our prayers for yourself or someone close to you, either during Sunday Worship or privately during the week.

In closing, may I ask for your prayers?  From Monday I shall be going into the hospital as a chaplain to the staff, many of whom are seriously struggling with the pressure they are under.  I am not worried about my own health (they say I shall be safer there than in a supermarket!) but I am keen to have right words to say – or not say.  Thank you in advance.

Tim and Jamie join me in sending greetings in our Lord.

John