Dear friends

“… not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  (Hebrews 10:25)

What an immense joy it has been to see so many people joining our Sunday worship online!  It’s wonderful to see familiar faces, and great that we’ve had so many visitors too!  A few of us have been helping people get set up on their computers this week so we’ll be welcoming some more first-timers on Sunday.  It was also a real joy to split up into smaller groups at the end.  It case you didn’t quite work out what was going on, think of it as the time of fellowship over coffee after a normal service (in fact, some people in my group went off to get a coffee and brought it back!).  So when the service ends, a message will appear on your screen inviting you to a ‘Breakout room’; simply click the ‘Join’ button.

A small technical note: Zoom has been updated this week.  If you get a message notifying you of this, simply click the ‘Update’ button.

Community Support

We are really pleased that our new status as a satellite of the Basingstoke Foodbank is getting off the ground.  This means that, although we are not meeting in our buildings, we can now receive donations again – and we are getting a lot of requests for food parcels so your gifts will be put to good use.  If you can get to the Good Shepherd (maybe as part of your daily exercise), please bring your donations between 10:30 and noon on Mondays and Fridays; if you can’t, please let us know and we’ll arrange collection from your doorstep.  It also means that we can deliver to people in need; please let us know if you would like to be added to the list of deliverers.  We continue to be part of the Covid-19 Support Hub and requests for help are now coming in a steady flow.

Something to read

If you can remember back as far as BC (Before Coronavirus), you might have heard me talking about a book called Out of the Black Shadows.  Unfortunately we were all confined to quarters before I could distribute all the copies that were ordered, and I seem to have three left.  Please let me know if one of them is yours and I’ll get it to you.0549332fdccfd0de512116ed5dfdb886.jpg

Something to watch

Tomorrow is the day many of us should have been heading off to Prestatyn for Word Alive!  Sadly this will not be happening.  But from Monday the team is running a programme of online events – six each day – similar to what would have been on offer but using previous years’ session.  Click here to join in.

Something to pray for

We all have people on our hearts who are in need of prayer.  Many of us have been praying for Charlie Barr.  She is currently in hospital although, thankfully, not because of Coronavirus.  She has been very poorly, however, and would value our prayers for herself and Aidan.  Please don’t phone her as she is currently unable to speak, but a text message would be appreciated.

Easter

Easter will feel very different this year.  Here is our programme of services:

Good Friday11:00amChildren’s Good Friday Special
 12 noonGood Friday Meditation
Easter Day8:00amHoly Communion
 10:30amEaster Worship

(You may be surprised by the inclusion of a communion service when we cannot gather.  But we recognize that this will be many people’s first Easter without communion.  I shall therefore be holding a simple service of Holy Communion (using the 1662 service) at home, and you are welcome to join me and the family online.  Although you will not be able to receive the bread and wine, my prayer is that you will be able “to feed on him in your heart, by faith, with thanksgiving” as you hear the familiar words.)

And finally…

Do remember that you are welcome to join in our daily service of Morning Prayer at 8:00am Monday to Saturday, as well as our Friday45 time of prayer.  It’s been great to see growing numbers at both.  And don’t forget that the Discipleship Explored course will be starting soon; do let me know this week if you would like to take part.

Tim (don’t miss his new series of videos) and Jamie (who’s having a couple of days off) join me in sending you greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus.

John