Dear friends

I’m not very good at observing saints’ days, but those of us joining in Morning Prayer each day are reminded of each saint’s day as it comes around.  If nothing else, they can help us avoid being so focused on ourselves and the problems of our day that we lose sight of the fact that we stand with a great cloud of witnesses from the last 2,000 years (Hebrews 12:1).  Today happens to be the day on which we are invited to remember Philip and James (I don’t know why they don’t each get their own day!) and today’s reading is the first few verses of James’s letter, which include these words: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  (James 1:2-4)  All of us are having our limits tested: can I stand another day of isolation / school at home / Zoom meetings / life?  Maybe you cry out to God to give you patience; if you do, remember that he can only grow your patience by putting you in situations where you need to exercise it.

Today (Friday)

Head to our livestream page for Friday45 at 7:00pm for 45 minutes of prayer – thanking God for his goodness towards us and bringing the needs of the world to him.  Everyone is welcome, whether this is your first time or you’re a regular; pray out loud or silently or just listen to others as you feel most comfortable.  Bring your own coffee!

Sunday

Do join in the service on Sunday morning when we’ll be looking at the second half of the chapter we started last week.  Have a read through Luke 7:28-8:3 and ask yourself what the passage teaches us about God, and what it teaches us about ourselves.
Our Sunday numbers continue to grow, for which we’re grateful to God.  Of course not everyone has access to the internet so we’re very grateful to those who are printing these emails and taking them to members who do not use email.  If you’re not online, do remember that you can join us via the good old telephone.  Simply dial 0203 481 5237; when you’re asked for the meeting number dial 328 269 4064 and then, when asked, enter the password 885.  This also works for Morning Prayer at 8:00am during the week, and all other events.

Wednesday – Church Family Study Evening

We’re excited about our new series starting this Wednesday, 6 May, at 7:45pm.  If you haven’t already, you can still sign up here.  As a reminder, the choice is:

  • God’s Big Picture which gives the opportunity to gain a bird’s eye view of the Bible and see how it fits together as a single, unified account of God’s dealings with humankind.
  • Discipleship Explored which is for people at every stage of the Christian life and explores such questions as “How can I be sure I’m a Christian?” and “How can I enjoy the Christian life more?”

And finally…

A few reminders:

  • We need lots of carrier bags for the delivery of food parcels.  Please check under the stairs and bring any you can spare to the Good Shepherd, ideally during Foodbank times (10:30 to noon on Mondays and Fridays) or otherwise leave them in the lobby.  As with Foodbank donations, let us know if you would like to have them collected from your home.
  • If you haven’t yet organized your regular giving for the time we’re unable to meet in our buildings, it’s just got even easier.  Just give Parish Giving Scheme a call on 0333 002 1271 and they will set up a direct debit without you having to fill in any forms.  You’ll need to quote our parish number which is 41-6004301.  (If you already give this way and need to make a change to your giving, the phone number is 0333 002 1260.)
  • You may be wondering about how our mission partners are responding – Tearfund overseas and the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS) in the UK. Here’s a videoabout Tearfund’s response to the current crisis.  CPAS have had to cancel all their summer camps for young people, which has been hugely expensive; they estimate that the pandemic will cost them about £350,000 in total.  The PCC will discuss on Monday how we might respond as a church family.
  • 10 of Those, our friendly book people, are enormously grateful to everyone who has paid in advance for books they will buy later in the year.  This has enabled them to restart evangelistic projects that they had had to put on hold.  Watch a ‘thank you’ video from Jonathan Carswell here (although you might need a Facebook account).

Jamie (who is busy with Grid and Shine, both online, as well as looking after his friend Harry) and Tim (whose excellent website continues to grow, heading towards 6,000 visitors) join me in sending you greetings in our risen Lord.

John