0St Swithin’s ‘SWAT’ (St. sWithins Assistance Taskforce) team
The plan is for Life Groups to provide the main focus for supporting one another through this difficult time, but situations may arise that are outside the ability of Life Groups to cover alone. To that end we are looking to set up a pool of volunteers (the SWAT team) who are able to provide help as and when needed. This could be at different levels, such as:
Becs Armstrong and Alastair Gibson have agreed to be the point of contact for the SWAT team so please could you email or phone them to let them know if you would like to be part of the team – indicating the sort of support you would be able to provide. Contact details are as follows:
Becs: 07779 102165 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Alastair: 07767 202830 | email@example.com
This news sheet is a response to the unique times we are living in. As a diverse community, we are aware that some of us will be really struggling, whilst others will be seeing new opportunities open up. Either way, we are continuing to be a people of faith, prayer, love, generosity and hope in our city. We are a church family, a body united by Christ. And although our publicly gathered rhythm needs to adapt to the season, we are still renewing our trust in God, committed to loving one another and passionate about serving the world around us.
We have put together a web page with stories, thoughts, pictures and Bible passages shared by members of the church to encourage everyone in this season.
If you have any stories of encouragement or thoughts about what God might be saying to us in this season, please would you let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
with the subject heading ‘God Is Here’.
OPEN SPACE IS NOW POSTPONED
In light of current events our building is currently completely closed. We would love to have our space open for prayer and will let you know when that is possible.
In this season the church building is set up as a safe space to come in and be still and pray. It will be open from 9:15am - to 4:30pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. You can socially distance with some visual installations to help inspire us in our prayers.
You are invited to join us to be ‘As One at 10’ on Sunday morning... to continue to keep that time set aside for God in prayer, worship and by opening His word - with the whole church family - but to do so at home on your own, with your household, or wherever you happen to be. We want to stay and grow in our connection with one another during this time.
We have created a resource for ‘As One at 10’, which includes a recording of the reading and a short talk, as well as a few questions, some music and creative ways to respond and pray. You can find all the resources at www.stswithinswalcot.org.uk/talks .
Hopefully you will find it simple to follow, yet rich in substance. We encourage everyone to use this time to engage with God and find his strength, to hear His voice and to follow where He is leading.
You may want to wrestle with what comes up a bit more and we highly recommend talking to someone about it during the week, perhaps by picking up the phone and calling someone else from church, or by organising a communal electronic meeting with your Life Group. If you have any stories of encouragement or thoughts about what God might be saying to us in this season, please would you let us know by emailing email@example.com with the subject heading ‘God Is Here’.
The Beloved St Swithin’s Family
Thank You for taking time to read and listen and contribute to the life of St Swithin’s. The life of St Swithin’s is grown and enriched by all you give.
This first News Sheet is a response to the unique times that we are living in. In uncertain times we are continuing to be a people of faith, prayer, love, generosity and hope in our city. We are a church family, a diverse body united by Christ. And though our publically gathered rhythm of worship needs to adapt to the season, we are still renewing our trust in God, committed to love one another and passionate about serving the world around us.
We are in an exciting but challenging season of prayer. Pretty much every Christian meet would love to see their prayer life grow and develop.
If you are self-isolating and would like some help, please let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01225 789168 . We are aware that not everyone is online and we are working on ways to keep connected with everyone.
Please contact us if you have capacity to help others who are self-isolating at the moment.
In the city there are still lots of opportunities to serve, Genesis - http://genesistrust.org.uk - are still looking for help to support the vulnerable and homeless in the city, especially with the soup run and a network of voluntary organisations across Bath and NE Somerset who are looking for volunteers to help https://www.3sg.org.uk
Once again, if you require help of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Dear St Swithins friends
Grace, Mercy and Peace to you in the saving name of Jesus Christ.
If you’re reading this, please can I reassure you that I won’t be communicating as lengthily as this in the future. I am generally not a man who would chose 50 words where I think 1 suffices, but in the circumstances I hope you will appreciate the reasons why!
The shadow of Coronavirus
As Janet, James and I were praying on Wednesday morning, Janet reflected on the fact that the chandeliers in the building were casting a shadow on the floor of St Swithin’s that looked like the image of COVID-19. The shadow was dark and real, was affecting all of us, but it was still just a part of a much greater reality within the whole building.
At this time of crisis I would like to encourage you to reflect on what you think is the story of your life? What part does God have to play? Is your life defined by the shadow of Coronavirus? For some in our communities who have contracted the virus, who are literally suffering and dying, this may seem to be a true statement, but it’s not the whole truth, just a part truth. For two thousand years Christians have believed there is a bigger and more defining story than both our own suffering and the present circumstances of this world. The Christian story continues to be one of creation, fall, redemption and restoration. Persuading people that the fall is real and all encompassing is not difficult at this time (witness our approach to toilet rolls), helping people realise that redemption and restoration in and through Christ are available both now and eternally is still the opportunity for us.
So how do we live as God’s beloved in lockdown? Over the last few days many people have been sharing their own worries and concerns as well as concerns for other people in their families and communities. These concerns are real and painful and differ massively across a diverse community, but we have an amazing opportunity to walk lovingly and humbly with many people in this season. In my experience times of hardship and suffering have also been time of growth in which God has often done something new and beautiful. For those of you reading this unconvinced, maybe God will show us and teach us afresh what Paul says “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4. 11) and that a first step to that might be choosing to set our minds on things above and following Paul’s exhortation that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” (Philippians 4. 8)
One of my prayers for us in these testing and trying times is that as we renew our trust in Jesus Christ, God would come with fresh strength and fresh power that will help us shine brightly in both our words and actions.
If you have any stories of encouragement or thoughts about what God might be saying to us in this season, please would you let us know by emailing email@example.com with the subject heading ‘God Is Here’.
PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR FUTURE UPDATES FURTHER UP THE NEWS PAGE.
Here’s a latest update from everyone at St Swithin’s...
We want to respond to the coronavirus by being a people of prayer, love, generosity and hope in our city. We are a church family, a body united by Christ. And though our usual rhythm needs to adapt to the season, we are still committed to one another and to serving the world around us. We will do our best to make decisions that express God's love for everyone, which includes caring for one anothers' physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
All immediate and future plans and decisions are being prayerfully considered and we are closely monitoring and following advice from the UK Government, NHS and Church of England.
For now we can tell you that the following have sadly been cancelled...
- Easter Family Activity Morning
- Easter Film night
The Cafe will sadly be closed for now.
The following have been postponed
- The Lent Courses
- Renew Wellbeing
- Cafe Late
- Wednesday Prayer Meetings
We have more updates to make as in the next couple of days, so please keep an eye out for further information.
Please join us in praying for the local and global situation and for those particularly affected. If you have any questions, concerns, or have self-isolated please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01225 789168
PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR FUTURE UPDATES FURTHER UP THE NEWS PAGE.
Dear St Swithins friends
I don’t know about you, but it feels like we’re living in unique times of uncertainty, with health, financial and political instability all around us. When that’s the case it becomes very easy to be consumed by fear and anxiety about what the future looks like and how to live well in these difficult times.
Over two thousand years Christians across the globe, across different cultures, across different centuries have gathered in small and large numbers, to worship, pray, to read scripture and share communion together in all types of uncertain situations. Christians gather to affirm our faith and trust in God, thanking God for His saving grace, in the assurance that our future with God is secure. We believe that as we come into His presence, God renews us to live for God in each generation and that our lives are in God’s hands.
At the same time we are also called to live wisely, compassionately and responsibly in community. The Government and Diocese are issuing advise for us to consider and act on in the light of Coronavirus. In response to that, we are continuing to meet and worship together on Sundays, in communion we will simply break bread together, and we would encourage you not to feel guilty if you need to ‘self-isolate’. If you do ‘self-isolate’ it would be helpful to let the office know, so that we can make sure that people are still in contact with you (01225) 789168, email@example.com
If you require help of any kind, please don’t hesitate to contact us. But, please do pray and find some people to encourage and support at this time.
With every blessing in The Name of Christ, the highest Name (Phil 2. 9-11)
This year we are trialling “Lent Streams”. These will replace weekly Life Groups for these weeks in March, and everyone is encouraged to opt into one of the groups on offer – whether or not they are regular members of a Life Group.