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Lifting your spirits

Peter Smith and I have been talking and we're planning various series of things to think about, to help lift you out of worry and sadness. Easier said than done, I know, but what we need is focus, purpose, routine and hope. All these can be found, of course, in our Christian pattern of life, and in our Lord Jesus Christ himself, but when things are as challenging as they are right now, finding that purpose and hope can be hard. I hope these regular newsletters help.

So ... for the next few days we're going to be thinking about Psalm 23, the most wondrous psalm of comfort and hope.

You will have heard, sung or said these words many times before, but just read each verse slowly now, pause between each one and let the words sink deeply into your soul.

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you art with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. 
Which words in the psalm mean the most to you?

Which words comfort you the most?

Which bring you the most hope?

Can you say why?
The Bible Society

... is running a wonderful project this year ... the creation of a Psalm 23 garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. Here's an introduction to it with more to follow in the next newsletter. (Click on the picture)
We can't know now, whether or not the garden will happen this year, but the hope remains, and it will surely happen at some time.

I wondered if perhaps you could create your own Psalm 23 garden - not on the same scale, unless you're feeling really ambitious, but maybe in a seed tray or something. Turn your worries into a project of hope. If you do, send a photo so we can show everyone!
He will hold me fast

A song of comfort. Feat. Selah. (Click on the picture)

Changing Church

Sadly, the church building is now closed. I am not even allowed to go in there on my own.

BUT ... 
I will be saying Morning Prayer at 8.30am every day as usual, and Evening Prayer at 5pm.

If you would like to join in with me, you can find both these on the Church of England's Daily Prayer page.

If you have a desktop, tablet or phone with camera and/or microphone and would like to join an online group to say Morning and Evening Prayer together, just let me know.
Canon Brian Stevenson recommends Choral Evensong on Radio 3 at 3.30pm today. It is  from The Temple Church in London. He was there when it was recorded. He says he kept quiet apart from the creed!
In our prayers today

Let's remember Sharon Stigle and all the others in our parish who go to work everyday on the front line in doctors' surgeries, medical centres and hospitals.

A prayer before going to sleep

God our Father, by whose mercy
the world turns safely into darkness and returns again to light:
we place in your hands our unfinished tasks,
our unsolved problems, and our unfulfilled hopes,
knowing that only what you bless will prosper.
To your love and protection
we commit each other and all those we love,
knowing that you alone are our sure defender,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Church of South India

Phone support

So - the building's not open but our pastoral work continues in that there is a wonderful team of people in regular touch by phone with some of the isolated, elderly or vulnerable. If you or anyone else you know would appreciate a regular call, please contact Janet, 01622 710083, and she will arrange for someone to keep in touch.
Alternative worship resources
Included again for reference
There are many online, TV and radio resources for worship and prayer. Here are some of them:
  • New Sunday Morning TV Service: initially led by The Archbishop of Canterbury. The service, including prayers, hymns and a short sermon, will be broadcast online by the Church of England and broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship and 39 local BBC radio stations this Sunday as congregations across the country find new ways of sharing worship together after public church services were put on hold. The service will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship at 0810 and all local radio stations in England at 8am and will premier online at 9am on Sunday. Like the Church of England’s Facebook page to be notified about the upcoming broadcast.
  • Choral Evensong: sung evening prayer, usually with an anthem, in a Cathedral style. BBC Radio 3 Wed 3:30pm Repeated Sunday 3pm 92 — 95 FM and DAB Digital Radio.
  • Sunday Worship: Radio broadcast of worship from a church; the closest to "a normal Sunday service" BBC Radio 4 8.10am Sunday 103 — 104 FM and DAB Digital Radio.
  • Daily Service; a 15min service of music, prayers and scripture BBC Radio 4 Long Wave or Radio 4 Extra 09:45 Mon — Saturday Long Wave: 198 or to get Radio 4 Extra on DAB: After tuning to Radio 4 DAB, select "Daily Service" (from your display, shortly before it is due to start) with the tuning wheel and press the selector button.
  • Songs of Praise. A religious magazine TV programme; interviews, prayers and hymns/songs. Words appear on the screen so you can join in singing. BBC One, (TV) usually 1:15pm.
  • #LiveLent: Care for God's Creation: The Church of England's Lent campaign for 2020. With weekly themes shaped around the first Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. This daily audio content is available via the app and daily emails. Sign up for free.
  • Time to Pray app - everything you need for Prayer During the Day, with variations according to the day of the week and the season of the Church’s year. Download for free.
  • The BBC's Daily Service and Sunday Worship - radio programmes will be using some of the themes from #LiveLent as part of their broadcasts.
  • Prayer for the day - each day the Church of England publishes audio and text of the Prayer for the Day.
  • Smart speakers – daily prayer and #LiveLent audio content can be accessed via our smart speaker apps.
  • Live streaming services - users can watch live streams of services from a range of churches.
Keep up to date - Changing Church on St. Peter and St. Paul's website

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