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What has been happening in the Parish?

During the last 3 weeks a number of changes have occurred in the parish.

Priorities

Look after ourselves

At this time all of our first priorities is to look after ourselves and others – if we do not we may unwittingly spread the virus.

Look after others

We also need to look after others.  Many in the congregations will be over 70 or have preexisting conditions which mean that they have to self isolate, but even when self isolating we can look after others – and neither we or they have to be churchgoers to do it: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/04/elderly-people-in-uk-set-up-support-networks-to-tackle-coronavirus.  We can also look after others by helping with shopping, or collecting prescriptions.  Farnham is organising this well: https://badshotleaandhale.org/2020/03/26/farnham-and-villages-helpline/, and there is no need for the churches to set up in competition, so if you have the time and are able, please consider joining in with that.

Wendy is building up a list of who is in contact with whom, so that we can identify anyone missed out.

Stella is acting as a contact for those who need help or are offering it, although this should be moving to the helpline as they are better resourced to manage this.

Worship

We are looking at ways to replace our worship.  A pattern is developing, and more will be done on this.

Things that have happened

The Standing Committee + Stella and Wendy are meeting Weekly to review the mountains of advice which is coming at us from the government, the national church and the diocese.

Our buildings are closed, but they are being inspected from the outside daily during someone’s daily exercise; from the inside weekly during someone’s daily exercise; and people who live locally have been asked to keep an eye out for anything unusual happening around them.

Alan & Lesley have both had the coronavirus (self diagnosed) since 16th March and have been self isolating, although neither of us has had breathing difficulties.  Alan is recovering and has been able to do a lot on the web; Lesley has got better, but is less able to do anything, and hasn’t answered many emails.

Image by Santiago Lacarta from Pixabay

Starting a Course

Whilst some of us are busy working, looking after children and struggling to get by, others may be climbing the walls with too little to do.

Would anyone like to take part in a virtual house group after Easter?  Or would anyone like to run a virtual house group after Easter?

Please let me know if you are interested, and if so which days/times of day you could make, and which course(s) you are interested in.

There are numerous courses becoming available:

https://www.uspg.org.uk/resources/study/

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/the-bible-course/?source_code=92713_t1&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2020-04-03%20%20Newsletter%20%20Stream%20The%20Bible%20Course%20online&utm_content=2020-04-03%20%20Newsletter%20%20Stream%20The%20Bible%20Course%20online+CID_c0c7183c2527aab33bba70648aaaa9d5&utm_source=Campaign%20Monitor&utm_term=The%20Bible%20Course

Greenbelt have recordings of many of their talks over the years: https://www.greenbelt.org.uk/talks-archive/.  We could listen to one of these and the meet virtually to discuss what we have heard.

I may add further courses as they become available!

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

 

Holy Week

During Holy Week this year you might like to watch one of these.  The first link starts a new tab in your browser in full screen, the pictures play as they are.

In addition we will be posting services at 6:00pm Mon-Thur evenings.

Mon-Wed they will be Compline, with a meditation and silence.

Thursday it will be similar to a Sunday post.

We will also post at 9:00 and 12:00 on Good Friday and 6:00 on Holy Saturday and 9:00 on Easter Day.

Jesus of Nazareth

This is 6 hours long, but with YouTube you can remember where you stopped and then go forwards to that point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=50IiF1rTTGQ

BBC’s The Passion

First Broadcast a few years ago it is in two parts, both around 1:15.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=zIPib0mGN4E

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=zxGp7e5LgXU

Here are someone else’s ideas for Holy Week: https://www.pickingapplesofgold.com/holy-week-reflections-resource

Also, you might like to do something creative; I would like to put up a collection of other material from yourselves. I have already received a poem and some photos of nature. If you would like to write something, make something, photograph or video something you have made and send it to me please do. Instructions on how to get it to me can be found here: https://badshotleaandhale.org/2020/03/29/future-services/

Launde Abbey are offering a free online Holy Week Retreat.  Details here: https://laundeabbey.org.uk/laundeathome/holy-week-2020/

How to use Teams Video Conferencing

When you are joining a “Teams” meeting you will get an email with a link to the meeting looking something like this:

Teams Email

You should click on the link to the Teams Meeting and then the screen at the top of the page will appear in your browser.

You have a choice as to which of the three options you should take; unless you have a badshotleaandhale.org email address the bottom one is ruled out.  You can then continue to use your browser (the top option, and easiest) or download the Windows application.  This will take a little longer, but will then perform better (they say).

Once you have done this, you will be prompted to type your name and “Join as a Guest”, which you click on, and then to “Join Now” – click on that button.  You may be prompted to allow your microphone and video to transmit.

At the end of the meeting, hover your mouse over the picture and click the red telephone to leave.

If you are using a phone then you need to download the Microsoft Teams App from the appropriate store.

Future Services

Many of you will have seen the service for 29th March.  For future services I would like to enable more people to contribute.  So…

If you have only a telephone with no special features …

Alan can record any comments you would like to make over the phone.  Please call the Rectory and arrange a time to do this.  It will involve calling Alan on his mobile – and a number will be provided to do this.

If you have a smartphone/computer with camera and microphone

Worship has developed over the years into the form that it has, but now we are temporarily unable to meet there are other ways to express our faith.

Please let me know whether you would like a live service that lots of people can join and join in.  Unfortunately we don’t think the technology is up to this for large numbers.  We are however experimenting with smaller numbers.

If you would like to record a video or sound; make something and take a picture of it; write some prose; share something you found on the web – whatever you have found that has fed you spiritually; please send it to Alan to pull it together.  With Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter coming up I am sure we could create a cornucopia of material for others to enjoy.

Large files can be sent to Alan via https://www.filemail.com/

If you don’t know how to use the computer to do this

  1. Click on the magnifying glass at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. Search for Camera
  3. Click on the Camera App option
  4. Click on the Video button on the right hand side of the screen so that it is white.
  5. Click on it again to start videoing
  6. Click the red square to stop videoing.
  7. Open File Explorer and then Camera Roll – you should find the video you have recorded there.
  8. Use FileMail or PCloud (works better on mobiles) to select a video and send it to Alan.

Using a mobile/tablet

  1. Record the video – turn your device to landscape mode – it gives a bigger picture.
  2. Use PCloud to select the video and send it to Alan.

I look forwards to receiving lots of material.

Sunday Worship

I am not going to stream a service.  Instead I will curate (not as in a curate) one, picking bits and pieces from all over the place!  The links are all to YouTube and they will open in another window.  Close that window to return here.  Some videos have adverts, but there is usually a button at the bottom right that will skip them after about 5 seconds.

Other services do exist!  the Church of England among others.

Sunday 29th March 2020

Before the Service

Opening Hymn

Welcome

Confession

Gloria

Collect

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

OR

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Readings

Hymn

Gospel Reading

John 11:1-45  – Alan or Rachel

Sermons

I’m afraid you can have lots of these!

Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

Intercessions

Peace

Hymn

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Hymn

Notices

Please send feedback on this service to Alan.  Also, it is possible that we could hold a live service that anyone with a computer with a camera and microphone can join in along with everyone else.   Is this something that you are interested in doing?  Please email Alan.

Blessing

Hymn

I hope you enjoyed this.  If you would like to take part in a future service by contributing a clip, please let Alan know.  I am trying to follow the rota, but of course there isn’t one for St Mark’s, and not everyone on the rota has the ability to record a video.

  • IMG-20200328-WA0009

Thought for the Day

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.  Mark 8:35

 When I preach I usually preach on the Gospel set for the day, but today I feel called to preach on this passage.

This week has seen a remarkable transformation in our country, and in other countries around the world.  At the start of the week most things were happening pretty much as normal.  Then things changed rapidly.

On Monday Lesley and I felt ill, and have self diagnosed with Covid-19 (with current advice no one else is going to do so) and are now self isolating.

On Friday two of the boys came home from uni, so we will be self isolating for 14 days from then (unless the advice changes again).

By Friday most things were shut down.

And yet…

  • We read about young people partying because they have no reason to be scared of it (not strictly true – but perceptions matter) .
  • The Blitz Spirit is invoked, as though standing up to the virus is similar to standing up to bombing.
  • People with second homes away from the cities are going to stay there, where the risk of infection is perhaps lower, but perhaps the risk of overloading the NHS should the virus spread in those areas (the risk being higher now that lots of people from many different places are moving in).

What do all these have in common?  It is people looking at the situation from only one perspective.

My take on today’s reading is that Jesus is telling us that acting on our own selfish wants is not the way to live a fulfilling life.

It will depend on your definition of “the Gospel”, but I believe that the Good News that Jesus is calling us to is “Life in all its fulness“, and that this is achieved by working towards the Kingdom of God, which is working towards making this world the way that God wants it to be.

As a country and a world we have been becoming more and more insular: believing that we control our own destiny.  Death is something which is seen as unnatural for people under 70 (or perhaps older) and has become something we don’t talk about (perhaps we should – note the date of the article – factual information may be out of date).  Yet only a century ago the Spanish Flu killed between 17-50 million people; the two world wars killed about 20 million and 75 million respectively.  Before the creation of the NHS 6% of children were expected to die before they were 1.

For most of history we have known that life was precarious, and that we rely on each other.  We have also known that employment could be precarious, until the rise of the unions, and as their influence wanes we are discovering it again.

And yet this myth persists that we are in charge of our own destiny.  This myth leads us away from the Kingdom of God, where we care for each other.

John Donne wrote: No man is an island, and during this pandemic we seem to be rediscovering this, and rediscovering the Kingdom of God (to be clear, I am not saying that God sent the virus so that this would happen, but when things do happen God can find some good in them, however  bad they may be, as well as comforting those who are suffering).  Let us pray that that sense of the Kingdom of God lasts beyond the current pandemic.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Nicodemus

The reading for this Sunday is about Nicodemus– and yet it is also very tempting to preach on the last two verses!  However, I am going to resist and look at Nicodemus.

Nicodemus was an influential religious man, he belonged to the Sanhedrin, which met every day in Jerusalem.  And yet he appeared not to understand metaphor!  Or chose not to.  The word translated “from above” can also be translated “again” – an interesting aside is when Christians ask if you have been born again, do they mean from above?

The imagery of being born again was common at the time in both Jewish and Gentile culture – it was used for Jewish converts (two sources I have disagree about this!) and for various mystery religions.

It perhaps becomes obvious which Jesus meant when he goes on to talk about being born of the spirit (the aside about the wind would have come about because in both Hebrew and Greek the word for wind and spirit is the same), and the similarity of the two is that they are both only visible by the impact that they have.

So, to paraphrase, Nicodemus goes to see Jesus at night (never a good sign in John’s Gospel which frequently compares light and dark, day and night) and says that “we” recognise your signs as coming from God – but when Jesus tells him that he must be born from above, to be born of the spirit, he wavers.

Of course it is also possible that he was fully aware of what Jesus was saying to him, but was unwilling to take the steps required and was replying in kind – a kind of verbal tennis.

The question then becomes “what about us?”.  Are we willing to be born from above – to change our lives?

There are long arguments in Christianity about which beliefs are “orthodox” – leading to excommunication for those who do not conform – but in this passage Jesus appears to more interested in “orthopraxy” – right practice.  At least with this we can try to do the right thing.  I know of no way to force myself to change my mind if I don’t believe something, but I can make myself do things.

So – the last two verses!  I couldn’t resist.

John 3:16 is perhaps the most quoted verse in the Bible – it used to make a regular appearance in the crowd at sporting events, but how was it being used?  To me it felt as though it was being used to mean: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who does not believes in him may not perish but may not have eternal life”.  And yet the following verse suggests to me that this is far from God trying to catch people out, but trying to help us.

Now surely that is a God worth believing in – and a God worth responding to.