Clive’s Covid 19 Letter No 15

Hi All

I never imagined back in March that I would be writing my 15 weekly letter to you all! But the time has gone quickly.

While the lockdown was sudden, the “breakout” to normal will be very gradual indeed.

Things, though, will not return to normal; some things will change, like more working from home and less commuting.

This week must have been good for those of you living on your own as you were “let out” to form a bubble with two other people. Who did you choose? Did you go for family who are afar or friends who are local?

Or is there no one you felt able to ask? That ought not to be. So do get in touch with Janet Waldock as she may well, with your permission, be able to link you up. Similarly, if you are in a position to help in this way do make Janet aware, even if you are “bubbled” already and can only offer a chat on the phone or talk over the garden fence.

This week’s teaching from the Acts of the Apostles sees the Counterattack against the newfound church.

Two different tactics: diversion and a head on frontal assault are employed, each one simply different ways of trying to stop the spread of the Christian Gospel.

But what was the outcome? Listen in on Sunday.

Diversion is subtle: you end up doing something worthy but not enough time to spread the Gospel.

Assault is brutal: in the talk I mention two recent examples of martyrdom.

The first is from Iran, shortly after the Revolution, which toppled the Shah and installed the Ayatollahs in 1979.

Bahram Dehqani Tafti I knew at university, and his father was the Anglican Bishop of Iran.

His parents and the rest of the family left Iran in 1980 after an assassination attempt on Bishop Hasan’s life. They lived in Basingstoke for many years in exile. Bahram stayed on but was murdered, simply for being a Christian, by Muslim extremists.

The Church in Iran has been growing in recent years and is now estimated to number around 800,000 almost 1% of the population.


My other example is from Turkey.

Folk from St Mary’s have also had contact with Turkish churches one of which experienced this awful murder of three Christians who ran a Christian bookshop.


As you know we try to run a Christianity Explored group at least each term. You know the folk who lead it, but you might not be familiar with the material they use. Well here’s a link to something Rico Tice, creator of Christianity Explored and Associate Minister of All Souls Langham Place in London, has put together. It is about 10 minutes and features an All Soul’s member, a paramedic, who lost his life to Covid 19.

While you are there have a search of their website to get a glimpse of what a course looks like. I hope it will give you even greater reassurance that you can confidently introduce a Christianity Explored course to a friend, family member or colleague.

Sorry if you one of those without internet access.

We were heartened by the responses to our survey last week.

Here is a reminder for members to respond to a questionnaire with just 5 questions. You don’t have to answer them all, and it is up to you how much you write. Everyone has been anonymous but it’s fun trying to guess who someone might be! Think I’ve got about 5 right! Unique details are big clues if I know them too. We would, though, like to hear from some more of you, so we will leave it up for another week.

Here is the link: to send you to the form to fill in. Thank you.

And, this coming Sunday, Cara Hill will be interviewing some of our uni students for whom the last term must have been disappointing. How have they coped?

While M&M unfortunately won’t be meeting physically this year, we have received a video from Will Eley, remember him? He will be letting us know about Virtual M&M.

So do stay on after the closing prayer for five minutes or so to hear from them before we have a 10-minute break and meet up for a zoom virtual coffee time.

Finally, do please pray for the following from among many worthy things you could pray for:

  • Friends & family in Basingstoke who might be open to joining our online Christianity Explored course starting in June with Colin & Chrissie Barton, Emma Hayes & Andy Beckwith. It got off to a good start.
  • And those who have encountered losses and difficulties during lockdown.
  • Our thought and prayers are with Yvonne Hedgecock and family following the death of Yvonne’s father, Fred Gainey, last weekend. We pray that Yvonne and her siblings, Nigel and Caroline, would know the Lord’s comfort at this difficult time.
  • Kieran with his parents, Nigel & Flora Smith, is having his proton beam therapy in Manchester.
  • And it would be good to be able to conduct weddings again, even with limited attendance.
  • All the things you know are going on.
  •  Do use the Notices to inform your prayers.
  • Wednesday 8-9pm is our well supported prayer meeting with 60 or so logging in. Do join us, a separate email will be sent to all on our emailing list.

May our LORD be with you.


Instructions for joining: the children’s programme, the service on our website and You Tube and zoom codes for virtual coffee which starts 10 minutes after the service & adverts for Christianity Explored.

Online Service, 10am:
Children’s Group, from 9.30am:
Virtual Tea & Coffee, 10 minutes after the service ends: Contact us for Zoom details.

Other ways to join

Listen to the service by phone: 01256830011 (press 5 to pause, 4/6 to skip back/forward) Charged as a regular landline number according to your phone plan.

Keep in touch on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter too.

Survey link: to send you to the form to fill in. Thank you very much.

Lockdown Survey-hardcopy post to Survey, St Mary’s Church, Eastrop, Basingstoke RG21 3DW

St Mary’s lockdown survey - 5 quick questions-please respond.

  1. In lockdown, what in your life has been especially hard for you?
  2. In lockdown, what in your life have you been especially grateful for?
  3. What have we done as a church that has been helpful?
  4. What could we do as a church to be more helpful?
  5. As we think about the easing of lockdown restrictions, what are your hopes and fears for our life together as a church?

Published 19/06/2020, 12:05

Previous All