Updated 07/08/2020, 15:15
From Sunday 26th July we will livestream a service from the church at 10am. Many of us will continue to join in with church from home, but some will be able to attend in person. There will be a number of restrictions and to maintain social distancing we are asking you to book if you would like to attend.
We've made a short video to give an idea of what it will be like to come to a service:
After the service has finished it will be available to watch back for a week.
You can also watch the service by searching for St Mary’s Basingstoke on YouTube—this might be helpful if you want to watch it on a smart TV.
For those attending in person there will be an opportunity for children (aged 4-10) to watch the online children's group in the hall with leaders present and with some extra socially distanced activities. Sadly due to the restrictions, children younger than this will have to be cared for by their parents, but we are hoping to stream the service to the crèche room for a limited number.
For those at home the online children’s group will be available to view from 9.30am at www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/childrens-group.
It lasts for about 30 minutes, so you could play the video for your children during the sermon, or later in the day at your convenience.
The sermon will also be available as audio only in the normal places (www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/sermons or as a podcast).
All other church meetings and groups are continuing to meet online, many using Zoom. This page will has helpful information on how to use Zoom.
The current crisis may have prompted some questions about where God and Christianity fits into everything that's going on, so we've collected some resources that might be helpful. Do contact us if you have any questions or would like to find out more.
Christianity Explored is a relaxed and informal way of sharing the best news you can ever hear, and gives people space and time to think about the big questions of life.
Over seven sessions in Mark's Gospel, guests find out more about the life of the person at the heart of the Christian faith—Jesus Christ.
In June we'll be running this course online using Zoom.
Where is God in a Coronavirus World?
Professor John Lennox has written a short book exploring how belief in a loving and sovereign God helps us to make sense of and cope with the coronavirus outbreak. It's avaliable for under £3 and even less for an ebook version at The Good Book Company or 10ofthose.
He gave an interview about why he wrote the book and explaining some of its topics which you can watch below:
Look for Hope
lookforhope.org has a great collection of articles and videos addressing different aspects of our experience as we live in lockdown and battle Covid-19, and aim to help you find hope during these difficult days. It is curated by a former Assistant Minister at St Mary's, Tim Dennis, who now works in Winklebury & Worting.
One morning I found Cathy tuning into the Madness & Mayhem summer camp. They weren’t able to meet up in person but the three age groups moved online for the week.
The provision seems to have a number of otherwise responsible adults: teachers, even head teachers, doctors, engineers, social workers, students, members of the clergy regressing into childhood for the week. It was hilarious, incredibly creative with hi tech support and great fun for all the kids and teens. The talk I saw from Ben Robinson was very good indeed, on Luke 1:1-4, even his daughter Orla got in on the act, and his wife Courtney too.
Actually there were loads of adults now approaching 40 who some of us remember as teenagers 30 years ago. They had surnames, or still have them; of Bowskill, Webster, Lambert. Others a little younger; de Mars, Williams, Robinson, Payne, Kirsch, Eley, Hawkins, Freeman, Kilgour, Stockwell and some just in their twenties Sweet, Chedgey….I could go on but only saw one episode. Behind it all oozing wisdom, experience, gravitas and skill, Neil & Sarah Barber and Colin Barton doing the deals.
The kids love it and it has helped many of them come to faith in Christ, and they have now clocked up a good fews years of faithful discipleship. As it says in Acts, “the Lord’s hand was with them”. Something which Neil & Sarah started back in the last century, then spread to Derby when he became vicar there, which then spread to other churches as ex St Mary’s members introduced kids in their churches to the joys & delights of M&M.
Wonderful. Do take a look. It is great fun, but they are faithful to the Gospel which converted many of us in our teenage years. Image is important and changes with time, but substance should never change.
Shifting to the other end of the age range we ought to remember those who were with us at the start of the Covid lockdown but passed on to heaven during our absence from our physical church services: Bryan Chare, Isobel Rolfe, Bobbly Steed & David Pawson. We thank the LORD for their time with us (over thirty years in all cases as Bryan & Katrina visited us for 20 years before they moved here!) and pray for the loss they are to their families.
So, do join us in person if you can in the rest of August as we do have safe space, and with two entries and two exits this week, arrivals don’t need to start coming until 9:40 onwards. Masks are now compulsory but those who lead, read, pray & teach are allowed to remove them when at a great distance on the dais.
Those who have returned to physical church have enjoyed seeing people again and its possible to safely chat at a distance in the churchyard, car park or go for a walk in the park with a friend or two after church. Yes, it is wierd and a bit frustrating not singing but we sing along in our heads and tap with our feet. So do sign up when the invite goes out on Tuesdays, it’s well worth it.
This Sunday we will be looking at Acts 12, a passage which in 38 years of ordained ministry, with 34 of them at St Mary’s, I’ve never ever preached on before.
Try and read the chapter before you join and try reflecting on why James is killed and Peter released. Both were Apostles, both were part of the Lord’s inner circle with John, who saw the Transfigured Christ and the Risen Christ. So why does God let one die and the other not?
The answer will be given us in heaven. It is a mystery. Something God knows but has chosen not to reveal to us yet.
The passage also flags up the worst sin in God’s eyes. You should find that easily!
May the LORD be with you.
Services and groups for Sunday 9 August
Livestreamed Service, Sunday 10am: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/online-service
(Other ways to join: youtube.com/StMarysBasingstoke | Listen by phone: 01256830011 (charged as a regular landline number according to your phone plan.)
Children's Group, from 9.30am: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/childrens-group
Virtual tea and coffee, from 15 minutes after the service and notices end: Contact us for Zoom details.
Coming up this week
Sunday, 9 August
09:30am Online Children's Group
10:00am Livestreamed Service
15 minutes after service Virtual Coffee on Zoom
7:00pm Sundays@7 on Zoom
8:30pm Connect on Zoom
Published 07/08/2020, 12:45