Updated 24/05/2020, 09:50
We will join together on Sunday morning at 10am for an online service together.
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.
An 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).
In order to maintain our cohesion, community, and communication as a church, we'll be using various bits of technology. This page will have helpful information on how to use it, including videos showing how to set up and use Zoom which is what we're going to use for many of our group meetings.
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.
I trust this finds you well, though apparently 70% of us who get the virus don’t have any symptoms. Yet 37,837 have reportedly died with it, in the UK (27/05/20).
In May an average of 133,000 people at any given time had Covid 19, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Although we are beginning to be "let out" Covid 19 is still around. The number of new infections each week is 54,000 meaning 1 in 1000 people will be infected every seven days. Daniel Altman, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London said, "This means that, on average, every time you’re in a crowd of 400 to 500 people...one person may be unknowingly shedding virus. You may want to keep some distance in case they’re the one right next to you."
So it doesn’t look like we will all be meeting together soon!
When we are we will all have to keep our distance, though I suspect some of us may take the role of late adopters while others might be a bit to laissez-faire. We are though beginning to give some thought to the practicalities so we are ready when the time comes.
Attached to this letter you will find the following, which will enable you to access and take part in Sunday’s service:
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: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/online-service
Children’s Group, from 9.30am: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/childrens-group
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.
Downloads to take part are on the service page: Song sheet with sermon outline; Psalm 95 which we will comment on and read at the start of the service as Christians have done since the 4th century and; our Notices.
I also attach the House Group leaders’ Bible study notes on last week’s passage Acts 2:42-47. The passage is vitally important for a whole lot of issues, not least on what a Christian church should be like. Use it to help us achieve that goal and should you ever be thinking of moving and need to find a new church.
Finally do please pray for the following from among many worthy things you could pray for:
Your 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.
Funerals this week of David Pawson (aged 90) on Tuesday (Clive), Roy Holland a parishioner (aged 83) also on Tuesday (Rob) and Bobby Steed (aged 76) on Friday (Clive).
The Church of England as a whole (and this is likely to be true of most other church groupings including newer expressions as well) as this Covid19 will expose weaknesses and may force change for the better.
For example too much of its income is from cash collections, fetes, premises rental and Church Commissioners’ subsidies and too much of its expenditure is spent with unnecessary replication in 43 dioceses when some rationalisation is needed. This is neither the way to fund the church nor spend its resources to achieve Christ’s mission for it.
When I was 24 years old and with just over a year in NHS Management I was left as the most senior manager to run a District General Hospital, that should alarm you if it were not 42 years ago! It was the time of a great snow storm which cut Dorchester, the County Town of Dorset, off for over a week. An obstetrics consultant had to ski from the hospital on the first night to deliver a baby and the hospital had to be dug out by troops from the 17/21 Lancers, a tank regiment from Bovingdon. I’d been at university with one of their equally young officers and called in a favour but in the snow drifts they had not seen the cars buried in the snow. When the snow melted the effects of their half trucks, with their caterpillar tracks, could be seen; a trail of many crushed cars! Meanwhile my two bosses, stuck in their villages, were very supportive and under normal circumstances had some essential managerial and co-ordinating roles to perform, but there was nothing they could do. Only those staff on site could do anything.
Similarly in a commercial partnership only the fee earners, not the support staff, generate income for the firm.
The Church of England has tried to be run managerially, away from the parishes for the last forty years. We do need some professional support services like safeguarding, church buildings, HR, financial and legal governance.
But only local churches can add people to the church and it is having vital, faithful, strong local churches all across the country that will enable us to see an up turn in the Church’s mission to reach the world with the renovating message of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Achieved by Christ on the cross, evidenced by Christ through his resurrection from the dead, commissioned by Christ at the Ascension, equipped by Christ at Pentecost and with the outcome, that we can be accepted into partnership with the eternal community of love, God the Holy Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit).
As I have written previously; God’s work, done God’s way never lacks resources. The first two are essential for God to deliver on the third. May be the virus can help churches reflect and revise on their work and their ways and achieve greater conformity to God’s?
Take care as you are released a little on Monday.
May our LORD be with you.
PS Thank you for all the feedback. I try and reply to most and it’s good to know all our efforts are not going down some void or great black hole!
Published 29/05/2020, 16:40