Coronavirus Response

Updated 28/03/2020, 15:20

We will join together on Sunday morning at 10am for an online service together. 

Before 10am on Sunday (the earlier the better), go to www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/online-service and click the red play button ▶︎.
You can click the button in the bottom right of the video to make it full screen.
The service will then start playing at 10am.
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.

We’re sorry if you had problems with the website last week. Work has been going on to improve it for this week, but if you have difficulties you can also view the service on YouTube.

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.

Letters from Clive

Latest

Letter 1, 17/03/2020
Letter 2, 21/03/2020
Letter 3, 28/03/2020

Letter 3 from Clive

Hi All

I trust this finds you well and coping with this lockdown and very restricted movement.

The nearest most of us have experienced to anything like this has been the 1 in 20 years heavy snowfall, which brings the country to a halt when many opt to batten down the hatches and shut up shop, but only for a week or two at the most.

We have heard different expectations as to how this pandemic in the UK is likely to pan out.

Professor Sir David John Spiegelhalter, a distinguished Cambridge Professor of Statistics, explained earlier in the week the possible trajectory of the spread of the virus, based on Italian experience, as a doubling of deaths every three or four days.

This was picked up on the BBC One Show on Monday or Tuesday and sounded alarming. Dr Sarah Jarvis reminded viewers of the UK death rate from the virus.

18 days ago,                  1
13 days ago,              100
3 days later,              200
3 days after that      400 

That being the case, Dr Jarvis was saying, that at that rate that would be 70,000 deaths in two weeks & 80,000 in four weeks!

A couple of days later the number of reported deaths was much lower, but by Friday it was 759.

Of course, it takes a while for the benefits of the lockdown to be seen and the Imperial College London statisticians are now suggesting that the “excess deaths” may be in the region of 6000. The Chief Advisers were earlier thinking of “excess deaths” in the region of 20,000.

Anecdotally we hear of army reservists being called up to create “field hospitals” in the Midlands and elsewhere, and hospitals discharging as many patients as possible to be ready for “the suspected onslaught”.

Many NHS staff are flat out. “Difficult times” & “May God help us!” were just two of the replies I got on Thursday evening after sending out a big clap on our behalf as a church community to the 19 NHS staff & the 8 other health & care workers who are members of St Mary’s (and it’s possible I missed a few as we don’t record such information other than in my memory!)

Many others of you, in other public services and jobs where interface with the public carries on, are also to be saluted. Thank you.

At times like this we listen to the most authoritative scientific voices and are steered in our thoughts by that advice and secure in the biblical and historical knowledge that God is in charge.

Tim Keller, who has suffered from cancer, was asked, “How is the Bible’s teaching on suffering profoundly realistic and yet astonishingly hopeful?”

“It’s profoundly realistic because it tells us suffering is inevitable. No one escapes it. We shouldn’t be surprised and shocked by it. The Bible is terribly matter-of-fact about the reality that the world is filled with misery. Yet it offers not merely a spiritual afterlife but the hope of a renewed creation, the resurrection, and a material world wiped clean of decay and suffering and death. No other religion promises such a thing.

The Bible presents God’s relationship to suffering as both “stronger” and “weaker,” as it were, than does any other religion. On the one hand, God is absolutely sovereign over suffering. It’s never out of his control. It’s always part of his plan. On the other hand, God has come into the world himself and actually suffered with us. No other religion says that God is both a sovereign and a suffering God. This is the theological foundation for why Christians can be so realistic and yet so hopeful about suffering at the same time.”

Doubtless some of you may have bumped into (not literally) each other while out walking this week. Some of you for whom the word ZOOM was associated with a lolly or a comic from childhood will have become expert in the use of this piece of very valuable kit if you have linked into Connect, Focus, HGs, Engage & Unite this week.

The Youth Group now think their leaders are “cool” embracing such technology. Mind you getting up close to one’s computer screen reminds one of the ageing process. One member explained how I could stretch back my facial flesh and use a big bulldog clip on the back of my neck to get a more telegenic look. Thoughtful of him but I’ll stick to the rough and rugged look I’ve always had!

I dare say more internet traffic between members has been great for mutual support, helping relationship adhesion and may be even Gospel opportunities, as people are prompted by events to ask more fundamental questions about life.

In April we will be broadcasting, God willing, services and a children’s programme for:

April 5
April 10 Good Friday
April 12 Easter Sunday
April 19
April 26

These will be recorded and available at the usual times (9:30am & 10am).

HGs are scheduled to meet on 1, 15 and now 29 (the APCM has been postponed to the autumn most likely).

We are investigating how best to pray. It has been good to hear that some HGs have ZOOMED in together for virtual coffee and prayer after watching the Service last Sunday for example.

I attach an Order of Service, so you know what is coming when.

The Notices in which we give thanks for Sarah Payne’s wonderful service to the church family these last 11 years. She finishes on Tuesday. 

So all that you previously sent to her send to the Church Office 

Her role as PCC Secretary, you will know if you are a PCC member, is in Ruth Williamson’s hands.

If it is to do with the website, it’s Tim Furlong.

Speaking of Tim, we could not do this without him. He is our Top Techie and has worked exceptionally hard to help us move online as a community.

I also attach the Service Sheet which will enable you to join in with prayers, the Creed & songs. For health reasons we have not used a band or a team of techies this week but rather used links to songs available publicly.

Tim tells me that both Emu Music (We are his Kingdom) and Sovereign Grace Music (the other 3 songs) have given temporary permission to redistribute their songs in online services. He has therefore put the audio only for each song into our video, with just a title card displayed on screen. This is instead of clicking links to separate videos.

And here are his Instructions:

Before 10am on Sunday (the earlier the better—don't forget the clocks change!), go to www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/online-service and click the red play button ▶︎.
You can click the button in the bottom right of the video to make it full screen.
The service will then start playing at 10am.
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.

We’re sorry if you had problems with the website last week. Work has been going on to improve it for this week, but if you have difficulties you can also view the service at youtu.be/GqfRTiUcG78.

An online children's group will be available to view from 9.30am at www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/childrens-group (direct link: youtu.be/K6fuczjM540).
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).

May God be with you all. Clive

Published 28/03/2020, 14:45