Updated 12/07/2020, 10:20
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.
Dear church family,
“Why is Zoom not as good as real life?” It’s a question I have found myself asking over the last few months. Of course, I am thankful for the technology. I hate to think how the church would have fared if the pandemic happened 10 or 15 years ago when MSN Messenger and WAP felt cutting-edge. However, despite the internet’s great advances, something still feels lacking as I speak to a mosaic of two-dimensional faces. The essential components are there…the people, the voices, the faces, the bookcase backdrops. And yet, the experience lacks something. A feeling not dissimilar to consuming fast food or a microwave meal—I know I have eaten yet somehow feel that I have not been fed.
In the book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a German pastor who died at the hands of the Nazis in 1945) writes about the church. Of course, Bonhoeffer never lived to utter the immortal words, “you’re on mute…bottom left-hand corner…press unmute.” However, writing on the eve of the Second World War, he did find himself writing to a church that faced considerable threats to its regular gatherings. I found one of his remarks illuminated my Zoom experience:
"The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. Longingly the imprisoned apostle Paul calls “his dearly beloved son in the faith,” Timothy, to come to him in prison in the last days of his life; he would see him again and have him near. Paul has not forgotten the tears Timothy shed when they last parted (2 Tim 1:4). Remembering the congregation in Thessalonica, Paul prays “night and day … exceedingly that we might see your face” (1 The 3:10).”
"The believer feels no shame, as though he was still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians. Man was created a body, the Son of God appeared on earth in the body, he was raised in the body … the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected fellowship of God’s spiritual-physical creatures."
Bonhoeffer helpfully shows that the longing for the physical presence of others is one expressed in the pages of the NT. While letters were written between believers—and some letters they were—they were still no substitute for the flesh and blood of another. Bonhoeffer goes further though in rooting this desire in God himself. God has not created us as just souls, but people with bodies; nor was Jesus a spirit, but a real man who hungered and feel asleep on boats; nor do we face a future where our souls will drift into some ephemeral heavenly state but we will be raised like Jesus with a real body and a real world.
The flesh and blood reality of the bible is increasingly in contrast with the trends of our culture. We speak of people being “being trapped in a body” or imagine a future where one might be able to download their consciousness onto a server—an idea Elon Musk is apparently working on, alongside his plan to colonise the solar system(!). However, lockdown has taught us that the physical matters. God has not made us as consciousnesses on a hard drive or even faces on a screen but … people.
So while I will continue to enter my meeting ID and password, adjust my lighting and speak into the little eye at the top of my laptop screen before realising I am on mute, I also long for seeing others in all three dimensions and praise God that he has made it that way.
Returning to St Mary’s survey
On a related note, we are now turning our attention to the physical return to services. We understand there will be all sorts of feelings around returning to church for a variety of valid reasons. To help with our planning we would love to hear from you and your thoughts about a return. Therefore, can you complete this survey by the end of the weekend: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/reopening-survey
For the survey to be useful we need responses from almost everyone. It should only take a minute or so.
Services and groups
Online Service, Sunday 10am: www.stmarys-basingstoke.org.uk/online-service
(Other ways to join: youtube.com/StMarysBasingstoke | Listen by phone: 01256830011 (press 5 to pause, 4/6 to skip back/forward). 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 10 minutes after the service and notices end: Contact us for Zoom details.
Coming up this week
Sunday, 12 July
09:30am Online Children’s Groups
10:00am Online Church Service
10 minutes after service - Virtual Coffee on Zoom
5:45pm PACE! On Zoom
7:00pm Sundays@7 on Zoom
8:30pm Connect on Zoom
Thank you all for the great interest shown in Basingstoke Town Chaplaincy. One response to our recent publicity was that being a Chaplain sounded so difficult and daunting. So we invite you to a one-hour taster session to see what is involved and help inform your prayers for us. Join a Community Chaplain, Tim Sanders or Pam Holton, for a walk around the town. Contact Tim or Pam direct or BTC by email at or leave a message on 01256 842232. We keep to government guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19.
John Hayward, BTC Chair of Trustees
Published 10/07/2020, 14:40