Tel: 01536 414052
I want to take this opportunity to write to you again to bring you up to date with future plans and thoughts for church. I apologise for the length of this letter, please do try to read it all.
These are unprecedented days, never in history has the church closed its doors to any who wish to come. These are also very tough times for those who are isolated, especially the recently bereaved, and for those with family they cannot spend time with. Julie and I have a new granddaughter, now six weeks old, whom we have not yet been able to meet. We share your pain. We must also remember those who have lost, or stand to lose, employment, and for those small business owners whose businesses have failed, with knock on effects for their employees. Alongside this, there are ‘key workers’ bearing the brunt of the difficulties, working doubly hard while most of us are confined at home. Our NHS staff, who have been truly amazing, but also teachers, post-office workers, parcel delivery people, refuse collectors, police, paramedics etc.
Plans are extremely difficult to make, and any we do make may well change. The latest information we have from the bishops is, I’m afraid, not encouraging. Clergy are now allowed into their church buildings alone, and not to hold services. All church buildings are still closed to everyone else. It is possible that wedding and funeral services in church may resume in the near future, but not as we might like them. Guests will be restricted to immediate family only and limited to a small number. No orders of service, other service books or Bibles may be used. Attendees will need to be seated 2 metres apart from each other, and there will be no singing allowed. A return to regular church services is some way off, and it is unlikely we will be back to anything like normal this year. This is all in the hands of the bishops.
We cannot live for the future, we need to live within our present restrictions, making what we can of the opportunities we have to live as God’s people. God has not forgotten us, he has not been taken by surprise, he has brought us here for a purpose.
This crisis has caused many of us to dive headlong into modern technology, and we have discovered that, in general, it is not as complicated as we had feared. If you are not au fais with internet technology can I suggest that you give it a go? I have heard many stories of people discovering what a great thing it can be, uniting families and friends and joining in online worship. And there are many different ways to access it, mobile phone, tablet or computer. But perhaps the simplest way is through a smart TV If you have one. All modern smart TVs will almost certainly have direct access to YouTube, possibly via a single button push on the remote control.
We are currently making the following available:
And, for those who cannot access any of these, we are able to offer a weekly DVD of the Sunday Morning service and other selected items. Please contact the church office if you would like one of these, or if you know someone else who would. We are doing our best to get them delivered on Sunday afternoons.
We would really value your feedback on any of these things. We are learning as we go and really do want to offer the best we can, to the glory of God. Please do also keep us informed of your prayer requests, and of any pastoral needs you believe we may have overlooked. You can contact us by telephone (the normal office number), by email or via WhatsApp. You could even write us a letter.
I do need to write about finance in these difficult days.
One amazing thing about modern internet technology is that many things it offers are either free, or very inexpensive. The above offerings, save for some very minimal costs for software and equipment, are incurring no additional cost to deliver. You must agree that’s pretty good value in anyone’s book!
We are entering very difficult days as we begin the recovery from COVID-19. We are facing the highest unemployment rate for a generation, the deepest economic depression for over a century, and the biggest government debt in history. It is certain that taxes, in some form, will need to rise substantially to pay for this. There is no doubt that most of us will feel worse off (perceived or actual) for some time to come. The temptation is to ‘batten down the hatches’, cutting giving and economising wherever we can. Against this background we must remember that it is the creator of the universe whom we serve. The prophet Isaiah reminds us:
Thus, says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself (Isaiah 44:24)
Our giving to God’s work is not because he needs it, how could he need anything when he made it all. It is because as disciples of Jesus we need give. It is a response of sacrificial generosity to God who has done so much for us. We have the only true message of hope there is, and it’s hope that is eternal. We have the privilege of sharing this message with a world that is in desperate need of hope for the future. Jesus encourages his disciples to use their wealth in the light of eternity.
Please can I encourage you, if you are able, not to cut your giving to God’s work. And, if you are able, to increase your giving as a thank offering to God. As a church that God has blessed over the years, we have regular expenditure that we must meet as well as funding new initiatives (like taking on Helen).
Over the last few years, we have been running at a deficit which we cannot continue to do. This despite cutting expenditure wherever possible. Can I encourage you to reassess your giving to God’s work, and for His glory?
If you want to know how best to give to St Botolph’s please contact the office and we’ll help you.
So now, may God bless you, keep you and preserve you for all eternity.
The Revd Mark W Lucas
This should have taken place on Saturday 23rd May 2020, I thought I would put this together as a ‘safe’ substitute.
You may choose to listen to any or all of these pieces of music.
Do feel free to pass this on to anyone else from the Church Fellowship that you think might find it of interest.
Top-10 instruments from the National Mechanical museum Museum in Utrecht, Netherlands.
[including an automatic system for playing Bells]
Automatic Bell Playing machine, a Carillon [The Parish Church in Wellingborough has one]
Handbells – playing You Raise Me Up on 61 bells
(with a change of key to give everyone a chance to play)
Bohemian Rhapsody on Handbells
A small 30-note modern musical box playing cardboard strips
[which can easily be punched with new tunes]
This is not a well-known tune but is rather nice.
Ballszenen (Scène de bal) by Joseph Hellmesberger
A Cylinder Musical Box with 2 combs – The first tune is Faust Waltz by Gounod
[owned by a friend of mine in London]
Cylinder Musical box with drum, bells and Reed Organ – playing Ave Maria by Bach-Gounod
Mira 15 inch Disc Musical Box. In the Sweet By and By
Mira 15 inch Disc Musical Box. Shall We Gather at the River
Polyphon old 1d Penny in the Slot Disc Musical Box 50cm disc
Ave Maria. Schubert
Polyphon old 1d penny in the slot Disc Musical Box. 24½ inch (62.5cm) disc.
The Last Rose of Summer
Manopan 39-note double-reed table-top organette
Puppen Waltz + Mikado Waltz (Gilbert & Sullivan)
Aeolian 46-note reed organ Amapola [Pretty Poppy]
Aeolian 58-note Orchestrelle Reed Organ In the Good Old Summertime
I would welcome any comments you have
Providing you have given consent for St Botolph’s to use store your personal data, you should have by now received an invitation to join “My ChurchSuite”.
It will have looked like this.
What is it?
ChurchSuite is a cloud hosted (Internet), web-based management system, essentially an extensive information database, designed for churches.
Who is it for?
Churches of all sizes and denominations.
My ChurchSuite is a great member-facing system within ChurchSuite, which provides access to church information.
There are 5 modules within My ChurchSuite:
How to use My ChurchSuite
• In the invitation email click on”Go to My ChurchSuite” and follow the steps to log on for the first time. Once done you can then update your details if you wish to, and change your password.
You will then have access to the modules listed above.
Some Screenshots from My ChurchSuite
Search for Others
Kindly sent in by Charles & Joyce May
12 May – For nurses and midwives across our nation and across the world to show in the care of their patients the love and compassion that God showed us in sending Jesus [Phil 2:5-11, 2 Cor 13-5)
13 May – For nurses and midwives working in understaffed and overstretched teams – for encouragement, rest, support and good leadership as they seek to give the best care in difficult circumstances. [Matt 11:28]
14 May – For student nurses and midwives to grow in confidence and competence and for a strengthening of their sense of calling to the work. [Col 3:17]
15 May – For Christian nurses and midwives facing challenges to their freedom of conscience and openness about their faith in secular workplaces; that they can keep their integrity whilst giving the best care to their patients and working within the guidelines of the profession. [1Peter 3:13-17]
16 May – That the voices and role of nurses and midwives across the world in strengthening the health and wellbeing of their communities would be recognised and supported by governments, churches and other institutions. [Proverbs 3:19]
17 May – For migrant nurses and midwives, away from their families and culture, having to work in an unfamiliar health system and in a foreign language; may they find welcome, friendship, spiritual and social support as they care for others. [Lev 19:34]
18 May – a prayer for nurses ‘Heavenly Father, strengthen the hands and hearts of nurses & midwives to show your love and care for those in need, to grow in competence, to serve the common good and to act as examples of compassion and selfless care, in the name of your Son who laid aside his glory to serve and die for us, Amen’
Christian Medical Fellowship
Magazine for nurses: https://www.cmf.org.uk/resources/publications/spotlight/
Find our COVID-19 resources for members and churches see https://cmf.li/covid19Res