26th June 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary … He gives strength to the weary …
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles…
(Isaiah 40:28-31, NIV)
Many of us are feeling weary, wearier than we can remember, with little evidence of an end in sight. Every day feels the same, and it’s been like this for months. How can we carry on? Can we carry on? Will we make it?
Isaiah was speaking to a people who felt God had given up on them. They were in exile, far from home, far from the land God had given them. Was God really now promising to bring them home? It seemed a distant prospect. And yet Isaiah assures them that it’s going to happen, not because they’re strong enough, but because the Lord is: “He will not grow tired or weary.” And he bring them home, though that wasn’t the end of the story.
We can’t imagine what it’s like never to grow tired or weary. That’s what it’s like to be God. It means that those who hope in him won’t just walk home – or even run – they’ll fly home as they “soar on wings like eagles.” Now, if this is a picture of God bringing his people back to himself from their sins and to final glory, can we not trust him to bring us safely through this present crisis, however tired we may feel and however hopeless it seems?
On Friday I heard the sad news that Margaret Brown passed away peacefully late on Thursday evening 25th June at Neville Williams House, having come out of hospital the previous day, and after several weeks of illness. Details of her funeral have yet to be confirmed. We can give thanks that she has gone to be with the Lord; please pray for her son Robert and the rest of the family.
Sunday 28th June
Our 10am Sunday service will be available as usual on the church website: www.sssw.org.uk/sunday-services-online.
This Sunday we will see ‘What happens when Jesus meets blind unbelief’ (Mark 8:11-21), as we continue seeing what happens when Jesus meets people in different situations.
Family Bible time. Please use this link: https://www.sssw.org.uk/family-bible-time/ This week we will talk about “Guard against wrong teaching” (Mark 8: 11 – 21)
Following the service, at 11.30am there will be the usual opportunity to meet together using Zoom. We will spend the first 15 minutes or so saying hello and sharing encouragements in one big group, before then going into smaller Breakout Rooms to catch up with a few people, and then returning to the big group for those who would like to share insights or ask questions. Please come in good time, and bring the kids too – they love seeing each other! And feel free to leave when you need to.
Thought for the Week: Twenty Years
Please follow this link to find the Thought for the Week on our website: https://www.sssw.org.uk/category/thought-for-the-week/ This week I’m reflecting on the day Helen and I began our ministry in the parish twenty years ago.
Big Book Group: ‘The Good God’
Have you been reading our book of the term, ‘The Good God’ by Michael Reeves? There will be an opportunity for all of us who have been reading it to discuss it in the pub (ok, virtual pub) towards the end of July. We shall meet on Zoom at 8pm on Thursday 23rd July. Bring your own drink, book, Bible, pencil and whatever else you need to listen, talk, and learn about our good God. Please contact Andy Martin for more details.
Weekend at Home
You should have received a separate email about this from Andy Martin.
Joy at St Germaine’s says: “I’d like to say a HUGE THANK YOU for all your commitment to the St Germain’s Food Hub. All of the cakes baked, the donations, the financial generosity, the praying – it makes a huge difference, and those of us who are at the food hub during peak times know that the queue down the road and past the bus stop is a testament to how much this project has been needed and how much of an impact we are having.”
And here’s one of those who are receiving help: “I don’t know what we would have done without you”
So well done, and let’s keep going! There is still a need and we can keep helping. Can you help with:
canned meat and fish
instant pasta or rice
crisps and snacks
See the website for drop off instructions: https://www.sssw.org.uk/coronavirus-help/
Photos & Videos
Please send your photos and videos (20 seconds max.) so they can be shown in the Sunday service, and we can see more of one another. Please remember that they will then stay on the website, and check what you have in the background! Please send them to Christopher Barry who has kindly offered to put them together.
This week there will be the opportunity to pray together for 20 minutes: 12.30pm Monday to Friday, with a short Bible reflection and then open prayer.
St Stephen’s – Open for Private Prayer
St Stephen’s will be open for Private Prayer through the coming week at the following times. Please be assured that social distancing and cleansing guidelines will be followed. Please feel free to come at any of these times, and to tell others:
Monday 4pm – 6pm
Tuesday 10am – 12pm
Wednesday 4pm – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 12pm
Friday 4pm – 6pm
Sunday 4pm – 6pm
Men’s Breakfast : 8.30am, Saturday 11th July
From Surviving to Thriving: How to make the most of serving God in the workplace
We spend at least 36% of our waking hours in the workplace (sometimes more!). Are we just surviving until the weekend? What does it look like to joyfully serve God in our work, especially during lockdown when the workplace is now at home for many? How can we live out the gospel and point people to Jesus? We’ll be exploring how we can move from surviving to thriving, to the glory of God. There will be a separate email going to the men for this.
Sharing Christ Cross-Culturally: Friends International is offering a series of 6 free online training workshops over the next few weeks. These could be very helpful.
See: www.friendsinternational.uk/training or contact Mike Hill on 07843 876480.
Remember, it is those who hope in the Lord who renew their strength. We are always tempted to try and be strong in ourselves, or to doubt that the Lord can give us strength. We need to remember that without him we can do nothing useful, but that with him great things are possible. We’re slow learners!
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)