Sunday 3rd May and beyond

1st May 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Mark 12:30

Jesus said this is the “most important” commandment. In one of his books A. W. Tozer says that we can have “two kinds of love for God – the love of gratitude or the love of excellence.” It is right that we love God with gratitude for the blessings he has given us. We should also go on to love God “because He is God and because of the excellence of his character.”

That came home to me this week as I was singing (to myself!) the hymn Immortal, invisible. In just a few, single, well-chosen words the author gives us a glimpse of what God is like:  He is “Unresting, unhasting.” Unlike us, God never stops working or ever needs to rest. At the same time, again unlike us, he’s never rushed or in a hurry. Then he is “nor wanting, nor wasting.” So he lacks nothing and he needs nothing – certainly not from us. And, once again unlike us, he is not wasting away or changing in any way.  And those are just four words! I’ll leave you to explore the rest of the hymn for yourself…  But don’t forget to “love the Lord your God” for his excellence.

This weekly message contains details for this coming Sunday, as well as a few other things. It’s longer than usual because there’s quite a lot going on. I hope you’ll bear with me.

Sunday 3rd May
Our Sunday service will be available here. It should once again be available on Saturday evening for those who would find that helpful, even if most of us plan to join at 10am on Sunday. It is an All Age Service this Sunday when we will be looking at Psalm 46. This week most of the songs will be ’embedded’ in the service, so it should be easier to follow. I hope you will be able to join us for the whole service, whatever age you are.

Since it’s an All Age Service, there will be no Family Bible Time this week.

The invitation flyer for our online services is now available on the church website for you to download and give to friends. You can also simply share the link above.

Following the service there will be the chance to meet together for discussion and prayer at 11.30am using Zoom.

Prayer Gathering
This Wednesday 6th May, 8-9pm, we have our monthly Prayer Gathering on Zoom. We plan to spend time praying for the Covid-19 situation. We will also be joined by Phil and Ceri Keates so that we can pray for their work with Agapé Family Life, and Andy Walker will be helping us to pray for the NHS especially.

Daily Prayer
From this Monday 4th May there will be a daily opportunity to pray with others. It will be at 12.30pm each weekday for just 20 minutes, with a short Bible reflection led by Andy Martin, Ben Wells or myself and then a chance to pray for whatever you wish. Please join us whenever and for as long as you would like to.

Book of the Term
We often have a ‘book of the term’ which we encourage everyone to read, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t do that during lockdown.  Indeed, some of you will have more time to read than you normally do. The book we’re recommending is The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit by Michael Reeves. It’s a wonderfully encouraging book about knowing and enjoying God as Trinity.  You can buy it from 10ofThose using this link. Please consider buying other books from them as well. They have been badly hit by having a number of bookstall events cancelled, and it will help them stay in business.

Discretionary Fund
Can I remind you that we have a Discretionary Fund to help those in the church family who are in financial need. If you would like help for yourself or someone else, or if you would like to give to this fund, please get in touch with me directly.

Annual Meeting, PCC, etc.
We have not been able to hold our Annual Meeting as normal, and have been given permission to postpone it until as late as the end of October.  We will obviously try to hold it as soon as we can. We have now been told we can hold PCC meetings by Zoom, so we are rescheduling for 14th May the PCC meeting originally planned for 26th March. Standing Committee met by Zoom on 23rd April.

And finally…
Thank you for bearing with this long email. I look forward to ‘seeing’ you on Sunday, albeit via a screen. Let me leave you with a few lines from the hymn we began with. This time I will leave you to unpack the words for yourselves:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,…
almighty, victorious,
Thy great name we praise.

Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)