Dear Church member,
I want to share some thoughts from a vicar friend of mine, Dan Heywood, which while sobering also give us great hope to hold on to in a challenging time.
'On Wednesday this week we saw holocaust memorial day, the anniversary of the liberation from Auschwitz and an opportunity to remember all those who suffered and were killed under Nazi persecution and in the genocides that have followed in countries such as Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and most recently, the Darfur region of Sudan. I read that if we observed a minutes silence for all those who died in the Nazi genocide of Jews, we would be silent for 11 and a half years.
This week also saw the 100,000th COVID-19 death in the UK. A minutes silence for each of these treasured people would be 69 days. That would be keeping silence until just after Easter.
As we think on the terrible deaths and suffering that have happened throughout history at the hands of humankind, and most recently at the hands of this virus, we recall that we worship and serve a God who is familiar with suffering, who is loving and just and who has experienced death and risen again victorious. We worship the God who promises "I will be with you" whatever you face, and who promises that there is hope for eternity and life in all its fullness even in the darkest of days. He doesn't insulate us from our loss and the suffering, but he promises to walk with us through it all. Jesus Christ says, "I am the resurrection and the life, those who believe in me, even though they die will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." '
We had our first Saturday morning prayer meeting on Zoom last week. Everyone is welcome to join in either regularly or occasionally with this 30-40 minute virtual gathering at 9.30am on Saturdays to give thanks and praise to God, to seek his will, and pray for our needs. This is a relatively informal time, with some sharing of scripture, silence, and open prayer, and there will be no pressure for anyone to pray out loud. Do please join in on this link.
CAP Money courses will be running Feb, March, April with the next course starting on 9th February. Information from the main CAP website and here: http://capmoneycourse.org
Most parents would agree that being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world - at the moment maybe more than ever! If you would like some tips and techniques, help and advice, and space to give and gain support, to help you with the most important job in the world, why not join us at our online parenting course. On Monday evenings at 8pm we are meeting on Zoom for "Parentalk - The Primary Years". We watch a short (10-15 minute) video, and discuss some questions related to it, in a relaxed and supportive small group. If you are interested in taking part, please get in touch with Melanie or Sarah for details on how to join.
During the next two weeks I feel it is right for me to do some extra medical work, whilst the pressure on the system seems to be especially intense, staff sickness is high, and the vaccination programme is taking up significant human resource. I am planning to do a combination of Covid clinics, back-up telephone work for hard-pressed GP surgeries, and vaccination clinics, according to need. I will also stay in touch with what is happening in the parishes and will be contactable and able to make some online meetings/activities.
Do please keep in touch. Our online and telephone services continue weekly, many homegroups and Connect groups are meeting online and/or keeping in touch by phone, and our churches are open daily for private prayer.
The Collect for the 4th Sunday of Epiphany
God our creator,
who in the beginning
commanded the light to shine out of darkness:
we pray that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ
may dispel the darkness of ignorance and unbelief,
shine into the hearts of all your people,
and reveal the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Yours, in Christ,
Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey
Rector of Harwell with Chilton