Here are some steps we are taking to connect with you more effectively:
- Tricia and Robert are putting together a pastoral support plan to make sure that each church member receives a phone call at least once a week as we seek to stay in contact, but please also feel able to phone any one of us for support at any time. If you would like to be part of this support team, willing to make a few telephone calls each week, please let Robert or Tricia know.
- David is putting together plans for a prayer chain.. a team of people prepared to pray confidentially for others. In the Bible it says that where two or more are gathered together in prayer.. and so, in our separation from the church building, we are keen to pray together for any particular need. So if anyone has a prayer request, please contact David, Nigel, me, or Robert so we can pray for your request.
- Chris Brown and Elizabeth Bradley continue to meet at 10am with the Wednesday morning service group, but in a new way. Instead of meeting in church, they ‘gather together’ to share reading the service together at 10am, although everyone remains in their own homes. Telephone links are maintained to support each other. If anyone else would like to join this group, please contact Chris Brown, who will be very pleased to include you.
- The church website will become an increasingly important source of information. New updates and ideas will be uploaded by Robert (as the editor) to keep you informed. Please check the website regularly: http://www.harlingtonchurch.org. We will post links to streamed services and to prayer and Bible study resources. Some recommended sites and links are listed at the end of this letter to offer you spiritual, prayerful and biblical encouragement.
- If you are a facebook user, please also check the church facebook page regularly. (Tricia will upload information). See: https://en-gb.facebook.com/stmarysharlington.
- Social Media – we recognise that there are now so many different mediums of communication available and we are exploring different resources so we can communicate with you more effectively.
- This week Nigel and I have held a ‘What’s App’ video conference call with a group of people, and learned that is it a very good method to hold a meeting, Bible study, Home Group or Prayer group, where each person can be seen on the screen (facetime). It is easy to have a live discussion. This may be something that you would like to experiment with to communicate face to face with a friend. It is so encouraging to share a joke, a laugh, a word of encouragement, or to be sensitive to someone’s need. ‘What’s App’ also offers facility to have group chats, share photos etc and runs by wi-fi or internet so incurs no cost.
- ‘Zoom’ was introduced to us this week by our daughter. It is used by businesses, and the Prime Minister for meetings and to reach a wide range of people remotely. (Our daughter is now one of many who joins a ‘Zoom’ transmitted exercise class at home each day, connected to her friends and to the teacher remotely, but still able to receive personal attention and guidance.) The scope is amazing. Zoom can be downloaded as an app to your mobile phone, or can be downloaded to your home computer. We are hoping to be able to use this in future to live stream a Sunday or midweek reflection to you. If you have the IT capabililty to download this programme, it would be helpful, but it is not necessary to do this. If you would prefer to receive a link for each individual service please e‑mail Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sunday ‘service‘. As ministers, we are now, like you, told to stay at home, but we plan to lead a service or reflection on Sunday from our home to your home as a form of Collective Worship at 9.45am. We are investigating the best way to relay this to you but please check the website on Sunday morning as we will try to present a Biblical reflection for 9.45am.
- Compline and other forms of service. Please check the website over the next week.
- Daily Prayer online for Morning, Evening and Compline daily services
- resources like: Exploring Prayer (5 part series with the Archbishop of Canterbury) or a live streamed Sunday service led by Archbishop John Sentamu and his wife Margaret, from their home (filmed on an ipad) ; other live streamed service links.
- ‘A Church Near You’ is another Church of England website which offers useful information about events. The Harlington Church Near You is at https://www.achurchnearyou.com/church/7667
In the coming days and weeks, please check Harlington Church’s website. We plan to update it at least weekly with articles, information, CV-19 updates, prayer links, etc.
In the meantime, why not consider this time as a Lenten period of denial and personal reflection. We are pilgrim people. Take each day slowly and know Jesus is there with you. I am finding the following apps very useful on my Lenten journey:
Stay together in new ways but observe what the government is telling us. Pray for one another and share the love of Jesus whenever and wherever you can.
Please let us know of anyone who needs support. This is a chance to live out our faith to those who are in need. And now, to conclude in the words offered by our bishops:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.
With love and prayer
Nigel and Linda
Daily Bible notes. Word for today
The Bible in a year
The Bible Gateway site has multiple versions of the Bible . The NIV (UK) audio version is read by David Suchet
HTB Sermon from 22nd. March: Nicky Gumble on COVID 19 ‘Choose faith not fear’