Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)
A letter from Jonathan
Our recent service for Sunday 11th April was live-streamed from 11.00 on that day. You can watch the service now on our YouTube channel or by clicking in the player below.
Dear Church Family
Following a wonderful Easter celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, Romans 8 comes to mind. Paul assures us that anyone who trusts in Jesus for salvation has ‘resurrection power' at work in them - verse 11. Moreover, as those led by the Spirit, verse 14, who know God as ‘Father’ verses 14 to 15, we are assured that even the suffering we face can actually serve the purposes of God for ‘ . . . we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’ verse 28. But what good might there be for the Church after a year of restrictions and very limited meeting together?
We’d just scheduled regular Church family prayer meetings when the first lockdown began restricting us meeting together to pray. As important as praying together is, in Matthew 6 verse 6 Jesus reminds us, ‘ . . . when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ Jesus makes clear that we are each to have a ‘secret’ prayer life in which you, as a beloved child, pour out your heart to your Father in heaven. Such regular times of prayer are 'lockdown proof.’ Times when you praise your Father for who He is, for His unimaginable majesty and yet His great love for you. Times of complete honesty with Him when you tell Him your fears, struggles and disappointments. Times of deep confession seeking forgiveness and repentance (repentance involves 'personal change' to be more like Jesus). Times of interceding for the many needs of family, friends, Church family, community and world. As you pray secretly and intimately you confess your need of Him, His wisdom, His truth, His ‘resurrection power.’ Coming before Him in full dependence bit by bit. You align to His purposes and, when that happens, God works for your good! Countless saints near and far can attest to the extraordinary ‘good' which arise out of secret prayer.
As restrictions are set to lift further, soon we will be able to schedule Church family prayer meetings once again but let us never overlook the secret prayer life Jesus calls each of us to, for it is out of such prayer that the Church family is profoundly blessed, not least our corporate prayer life.
Sunday services at St Peter and St Paul’s
Following much prayerful consideration, the Rector, churchwardens and PCC have decided to recommence attended services from Sunday 14th March 2021. Our pre-recorded online services will continue as before - see here for full details.
Strict covid regulations will be in place for anyone visiting the church building at this time. The protocols below follow current government advice and regulations regarding attended church services. Please read through if you wish to attend. We look forward to seeing you!
While we have put in place recommended hygiene and distancing practices, it is very important that you make an informed decision about when to return to services, taking into account any health issues and risk factors which apply to you or your family. For any who can’t attend, we’ll continue to stream services online so there is no pressure to return before you feel ready to do so.
During the service
If you or any of your household:
Supporting our fellowship
We are keeping a list of those who are self-isolating, along with any particular pastoral or practical needs so that we can arrange appropriate help. Morag Brown is co-ordinating this. Please let her know of any needs or changes to need as they arise.
Keeping us praying
Praying together as a family is vital. We will be sending out a weekly list of prayer needs for the whole church family and our community. Do try to set aside a time each day to pray - many of us are pausing at 8 in the mornings and evenings to do this, and knowing that others are too at the times is encouraging.
we would kindly ask you to please stay at home and join us online instead.