Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)
A letter from Jonathan
Dear Church Family
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133 v1
Psalm 133 is one of the Psalms of Ascent. This collection of Psalms were sung with increasing fervour as God’s people journeyed up to the Temple in Jerusalem for the great annual feasts. Part of their joy was in the coming together as God’s people who had been apart for several months in their respective villages and homes. God was the basis of their unity: they were His and He their God who loved, cared, protected, led and sustained them. As God’s people today, we too should experience genuine joy as we come together. We may be saved individually but we are saved into the precious family of the local Church. As those saved through Jesus we are empowered by the Spirit that together we may learn, live and love in His name. And all the more so after being apart for 25 weeks!
And there was joy last Sunday as 27 members of the Church family gathered on-line (representing some 30 or 40 people) while another 51 gathered in the church building to watch the streamed service together. Despite the obvious limitations (please remember to observe hygiene and distancing), it was a wonderfully ‘good and pleasant’ moment in the life of our Church family. Providing restrictions allow, we will continue in this way, developing the service in the church as much as we are able.
Present in the church, and welcomed with a rousing applause, were Rachel and Chris Lord who moved to Shepton Mallet last Saturday. Rachel begins as our Children’s, Youth and Families worker on October 11th. It was lovely that, as they joined us, they were included in the intercessions. We continue to thank the Lord for them and support them as they settle in. Please remember them in your prayers.
I continue to pray that through the this time of transition - be forwards or backwards over the next few weeks - our desire and commitment to live together in unity and joy only grows.
With love in Christ Jesus
Our next Sunday Morning Worship Service will be live-streamed on Sunday 27th September at 11.00. You can watch on our YouTube channel or by clicking in the player below.
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.
Returning to Sunday services at St Peter and St Paul’s
This Sunday we will gather from 10:30 to watch the live-streamed service projected on the big screens. Afterwards there will be a short said service of Holy Communion ‘in one kind only’ that is, only wafers will be distributed. Our top priority is safety so things will be rather different from what we are used to. 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: