Dear friends and neighbours,

Keeping in touch when we cannot gather and keeping a part of things when we have to keep apart.

On Sunday we tried streaming a service on Facebook. If you watched it live or accessed it afterwards please give us your thoughts and comments. We would like to offer a Sunday ‘service’ each week, something for all in our Team area, though it may need to come from home, not a church building. Do tune in next week and let friends and others know too, please. We are learning but please tell us what you would most want.

Sunday’s Live Facebook Video Here >>

For those without Facebook we have also posted it on YouTube Here >>

The church website and the St Anne’s with St James’ Facebook page has news and resources and again please send us comments or ways to keep in touch, support and help. 

Along with word prayers, we have provided a five-minute quiet video of a candle burning in front of the altar at St Anne’s. Do use it as a backdrop for your prayers or just to give you a quiet, few minutes for reflection. It may help focus your thoughts.

Please share as much of this as possible with people without internet access and ask them what we can do to help them too.  Send us feedback, please.  This newsletter is being sent on a Tuesday and Friday each week until we are together again in worship.  

Keeping our distance, being on “lockdown”, having to isolate, goes against so much of what it means to be human and a community. For the sake of others, we all have to keep our distance, stay back. It is only when it is taken away that we realise how important it is – the freedom and peace to go out, to gather, to see other people, the importance of a hug or a handshake, or of sharing something.

Instead, we are getting fearful, anxious; we should be fearful – this is serious, very serious, but we must not let fear squash our human concern, our awareness of others, or drown our hope or our understanding of the worth of living.

When it feels darker then acts of kindness and care light up the lives of others even more. Finding positivity in the small things, being cheerful and encouraging to others, patient, when we feel a bit, riled, aware of how others are feeling, it is not always easy – but it will help us through.

We have probably got several weeks, maybe more, of distance and separation. Easter will not be celebrated together in our churches, and our social meeting places will be silent too.  We are not used to long periods of not having things – we are used to an instant world. How can we celebrate Easter? I want to have a peal of bells we can ring, not just a single bell, but I am reminded that there were no bells that first Easter and Jesus came to his friends in their home, not the temple.  The ancient Easter greeting was passed by word of mouth. That we can do, using the phone, text, and messaging. We can keep in touch.

St Paul wrote that nothing can separate us from the love of God; let us pray for God’s peace and love and blessing for our homes and for our neighbours and friends and families. Let us encourage faith and hope, even where there is disappointment and despair; and let us care for one another and particularly for those most in need.

Rev’d Peter Reiss: 31st July 2020