I have often wondered what it would be like to be part of the Underground church in countries where the church is persecuted and seemingly invisible.
Well, we are about to experience something similar, obviously without persecution but certainly restricted from meeting!! The recent global events that started in the East has now moved West like a tsunami and we found ourselves engulfed by it in a manner that few of us could have imagined. However, the British people are no stranger to these kinds of circumstances and maybe we will get to experience a bit of the Blitz spirit ourselves. However, I am not trying to make light of the situation, I know it is serious.
We believe it is right and biblical to support the government in its strategy to limit the impact of the virus in it’s spread across this nation. We will therefore no longer be able to meet for Sunday celebrations, and we will not be meeting for weekly cells.
All of this will enable us to become creative in the ways that we maintain fellowship and close contact with one another. We are looking into other Apps that will enable us to hold online meetings together; we are hoping to launch this soon. Although we will not be together physically, we will make sure that we are all supporting one another in other ways. Please make sure you stay in contact with those that are vulnerable or in self-isolation, cell leaders will stay in contact with their groups regularly throughout this time. Let us keep up our quiet times in prayer and reading the bible.
If you find yourself feeling anxious about the situation, get in touch. I will always keep my phone on, but if you can’t get through, leave me a message and I will call you back as soon as I am able. Do let us know if you need anything, and as in Acts 2:24, we will try to keep open hearts and be generous in spirit towards one another, sharing what we have. Please be assured of our love and commitment towards all of you and we will come through this much stronger in faith, and I may even become more IT literate!
I will send more information as we have it or, if the situation changes, I will update you accordingly.
Lots of love
On behalf of the elders at Pathways
These prayers were sent through from St Mary’s Church in Lenham, please be praying for their vicar, John, as he has to self-isolate for 3 months.
Prayers about the outbreak
Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
For those who are ill
we entrust to your tender care
those who are ill or in pain,
knowing that whenever danger threatens
your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.
Comfort and heal them,
and restore them to health and strength;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For hospital staff and medical researchers
give skill, sympathy and resilience
to all who are caring for the sick,
and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.
Strengthen them with your Spirit,
that through their work many will be restored to health;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
From one who is ill or isolated
help me to trust you,
help me to know that you are with me,
help me to believe that nothing can separate me
from your love
revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.
For the Christian community
We are not people of fear:
we are people of courage.
We are not people who protect our own safety:
we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.
We are not people of greed:
we are people of generosity.
We are your people God,
giving and loving,
wherever we are,
whatever it costs
For as long as it takes
wherever you call us.
It was with great excitement that we welcomed the School of the word team to Lenham on Saturday, to lead us in a morning learning about the bible and the inductive study method.
Emma kicked off the morning by talking about 'what is the bible?' We learned how the bible is written by many authors from all different walks of life, but with one message, that the radical love of God for humanity never ends. The bible mainly follows the story of one nation, who received the promise of a redeemer, how that redeemer came, and how the good news of that redeemer was spread.
Tony talked about some of the different approaches that can be used to study the bible, and Mel finished off the introduction by explaining why we use the inductive study method and what that looks like in practice.
We had a lot of fun in groups trying to piece together the timeline of the bible, and working out where all the different books fit into the overall story. There were varying attempts, with varying degrees of accuracy, but thankfully we were all given the correct timeline at the end by Tony! By now we were looking forward to using the coloured pencils in our welcome packs and diving into reading our bibles!
After a break, we embarked on the second half of the morning, where we actually used the inductive method to look at the letter of Philemon together. This was the highlight of the day. Mel gave us plenty of opportunities to make our own observations, using the coloured pencils to help us focus on the words. We were encouraged to share the things we noticed, and draw out important themes. By the end of the morning there was a sense of hush, as everyone realised that God was speaking to them through the book, and showing them things that they had never seen before. The little book of Philemon had come alive! We finished with some quiet prayer and reflection.
Tony, Mel and Emma did a fantastic job of leading us through the inductive study method, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to them. We got so much out of our time together. We would thoroughly recommend this to anyone wondering about hosting a day at their church.