You will be receiving this newsletter at the beginning of Holy Week. Never before have we journeyed through this week without being able to gather together. It feels strange, disconcerting and sad. However, we can still journey ‘together’ by each of us turning our attention to the events of that special week all those years ago and prayerfully remembering the stories, reminding ourselves of the extraordinary love Jesus showed and keeping our eyes fixed on the hope that greets us on Easter morning. We know that Easter morning will come and that is a powerful truth to hold on to during these rather dark times.
When Jesus rose from the dead, death was defeated forever, and fear no longer had a place. Remember what we’ve been saying since this pandemic began – faith not fear. We are resurrection people; Jesus has already won the victory and love has conquered!
For now, we sometimes feel as though we are sitting in that uneasy time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and it’s not a comfortable place to be. I wonder how you have been getting on and what you are learning and experiencing during this time? There will be many challenges I’m sure but also much to be thankful for and signs of resurrection all around.
It’s been wonderful for me to hear from so many of you, or to learn how you are via your elders and pastoral assistants. I’ve heard of answers to prayer, testimonies of deep encounters with God, stories of neighbourly kindness and many words of encouragement being shared. Please keep the communications coming, I endeavour to answer them all but even if I can’t, rest assured that I do read them all.
We were thrown into the deep end somewhat in the Brierley household, learning how we could share an act of worship from our front room and make it accessible to as many people as possible. There are inevitable technical difficulties but we’re getting there.
You can imagine the scenes in our house as we prepare to ‘go live’ at 10.30am on Sunday mornings! The view you see is tidy and organised – I’m just glad you can’t see the rest of our house! Justin and Noah take care of the technology and music, Grace presses the buttons on the computer to make sure the words are available for you to follow on the screen, Jeremy quietly helps with whatever he’s asked to do, and Toby remains the usual unknown quantity, mainly playing with Duplo blocks at the side and joining in every now and then!
We are supported by others who, from their own homes, play their part in making the services possible. We’re delighted to be able to welcome Keith to give the notices (via the wonderful ‘Zoom’ technology). On Sunday 29th March David Tuson zoomed in to lead the prayers and singer Jonathan Veira led us in some moving music from his home in Guildford. If you would like to ‘Zoom in’ from your home to share a Bible reading or prayers then do let me know.
We’ve been delighted that so many are tuning in. We’ve had thousands of ‘views’ of the services so far, which means that thousands of households have watched some or all of a service. Not everyone watches ‘live’, many will watch afterwards. Lots of old friends of the church as well as many new ones have got in touch to let us know they are watching.
It’s interesting that this online way of doing things means that we are connecting with many more people, well beyond our usual church family. God is working in wonderful ways to unite us all and to enable us to share the message of his presence with us in the storm.
On Sunday 22nd March we thought about how we have to keep alert to where God is answering our prayers and we demonstrated this by telling the story of a man stranded on the roof of his house waiting for God to rescue him and sending away all the emergency services who tried to do just that! Above is a picture of Alexander Caulfield making his own version of the story in his front room. Great work Alexander!
On Sunday 29th March we made ‘Lockdown Survival Boxes’ and many of you were scrambling round your houses to fill your own boxes with…
- Photos of loved ones
- Shoes to remind us to exercise
- Something we enjoy doing (in our household we had roller skates, Lego, headphones, films, arts and crafts and chocolate!)
- Gloves to symbolise praying hands and the importance of prayer
- A Bible to remind us to keep reading God’s Word
We received lots of lovely photos of your ‘survival’ boxes and of you joining in the service. Here’s a selection…
Prayer is such a big part of our life as Christians and praying for one another at this time is such a comfort and support. We are adding prayer requests to our Prayer Wall at the manse whenever we receive them. However, as announced last week, we are also creating an email list of people who would be willing to receive prayer requests when they come in. If you are willing to be on this list, please send your name to Morwenna on firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then receive prayer request emails from me and can join with us in lifting all the needs we hear about to God. (If you join this list we kindly ask you to keep the requests confidential.) Likewise, if you have something or someone you would like prayer for please phone or email me and we would be delighted to pray for you.
Holy Week Services
The live streamed Holy Week services will be at the usual times.
Maundy Thursday 8pm
Good Friday 10am
Easter Sunday 10.30am
Watch ‘live’ or afterwards via www.wokingurc.org.uk or www.facebook.com/wokingurc
Please tune in when you can and set aside these special times to journey with Jesus through Holy Week. The order of service for Easter day will be emailed (or posted if you’re not on email). The hymn words for the other services will be available on the church website.
One of the most important parts of both our Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday services is communion and we will miss sharing in the usual way. However, I encourage you all to celebrate at home during our time of worship. Please have some bread and juice/wine ready at the start of both services so that when we come to that part you can eat and drink to remember Jesus.
Please keep in touch, send in your photos and stories of what you are doing at home and most especially, how God is at work. If you need help or support at any time, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the WURC team. I am praying for you all.
With love from Lucy