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Suspension of public worship at Harbour Churches

Suspension of public worship at Harbour Churches
from Sunday 10th January

Over the Christmas season these words from Philippians – but made famous in the carol ‘Hark, the Herald Angel sing’, have had particular resonance for me.

All of us have had to give things up that normally we would hold as especially precious to celebrating Christmas to lay them by. We did this because we knew it was for the greater good and ultimately to save lives. It was ‘the Christ like’ thing to do…

This new and sudden (if widely anticipated) lockdown is once again requiring us to live sacrificially for the sake of others. Having discussed our particular church context with church wardens and licensed ministers, I have decided that the appropriate course of action is to suspend public acts of worship from this coming Sunday.

There are sound reasons for such a course of action. Primarily, the new variant of the virus is so highly contagious and contracting coronavirus – or spreading it –  remains potentially fatal. Our congregations are, in the main, very vulnerable either through age/health or through contact with vulnerable family members. Further, our ministry team and church wardens have all got links with vulnerable folk and are themselves in the vulnerable age group or have underlying health issues. Unlike in earlier lockdowns, we are now experiencing a particularly cold winter and it isn’t possible to heat our church buildings to an acceptable level AND ensure the required flow of fresh air to minimise infection.

On a more positive note, we need to recognise – and celebrate – that we will not be ‘closed’ as a church community. We are still able to give God glory in worship, online fellowshipthrough the Harbour Groups and in the many ways we can witness in word and deed to God’s love in Christ.

We offer daily prayer/communal worship, and our online services will continue. In addition,we are planning to host a weekly ‘Zoom Service’ every Sunday for all of Harbour Churches,as we have successfully done to mark Pentecost, Advent and Christmas.

In response to the latest lockdown Sarah Mullaly, the Bishop of London (who heads up the CofE response to Covid-19),  has said that whilst public worship can continue, many will feel that it is currently better not to attend in person, and there will be parishes which decide to offer only on-line services for the time-being. She went on to say that clergy and volunteers who have concerns, and others who are shielding, should take particular care.

If you have any concerns or questions please do speak to me (mob. 07538 011579). However, I hope that you will understand why I have taken this difficult decision and engage as fully as you can with the many alternatives on offer.

Assuring you of my continued prayers and trusting to yours

Jonathan

RECTOR

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Harbour Churches Sofa Service 24th January

‘If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.’ From The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman.

Sofa Service : ‘Water into Wine’

The Sofa Service today comes in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Jane reflects on ‘unity’ recognising the divisions and disorder that need to be addressed in the United States of America with the inauguration of President Joe Biden. She reads part of the poem written by Amanda Gorman, US National Poet Laureate, and the youngest person at 22 to speak at a presidential inauguration.

In this the third Sunday after Epiphany, the service opens with the Taizé chant ‘See I am near’  and how in Epiphany we celebrate Jesus making himself known as the Christ –  ‘See, I make all things new’.

Harbour Churches are presently reflecting on those ‘characteristics’ (virtues/values) which build up a Church alive to ‘being Good News’. The well-known reading from John’s Gospel 2.1-11 ‘The Wedding Feast at Cana in Galilee’ is explored through the characteristic of nurture. We consider how the actions of Jesus in changing water into wine whilst miraculous, were also transformational in saving the groom from shame and recrimination. Jesus in all things built people up – even if at times they couldn’t be spared being shown to be those who brought others down.

With Lent only a few weeks away, Jonathan invites Harbour Churches and those who are part of the Sofa Service family, to join together through Lent in reading a book that has been described as ‘an instant spiritual classic’ How to Pray : A simple Guide for Ordinary People written by Pete Greig. More details will follow soon.

The service ends with a new song for Sofa Services ‘There is a Longing in Our Hearts’ by Anne Quigley.  In this week of prayer for unity, we hear the words both in English but also in another language…. But which one is it?

We continue to pray wholeness and healing for Gay Boyse and her daughter Stella, Lorraine Ellis, Angela Portlock, Anne-Marie, Caroline Goddard, Charlie Gray, Eloise and baby Elijah.

Its good to hear that Elijah’s recent operation went well and that he is doing well and will be coming home.

We commend to God’s gracious keeping those who have died praying by name for Helen Kydd, Phillip Ellis, Owen Hawkes and Malcolm Archibald.

The Collect for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity:

Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

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Harbour Churches Newsletter 24th January

Nurture!

Rooted in Jesus’ mission to bring life in all its fulness, Harbour Churches seeks after human flourishing and growth in Christ for all who share in the life of the church or who are served by it.

Friends

I just wanted to share this wonderful photograph with you.

Can you spot the Vicar? Well, he’s not a Vicar but he is, to give him his formal title, ‘The Most Reverend Justin Welby, by Divine Providence Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan’!

And whose the little lad… ? It’s Elijah for whom we have been faithfully praying – and by his side is Sophie, his Mum.

Elijah has just had an operation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to create a feeding point so that he can hopefully gain weight and strength. Many of you will know that during this time of pandemic, Justin has joined the chaplaincy team at Tommy and Guys, and he met with Elijah and Mum on his rounds.

Sophie was bowled over by such a special visit. She said the Archbishop was so approachable and genuinely caring.  He prayed for Elijah and the family and even sang to Elijah! He then gave him a blessing. Sophie said that Elijah ‘was mesmerised by him’! Sophie told Justin that Harbour Churches were praying for Elijah and that we will offer him a special service of baptism as soon as he is home. Justin said that was wonderful!

As we continue to reflect on Nurture, I hope we can celebrate and be encouraged by all the ways in which we, as a church family, are rooted in the mission of Jesus. We are a church which, through faithful prayer and pastoral care, are not only bringing real healing and hope but are connecting people to the love of God in Christ Jesus.

This Sunday, Susan will continue to explore the characteristic of ‘nurture’. Last week we heard Anthony preach on Nurture and were reminded that we are in ‘the fruit business’! This week Susan’s sermon is on nurture from the cradle to the grave and is about ‘the travel business’! We very much hope that we can now have music as part of Sunday’s Zoom service – join us to sing “Bread of Heaven’ as we worship God in our virtual church.

Link to Sunday’s Zoom Service

The season of Lent is now only a few weeks away. There will be a recorded Taizé style service for Ash Wednesday filmed in the Upper Room of the St James Centre. We are also planning to offer Lent groups across the congregations of Harbour Churches and beyond! (Details coming soon).

We need no reminder how much we have all relied of the practice of faithful prayer over this time of pandemic. This Lent we will be refreshing our life of prayer in following a course based on a book that has been described as ‘an instant spiritual classic’:

Local boy Pete Greig is an award-winning author and founded the 24/7 Prayer movement. He describes the book as ‘a simple guide for normal people’. I guess that’s you, me and –  thank God – even The Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bless you for your faithfulness.

Jonathan
RECTOR

 

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Harbour Churches Sofa Service 17th January

Sofa Service : ‘Come and See’

The service opens with the Cambridge Singers, directed by John Rutter, performing Ralph Vaughan Williams coronation motet ‘O Taste and See’.

At this time of increasing alarm over the spread of coronavirus and all the difficulties of living through a time of heightened lock down, the service looks to the encouragement we can find through the inspiring words of scripture. Today the story of Nathanael’s calling in John 1. 43-51, reminds us that ‘good’ can come out of surprising places,  people and times. The disciple Philip’s simple answer ‘Come and See’  to Nathanael’s negative response to the invitation to meet Jesus, reminds us in this season of Epiphany that we need to ‘see’ with the faith that Philip had and draw others to discover the man who is for all people – at all times ‘good news’.

The service ends with the hymn ‘I the Lord of Sea and sky’ performed by Collin Raye – with the famous chorus of calling : Here I am, Lord.  Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart. ‘

We continue to pray for all those who have contracted the virus and those who are caring for them. And for those who have asked our prayers:

Charlie Gray, Derrick Pope, Angela Portlock, Lorraine Ellis, Ann-Marie, Eloise and baby Elijah.

We especially pray for those who have died from coronavirus and those who have died in recent days, giving thanks to God for the lives of Helen Kydd, Phillip Ellis and Owen Hawkes.

The Collect for the Second Sunday after Epiphany:

Almighty God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives
make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

 

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Harbour Churches Newsletter 15th January

“I am the true vine and my father is the vinegrower” John 15.1

Nurture – What happened to the boy who would not eat his vegetables?

Sustaining your faith can be hard.  What has nurtured your faith in the past?  What might help to nurture your faith in the coming months?  These are questions that members of the Harbour Groups have been thinking about in the last couple of weeks; I shall refer to their responses in my sermon in the Zoom service this Sunday…and I may tell you what happened to the boy who would not eat his vegetables – don’t miss it!  Following our series of talks last month on Hospitality, we are now focusing on Nurture as the second characteristic for Harbour Churches, which will enable us to fulfil our vision of “Being Good News” in our community.

Nurture of people’s faith leads to those people nurturing others – there was a very positive article in one of the Saturday supplements which highlighted how parish churches all over the country, urban and rural, have responded to the challenges of the pandemic.  The provision of on-line opportunities for worship and fellowship is one aspect and it has also been evident in serving their communities – such as reaching out to the lonely, providing foodbanks and supporting key workers – just as we have.   The aim of nurture is that we become channels for God’s grace.

Our series started with Eric Eyres last weekend on the PPE of Nurture– the Presence of Christ in our lives, Prayer to sustain us, and Encouragement through the word of God and tears of compassion.  There are so many ways in which we can nurture others, spiritually or practically and it will be exciting to hear the ideas that emerge and how we can put them into practice both now and when life returns to normal.

In the meantime, take advantage of the opportunities available to nurture your faith:

  • Join the Zoom service this Sunday at 10am (Link below)
  • Join Morning Prayer (8am Mon-Fri)  or Evening Prayer (9pm every evening)
  • Find out about a Harbour Group by contacting CurateAnthony@gmail.com

Make sure you are nurtured to enable you to nurture!  I hope to see you on a screen somewhere soon.

Reverend Anthony

Links to our online services:

Link to Zoom Service Sunday 17th January

Morning prayer

Daily Evening Prayer

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