So – where are we?

This Sunday, we had planned a ‘One Church’ service. We were going to celebrate being more open to each other and our communities and now, here we are, having to be just that – but differently!

This time of isolation, is full of uncertainty and for some, genuine suffering. However, I believe that this present time also has the potential for tremendous growth and transformation. It’s almost as if we’re living the central story of Lent – Jesus in the wilderness. Some texts, describe Jesus being ‘driven’ there by the Holy Spirit. Only, after an extended time of fasting which left Him ‘famished’, did the real work begin. Then He had to grapple with the darkness of temptation and, through it, discover who he was in God and what He was called to be and do. The wilderness was his calling time. This wilderness is our calling time.

Our fast is from normality, community and all the everyday things we took for granted. For us this too looks like being an extended fast – maybe three weeks or forty days, maybe more… It’s early days and we can’t yet know how famished we will get. We need to stick with it. For all of us that does mean STAYING IN. But it’s about more than that. It’s not trying to cover up the isolation and pretend it’s not happening. That also means we must be ready to encounter darkness and difficulty. However, if we remain faithful in this we too will be blessed to discover who we are in God and what we are called to be and do as we discover new and creative ways to live our faith, supporting each another and our communities.

That said, we don’t need to be cut off from one another in this imposed isolation and I want to say a little bit about how we, as a church family – Harbour Churches, are working to keep us together as the body of Christ so that we really can be a blessing for those we are called to serve.

But first, can I invite you to take a moment when you can and offer the prayer we would say after communion for this Passion Sunday, and as you do lay before God’s healing presence  those who are suffering at this time and those who have asked our prayers – Claire, Derrick, Clive, Max, Charlotte, Margaret and Sandra and those who have died, praying for Piers de Berniere-Smart

Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us
that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters
we do also for you:
give us the will to be the servant of others
as you were the servant of all,
and gave up your life and died for us,
but are alive and reign, now and for ever.Amen

Accept the invitation we are being offered at this time to stay together by praying together. Everyday at 12noon we invite you to pause and simply offer The Lord’s Prayer – such a simple thing to do but it is the prayer Jesus taught us to say. Our Father…

There is a plethora of different prayer sites and apps and it can be a little overwhelming to know which to choose. If you have a regular daily pattern of prayer then please continue to follow it. We are also encouraging Harbour Churches to gather together by using one of these two excellent prayer resources, both of which allow you to listen as you are led in prayer:

LECTIO 365 which you can get by following this link:
https://www.24-7prayer.com/dailydevotional

SACRED SPACE which you can follow by following this link:
https://www.sacredspace.ie/daily-prayer

Sacred Space also has daily prayers especially for those who are isolating ‘Pray as you stay’.

The Sofa Service

Each Sunday, Jane and I will be sharing a short time of prayer, reflection and praise from the comfort of the Rectory sofa😊 You can link in with us every Sunday at 10am via YouTube. More details to follow – watch this space!

I hope this Helping Hands logo is really getting familiar. If you or someone you know is struggling with being in isolation or if you feel in a position to help then simply email: helpinghandshub1@gmail.com or call the Parish Office 01243 514057.

Please can you also encourage as many people as possible to sign up to the weekly newsletter and ensure that they are linked in with all that’s going on. We’ve had such encouraging feedback from the newsletter – thank you. Clare can help with this so just email: wwbi.parishoffice@gmail.com or call 01243 514057.

We’re also re-launching our facebook page and really hope you’ll be able to post those everyday  moments that can bring a smile or touch hearts but above all are an encouragement to stay connected through the laughter and tears of everyday life. The ministry team will also be posting a daily message too. Revd. Sarah is a big facebook fan and can help you sign up – just call her on 07468 854864. Follow this link:

Harbour Churches – West Wittering, Birdham and Itchenor @wwbiparish

I’m going to give the last word to our dear friend Bishop Solomon from Bo, Sierra Leonne, who writes with this encouragement:

Dear Friends,

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just a quick note to check on my brothers and sisters in Christ amid the Covid 19 pandemic ravaging the world. I hope you all are well, as news from England is disheartening. On behalf of the Anglican Diocese of Bo and the St Paul’s school family we have all of you in our prayers for a speedy end of the pandemic. As for us in Sierra Leone, we are at high alert. God bless and protect you all in the name of Jesus.

🙏

+Solomon Bo

Assuring you of my prayers and trusting to yours –

Jonathan

Rector

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