Dear Incarnation friends
So, how’s it going? One week into this new world, so many new routines, new skills, new patterns of work, new ways to connect, new emphasis on personal disciples, and so much more ‘giving up’ then we expected this Lent!
This morning as I prayed, this verse came to mind:
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
I am so hoping that in the midst of the online noise, we will each find strength within as we wait on the Lord. The picture above is used by permission of the artist Jules Atkinson, and it perfectly represents the sense I have of our need to wait before the Lord, as we trust that He will act.
I wanted to capture a few of the things we are doing as a community in one place for you - so here goes:
We have 5 opportunities for corporate worship every week:
5pm Sunday for our usual service
12pm Tuesday for Midday Prayer
7.30am Wednesday for Morning Prayer
12pm Thursday for Midday Prayer
9pm Fridays for Compline
All services, scriptures, and texts from the Book of Common Prayer can be accessed via the links on our website. ALL are great opportunities for you to invite friends and neighbors - around the world!
If you have prayer needs or time to pray for others - check this list out! Please feel free to add requests, and also words, verses etc that come to you as you pray.
If after ANY of our worship gatherings you would like ‘prayer at the cross’ (prayer at the keyboard?), please message me (you can do this privately on the chat function in the zoom meeting) and I will arrange for 2 of our pray-ers to be in touch via a private zoom line or a zoom breakout. This would follow the normal ‘rules’ of prayer at the cross i.e. confidential etc.
Everything we want you to know we normally place in three places: on the website, on Facebook and in the Friday email (not getting this? Email Amy firstname.lastname@example.org). There are also two quite chatty WhatsApp groups: Golden Shells (for those who want to share news, views, and in normal times share invitations to social gatherings etc) and IAC women (for mutual support and prayer). If you would like to join either of these please email me (email@example.com). Finally, our Instagram is a place where we notice and record moments of “wonder” (although we do not use it for announcements and communication).
The Vestry and staff are also keen to help us all feel connected, so every week or so you should get a call from one of us just to see how you are doing. They will also be a great person to contact if you want to chat to someone. BUT also I am always available - for the trivial to the major questions in life… text, email or call me… I’ll try and respond quickly!
Our vestry has set aside money for COVID-19 aid, and our outreach team is developing protocols for how that money gets spent. There is still much we do not know about how this virus will progress and what needs will emerge in the coming weeks as food, health care, and financial security rapidly change for many people. We know that as a small church, we cannot do everything, and so we are listening closely to each of you and to our neighborhood and community leaders as we discern how we can best serve with the resources we have. Learn more, stay tuned, and in the meantime, please pray for the vulnerable, reach out to us with needs, and check on your neighbors.
Perhaps you are finding yourself thinking about things in a new way, or have an insight you would like to share? We would love to be drawn more and more to loving God as we go through this season - can you encourage us all?
There are two ways to do that:
Thank you to those who have begun to reflect (see our blog here) - more thoughts, pictures, ideas always welcome! Send me a blog and I will publish it - fantastically helpful if you can also include a picture!
Another way of capturing some of what you are doing may be more visual - tag your pics on Instagram or Facebook with #onethingIAC if you see spaces, places, moments of beauty around you. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of our great and good God and the ways he has made our world so incredibly rich and varied.
Sign up for small groups will be available next week. These will mostly now start a little earlier (the week after Easter), so check the details of each one carefully! They will be on-line to start with, until we get the all-clear to meet together in person again.
Look out also for a bookclub starting up, and community movie nights. All from the comfort of your own sofa :) Got ideas for books or movies or other ways to connect? Send them to me!
Who would have imagined this a month ago? But God knows, understands and holds these times in his hands. We need to pray. We need to learn to listen. We need to be prepared to not understand and yet to worship. There is a global call to prayer and fasting this Sunday - perhaps you would consider joining with brothers and sisters around the world - more details can be found here. There are so many who are facing unimaginable hardships because of the economic shock this is having around the globe. Pray. Consider the way you use your money. Support those around you in need. Do it all with love, kindness and a hand of grace.
I am so looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday. Together. Humbled.
Your pastor and friend