I trust that you are well and surviving the latest lockdown. I am aware of how hard it is for many, and this lockdown seems harder than the last ones. In all of this we, above all, have consolation: the good news that God loves us and cares for us.
We are approaching the season of Lent and I want to announce two upcoming events. The first is a Pancake Party on Zoom at 6.00 pm on Shrove Tuesday, 16th February. The idea is that we join together with our pancakes and frying pans and cooked pancakes and have a mass flip! There will be a little teaching and then fellowship in breakout rooms. If you are interested you can join Zoom with the ID 7691169359 and passcode 123456. Please invite your friends along as well from outside the church. It should be fun!
The second is our Lent course which will begin the Wednesday after Ash Wednesday 24th February at 7.00 pm, again on my Zoom 7691169359, this time without a passcode. I hope that this will be given priority over home groups, (although there is nothing to stop there being an additional meeting!). The material for the course will be on the website ubsms.org.uk, so that you can open the material at the same time as Zoom on the computer. Alternatively you could print out a hard copy (if you have a printer) or ask Marion for hard copies (preferably as a last resort). The course is one developed by Winchester Diocese entitled, “Sharing God’s Life” and in the 5 weeks we will be looking at, Who we are and what we are called to; Loving; Living; Serving; and Personal spiritual goals. In each session there will be music, a short video, a Bible reflection and a time to interact together with the material mentioned above.
Meanwhile we continue to have our services online, Sundays and midweek at ubsms.org.uk and the Centre on Zoom on Sundays. Please look up the daily service if that would help. This will include an Ash Wednesday morning service. The PCCs are monitoring when we can return to live worship in our churches. I can assure you it will be as soon as we feel it is safe. However even then, to begin with at least, it is highly likely that there will be limited numbers as before.
One little thing to look forward to: this Sunday, 14th February, Charlie Hudson, who will be our curate in the Benefice after June, will be joining us at our coffee after the service. If you would like to meet her, do join us. We will have breakout rooms as normal; you never know you may be placed in her breakout room!
At this point I believe it is important to try not to get down-hearted. We are all feeling the pressure and there are times when we are low. However there are two ever-present resources. The first is God, in the form of his Spirit, who encourages and guides us. Look out for him in your daily lives! The second are our brothers and sisters in the Benefice. Phone someone if you are down. Phone someone if you haven’t heard from them or are concerned. In short, do support one another.
With all best wishes in Christ,