Church News and Updates during Covid - 2nd May 2020

Hello,

I hope that you are keeping well. Let me know how lockdown is going for you. There is such a range of how people are finding it – for some it has been straightforward, for others it has been really tough (and often in ways that they had not expected). What about for you?

Sunday

I do hope that you have been able to connect to the “From the Rector’s Study” webcasts on Sunday evenings.

Those are shared on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/knockholtandhalsteadchurches) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/HalsteadRectoryUK) every Sunday at 6pm (and are available to watch afterward – I know someone who likes to watch a portion each day – you can see the latest one here: https://youtu.be/IA-Kf91B_Ec).

The last couple of Sundays we have been experimenting with meeting for “end of church coffee” meeting on Zoom (you need to provide your own coffee!). This Sunday, the Zoom meeting will be open from 6pm – we will watch the webcast together and catch up afterwards.

Please contact Tim for details.

Family resources

I shared before the resources that we would have been using in our regular children’s group, so that you can use that at home as you open the Bible and pray with your children. (Get in touch if it would be helpful for me to send you that again).

In case you have lost track, this week is due to be session 3: Sin Spoils Creation.

Because it is so encouraging to see what the children are producing, I am going to start a regular weekly competition, where one child who sends me a picture of what they have produced will win a packet of sweets (that could be some colouring, a work sheet, some craft, anything at all). And I might share some of those to the church Facebook page for others to see as well.

VE day

You are probably aware that Friday, 8 May is the 75th anniversary of VE Day and it a special bank holiday.

While we cannot celebrate that in the same way as we might have planned, it will be an important day to mark.

Here are some of the things happening that you might want to join in with:

  • Decorate your house in red, white, and blue
  • 11am two minutes silence on your doorstep
  • 4pm stay-at home street party
  • 6pm dinner and raise a glass to your neighbours
  • 9pm HM the Queen will address the nation

Bible Study

Our Bible study group is enjoying starting to get to grips with the wonderfully encouraging book of Revelation. If you would like to find out more, please contact Tim who can send you a copy of the notes we are using.

Kondoa

We received this update about the situation in our partner diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania (where Tim was in September). Please do remember them in your prayers:

The total reported cases of Covid-19 in Tanzania are about 300 and, as might be expected, are mostly in the cities.  Bishop Given reports that there much fear and confusion, particularly in the rural areas, and explains that the first local transmissions of the Covid-19 Virus happened last week. 

The Bishop tells of an elderly man in Chemba who was chased and beaten because he left his home to get food, he was put in prison and the Bishop has had to intervene to assist him.  He says that people have heard about “Covid-19” but don’t know what it is.  They are frightened and even where their crops have been eaten by insects (not locusts), that worry has now been overwhelmed by the dominating fear of Covid-19. 

Food costs in Kondoa have increased dramatically, the Bishop does now know whether this is the same in the villages, as he and Lilian are following advice to stay at home.  I suspect that the situation will vary according to the local harvest.  Just by way of an example, a sack of maize should sell in Kondoa for 30,000 Tanzanian Shillings but is now costing 70,000. 

Last week, Bishop Given met with the eight area deans to discuss the Diocesan response.  They agreed to establish a Social Services Committee, which will include a doctor and nurse (both worship at the Cathedral) and a pastor.  

This group will be provided with protective equipment (mask and gloves) and will visit the villages to provide education about the virus and how to prevent transmission, and to distribute food and sanitiser or soap.  They will also provide practical advice such as how to build a tippy tap (see attached), to help with handwashing when water is scarce.

The Bishop is now seeking permission from the District Commissioner for the Social Services Committee to carry out its work.

Some people have very generously sent funds, and these will be used by the Social Services Committee as described above.  Any funds received may also be used to pay the teachers and guards at the Theological College, now that the students have had to be sent home.   Sadly, the Diocese is, again, almost entirely dependent on donations because income from the Cathedral congregation has dramatically reduced and the income from the new Mothers’ Union hostel has been lost (from government workers and overseas visitors).

I am sure we are all praying for God’s protection from the virus in Tanzania.  Please can we also pray for his blessing on the work of the Social Services Committee and for speedy permission from the District Commissioner for the Committee to start work.

If you are interested in reading the latest news about the virus in Tanzania, this United Nations publication is concise and informative: https://www.un.org/africarenewal/web-features/coronavirus/how-covid-19-changing-lives-tanzanian

Giving

You will be aware that this is a financially challenging time for many churches and charities. Many people give cash in the collection taken up in our usual Sunday gatherings, which are, of course, not happening at the moment.

We have set up a giving page on our website which allows you to give either a one off or regular donation (either by card or direct debit):  https://knockholtandhalstead.churchsuite.co.uk/donate 

Can I ask you to think about what you can afford to give? If you don’t already give regularly to support the work here and beyond, could you do so? (The Bible expects that most of us will normally do that with a portion of our income). Or, if you find that your outgoings have reduced at this time, perhaps you might consider a one-off donation?

Of course, not everyone is able to do that – indeed for many this is a time of hardship (which is why we are partnering with the local food bank and others in order to support those who need it most, especially in our local communities), but could I ask you to think about whether you would be able to do so?

Funerals updates

I realise that with us not meeting as usual, people will sometimes not hear about funerals that they might usually.

Here are funerals that have either been held since lockdown begin or are scheduled to be held soon.

Please do be praying for the families of:

John ROGERS, who was buried at St Margaret, Halstead on 3 April 2020

Brenda DICKER, who was buried at St Margaret, Halstead on 7 April 2020

Diane GRAY, whose funeral was at Bluebell Cemetery, Halstead on 16 April 2020

Mabel DESBOROUGH, whose funeral was at Kemnal Park Crematorium on 27 April 2020

Joseph NOLAN, whose funeral was at Bluebell Cemetery, Halstead on 29 April 2020

Ann STEWART, who is due to be buried at St Margaret, Halstead on 6 May 2020

Andrew and Carmen GILFILLAN, who are due to be buried at St Margaret, Halstead on 27 May 2020

Funeral guidance

If you find yourself in the sad position of having to plan a funeral, there is some guidance to help on our website (http://knockholtandhalsteadchurches.org/life-events/funerals/), and, of course, I would love to help.

 

God bless you all,

Your Rector, Tim