COVID-19

St. Martin's has traditional communion in the building every Sunday at 9.30am, and is open for private prayer, Saturdays 10-12. The Weekly Zoom Service is continuing, every Sunday at 11.30am, and everyone is most welcome!
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United Breaks Out

Thursday 30th July - Monday 3rd August

New Wine without the camping!

Find out more.

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St. Martin's on Zoom!

Sundays 11.30am • Wednesdays 7pm

Join us on Sundays for a service, Wednesdays for a gathering or bible study (alternate weeks), and Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays for Morning Prayer!

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Quiz Night

Thursday 30th July • 7.00pm

Join the Raettigs and the St. Martin's family for an online quiz, Thursday 30th July, from 7pm. Come alone or as a family, and share in the fun! (Children welcome!)

Zoom Join from Browser
Code: 923-9790-7717
No password needed.

Dear All,

We expect that this will be our last update as, from this weekend, our churches will be re-opening for public worship. Hooray!

Our normal methods of keeping everyone informed will be resuming - weekly notices, monthly newsletters and, in East Ayton, our bi-monthly parish magazine. If, for any reason, you are not yet able to attend public worship, please let someone know so that we can make sure you are kept informed. As always, if you need anything or would like someone to pop round, we are here for you - just give us a ring or send us an email.

We will start with just one service in each church each Sunday. We will be celebrating Holy Communion (wafers only, following diocesan guidelines) but we will wait a few weeks before we enjoy refreshments together. Unfortunately we cannot sing yet but we will include music in our worship.

Services will resume at the following times:

This Sunday

  • St. John the Baptist, East Ayton - Sunday July 12th at 9am
  • St. John the Baptist, Cayton - Sunday July 12th at 10.45am

Sunday of next week

  • St. Martin's, Seamer - Sunday July 19th at 9.30am

East Ayton and Seamer will continue to be open for private prayer at the usual times and our weekly Zoom Worship at 11.30am will carry on.

We want to reassure you that we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 in places of worship.

What we have done:

  • We have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • We have cleaning, hand cleansing and hygiene procedures in place, in line with government guidance and have made face masks and gloves available if you wish to use them
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to help everyone maintain a 2m distance from others

What we expect you to do:

  • Refrain from entering if you are feeling unwell or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the past seven days
  • Take responsibility for your own safety and that of your household and other people by maintaining social distancing and observing all hygiene measures
  • Ensure children are supervised at all times

If you have any questions or concerns, please ask.

We look forward to seeing every one of you very soon!

We will sign off with a message from our Archdeacons:

This is an exciting time for our diocese. Our churches are cautiously but surely re-opening for worship, welcoming back old friends and new, those who come to celebrate and those who come to mourn and to remember.

We also welcome our new Archbishop, Stephen Cottrell, even if we can’t welcome him with our usual great gusto in York Minster! The time for singing and joyful gatherings is a little way off but we do bid Archbishop Stephen a warm, Yorkshire welcome.

The time of new beginnings is upon us. We will not be fearful or anxious about our future, even though there are still rocky roads ahead. Together, we will grow God’s Kingdom, together we will embrace a new future and a new hope.

The Lord bless us
and keep us;
the Lord make his face shine on us
and be gracious to us;
the Lord turn his face toward us
and give us peace.

With our love,

Andrew and Elizabeth

P.S. Last week's quiz is attached - with the answers. We hope you have enjoyed them all!

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Hello Everyone,

Can you believe it, this is our 17th weekly update?! We hope you have found them useful. We have certainly been grateful for this easy and effective way of connecting with the church family we have missed so much.

How are you feeling about getting back into church for worship? We are excited but also concerned that we do all we can to keep each other safe. As followers of Jesus, love is always the driving force in all our plans and we need to guard against allowing fear to dictate the way we feel or act.

At our 11.30am Zoom service last Sunday, we talked together about all that we have learned in the last few months. We were so encouraged as everyone spoke of having time to appreciate the gifts God lavishes on us that we usually take for granted. Time to walk or sit and really see and hear the natural world and how it speaks to us of God’s wisdom and faithfulness. Time to speak to friends and strangers and to feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit to share something of the love and power of Jesus with them. We heard testimonies of a much deeper awareness of Jesus’ presence and of prayers both crucial and trivial asked and answered.

If you want a more light-hearted look at what everyone has been getting up to, check out our lockdown collage. To add your own photos, just send them to Richard at rpfuller at rpfuller dot com.

Our sermons for the last few weeks have focused on Matthew 10, where Jesus sends out his disciples to invite their communities into his kingdom. The sermons are available at stmartins.seamer.org if you haven’t heard them! Last week, Andrew reminded us about Matthew 10:40, where Jesus reassures us: ‘Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me and whoever welcomes me, welcomes the One who sent me.’ In all that we’ve done to care for others, we have been representing Jesus and holding out his offer of life and hope.

Someone on the radio recently said, ‘Social distancing? That’s nothing new! In this country we’ve been socially distancing for years!’ The truth is that in many ways, the past weeks have given us more opportunities to draw close to others and to really listen and respond to their needs. We’ve given and received help in new and unexpected ways. As we think back to our Leading Your Church into Growth discussions, let’s hold on to our new and deeper connections. Let’s pray for those we’ve chatted to on our walks, for the neighbour we’ve met for the first time, for the vulnerable person we’ve shopped for or got to know over the phone. And let’s hold on to God’s concern for this vast, beautiful yet fragile world. We should echo the response of Jesus who, when he saw the crowds, ‘had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’. (Matthew 9:36)

Perhaps, like us, in texts or emails or chance conversations, you have been able to bring in a few words about God’s compassion for our world and his divine purposes being worked out even during this pandemic. Let’s water these conversations with prayer and ask God to make the seeds that we’ve sown bear fruit for him.

As we return to church, let’s put aside our insular mentality and remember that Jesus wants save our neighbours and our friends and families as well as us. So many around the world have reached out for God’s help during this crisis. The people we meet may be much closer to God’s kingdom than we think. How will we know unless we start a conversation and invite them to come and see for themselves?

Father God, we thank you for your goodness and mercy towards us. We pray for the people you have led us to in recent weeks. May the love we have shown open the door for you to bring them to yourself.

We want to return to church but we don’t want to return to the way we were. Keep us open to you and to the people who live around us. As we worship together in person, revitalise all that we do in your Name so that it speaks clearly of Jesus to all who will listen.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be a tangible reality in our lives and in our churches. In Jesus’ name and for his glory. Amen.

God bless you and we look forward to seeing you soon!

With our love and prayers,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Re-Opening our Churches

We anticipate being able to restart our weekly worship in church in the next few weeks. Detailed instructions for doing so safely are now coming through from the diocese. These will be digested and put into practice by Andrew and the Churchwardens so watch this space! We continue to be open for supervised private prayer as advertised.

Westway Open Arms Food Bank

We have made several trips to the food bank with bootloads of your donations so thank you for your generosity. Now that our churches are open, please leave any food contributions in your church and they will be collected and passed on to Sam and Jo as usual.

Torchlighters Digital Theatre

RevelationMedia Presents The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith

Action-packed, award-winning, animated stories, featuring real-life heroes of the Christian faith like Gladys Aylward, William Tyndale and Corrie ten Boom

Watch full episodes FREE for a limited time and download fun activities and family devotions

https://www.revelationmedia.com/thetorchlighters/?_source_code=watchTL/RM13338

Huge New Wine event – this month!

New Wine’s regular United and Luminosity events are bigger and better than ever and, for this year only – ENTIRELY ONLINE.

UNITED Breaks Out starts on July 30th and runs through to 3rd August. The main programme includes a mix of celebrations, worship, Bible teaching, sofa sessions, live webinars and more, covering key issues that matter today:

  • grief, loss & lament
  • the power of the Holy Spirit
  • race
  • preparing for a new world
  • mental health & wellbeing
  • parenting
  • prayer
  • apologetics
  • creation care

There is Space Cadets for children with songs, challenges, stories, teaching & gunge. Plus, a brand new Augmented Reality App - with stories, games, prayer and worship to help kids encounter God in new ways.

For 11-18s, LUMINOSITY will bring breakfast devotions & chat, challenges, evening celebrations, high-energy worship & seminars covering mental health & anxiety, evangelism, calling, leadership, social media & the world we could create.

Everyone is welcome! If you have questions or would like more details, contact our very own Diana from Cayton at diana_gott23 at yahoo dot com or explore the full programme at https://www.new-wine.org/breaksout

Topical Articles

If you’re looking for some more short, Bible-based and practical articles to help you make sense of the Coronavirus pandemic and the fear, pain and anxiety it has brought, try these from Barnabas Fund:

https://barnabasfund.org/magazine/

Confirmation of Election of New Archbishop of York

Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell will be confirmed as the 98th Archbishop of York at 11am on Thursday 9th July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely via video conference due to the Coronavirus restrictions. The service will be available from www.churchofengland.org

Quiz

Not exactly a quiz last week, just a collection of odd but interesting facts. Did you know any of the answers? See how close you were by checking the attachment. And don’t forget to have a go at this week’s film quiz, compliments of sporcle.com. We've made it easy and given you the answers - you just have to match them up!

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Hello Brothers and Sisters,

We hope this email finds you hopeful and joyful and walking closely with Jesus.

Don't forget, we are here for you if there's anything at all we can help you with! Just reply to this email or give us a ring on 01723 866284.

Our apologies that this week's update is a little later than usual. We were hoping for instructions from the Diocese of York about re-starting our worship services, so that we could let you all know what is happening. As of this morning, we haven't heard anything new so we will be patient and be in touch with you all again as soon as we have something concrete to tell you.

In the meantime, please keep praying for God's guidance for our church leaders and for all the shopkeepers, school staff and business owners who are doing their best to keep the public safe as they re-open. And remember our churches are open and supervised for anyone who wants to come in to pray or just sit quietly in God's presence:

  • St. Martin's Seamer: Saturdays 10-12 noon
  • St. John the Baptist, East Ayton: Mondays and Fridays 10-12 noon
  • St. John the Baptist, Cayton: Tuesdays 10-12 noon

Here at the vicarage, we are starting to think about the gradual resumption of our usual church worship and activities. We have been looking at this Sunday's gospel reading, Matthew 10:39-42. As we reflected on Jesus' words in this week's hot, dry weather, we found the following story both appropriate and helpful:

Desert Pete

Many years ago, a weary traveller hiked for miles across the desert with the hot sun beating down on his back. His water supply was gone, and he knew that if he didn’t find water soon to quench his thirst, he would surely die.

In the distance, he spotted a deserted cabin which brought hope that maybe water was to be found there. He made his way to the cabin and discovered an old well. He frantically pumped the handle of the well to draw water, but all that came from the pump was dust.

Then he noticed a tin can tied to the pump, with a note inside. The notesaid:

Dear stranger:

This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer in it, andit should last for quite a few years. But the washer dries out and the pumpneeds to be primed. Under the white rock, I buried a jar of water, out of the sun and corked up. There’s enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about 1/4 of the water into the pump and let her soak for a minute to wet the leather washer. Then quickly pour the rest and pumphard. You’ll get water. Have faith. This well has never run dry.

When you get watered up, fill the bottle and put it back as you found it for the next stranger who comes this way.

Pete

We don't know what the traveller decided to do. Did he keep the water for himself or invest it in priming the pump so that it would quench his own thirst and that of anyone coming after him?

Would you have faith to pour the jar of water into the well as the note instructed?

Jesus said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his lifefor my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). The same principle applies here. If you live your life selfishly, you will surely die. But if you give yourself away (“lose your life” for the sake of the Gospel) you will live. Your thirst for happiness and fulfilment will be met.

In his note, Desert Pete wrote, “This well has never run dry.” Likewise, God is faithful and his promises are true. He has never failed those who have trusted him.

God has not failed us over the past months as we have hunkered down, held on and kept ourselves and each other safe. The time frame for this will depend on our individual circumstances but as we cautiously emerge from our cocoons, it is time to take all that we've learned and invest it, time to renew our determination to spend our lives in the service of Jesus Christ.

As you think about what that means for you, take a moment to pray the church's prayer for tomorrow:

Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
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

Please don't miss the information at the end of this email and look out for details of when and how our church services will resume!

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power
and the blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with us and flow through us,
now and always.

With our love and prayers for you all,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Worship on Sunday

You can access worship in all the usual places or worship online with just about every large church you can think of and a lot of the smaller ones!

Our own Zoom Service continues every Sunday at 11.30am. This week we will be praising God together and praying and reading Scripture and we will also be sharing what God has taught us over the last 3 months. The link to join in is below

Church Family Quiz

Our latest Zoom quiz is this Thursday, July 2nd, at 7pm. Individuals and groups of all ages are welcome. Having a young person on your team will be useful but not essential!

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Quiz Night

Thursday 2nd July • 7.00pm

Join Chloe, Richard and the St. Martin's family for an online quiz, Thursday 2nd July, from 7pm. Come alone or as a family, and share in the fun! (Children welcome!)

Zoom Join from Browser
Code: 952-1238-2843
No password needed.

Confirmation of Election of New Archbishop of York

Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell will be confirmed as the 98th Archbishop of York at 11am on Thursday 9th July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely via video conference due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

Picture of Bishop Stephen
Confirmation of Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell

Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell will be confirmed as the 98th Archbishop of York at 11.00am on Thursday 9 July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely via video conference.

Attachments

Answers to last week's quiz are attached just in case you didn't quite get them all!,

This week, have a go at our rather tongue-in-cheek general knowledge quiz. Some answers you might know, but if not have a guess and see how close you get. If nothing else, the answers will give you some useless but interesting facts with which to impress family and friends!

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Hello Everyone,

We're going to keep it short and sweet this week but there are some important things you need to know and we do want to encourage each other as lockdown slowly lifts and a more normal life slowly returns.

As life moves forward, sometimes having to take backwards steps in the process, how grateful we are to have a wise and loving Heavenly Father who holds our past, present and future in his powerful hand. Our God never changes. His character, his promises, his purposes for humanity are immutable and totally trustworthy.

Plans are now in place to re-open our churches for private prayer. You will find all the details at the end of this email but as we take the first steps towards resuming normal service (no pun intended!), let's take a few moments to think about a Psalm that was written in very similar circumstances.

In the days of Hezekiah, King of Judah, the Assyrian army had devastated the Northern Kingdom of Israel and had surged as far as Jerusalem in the south. Assyrian patrols made it unsafe for God's people to move about and services in the temple were out of the question.

Psalm 84 was written by the sons of Korah, a division of the Levites who served in the temple leading sung worship and also serving as churchwardens and sidespersons.

In the early verses we read how the writer is desperate to get back to the temple. Our desires reveal who we really are and this man yearns to be free to go to Jerusalem and worship God. In the temple he feels secure and he knows who he is and why he is alive.

He describes the difficult time they have endured but he affirms God's presence and provision through it all. He says that even through the hardships, God has enabled him to go from strength to strength.

Finally, they are worshipping and serving in the temple again. The psalmist rejoices - 'One day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.'

We can identify with the experience and emotions of this man as we look forward to meeting together as God's family in God's house with God's Son in our midst and God's Spirit inspiring our worship and energising our service. As we read this Psalm, we can also look ahead to the day when we will gather in heaven with the whole family of God and worship our Saviour face-to-face. Then we will be home for good!

There are several versions of Psalm 84 still sung today. You might like to find one on YouTube and listen as you reflect and pray through its timeless words.

Please read on to find out when our churches are open and to have a go at this week's quiz.

We look forward to seeing you all in God's time.

Father God, whose love streams like fresh water
into the deserts of our hearts,
you turn us from greed and partiality to healing and justice.
Make us companions of those who long for your deliverance,
and give us safe passage into the land of your Shalom. Amen.

With our love and prayers as always,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Our Churches are Open

Thank you to everyone who has offered to man our churches and guide and welcome those who come. Andrew will be in touch soon if he hasn't already!

Hygiene and social distancing measures are in place and from Monday 22nd June, opening times are as follows:

  • St. John the Baptist, East Ayton: Mondays and Fridays 10-12 noon
  • St. Martin's Seamer: Saturdays 10-12 noon
  • St. John the Baptist, Cayton: Tuesdays 10-12 noon

Worship this Sunday

Our Zoom service is at 11.30am. We will worship and pray together and Elizabeth will be sharing some thoughts on Matthew 10:24-39. Everyone is welcome! You will find the link to join below.

Church Family Bible Study

Andrew will be leading our 3rd Zoom Bible Study next Wednesday June 24th at 7pm. We will be studying Colossians 2:1-15. Again, everyone is welcome. You will find the link to join below.

Numbers and Initials Quiz

Give your brain a workout with this week's quiz. Using the numbers as clues, can you work out what the letters stand for? Answers next week.

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Funeral of Mrs Maud Allen

Mrs Allen passed away peacefully at her daughter's home on Tuesday June 16th. As we rejoice that Maud has gone ahead of us to her home in heaven, please pray for her family who will miss her dreadfully. Mrs Allen's funeral will take place at St. Martin's at 2.45pm on Thursday June 25th, followed by the committal at Octon crematorium. Immediate family only.

Dear Friends,

How are you all doing? We do miss seeing you all and are grateful for every contact we have with you - emails, phone calls, texts and face-to-face meetings from a distance or via Zoom. If you haven't been in touch, drop us a line or pick up the phone and let us know how things are going. You are in our hearts and our prayers every day so do speak up if you need anything.

We praise God as we see the effects of this awful virus beginning to dissipate and we give thanks for his care and protection over the past months. We continue to pray for everyone who has been directly affected by Covid-19 but for most of us, our main concern has been our mental health - keeping anxiety at bay and filling our minds and our time with thoughts and activities that bring encouragement and hope to ourselves and other people. As Christians, we have been particularly careful to keep our eyes fixed on our all-powerful and faithful Saviour, Jesus.

One of the ways we have been doing this is by listening to sermons and talks on YouTube. We have just this week discovered the YouTube app on our smart TV! Many of our most gifted Bible teachers have their own YouTube channels and you can sit down at your computer or with your tablet or smartphone (or your smart TV if you have one) and watch sermons and presentations on any subject that interests, puzzles or excites you. You have to be discerning - test everything and hold fast to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21) - but you really can't go wrong with teachers like Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, Anne Graham Lotz, David Pawson, Timothy Keller, Joyce Meyer, John Piper and and John Stott. You will even find Billy Graham on YouTube as well as all your favourite Christian authors and theologians. Try it and let us know if you find anything particularly inspiring so we can share it with everyone.

As you know, each Sunday before our own Zoom service, we have been worshipping with our daughter and son-in-law at Holy Trinity Clapham. Last Sunday, their rector, Rev. Jago Wynne, preached about anxiety and worry from Philippians 4:4-9. His sermon is available on the HTC YouTube channel and is very much worth listening to. Here is just one highlight to whet your appetite.

Rev. Jago has himself suffered with anxiety attacks and bouts of depression. He described how anxiety can tear us apart and leave our hearts and minds in tatters. The secular answer to anxiety is to empty your mind of negative thoughts but here in Philippians 4, Paul tells us instead to bring everything to God in prayer and then fill our minds with things that are noble, true, excellent and admirable. It is thinking about these things that will bring us God's peace which will protect our hearts and minds.

Jago recommends that the noblest and most praiseworthy subject we can think about is the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross which brings us forgiveness, hope and eternal life. He gives the example of Horatio Spafford. You may well know the name. Horatio Spafford wrote the well-loved hymn, It is well with my soul. What is less known is the story behind the hymn.

Horatio Spafford was a prosperous lawyer and committed Christian living comfortably with his wife Anna and their four young daughters in Chicago.

The Spaffords hosted and financially supported many guests. Horatio was active in the abolitionist crusade and their home was a meeting place for activists in the famous reform movements of the time. Spafford invested much of his wealth in Chicago real estate. When the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes in October 1871, Spafford suffered a tremendous financial loss.

Two years later, for the sake of Anna’s health, the family planned an extended holiday in Europe. Anna and the girls went on ahead, sailing on the ocean liner S.S. Ville de Havre. On November 21, 1873, the liner was rammed by another vessel and sank within minutes. Anna was picked up unconscious, but the four children drowned.

Anna landed in Cardiff and sent a telegraph to Horatio, “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

Horatio immediately left Chicago to bring his wife home. As his ship passed over the spot in the Atlantic where his four daughters had perished, Horatio sat in his cabin and wrote this hymn:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.

Refrain: It is well (it is well), with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: if Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
(Refrain)

Rev'd Jago pointed out that in his enormous grief, Horatio turned his thoughts to Jesus. As he thought about all Jesus had done for him, his feelings followed his thoughts and his anxiety was overtaken by joy and praise and peace.

There is much to be anxious about in our lives today but few of us are called on to endure the loss and heartache that Horatio Spafford experienced. Whatever is threatening to tear you apart today, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Think about his great love for you, his self-sacrifice and his triumphant resurrection. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Don't miss the information and links at the end of this email, but for now,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.

With our love,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Re-Opening our Churches

We are still in the process of arranging to open up our churches so that anyone who wants to can come in and pray or spend some time enjoying their ancient peace. Thank you to everyone who has offered to supervise this. We are only planning a few hours each week in each church but, as you can imagine, there is a lot to be considered to ensure everyone's protection. We don't want to rush to do it just because we can. Andrew and the Churchwardens will do risk assessments and think through the procedures in the light of government and diocesan guidance, which is extensive! We will let you all know the details as soon as they are finalised.

Whatever are You Doing?

We thought it would be good to have photographs of what the church family are doing during lockdown. It doesn't have to be unusual or clever - just ordinary activities, jobs around the house or garden or anything you have been doing that you would like to share. Send your photos to Richard at rpfuller at rpfuller dot com and he will post them on the website.  Keep in mind that the pictures will be made public, and our church family has members of all ages so U rated photos only!

Sunday Worship

Our Zoom service is at 11.30am. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer with a camera and microphone. If you haven't tried it, you don't know what you are missing! This week's Bible readings are Matthew 9:35-10:8, Romans 5:1-8 and Exodus 19:2-8a. Andrew will be sharing God's Word with us and he will join Rev. Richard and all the other great preachers we have mentioned on YouTube afterwards!

Connecting with God Every Day

Do you want some reflections to support your mental health or a free phone-line with music and prayers?

Just a reminder about the wide range of services, reflections and worship resources available on the Church of England website:

Logo: The Church of England - A Christian Presence in Every Community
Church online | The Church of England

Join in with online services and access digital resources from the Church of England.

Westway Open Arms Foodbank Donations

(Thank you to the church family at East Ayton who have already given!)

Sam and Jo are busy supporting local families and urgently need donations of:

  • Tins of corned beef
  • Pasta sauce
  • Sugar
  • Tinned custard
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned sweet corn
  • Tinned potatoes
  • Packets dry potato
  • Tinned rice pudding
  • Tins of meat free pasta
  • Plain rice - boil in the bag
  • Tins of meat curry
  • Tinned hot dog sausages
  • Tinned meat pies
  • Biscuits
  • Chocolate treats
  • Long life fruit juice
  • Coffee
  • Plastic bags with the strong handles

Any donations can be dropped off at the vicarage next Wednesday morning (June 17th) and we will take them all together to Westway.

Time to Pray

As we cast our minds beyond our own circumstances and think about our world, particularly the widespread backlash against the death of George Floyd, Rev'd Jago Wynne has recorded a short talk very simply setting out a Christian response to racism and suggesting how we can pray.

Last Week's Quiz

Answers are attached, though you shouldn't need them.

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This week's quiz is (was) live and online tonight at 7pm. Join in at stmartins.seamer.org

Dear All,

I am pleased to tell you that the government has announced that church buildings can open up for supervised individual prayer from Monday June 15th. Throughout this crisis churches have been serving their communities in a range of practical ways but this announcement recognises that the buildings themselves are important sacred spaces for people.

In preparation for this, we need volunteers from each of our parishes to open up their church and supervise the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures. We realise that not everyone is in a position to do this, but if you are happy to volunteer 2 hours of your time each week, please let me know.

I will be in touch again when we know more but please do phone (866284) or email me if you are able to help.

Please pray for us and for our buildings as we take this step, that God will provide the workers we need and that he will meet with each person who enters our churches and fill them with his Holy Spirit and his peace.

Every blessing,
Andrew

To the Church at Seamer, East Ayton and Cayton,

Grace and peace to you.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul does such a good job of greeting the church and expresses our feelings so well, we thought we would borrow his words!

We've been reading an article this week that gathers together the thoughts and experiences of various UK Christians during this pandemic. It is always good to hear the perspectives of others who share your situation so here is a sample of their insights.

Many speak of neighbours, friends and family who have battled Covid-19 and share the anxiety and disappointment the virus causes and the heartbreak and pain of losing those we know and love. They talk of their concern for loved ones living far away and for fellow church members they are used to seeing every week. They also regret the cancellation of everything they were looking forward to, the loss of work and income and the desperation of those on the edges of society who slip through the net with no one to help them. Pete Greig, the founder of 24-7 Prayer International, sums it all up when he says, 'The sheer scale of pain, loss and anxiety is exhausting and, of course, as Christians, we are not immune.'

We are certainly not immune, but even as we mourn with those who mourn, we also trust and pray that our God will bring good out of all this, and we rejoice as we see him doing just that.

All of the people interviewed for this article mention highs as well as lows from the last 3 months. They speak of:

  • Enjoying walks on the beach and stunning sunsets
  • Slowing down and savouring the simple things we usually take for granted
  • Sharing heartfelt feelings with fellow church members instead of just superficially greeting each other at coffee-time
  • Spending unhurried time with family, not to mention pets and garden birds
  • Substituting our Martha 'doings' for Mary's sitting at Jesus' feet, listening to him
  • A new longing to pray
  • Telling bed-time stories to grandchildren on FaceTime
  • Getting to know neighbours
  • Seeing people rediscovering faith and hope through Zoom services and online Bible courses
  • Constantly hearing about death encouraging us to draw closer to our Maker and fulfil his purpose for our lives

The article is entitled 'What is God up to?' and the respondents share their answers to that question. This is a time of stripping back but it is also a time of grace. God is holding each of us where we are now, whether we feel his presence or not. The Lord is teaching us about perspective and gratitude. He is showing us a better work-life balance and helping us build relationships outside of our Sunday services. We have seen how contagious fear is but hope is also contagious and Jesus wants us to overflow with it, exhibiting his peace and joy as we trust him. What Satan intended for evil, God has intended 'for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives' (Genesis 50.20) As Jennifer Rees Larcombe concludes, 'Something exciting is beginning to happen and God is using lockdown to give us time to pray it in and to prepare us to be the loving Christian foster parents his new baby Christians will need.'

If you want to read more of this article and others that will inform and stimulate your faith, it was taken from the June edition of Premier's Christianity magazine. You can subscribe at premierchristianity.com

If you are wondering how Christians in the persecuted church are experiencing and understanding the pandemic, you will find it challenging and enlightening. Read this article from Open Doors: https://www.opendoorsuk.org/news/stories/coronavirus-lessons/

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Sunday for our Zoom service at 11.30am, when we will worship and pray together and Rev'd Richard will be sharing God's Word with us. Don't forget, if you can't join us, you can listen to Richard's talk and all our recent sermons and reflections on the St. Martin's website. The link to next Wednesday's Bible Study is also there!

Last week's 'quiz' was a rather tongue-in-cheek look at some of the great Bible characters. This week we explore their fascinating lives with some rather more searching questions for you to exercise those little grey cells with! You will find the latest quiz attached.

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God bless you as you look up to Him and out to others this week.

With our love,

Andrew and Elizabeth

PS. We are still waiting to hear about when we can re-open our churches. MP's have raised the question in parliament but the Prime Minister feels it is still too soon. Let's keep praying!

https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/we-are-not-there-yet-pm-cautious-to-reopen-churches-too-early

Bible Books Emoji Quiz - Answers!

How did you do? Why not let us know on Facebook
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  1. Lamentations
  2. Judges
  3. Hebrews
  4. Colossians
  5. 1 Kings
  6. 2 Kings
  7. Matthew
  8. Luke
  9. Romans
  10. Hosea
  11. Numbers
  12. Isaiah
  13. Micah
  14. Habakkuk

Dear Church Family,

Greetings to you all and love from both of us to each of you. Thank you to all those who have been in touch by email, phone or letter. It is so good to see you in your little windows during our Zoom meetings or in person in the street or from the garden path. Our Lord Jesus promised to keep on building his Church and he is certainly doing that even through these strange times.

So many of you have told us how you have been counting your blessings and thanking God for all that he is providing - good friends and neighbours, lovely outdoor spaces, technology that keeps us connected, marvellous doctors and nurses and all the other key workers who look after us so well. It's easy to complain but we are so grateful for our government and even for the weather! How we pray for those who live without the security and prosperity we take for granted.

But our most precious blessing is the strong presence of Jesus with us day by day and the sure knowledge that he is still in charge of the Church and of the world. His Word and his Holy Spirit sustain and encourage our brothers and sisters in even the most desperate circumstances and we need them just as much to keep us trusting and obeying our Lord.

Andrew shared this story in a recent Zoom sermon:

The bishop was coming to preach at one of his churches and a couple from the congregation invited him to have dinner with them. They got out the best crockery and cutlery and, as they were washing up later, they noticed that one of their silver teaspoons was missing. The following year, they invited the bishop for a meal again. They decided to take the bull by the horns and ask the bishop about their spoon.

'Bishop, is there any possibility that last year when you came to visit us, you accidentally took one of our silver teaspoons?'

The bishop was quick to answer, 'I did pick up one of your spoons, but I didn't take it home with me. I put it in your Bible.'

How long would it have taken you to find the spoon?

Several people told us that they had to get their Bibles out to help with last week's puzzle. Some said it reminded them to read their Bibles more often and one person realised she didn't even own a Bible!

God's Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105) We need to be nourishing our souls and keeping to God's plans for us by reading the Bible every day! There is a huge choice of daily reading guides  - catering for different needs and life experiences and available free from a host of good websites or as books or quarterly magazines. If you're not sure what's best for you, speak to us or phone Jean D and we will be thrilled to offer some suggestions.

Well done if you found all 16 books of the Bible hidden in last week's paragraph. The answers are below if you want to check them.

As we come to the end of Thy Kingdom Come, 11 days of focused prayer that those around us would come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, we look forward to celebrating Pentecost this Sunday. Suggestions for worship can be found below.

We'll close with a quote from Archbishop Sentamu, who has served both God and the church magnificently in the last fifteen years. We pray that God will bless him richly as he moves to new spheres of life and service.

"We know that these times will pass and change will come, but our Lord and Saviour, King and Friend never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and for ever - and deserves our never-ending praise! 'Come let us bow down, kneel and worship the Lord our Maker'"
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

With our love and prayers,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Sunday Zoom Service 11.30am

Let's celebrate together and encourage one another as we invite the Holy Spirit to come and fill us again. Steve will be sharing from God's Word and we will worship and pray together. The link to join is below.

All our sermons and talks are available to listen to here plus lots of other interesting information, such as details of the live Q & A with Professor John Lennox on Monday 1st June.  Don't say you didn't know!

Don't forget Zoom Morning Prayer and the next Zoom Bible Study at 7pm on June 10th.

These are for EVERYONE!

Archbishop Justin Welby

Archbishop Justin Welby has also recorded a sermon for Pentecost which can be found here:

Archbishop of York's last sermon

 

The Archbishop of York is to preach as part of the national online service broadcast by the Church of England on Sunday 7th June at 9.00am. This will be his last day as Archbishop of York. You will be able to watch the service live or on replay via the Church of England’s Facebook page or the Church of England website.

Church online | The Church of England

Join in with online services and access digital resources from the Church of England.

Confirmation of Election of New Archbishop of York

Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell will be confirmed as the 98th Archbishop of York at 11.00am on Thursday 9 July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely via video conference due to the Coronavirus restrictions.

Details here: Confirmation of Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell

Confirmation of Election of Bishop Stephen Cottrell as the 98th Archbishop of York

Bishop Stephen Geoffrey Cottrell will be confirmed as the 98th Archbishop of York at 11.00am on Thursday 9 July 2020, in a service broadcast entirely via video conference.

Hidden Bible Books

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible (merely by a fluke). It kept people looking so hard for the facts and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the name of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now.

There really are sixteen names of books in this story.

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible (merely by a fluke). It kept people looking so hard for the facts and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the name of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now.

There really are sixteen names of books in this story.

Mark, Luke, Kings, Acts, Revelation, James, Ruth, Numbers, Job, Amos, Esther, Judges, Titus, Lamentations, Hebrews, Peter.

This Week's Fun

A New Quiz is attached for your amusement

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There's also one to challenge you on the St. Martin's Facebook page - cleverly devised by one of our own!

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Dear Sisters and Brothers,

How are you getting on? In spite of the inevitable ups and downs, everyone seems to be persevering with this strange, restricted life, and even thriving and helping others to thrive. Please do get in touch and tell us your news or your moans - we don't mind!

Many of you have told us about your families so we thought you might like to hear about ours. Our children are all coping okay, two in London, one in Eastfield and one at home. Our oldest son, Luke, and his wife, Lucy, are expecting their first child (and our first grandchild!) in July. In between working from home, they have been busy decorating and laying laminate flooring, getting their nest ready for baby Hugo. Our daughter, Eleanor, has recovered well from COVID-19 and is busy making the most of being furloughed to complete her dissertation. Her husband, Tom, is still working from home which he finds even busier than going to the office every day. I have heard several others say the same thing. It will be interesting to see how our working patterns change permanently as a result of all this. The church has certainly discovered a whole new platform for its worship and outreach and there's no way we're putting these new opportunities back in the box!

Elle and Tom go to Holy Trinity Clapham, the church where Mary O was married. It is a thriving, active church with hundreds of members, and we have enjoyed the opportunity to worship with them every Sunday at 10 o'clock at their online service. Just go to their web page and tune in if you want to see what they're doing. 

Our son, Haydn, is a dispenser at a busy pharmacy and has worked throughout these last weeks, even picking up some useful overtime. His wife, Naomi has been self-isolating and now has a sparklingly clean house and a manicured garden to show for it! Our youngest son, Jonathan, has returned to work and is glad to be back. Obviously computer games can keep a man entertained only so long before work becomes a preferable way of passing the time.

We hope and pray that you can say with us, 'Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say: It is well, it is well, with my soul.'

Earlier this week, a fellow dog-walker reminded me of the poem, Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins. It may well be familiar to you but if not, here is your chance to appreciate it:

Glory be to God for dappled things –
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
  And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change.
Praise Him.

Gerald Manley Hopkins

Over the past weeks, we have had an incredible opportunity to slow down, step back and really see the abundance and diversity that surrounds us, even if we have only been looking at it through the window or on the TV screen.

All the skill, compassion and imagination of human beings, all the wonders of sight, sound, taste and smell that fill our world, flow from the loving heart of our Creator-God. It is all given for our well-being and pleasure, but more than that, it is given to point us to Him, so that our hearts will be filled with faith and our mouths with praise.

Let us keep rejoicing and trusting in the One 'whose beauty is past change'.

May the Lord bless us, keep us and rescue us, for His Glory.

With our love and prayers every day,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Worship in Seamer, Ayton and Cayton

New Zoom Bible Study, starting this Wednesday, May 27th at 7pm.

Andrew will be hosting a Bible Study for anyone who wants to take part. We will be studying Paul's letter to the Colossians, so read Colossians 1:1-14 and come with your thoughts and questions. See Meet Online below for the link.

Members of all three churches are benefiting greatly from talking, praying and worshipping together at our Zoom Service every Sunday at 11.30am.

Please note that we have a sermon every week and you can listen to all of them and read all our weekly updates right here.

Don't forget Zoom Morning Prayer - see below for link.

Zoom Quiz Night coming soon!

If you're not sure how to access Zoom, let us know and we will set up a private Zoom meeting just for you so you can practise.

Thy Kingdom Come - May 21st - 31st

If you're looking for prayers and scriptures to help you during this time of focused prayer, try these:

https://www.thykingdomcome.global/sites/default/files/2020-05/14886_DofCanterbury_Novena%20%28TKC%29_web.pdf

News from the Diocese

June's newsletter from the Diocese of York includes a farewell letter from our Archbishop. You can download it here:

https://dioceseofyork.org.uk/running-your-church/communications/thenews-newsletter/

Wydale at Prayer

These are challenging times for Wydale. Most bookings over the next few months have been cancelled which will have a significant effect on finances. BUT Wydale is still A Prayerful Community Renewing the Church’s Mission.

Wydale is hosting an hour of prayer on Zoom for Wydale, COVID-19 and beyond on Monday 25th May, 7.30 - 8.30pm. Zoom ID: 8304 0256 030 Password: 151 4025 6030

Alphabet Stories

Alan's been calling down every few great happenings. In just knowing local management now, our people queue round straight. Time's under valued. Waiting xenophobia, your zimmerframe.
Brenda W
Adorable, beautiful, cute, delightful, enthusiastic, funny, great, happy, individual, joyful, kissable, lovely, marvellous, novel, observant, pretty, quiet, resilient, super, trusting, understanding, varying, wonderful, xciting, young, zany.
Pam Y, a description of her grandchildren

Thank you both!

This Week's Challenge

Can you find the names of sixteen of the 66 books of the Bible hidden in this paragraph?

I once made a remark about the hidden books of the Bible (merely by a fluke). It kept people looking so hard for the facts and for others it was a revelation. Some were in a jam, especially since the name of the books were not capitalized, but the truth finally struck home to numbers of readers. To others it was a real job. We want it to be a most fascinating few moments for you. Yes, there will be some really easy ones to spot. Others may require judges to help them. I will quickly admit it usually takes a minister to find one of them, and there will be loud lamentations when it is found. A little lady says she brews a cup of tea so she can concentrate better. See how well you can compete. Relax now.

There really are sixteen names of books in this story.

If you need the solutions to last week's riddles, they are attached!

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Hello Everyone,

I thought you might like some liturgy for Ascension Day this Thursday and also some more information about the worldwide prayer initiative Thy Kingdom Come which runs from Ascension Day to Pentecost Sunday.

We will be engaging with both of these a little differently this year but even though our buildings are closed, our worship and mission is pressing ahead, now more than ever!

I have attached a Service for Ascension Day along with the Bible readings and a reflection.

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Then, I have 2 links for you to explore. The first is to resources you can use from the Thy Kingdom Come website and the second is to an 11 day interactive Prayer Adventure for all ages:

Resources for Services | Thy Kingdom Come

On this page you will find an array of resources for you to use in your church services. We will have a welcome, prayers, hymns, sermons, orders of service, songs, liturgy and blessings. Featuring Matt Redman, His Holiness Pope Francis and the Archbishops of Canterbury & York.

Blessings,

Andrew

Dear Friends,

We trust this email finds you safe and well and persevering through these strange times. We have spoken to so many whose homes and gardens have never been so well kept. It is great that we've been able to make the most of all this free time. I hope our hearts and spirits are being just as well looked after!

Everything comes to pass and we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. As we venture a little further afield and maybe take a walk on the beach or meet a friend in the park, we pray that, as a nation, we will continue to move forward in stamping out this virus.

Along with all of you, we are longing for the day when we can get back to church. We expect that places of worship will be able to re-open with social distancing measures at the beginning of July but we are hopeful that we may be able to open our church buildings for private prayer before that date. Keep praying and watch this space!

Let me share these words from evangelist Daniel Kolenda to encourage you as you wait:

One day a little boy happened upon a butterfly trying to break out of its cocoon. The little boy decided to help the struggling butterfly, but after tearing the cocoon open, he discovered that the butterfly inside was shrivelled and weak—so frail, in fact, that it soon died. What the little boy did not realise is that pushing against the cocoon was a necessary part of the butterfly’s development. Without the struggle the cocoon provided, the butterfly would not have the strength to survive when it emerged.

God doesn’t ever do anything to harm us, but He uses the difficulties that come into our lives, to teach us faith, to refine our character, and to equip us for the greater challenges that lie ahead. “If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses?” (Jer. 12:5, AMP).

Right now, across the globe, many people are facing some pretty difficult circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some have lost jobs, some have lost loved ones, and some are fighting for their very lives. For those who belong to Christ, no season of life—no matter how difficult, is wasted. God will cause everything to work together for your good, because you love Him and because you are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28).

My friend, something important is happening in your life right now. Your faith is being stretched, and your patience is being tried. Your spiritual ears are being tuned as you listen to hear the voice of God’s Spirit. You are confronting doubts and questions. You may be going through a great struggle, but that struggle is all part of the process of birthing all God wants to do in your life. God always prepares us in advance for what He has in store for us! That process may be uncomfortable, but it is necessary nonetheless. Get ready. Good things are coming for you!

Don't miss three more challenging and faith building reflections from Daniel attached to this email.

Also this week, we are including a reminder about Thy Kingdom Come 2020, the best of your excellent alphabet stories and a new quiz with riddles to get your lateral-thinking juices flowing!

This week's sermon is from Andrew, based on John 14:15-21, and will be live on Sunday morning at our 11.30am Zoom service.

'Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.'

With our love and prayers,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Don't Forget our Websites!

All the info we send out can be found here:

Thy Kingdom Come 2020

www.thykingdomcome.global

Thy Kingdom Come is a global and ecumenical prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus. This year we will be encouraging all not simply to pray that friends and family, colleagues and neighbours might encounter the love of God in Christ, but that they would experience that love in action.

Care for those you are praying for, pray for those you are caring for

During these difficult and trying times, we believe that now more than ever, presents an incredible opportunity for the Church worldwide, to unite in prayer so that our family, friends and neighbours will come to know the love and peace of Jesus Christ for themselves. One of our Key themes for Thy Kingdom Come is prayer and care. As we are praying for those we love to come to know the hope and love of Christ we also are encouraging all to see how they can show God’s love towards them. By caring for them. Here are 5 ideas on how we can care and love those we know, even when we are socially distanced:

  1. Keep up contact. Make a phone call, send an email, letter or card saying that you are praying for them at this time.
  2. Keep an eye out for the anniversaries of life events. Make that phone call to let people know you care.
  3. Send a small gift or book purchased on line, maybe insert life words etc.
  4. Serve where you can in delivering groceries or medications.
  5. Make sure the people you pray for know how much you value them by whatever means you can find.

Reflections from Daniel Kolenda

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Alphabet Stories

Well done everyone who had a go, especially Jean and Lindsay.  These are the best examples:

Ambling beyond chalky downland, Edmund found great hills. Individual, jutting, knapped layers mingled nearby. On posing questions requiring some thought, Uncle Victor waited; Xanthe yapping zealously.
Jean O
Another boring Coronovirus day, everyone forlorn giving horrendous inertia. Jovially keeping living, moving nowhere, often pretending. Quietly restrictive, solitary turmoil, unmitigated virology. Wanting Xmas Yuletide zing!
Lindsay S

This Week's Quiz

Still time to send in your alphabet stories from last week.

This week, solve the attached riddles! Answers next week.

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Hello Everyone,

Welcome to our latest email. You might like to get a cuppa and make yourself comfortable as there’s lot in it and we don’t want you to miss out!

You are in good company. This email goes out to over a hundred different addresses and is printed and hand delivered to at least another dozen homes, every one of you a valued and vital member of our Seamer, Ayton & Cayton church family.

May the Lord inspire and bless you as you read.

With our love and prayers,

Andrew and Elizabeth

      

Worship this Sunday

Plenty of choice on TV, radio and online.

Our Benefice Zoom Worship is at 11.30am. Access it below along with Wednesday evening's get-togethers and Zoom Morning Prayer on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The End is in Sight

As the government discusses plans to gradually ease the lockdown, the Church of England is also beginning the process of re-opening churches and returning to our normal and much missed pattern of weekly worship. At the time of writing, local plans are still being finalised but we will keep you posted.

V E Day

Last week we suggested a few ways you could celebrate VE Day. Several of you have told us about plans for street parties and sing-alongs and many of us have personal memories that we will want to revisit and share.

Rev. Richard has written a special reflection which you find attached to this email. Do tune in to our Zoom Worship at 11.30am on Sunday when Richard will be delivering the live version!

The Second World War and its remarkable ending have much to teach us, even if it happened long before our time. (For us it was nineteen years before our time!)

There was a Bible College in Wales whose staff and students pledged themselves to pray against Hitler and his plans for world domination. They met together to pray five times every day throughout WW2 and who knows how many people across the world were also crying out to God during those dark years? God heard those prayers, and over and over again He intervened until victory was won.

During the Battle of Britain in 1940 the Royal Air Force desperately fought for control of our air space to prevent a Nazi invasion. The tide of the battle suddenly turned in our favour and Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Commander-in-chief of Fighter Command, said afterwards: "At the end of the battle one had the sort of feeling that there had been some special Divine intervention to alter some sequence of events which would have otherwise occurred."

People were praying during Dunkirk as calm seas allowed the rescue boats to cross and rescue almost all our troops. That miracle was acknowledged by our country’s leaders to be an intervention from God.

There were many answers to prayer during those years and Christians across the world kept on praying until Hitler was dead, Germany surrendered and the war in Europe was over.

As we celebrate V E Day, let's apply its lessons to the war our world is fighting today against COVID-19. God has given us amazing doctors and nurses and scientists; he has given us governments and resources; he has even given us caring communities and kindly friends but our confidence is not in these gifts. Our confidence is in the Giver Himself. We fix our hearts and our hopes on Him and as history has proved over and over again, we will not be disappointed.

If you want food for your hope and inspiration for your prayers, try these straightforward prayers and scriptures from 24-7 prayer:

https://www.24-7prayer.com/downloads/coronavirus_prayer.pdf

Last but by no means least, enjoy this poem written by our very own Jean O, from the congregation at East Ayton. Jean was born in the early months of the war and was evacuated with her mother. She writes of her feelings at just 5 years old, when the war was drawing to a close and Jean and her mother finally returned home.

April 1945

There was a hush that day; anticipation in the air.

The sky blue-crystal as I ventured out.

The land lay torn and battered, but still ours

And infinitely precious to our hearts

No predatory plane wheeled overhead;

No whirring chug of doodle-bug upon its deathly course.

It seemed so strange and wonderful to me.

Whose only life was War.

I ran, with soul uplifted and climbed upon a mound of soil

In the hen-scratched yard, and sang out, sweetly as a bird.

“There is a Green Hill Far Away”.

I wondered why it was my Mother wept.

Where is God ...

... in a Coronavirus World? We now have some copies of John Lennox's excellent book which we previewed last week. They are just £2.40 each so let us know if you would like one and we'll drop a copy off to you.

A New Challenge

This week, if you have a spare moment or two and feel like exercising your brain, try this creative writing challenge:

Write a story with just 26 words, in which each word begins with consecutive letters of the English alphabet.

Here is an example from the internet:

Anyone's body can die; except for Gertrude's. Her internal joy keeps life moving. Naively, one person questions: "Really, she's that unbeatable?" Verifying with x-rays yields zero.

Don't worry if it doesn't make sense. Just have a go! If you are particularly proud of your attempt, send it to us and we will share it with everyone.

Attachments

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Hello Everyone,

I hope and pray you are all well and praising God for his many blessings, despite what is going on around us.

God is all-loving and all-powerful and prayer changes things! So let's keep on praying for each other, for our country and for our world.

You might like to use this prayer written in the last few days by pop star Justin Bieber:

Dear Lord,
There is so much going on in the world... so much that is upsetting and beyond my control.
Please help me to cast my cares on you.
Help me turn my worry into prayer time. 
Please help all who are dealing with tragedies, illness, adversity and losses.
Please put your angels about those who are in harm's way.
Please pour out your blessings on all who are in need and help us all to find your peace that passes understanding. 
Thank you for being with me each moment of this day.
In Jesus' name I pray.
Amen.

It is more important than ever that we continue to fulfil our calling as the Body of Christ on earth through prayer, worship, fellowship and serving others. There is plenty to get involved with in the next couple of weeks. Check out the opportunities in this email and don't forget the attachments.

God bless you,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Gathering for Worship

Sundays Plenty of choice on TV, radio and online. You will have your favourites by now but do use the opportunity to branch out a bit!

Don't forget our very own Zoom worship at 11.30am. Access it below.

Zoom Morning Prayer with Andrew Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8.30am, Saturdays at 9am. See below or phone Andrew (866284) to join.

Christian Aid Week

The Coronavirus crisis means it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community to worship, share fun and fellowship, and support our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Christian Aid has a schedule of virtual events all taking place live from their Facebook page. And there's several more creative and fun ways below to help you join in saving lives from your sofa.

Join for virtual prayer and reflection:

Sunday 10 May, 1.00pm: Live-streamed Christian Aid Week service with Dr Rowan Williams.

Monday 11 - Saturday 16 May, 11am: Live daily reflections from their staff and partners overseas.

Have fun with the Christian Aid Community online:

Saturday 2 May, 7.30pm: Quiztian Aid!  Hosted by Rev. Kate Bottley and celebrity guests, join Christian Aid’s family friendly quiz, live on Facebook.

Sunday 10 - Saturday 16 May, 7.30pm: Daily fun quizzes for the whole family throughout Christian Aid Week.

Sign up and set reminders at:

Virtual Fundraisers | Christian Aid

The coronavirus crisis means it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community to worship, share fun and fellowship, and support our sisters and brothers living in poverty.

Daily Hope

The Church of England has launched a free dial-in worship service to bring prayer to people's homes while churches are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daily Hope, which is available from 27th April, offers music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line.

The national line is available 24 hours a day on:

0800 804 8044

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the service has been primarily set up to support Britons, especially the elderly, who are unable to join online church services.

Callers to the service will hear a special greeting from Mr Welby before being able to choose from a range of options, including hymns, prayers, reflections and advice on COVID-19.

Victory in Europe Day 8th May 2020

With members of the public unable to attend VE Day 75 events, The Royal British Legion is playing a central role in the delivery of a range of remote activity, including:

  • A VE Day 75 livestream at 11.15am-12 noon
  • National moments of Remembrance and Thanksgiving, including a Two Minute Silence
  • At 3pm we are encouraging everyone to undertake the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’, from the safety of their own home by standing up and raising a glass of refreshment of their choice using the following ‘Toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you” Let's take this opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.
  • From 8pm on BBC One - An evening of memories and music in partnership with the BBC
  • Including at 9pm A UK-wide singalong to Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again'
  • The RBL have also put together a VE Day learning pack for children aged 7-14 years

The Church of England have also produced a service and you can access the original 1945 Order of Service on their website.

Attachments

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And finally...

And finally, the answers to last week's Photo Quiz:

  1. Capsicum pepper
  2. Point of a pencil
  3. Serrated edge of a bread knife
  4. Lego block
  5. Cigarette lighter
  6. Computer mouse
  7. Flower stamen
  8. Bridge of electric guitar
  9. Pink sponge scourer
  10. Kiwi fruit
  11. Piece of popcorn
  12. Kettle element or paper clip
  13. Surface of a golf ball
  14. Head of a match
  15. Book or Bible
  16. Cantaloupe melon
  17. Orange or tangerine
  18. Dog’s paw
  19. Matchbox striking plate
  20. Handle of scissors
  21. Iron

Dear Family,

By my reckoning this is the seventh update we have sent out and we are so grateful to be able to keep in touch with you this way.

Don't miss all the information at the end of this email and don't overlook this week's attachments:

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We only include information we think you will find helpful and we have tried to present it in an accessible way. Do tell us what you think and let us know if there is anything you would like to see included.

We have spoken to many of you by email, on the phone and even in person - from a safe distance! Please do get in touch if you have any suggestions or needs or if you just fancy a chat. We are all here for each other and it is wonderful to hear how everyone is supporting and caring for everyone else.

It is so tempting in these strange times to find new ways of being productive and useful but remember - God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him (John Piper). Let's keep the main thing, the main thing. We are human beings not human doings! Let's get back to basics, enjoying and doing the simple things - preparing and eating food, walking, gardening, talking to friends, cleaning or just listening to the birds or feeling the warmth of the sun. Jesus is waiting to meet us in all these everyday activities as we gratefully do them with him and for him. Lower your expectations, slow down and settle in for a simpler, more Christ-aware life.

Lord Jesus,
Save us and keep us,
Make our hearts happy in you,
Teach us your ways,
Give us your strength
And reveal yourself through us.
Amen.

You are in our thoughts and prayers constantly. Keep in touch!

With our love, Andrew and Elizabeth

Sunday Worship

It was great to see so many at the 11.30am Zoom service last Sunday. If you are struggling to connect - let us know and we will help you.

This week's gospel passage is The Road to Emmaus. Read it and let God speak to you through it using the attached reflection.

Other worship can be accessed in the usual places. Details are in our previous emails.

A Big Thank you

Our treasurer, Jo, particularly wanted to pass on her thanks to everyone who has so faithfully made sure their offering continues to be given. Thank you all. As we've said before, we can collect your offering from you - just let us know. You may prefer to transfer to paying by Standing Order. Contact us and we will send you a form.

If your income has been reduced by all this and making ends meet is becoming a challenge, please speak to Andrew or Jo in complete confidence and we will support you in any way we can.

Keeping our Brains Fit

How did you get on with the sweetie quiz? The answers are attached. We have devised a photo quiz this week to test your powers of observation and your ability to see things from different angles. Have a go! Answers next week.

Useful Telephone Numbers

A list of Christian confidential telephone helplines offering a listening ear, prayer, emotional & spiritual support plus more specialised helplines and websites.

Christian helplines: a list for you and your loved ones

During this Coronavirus pandemic, most of the world population are isolating from one another due to government restrictions...

Dear friends,

Hello! How are you all? The church building may be empty and cold but the Church Family is bright and beautiful, actively worshipping, praying, serving and reaching out across our villages. God bless you and encourage you in all you are doing to look after yourselves and your neighbours in these strange and yet strangely fruitful times.

As we prepare for another three weeks of lockdown, there is every reason to be strong and courageous and remember Jesus' promise: 'In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.' (John 16:33)

I don’t know if any of you have been accessing this free Bible study from Christ For All Nations - it is brilliant. You sign up and receive a study each day by email. We have been really encouraged by it and challenged to put all our trust in God’s power and authority over ALL circumstances.

IMMUNE TO FEAR: 60-Day Bible study

The coronavirus. COVID-19. Right now the world is not only talking about it non-stop, but is directly feeling it...

We have another feast of spiritual food and practical information for you this week including a reflection from Judith on John 20 when Thomas finally meets Jesus after his resurrection. There is also a light-hearted quiz to help keep our brains in good working order and a selection of resources to broaden our vision and help us pray about the effects of the pandemic around the world.

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Don't miss Hope Together's resources for young people including a virtual youth night three times a week. Pass it on!

Please read, enjoy and use whatever you find interesting. And don't forget to be in touch with feedback, comments and ideas of your own.

The God of peace,
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
that great shepherd of the sheep,
through the blood of the eternal covenant,
make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in us all that which is well-pleasing in his sight.

With our love and prayers,

Andrew and Elizabeth

Where to Worship this Sunday

Here! We have our very own service for everyone at 11.30am. All the details and instructions you need are below.

You can also access worship in all the usual places plus just about every large church you can think of and a lot of the smaller ones!

Young people following Jesus in lockdown

Check out HopeTogether’s brand new Online Youth Evangelism Resource page, jam-packed full of excellent and tested resources to continue reaching young people in this season. For example, LIGHT are hosting ‘Cabin Fever’ youth nights on Instagram & Facebook. These nights are full of fun, games, DJ sets, and a clear evangelistic message.

They run on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm and on Fridays at 6:30pm.

Over the last three weeks they have seen hundreds of young people making commitments to follow Jesus!

Hope Together : Online Youth Evangelism Resources

HOPE Together is a catalyst bringing churches together to transform communities in villages, towns and cities. Our vision is a praying, growing Church, that makes Jesus known together with words and action

Praying for the World

It can be difficult to know where to start when praying for a crisis as large as coronavirus. But as Tearfund Ambassador and founder of 24/7 Prayer Pete Greig says: ‘I am convinced that prayer is not only our greatest privilege, but also our greatest source of power.’

Tearfund have produced a Prayer Guide and are planning a live service of prayer, worship and global updates on April 30th.

https://www.tearfund.org/

Here in the UK, people that we would never before have labelled ‘key workers’ are now recognised as such: not only doctors and politicians, but also cleaners, carers, nurses, bus-drivers, check-out assistants, shelf-stackers, and cooks. We now realise these minimum-wage and zero-hours-contract workers are totally indispensable for the good operation of our society. Pray for them!

Pray also for our farmers, our church leaders, our schools, our care homes, our police force and emergency services and all the others the Lord draws your attention to every day.

Excellent resources are available from:

https://www.24-7prayer.com/

Pray for China. There is bad news and good news.

Christians are the largest social force in China that isn’t controlled by the state. Churches are monitored, and some have been attacked by the security forces or closed down and their leaders imprisoned. More recently, Release International reports that the authorities are not just clamping down on the unofficial, so-called underground church. They are beginning to clamp down on all churches.

https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/state-approved-chinese-church-demolished-on-easter-sunday

Amity Printing Company is the only printer in China that has permission from the authorities to print Bibles and Bible production is moving back to full speed as people start returning to work.  3.3 million Bibles were printed and distributed in China in 2019 and the demand for Scriptures continues to mushroom as an estimated one million new believers come to faith every year in this vast nation.

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/latest/news/bible-printing-increasing-to-full-capacity-in-china-as-nation-begins-recovery-from-covid19/

Pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are not waiting out COVID-19 in the comfort and security that we enjoy. Barnabas Fund has distributed over £700,000 across 22 different countries to help Christians affected by coronavirus and/or locusts. But requests for aid continue to flood in.

They have formed an emergency committee with their project partners (Barnabas Coronavirus Emergency Network) to monitor the evolving situation and assess how to best support the most affected communities. There’s no need to feel helpless in the face of these enormous problems. Pray and donate here:

https://barnabasfund.org/en/BCEN

In the US, concerted effort to protect religious freedoms is playing out against the backdrop of the pandemic. In almost all of the states that lead the nation in numbers of cases, and which have issued blanket stay-at-home orders, there are specific exemptions for religious gatherings or acts of worship. Please pray for the Church in America that they will balance their right to worship together with sacrificial love for their communities. Pray that God would oversee the repercussions of their decisions.

The US churches and pastors ignoring 'stay-at-home' orders

Concerted effort to protect religious freedoms is playing out as some states exempt houses of worship from stay-home orders.

John 20:19-29

One of my favourite passages in John is where Jesus appears to the disciples despite the locked doors, and they can see the wounds in his hands and his side. And he says, “Peace be with you”. And they believe.

But one disciple was missing. Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus came back. Thomas arrives and all the other disciples tell him, ‘Jesus was just here!’ And he doesn’t believe them. Thomas tells them, “Unless I see it for myself, and can touch his wounds, I won’t believe.”

Have you ever wondered how Thomas must have felt right then? The next week, the disciples are together again. This time, Thomas is with them, and he still hasn’t seen Jesus. And all of a sudden the same thing happens. Jesus appears. He tells Thomas to put his hands on his and feel the wounds from the nails.  And Thomas does. And he believes.

Jesus asks him, “Do you believe because you have seen me?” And then Jesus says, “Blessed are those who do not see yet believe.”

I’ve always felt bad for Thomas. He was asked to do what the other disciples didn’t have to do. He had to believe without seeing. Probably any of the others would have had the same struggle. And yet, we all know Thomas as “doubting Thomas”. I wonder, how long after this happened did it take for the other disciples to call him that?

I’d hate to be remembered only my greatest moment of doubt. Because I’ve had them. And I think a lot of us could say the same. But as much as Thomas sort of gets this label as the disciple who didn’t believe, he’s always been my favourite. Because of all of them he’s the one I think most of us can relate to. Because most of us understand what it is to live between faith and doubt.

We think of faith and doubt as opposites. But that’s not really true. Faith and apathy are more opposite than faith and doubt. But doubt is often a key part of the journey of faith. It’s a stop along the way that most of us make more than once. And when we find ourselves there, it’s a sign that we are taking our relationship with God seriously enough that we are letting ourselves be honest, and we are letting ourselves start a journey without being exactly sure where we are going.

Thomas isn’t just the one who doubted, he is also the one who believed, and who helped others to do so as well.

We all doubt - all of us who see faith as a journey. Our faith gets shaken and we question it. We may even feel a bit ashamed of our doubt.

I wonder if Thomas felt ashamed that first week. Why couldn’t he just accept what the others said? Why did he have to see for himself? I wonder if the next week he thought about not going back to join them. He wasn’t “one of them” anymore. He was the doubter. The one who hadn’t seen.

And yet, he went back. And maybe he went back because he had loved Jesus so much that he needed to hear them talk about him, even if he wasn’t so convinced it was true yet. Maybe he went back because it was easier than being alone. Maybe he went back because he thought maybe, just maybe, Jesus would come again. For whatever reason, he went back to the disciples in his hour of greatest doubt, and that day Jesus appeared and he believed.

Doubt can be the thing that propels us to faith. It can be what shakes us up. It can be what pushes us out of the doors of our once comfortable places and into a new, and better, world. Doubt can be the ticket that starts our journey to new life. It can be a sign not of the absence of God, but of God working in us to do something new. Isn’t that wonderful to have God working within us?

It is wonderful to hear in these worrying times of all the people helping their neighbours and in some cases getting to know their neighbours properly for the first time, helping with shopping, picking up prescriptions, phoning or texting someone they have not seen for a while, or smiling and saying hello to someone out for their exercise or in their gardens. Three neighbours stood in their respective gardens on Easter Sunday morning listening as one of them read the Easter story from the Bible. It was wonderful to hear them shouting out Easter greetings. This is God working within us all.

Hello Everybody,

Who would have thought on this Easter weekend, we'd be still worshipping in our homes and keeping safe? I'm sure you’re like me - just wishing we could get back to meeting together. But, we press on!

Thank you to all who have been in touch this week. I am pleased you are all well and (mostly!) positive and joining in with other Christians through radio, television and online worship services.

Thank you for all those who have sent in their Easter messages, I'm sure they'll be an encouragement to us. You will find them after the useful links.

This is my prayer for us all today:

God of glory, by the raising of your Son you have broken the chains of death and hell: fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned and the way to life stands open in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Every blessing,
Andrew

Useful Links

Don't forget our very own live Easter Sunday worship at 11.30am. Andrew will be sharing some thoughts with us now that he has a new tablet to access Zoom! Find it below.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is to lead the first national digital Easter Sunday service from the kitchen of his flat in London.

The service will include readings by Prince Charles and Joanna Lumley and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from 8.10am and on the Church of England's website and Facebook page from 9am on Sunday.

There is a list of live-streamed services across the country, along with a searchable map at https://www.achurchnearyou.com/live-stream/?tags=Live_stream

Premier Christian Radio’s Big Easter Sunday Service

Join us this Easter Sunday. From 7am until 1pm we will bring you worship, prayer, and stories to celebrate the glorious Resurrection! He is Risen! 

This includes a 6 minute Easter reflection specially recorded by the Bishop of Guildford.

Pastor and author Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California brings us our Sunday Sermon from 10.30am

Rev David Senior will also lead us through a special time of Easter Communion after midday, and will lead our prayers for the Nation at 11.30am.

https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Big-Sunday-Service

Highlights of Premier Christian Radio’s Easter line-up can be found here: https://www.premierchristianradio.com/Easter-2020/Easter-Schedule-2020

United Christian Broadcastersucb.co.uk

National radio stations UCB1 and UCB2

Video on Demand - Watch inspirational video content from teaching to documentaries and dramas

Plus UCB’s Word for Today available online or delivered to your inbox

Rev Robin Gamble has started an online evangelistic / teaching series entitled, “Jesus has Coronavirus” Here is the link: https://youtu.be/FpJZrubVe-E

Easter cancelled? Not on your Life! In this Blog post, Pastor and author Max Lucado writes, "Easter cannot be cancelled. The church doors might be closed, but the promise is alive and well. What the angel said on the first Easter, he says still. 'He is not here. He is risen from the dead as he said he would' (Matthew 28:6)"

https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2020/04/easter-canceled-not-on-your-life

Topical books hot off the press:

Where is God in a Coronavirus World? by John Lennox

In this short yet profound book, Oxford mathematics professor John Lennox examines the coronavirus in light of various belief systems and shows how the Christian worldview not only helps us to make sense of it, but also offers us a sure and certain hope to cling to. Chapter one can be downloaded free and book can be ordered from TheGoodBook.co.uk

Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper

In Coronavirus and Christ, John Piper invites readers around the world to stand on the solid Rock, who is Jesus Christ. Piper offers six biblical answers to the question, What is God doing through the coronavirus? — reminding us that God is at work in this moment in history.

Available to purchase or download free from Coronavirus and Christ

Coronavirus and Christ

What is God doing through the coronavirus pandemic? He is not silent about what he is doing in the world. He has given us the Scriptures. John Piper listens carefully to God’s word and leads us to six answers.

Easter Blessings

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Hi all,

If you don't get chance to look at our previous helps and links for this weekend... why not take time out with God using this reflection.

Blessings
Andrew

...

Hello Church Family!

Here we are about to worship in our own homes for the third Sunday and by God’s grace, we are surviving and even thriving! I hope and pray that you are using this time to get to know and trust Jesus better and to join with other Christians through TV and radio programmes and online worship services.

We are together in spirit and in the Holy Spirit and nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!

As we approach Holy Week and Easter, we have tried to make this email as comprehensive and informative as possible. Please do read it and make use of it. It contains suggestions for accessing worship, a word about finance, a reminder about sharing your Easter messages and three attachments:

Thank you to everyone who has responded so encouragingly to what we are sending out. We are thrilled that so many of you are reporting experiences of God’s presence, peace and provision. Our God will supply all we need according to his riches in glory! Often he asks us to supply each others’ needs so don’t forget to be in touch if we can help you with anything.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Every blessing,

Andrew

Suggested worship resources for Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Don't forget our Sunday worship at 11.30am. Find it below.

There are the usual T.V. and radio services and our website has links to other streamed services.

The Church of England Palm Sunday Service is led by the Bishop of Manchester.

Logo: The Church of England - A Christian Presence in Every Community
Church online | The Church of England

Join in with online services and access digital resources from the Church of England.

Activities over Holy Week

Logo: The Church of England - A Christian Presence in Every Community
Holy Week and Easter in 2020 | The Church of England

Holy Week and Easter 2020 resources in relation to COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus.

If you'd like a visual presentation of what happened to Jesus in his final few hours then check this out. I found this quite helpful.

Image of Christ carrying the cross, text: Via Dolorosa - The Painful Path
The Via Dolorosa Tour: See all 14 Stations of Christ's Path to the Cross, Holy Sepulchre Church

See a professional video about the Via Dolorosa - Christ's path to the cross. It shows a detailed account of all that happened, plus all the sites where they took place.

Why not make yourself an Easter Garden or even an Eastingle? Just Google it!

Photo of Andrew holding an Eastingle

A Word about Finance

The church is very grateful for all your financial support. Although we will not be meeting formally, we still need to pay the bills. Thank you to all those who have set up standing orders or given us their offering. If you want to start giving by Standing Order or if you want someone to call in and pick up your offering, please let us know.

If you are having financial difficulty at the moment, please let us know. Just phone Andrew in confidence.

Easter Messages

Several people have passed on messages which we will gather together and send to everyone next weekend. If you want to take this opportunity to encourage your church family, please send us your message in the next few days.

Palm Sunday Reflection 5.4.20

The Bible Passage is Matthew 21:1-11.

You might like to find last year’s palm cross and have it to hand as you read.

The events of the first Palm Sunday are very familiar to us. We recount them every year and then straightaway we start counting down to Easter. This year, we have the time to slow right down and think about the meaning of what Jesus was doing and the relevance of his actions for us here and now.

After three years of astounding teaching and incredible ministry, the Son of God was an outlaw. There was even a bounty on his head – 30 pieces of silver. Jesus knew that he faced certain death in Jerusalem but he went into the city in a way that put him centre stage, a way that drew everyone’s attention to him.

Focus on that scene for a few moments. Jesus is riding a colt, a donkey so young and unbroken they brought its mother as well to walk with it and steady it. He is using a powerful visual aid to let everyone know that yes, he is a king, he is the long awaited Messiah, but he comes in peace. Yes, he is powerful, but he comes in humility. He is the Servant King, the King who washes his disciples’ feet, the King who comes not with an army but with a weapon so powerful that not even death could resist it - the sacrificial love of God laid out upon a cross.

Jesus collected a crowd as he travelled and now thousands more poured out of the city to meet him. In that crowd were Jesus’ disciples and people he had forgiven and healed. The religious leaders were there, looking for a way to get rid of him and the Jewish resistance, hoping Jesus had come to raise an army and overthrow their Roman oppressors. Some were just sightseers, come to see what all the fuss was about.

The adulation and expectation was intense but many among the crowds wanted Jesus on their terms, not on his. As he rode into Jerusalem that day, Jesus was inviting people to recognise him, to welcome him, not as a political or military king but as the king of their hearts and lives, the king who would die to set them free from sin and death.

Take up your palm cross and look at it.

The palm leaf has been folded into the shape of a cross. It has been made to conform to a shape that is not natural for it. In the same way, Jesus had to shape himself to his cross. He begged God to find another way to deal with our sin but in the end he yielded, ‘Not my will but yours be done.’

Hosanna means ‘Save now!’ It is an acknowledgement that we are sinners and only the death of Jesus on the cross can save us. When we admit our guilt, Jesus forgives us and gives us his Holy Spirit and then he says: Now - take up your cross and follow me. Now you too will be folded into a shape that doesn’t come naturally. Now you will begin to conform to a new image. Just as these palm fronds are folded tightly into the shape of the cross, so our lives must be shaped by Jesus’ cross and all that he accomplished for us and for our world.

See how the palm frond is under tension. We should feel that tension in our own lives as we conform ourselves to the cross of Christ. Tension between what we want and what Jesus asks of us. Between God’s ways and the culture around us. Now more than ever, we must trust him and obey him and allow him to do things his way.

How relevant this is for us today. As the world struggles to deal with Coronavirus, Jesus is calling his Church to a new shape. The shape of courage in place of fear and self-giving instead of self-protection, where our knowledge of God and his love and power overrides the uncertainty that surrounds us and the incomplete facts and figures that bombard us.

Dolly Parton, speaking this week to her 3 million Instagram followers, said ‘I think God is in this, I really do. I think he's trying to hold us up to the light so that we can see ourselves and see each other through the eyes of love. And I hope we learn that lesson’.

Ms Parton is not the first person I would expect to quote at a time like this. Yet, I agree with her totally. God is holding his Church and his world up to his light. He wants us to see ourselves as he sees us and reconfigure our lives so that everything about us is cross-shaped - reaching upward in trust and worship to him and outward in kindness and honesty to each other. Jesus is calling us to shape up and lift him up as the only answer to COVID-19 and every other problem faced by the human race.

Prayer

Father God, we have forgotten what the death and resurrection of Jesus mean for our world. Jesus has conquered sin and death and sickness. Life in all its fullness is ours to live and to proclaim.

As we celebrate Easter so differently this year, we lay our lives before you again. Help us to live the resurrection life that acknowledges Jesus as our Lord and King. Remake us in Jesus’ image and make all that we are and all that we do resonate with his love and his victory.

In the Name and for the glory of Jesus. Amen.

Hello Everyone!

To all in Seamer who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1 v. 7. If it's good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for us!)

This email covers some suggestions for worship tomorrow, a reflection from Andrew on tomorrow's Bible readings and an idea for sending our Easter messages to the church family.

Please read it carefully and, if you can, pass it on to anyone from church who doesn't use email.

We are praying for you all every day - and missing you! I hope you are settling into this weird new life and keeping yourselves healthy in body, mind and spirit.

God bless us and protect us and all those who are working so hard and courageously to keep us healthy and fed.

Andrew

Where you can worship on Sunday, March 29th

We will be running a Google Meet (video conference) at 11.30am on Sundays (to give everyone a chance to watch any livestreams first!) and 7pm on Wednesdays, for anyone who would like to join. We will be worshipping, praying, bible reading, chatting... bring whatever is on your heart.

Follow the link below 👇 for information on how to join the meetings on your computer or smartphone. 💻🤳

At the link you will also find further links to a few different churches' livestreams, if you would like to check them out.

https://stmartins.seamer.org/covid.html#online

Join the Archbishop of York and the Bishops of Selby, Whitby and Hull via Facebook for prayers during the day on Passion Sunday.

Archbishop Sentamu will lead an Act of Worship for the Church of England at 9.00am, while the Diocese of York will offer moments from Midday Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer at 12.00 noon, 4.00pm and 8.00pm.

A Reflection for Passion Sunday

Today, we find ourselves in the middle of one of the darkest times our world has ever faced. What is God asking of us as Christians? I believe the answer is found in our readings (Ezekiel 37.1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8.6-11John 11.1-45) for this Passiontide Sunday. Why not take a few moments to read them now?

What is God looking for from us? Quite simply - FAITH! This is what God desires from everyone but especially those who are already his children. Faith is the key that unlocks the prisons of fear, anxiety and despair in which we so easily find ourselves.

In John 11, we encounter our Lord at Lazarus' home where Mary and Martha are devastated by their brother's death. Both sisters begin with an understandable but faithless question,'Where were you when we needed you?' and the crowd asks, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man! Couldn’t he have kept this man from dying?’  We may well be asking similar questions in these tumultuous times, 'If there is a God, why doesn't he stop this epidemic?'

As soon as Jesus enters, he raises the bar of faith.  'I am the resurrection and the life, do you believe this?' Jesus challenges our hearts today with the same question and our answer will say a lot about our response to the present crisis.

I want to briefly highlight five things from this incident that we can take encouragement from:

Jesus is fully present in the suffering of Martha and Mary.

He weeps with them and this reminds us that Jesus is not unaware of our sorrow. In fact, he weeps alongside us.

Jesus is the bringer of hope.

Hope in the midst of hopelessness. Jesus works miracles in response to our faith, even when it is small. Our faith acts like a pivot-point for the crow-bar of God’s power.

Jesus brings life as well as hope.

And I don't just mean the raising of Lazarus. There was a need for newness of life to be wrought in the lives of these two sisters. Jesus speaks his eternal word into their very lives and exchanges death for life and sadness for joy.

Jesus challenges Martha to put her faith in him and not just in her theology.

Resurrection in the last day, yes but what about resurrection NOW?! Hope and life in Martha’s heart comes through faith in Jesus - the hope of glory. And it should be the same for all of us. When our hearts are centred on Jesus then 'life and peace' will be ours - no matter what circumstances we are in.

Faith enables us to see the glory of God.

Jesus links the two directly when he says to Martha, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ Without faith we miss seeing God's glory being displayed. Faith in God is about seeing God in, through and over all that we go through. The Holy Spirit of God must therefore permeate our lives so much that we see only what God is doing. Faith produces hope and hope strengthens our spiritual resolve and brings God’s peace into our lives.

Let’s hear St. Paul's words in our reading from Romans 8. Let’s take up his charge to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and to intentionally live in the realm of the Spirit where faith is active and where the divine life and peace of God flood our human lives.

Meditate on these scriptures:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgement as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

Let faith arise and bring life and peace to your soul!

Easter Greetings

We don't feel it would be wise to send out Easter cards as a church but it would be lovely if we could share some messages with our church family over Easter.

Please would you write a line or two of greeting and send it to us? If you could collect greetings from anyone from church you are in contact with who doesn't use email, that would be great.

We will compile them and circulate them all via email. They can be shared with others by phone. In this way we can all encourage each other and celebrate Jesus' victory together.

This period of Lent in 2020 is perhaps one that is very different, and also unsettling in ways we have never previously encountered. The recent drastic restrictions, not only in our national life but also for each of us personally, is something we may well struggle to accept. It is perhaps the uncertainty of the virus we face that adds to our concern and confusion. This then can affect the way we live our lives, in our relationships, employment, health and faith. It seems the very basis of the life we live is being undermined; we do not know how it will all be resolved, and have concern about how we will continue the life we previously enjoyed.

There is a need for each of us as Christians to have as our foundation the knowledge that we have a God who offers us reassurance in all the uncertainty, the worries and the fear that life can give. By the time you read this short reflection I will have conducted the funeral of a long standing member of our community at St Martin’s, Doreen Livesey. Doreen’s favourite bible reading and favourite hymn was Psalm 23, the Lord’s My Shepherd.

Written thousands of years ago its message never dates or fades with the years that have past. Written as a reflection looking back on a time of trouble the psalm reminds us where our confidence and trust is to be found. In all the pains and trouble of the world we are reminded of the Good Shepherd, a name for God where, in the days these words were composed, rulers were seen as shepherds, with a care for their people, their sheep. The psalm is a picture of life’s journey, through the light of the good times and shadow of the difficult times; whether we feel we are in the light of the happiness, or the shadow of sadness we walk under the protection of the Good Shepherd, who for us is Jesus the Son of God, who lived our human life, gave himself to death and who through his resurrection has given us the hope of eternal life.

Maybe as we each travel this time of Lent leading into the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus our Lord, we will find an opportunity to rediscover God’s presence however dark or impenetrable we see the way forward in the midst of the virus pandemic. We hear in the first chapter of the Gospel of John that Jesus is the light of the world and that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out”.

A resource I use in particular at this time of Lent is called Sacred Space a small book that reflects on bible readings to encourage a personal reconnection with that presence of God we so easily overlook. It helps the reader to understand that God leads us into his presence where we can find the quiet and peace of reflection.

However you use are using Lent, I trust that your understanding and experience of the presence of God will encourage and support you as together we face the effects of the virus infection our world. I will finish with this reflection from the book Sacred Space, entitled ‘The Presence of God’.

"Bless all who worship you Almighty God, from the rising of the sun to its setting: from your goodness enrich us, by your love inspire us, by your Spirit guide us, by your power protect us, and in your mercy receive us now and always."

Revd Richard Firth

The Church continues to be alive and active, but our buildings must close.

We are seeing a huge increase in the number of people falling sick with COVID-19. We must distance ourselves from one another and prevent the spread of infection in order to save lives.

Therefore, as well as public worship being suspended, all church buildings in the Church of England are now closed.

Our worship of God and our care for each other continue, and our website contains details of how to join others online for prayer, worship, study, and community life.

Revd Andrew can be contacted by telephoning 01723 866284 or e-mailing andrew dot moreland at btinternet dot com.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with allyour mind and with all your strength... Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

To protect the vulnerable amongst us, please do not leave your home except for essential trips.

Dear all,

This email is being sent to all our church family to let you know what is happening in the light of the government's advice on non-essential contact during the Coronavirus outbreak. It covers arrangements for church services and pastoral care, alternative ways of sharing prayer, worship and Bible teaching and the importance of continuing with our usual weekly offering.

Please read it carefully and share the information with anyone who doesn't use email.

Church Services and Pastoral Care

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice that public worship is suspended until further notice. No services or activities will be held in church BUT, as always we are here for you if you need us. Please contact Andrew or the Churchwarden if you need shopping or any other support.

We will be keeping in touch by phone with the partiacularly vulnerable members of our congregations but please let us know of anyone you think we may have missed.

Alternative ways of accessing worship

We need to take great care in looking after ourselves spiritually during these unprecedented times. I have put together some suggestions.

There is a range of Christian resources available at https://www.churchofengland.org/

  • #LiveLent: Care for God's Creation - the Church of England's Lent campaign for 2020. With weekly themes shaped around the Genesis account of creation, it explores the urgent need for humans to value and protect the abundance God has created. This daily audio content is available via the app and daily emails. Sign up for free.
  • The BBC's Daily Service and Sunday Worship - radio programmes will be using some of the themes from #LiveLent as part of their broadcasts.
  • Prayer for the day - each day the Church of England publishes audio and text of the Prayer for the Day.
  • Smart speakers - daily prayer and #LiveLent audio content can be accessed via the CofE's smart speaker apps.
  • Premier Christian Radio (on DAB nationally, Freeview 725, iPhone and Android apps) have worship, prayer and Bible teaching 24 hours a day
  • Premier Lifeline is staffed by Christian volunteers who are able to offer emotional and spiritual support for people who are struggling in any way, or are anxious or lonely. It's open from 9am to midnight every day to take calls from anyone who needs to talk, be heard, or prayed with. Call them on 0300 111 0101.
  • Plenty of others online: Bible Society, Christian TV, UCB Radio, etc.
...
...

Giving

The church is very grateful for all your financial support. Although we will not be meeting formally, we still need to pay the bills. If you want to start giving by Standing Order or if you want someone to call in and pick up your offering, please let us know.

God is in control of this situation and we can trust him to work out his good purposes for our world. Keep trusting and praying! Look after yourselves and keep in touch.

I am praying for you,

Revd Andrew
01723 866284

Meet Online

Sundays at 11.30am, Wednesdays at 7pm. Everyone welcome!

This section has moved onto its own page as the Zoom service is continuing. Online!

Livestreams

Many churches are running live streams, you might want to check out one of the following:

...
"Join on Sunday morning at 10.30am as we worship, hear from God’s word and pray together."
Also provides access to previous weeks' live streams.
...
"The next service will be available to watch online on Sunday from 9.30am GMT - 10.30pm GMT."
You can access sermons from previous weeks.
...
Live stream starts at 11am on Sundays.
Also provides access to previous weeks' live streams.
...
"Join us online here on Sunday at 10:30."
Has the previous week available to watch any time.
...
Many CofE churches are running live streams, and you can find 100s from across the country here.

Loneliness and isolation

Phone around a few friends. Everyone is pleased to hear a friendly voice and it’s great because no one is out! Even the vicar is at home, always ready for a chat or a prayer.

Or you could wrap up warm and go and stand in your garden. You will get a smile or a cheery word from every dog-walker and jogger and all your normally sedentary neighbours who suddenly find their allotted daily constitutional so necessary.

Boredom

United Christian Broadcasters – National radio stations UCB1 and UCB2

Video on Demand - Watch inspirational video content from teaching to documentaries and dramas

Podcasts - Listen to the latest UCB devotionals or catch up with the previous 14 days

Free UCB Player app – from the App Store or Google Play

Premier Christian Radio (on DAB nationally, Freeview 725, iPhone and Android apps) have worship, prayer and Bible teaching 24 hours a day

Church of England There is a range of Christian resources available at www.churchofengland.org

Or watch The Pilgrim's Progress – Revelation Media is offering this award-winning movie free for a limited time. Watch online and share with your family, church, school, neighbours and friends at www.WatchPilgrims.com

Or Tour some of the world’s most beautiful churches and cathedrals

Including the Sistine Chapel! Free virtual tours:

https://www.premierdigital.info/post/virtual-churches-a-list-of-places-to-visit

Why not do your own Bible Study? You can search for words, references and themes in the Bible here:

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/

Lectio Divina invites you to savour and mull over God's words quietly, slowly and intently. Try it here:

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/lectio-divina/

And always, pray, pray, pray!

Guides and suggested prayers are available here:

https://www.24-7prayer.com/coronavirusprayer

https://youtu.be/fmf3hXwSLn4

Anxiety and Fear

Filling our minds and hearts with God’s Word is vital always and particularly now.

Nourishing our spirits properly enables us to centre our lives on Jesus and draw guidance and reassurance from his Holy Spirit.

There are many Daily Reading notes available or you can connect with the Bible online at:

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/lyfe/daily-lyfe/

biblegateway.com has a vast range of Bible translations and study resources as well as devotionals from popular writers like Max Lucado and a specially written COVID-19 14-day Bible reading plan.

Breath Prayer has been practiced in the church for millennia. It is a form of contemplative prayer linked to the rhythms of breathing which is focused on being with God and awakening to his presence in all things. Read more and try it here:

https://www.christianitytoday.com/women-leaders/2018/february/take-time-for-breath-prayer.html?paging=off

Christian Meditation - Several members of our churches find the Soultime app very helpful. It is available from Soultime.com

Daily Reflections supporting Good Mental Health

https://www.churchofengland.org/faith-action/mental-health-resources/supporting-good-mental-health/

Questions

Wondering what God is doing in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic is perfectly natural. He welcomes our questions as long as we are prepared to listen to his answers.

Several reputable Bible teachers are wrestling with the Biblical interpretation of the world situation and how God is working out his good purposes through it.

You can read some of their conclusions here. If you find anything particularly helpful, don’t forget to share it with family and friends.

Where is God in a Coronavirus World?

New book by Professor John Lennox. Chapter one can be downloaded free and the book can be pre-ordered from TheGoodBook.co.uk

COVID-19 and God

https://answersingenesis.org/is-god-real/covid19-and-god/

Does Isaiah 26:20 Mean the Quarantine Is Due to God's Wrath?

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/is-isaiah-2620-about-a-quarantine.html

What does Psalm 91 really say about the coronavirus?

https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/explore-the-bible/bible-articles/what-does-psalm-91-really-say-about-the-coronavirus/

Eleven reminders the coronavirus crisis gives us

https://answersingenesis.org/coronavirus/2020/03/27/covid19s-impact-on-aig-and-biblical-response-by-ken-ham/

The Storm Has Come – The Wise and Foolish Builders

https://www.womanalive.co.uk/stories/view?articleid=3205

Church leaders and NHS professionals share their prayers for the UK and the world

https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/9-prayers-on-coronavirus-to-add-your-Amen-to

A pastor who battled the virus tells his story

https://premierchristian.news/en/news/article/pastor-who-faced-death-from-coronavirus-says-he-audibly-heard-voice-of-god-for-first-time?_psrc=personyzePopularArticles

Coronavirus: How to understand the death toll

Not a Christian article but it gives some helpful and illuminating context for the alarming figures we are bombarded with every day.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51979654