ST GILES FARNBOROUGH - WEEKLY UPDATE


The below are reproduced from the weekly emails sent out from the Parish Office starting Friday 20th March 2020.  If you are not receiving the email direct and wish to do so please get in touch with the Parish Office  01689 853471 parishoffice@stgilespcc.plus.com

Weekly Update - Week Ending Friday 5th June

Grace Peace and Mercy to you from God the Father and Our ord Jesus Christ.

Morning Prayer - Trinity Sunday
Morning Prayer with Online Sermon -Trinity Sunday
Morning Prayer with Reflection - Trinity Sunday
Choral Evensong - Trinity Sunday
Childrens Colouring Picture
 

Online Services.

https://tinyurl.com/yatm45dd

Trinity Dunday 7th June marks an important first for St. Giles as we launch our first online service.  We are very much on a learning curve with this, so apologies if it is not as polished as we are all used to in this high tech era.  We still intend to send out the service sheets both by post to those who are not on email, and via email along with our weekly notices  so you will have a choice as to whether you log on, or continue to pray the services on your own with the paper copies.  I also appreciate that usually our normal Sunday services consist of a number of contributions from readers, intercessors and servers etc.  It would be nice to try and continue with some variety, so if you are able to offer a reading, or some prayers please contact Liz who will send you the set readings that are required for that particular Sunday and the intercessions.  Please then send your audio recording to the Parish Office at parishoffice@stgilespcc.plus.com.  

I would be grateful for any feedback and advice as we go forward with these online services so we can make them the best of our offering to Almighty God.  Please note that at this stage we are only offering morning services but hope to alternate with some evening ones as well.  

Prayer Corner - Depression and Feeling Down.

I just wanted to offer some support and encouragement to any in our congregation who might be feeling down or depressed as the lockdown continues.  Many people have rightly focused on some of the surprising positives to have emerged from the lockdown, such as a quieter pace of life, more time for people in our own households and more emphasis on communication etc.  However, I am also aware that for many people these positives can at times be outweighed with feelings of sadness, loss and despondency, particularly for those living on their own who may not have had any human affection or contact for many weeks.  

From babyhood the sight, sound, touch and smell of our mothers has a vital part to play in generating feelings of calm, security and wellbeing.  The absence of these can be very upsetting and unsettling, even if we are not aware of what we are actually missing.  This can then link to depression as depression can be an expression of unknown, or unacknowledged, loss along with suppressed feelings of frustration and anger.  

Although there is no easy answer to feeling down or depressed, it is important that we continue to focus on nurturing and sustaining good quality relationships.  It is also important that we acknowledge how painful lockdown life can be and to accept that at times we feel legitimately frustrated and angry with our lack of freedom and the restrictions that we are living under.  Prohibited and banished feelings are more likely to make us feel down than ones which we can accept and acknowledge.  It can also be helpful to try and find a sense of gratitude for times past and God’s blessings to us throughout the years of our lives.  Try and use your memories and travel back to particular places and experiences and imagine being together with the people that you shared them with.  

Two helpful resources for difficult times.  One is to read and pray carefully Psalm 139: 1-12, as it reminds us that God’s love is with us even in the darkest of places:  

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;    
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,    
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,    
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,    
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;    
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?    
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;    
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning    
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,    
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,    
and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;    
the night is as bright as the day,    

for darkness is as light to you.  

Secondly I would like to recommend a helpful book in regards to the ups and downs of our life's journey, its 'O God Why’ by Gerard Hughes.  This book is a very helpful aid to prayer and sets out daily meditations to deepen our faith, particularly through times of suffering and despair.  

If you do identify with the things I have written about above you might like to use this prayer:  

Dear Lord, You love and care for me, be close to me now when I feel alone and afraid.  Give me strength to face each day, help me to find joy and purpose in the routines of my life and in the simple pleasures of your creation.  Deepen my faith in you O source of Love that I may find you to be my faithful friend and companion in the lonely times of the day and night.  In Jesus' name.  

Amen.  

Poetry Corner

As we focus with gratitude on happy times past and look forward to their return, I would like to share with you this week a poem which is an extract from 'The Land' by Vita Sackville-West.  This poem takes me back to some happy family times around Knole house and Sissinghurst:  

So the lush Weald to-day
Lies green in distance, and the horizon's sweep
Deepens to blue in woods, with the pointed spire
Pricking the foreground by the village tiles,
And the hop-kiln's whitened chimney stares between
Paler and darker green of Kentish miles,
And rarely a patch of corn in metal fire
Burnished by sunset ruffles in the green;
But meadow, shaw, and orchard keep
The glaucous country like a hilly sea
Pure in its monotone.  Sad eyes that tire
Of dangerous landscape, sadder minds
That search impossible regions of their quest,
Find clement have after truancy,
A temperate answer, and a makeshift rest.  

Re-opening of places for Public Worship

To date there has been no further guidance or advice as to when our churches will be open and permitted to offer public worship.  What we do know is that St. Giles, along with all churches and other places of worship, will remain closed until after 4th July.  

In the meantime it is important for us to prepare in advance for when we are allowed to re-open.  To this end I will be sending out a questionnaire to ascertain how many people will be prepared to come to Church and what services they would like to attend.  As St. Giles is a small church we are going to have to think creatively as to how we are going to offer public worship in an accessible way to all who regard St. Giles as their place of worship.  To this end it will be very important that you do complete the questionnaire so we can begin to plan and provide for the time when we can once again meet together.  The questionnaire will be available next week.

Save The Fete Fund

Thank you to those of you who have already started to contribute to our Save the Fete fund which begins officially on the day of the fete which would have been Saturday 13th June.

Bees

I am pleased to say that the bees are no longer homeless and have been offered suitable accommodation.  They have asked me to pass on their thanks!  

Phone Companions

Please remember in the light of my piece on depression that if any of you would appreciate a regular call from someone, then I have a list of willing volunteers who would be happy to provide some friendship and conversation for those who are feeling isolated and cut off.  Please let me know.  

God bless to you all,

Matthew  


Weekly Update - Week Ending Friday 29th May

Grace, Mercy and Peace from the God and Father of us all
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Morning Praise for Pentecost
Choral Evensong for Pentecost

Online Services

I am pleased to say that things are progressing well towards our first online service, which we hope will be available for you to participate in on Trinity Sunday which is June 7th.  The service will be a Morning Prayer available via our own YouTube site https://tinyurl.com/yatm45dd  ,with a link from our Parish website. 

I think it would be good to have a number of different voices in the service.  To facilitate this you are welcome to volunteer as an online reader.  We will let you have the set readings for each Sunday and you can then record them at home using your phone or PC and send them to our online service editor who is David Brooks Wilkins who will then insert them into the service.  These can be either video clips or just audio.  

I appreciate that this is a new learning curve for us and may well be part of the new normal as we move forward.  

Prayer Corner

In this week's Prayer Corner I have been thinking about Isaiah 43: 19 -  

I am about to do a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I
 will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.  

It can be hard to think of God doing anything new in our lives when so many days feel the same, and it is so easy to feel stale and under-stimulated in this time of lockdown.  However, God is alive and present in all circumstances, even the most distressful and trying ones.  Years ago I remember a Kenyan lady and her family who started attending St Giles.  She was somewhat surprised at times to see our Church thinly attended, she told me how in Kenya they had thought nothing of walking 4 miles to attend a church service which then lasted for 2 hours and included lunch!  

This is clearly a time of adversity for us as Christians, a time when so much has been taken away, yet through this I believe God is shaping and carving something within us that is stronger and deeper than we might have found in easier times.  

After this lockdown maybe we would be happy to walk a few miles just to take Communion again, or to worship God with our friends and to pray together.  Behold God is doing a new thing in us as we sit this out, as seeds stir and grow under the surface of the earth so God’s love is growing and deepening within us - growing through our missing of Church, growing through our sadness and our losses.  As the all saying reminds us, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’  Sometimes we discover what really, really matters to us in the absences of life.  Maybe we can’t grow as much when we are free to take it or leave it.  In your prayers this week reflect on the verse from Isaiah and thank God for the new sense of faith and purpose that this difficult time is giving to you.   Thank God for the ongoing work he is doing in your life.  

Poets Corner

What wind brings to the lagging sail,
Rain to the drooping flower,
Sweet fire
And the broken bread
And song's peace
To the lonely hour,
You bring,
And blithely, to your kind
You come, and lo!
The said is spread,
The flower dances in the sun,
The heart leaps heavenward
Like flame -
And God is in the broken bread. 

Harry Lee  

Planned Giving Envelopes

I am aware that a number in our congregation give regularly through weekly and monthly Planned Giving Envelopes which I appreciate people have not been able to give during the lockdown.  If you have accumulated a number of envelopes you are welcome to drop them off at the Parish Office which Liz will pass on to our Finance team, making sure that the handling guidance has been followed.  

Bees

A home, (a little bit of garden), is required to stand a bee hive on, preferably in the village.  The bees will be looked after so they will safely go about their business without danger.  The host family/person will be entitled to a percentage of the honey as rent!  Please contact Peter Russell 01689 861394 if you can help.  

Strawberry Jam

As we come into the time of year when strawberries are coming onto our shelves, if anyone would like to make any strawberry jam then I am happy to sell it via the ‘Rectory Drive’, as the marmalade proved very popular.  I am very happy to collect when it is made.  Proceeds will go to Save the Fete Fund.  

Best wishes,

Matthew


Weekly Update - Week Ending Friday 22nd May

Grace Mercy and Peace from the God and Father of us all and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Morning Praise - 24th May
Evening Prayer - 24th May
Childrens Service - 24th May
Childrens Colouring Picture - 24th May

Prayer Corner

As part of our Sunday service I have included the Apostles creed which is usually said at Morning and Evening Prayer.  A bit like the Lord’s Prayer its familiarity can lessen its depth and meaning as it is easy to say it in a rather formulaic way.  It occurred to me that the Creed could be used as an aid to prayer and meditation.  Below I have suggested that you might like to say the Creed slowly and think about the following topics of prayer which I have put under each section.  

The Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 

Focus on the word ‘Father’, try to think of God relationally as your heavenly Father and you as his son or daughter.  Think of God as a creator and allow your mind to picture some element of his creation which speaks of God’s beauty, intelligence and wonder, such as a sunset, the stars at night, the petals of a flower, a pet at play, the joy of your garden.  

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,

Here think about your relationship to Christ Jesus, the part he plays in your life and faith.  Thank him for his love, forgiveness and healing in your life.  Think of his mother Mary and her example of faith and obedience, is there anything to copy here?  Think of Jesus born as a baby and the celebration of his birth at Christmas and what this season means to you.  Give thanks that Christ was born for you and give thanks for the time of Christmas and the way you have celebrated it with the people you valued and loved in former times.  

suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. 


Here we think about Jesus's death, his sacrifice on the cross.  Let us lay before him our own failings and sins and also the sacrifices that we have made in the name of love.  We pray for people oppressed by injustice and the victims of oppression and violence, we pray for strength to carry our own cross and the patience to bear faithfully with times of suffering and loss.  We also rejoice in the love of Christ that was extended to those who had died before they had a chance to know him, in other words that he ‘descended to the dead.’  

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. 


Let us rejoice in Christ’s victory over the grave and over our own mortality.  Focus on what this means to you.  Thank him for his love that holds us through death to eternity.  Thank him that love is stronger than evil and hurt.  Try to picture and imagine the risen and ascended Christ in glory and power, able to pray for you and now wanting to reign over your life.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.


As we draw to the end of the Creed you are invited to open your heart to the coming of the Holy Spirit and to pray for a greater awareness of God's loving presence with you during the course of your days. Turn your attention to the Holy Catholic church and here pray for other churches, local and further afield.  Pray for our leaders and the Pope and rejoice that you are now part of a universal family numbering over a billion.  Furthermore through the Communion of Saints we are spiritually joined to those who have gone before us in life.  Here think about your loved ones who have died and picture them enjoying the light and peace of God.  Finally acknowledge and do not doubt your faith, or what Christ has done for you and given to you.  You are part of the communion of saints, the Catholic faith, and you have obtained through his blood the forgiveness of sins and the promised resurrection of your mortal body to eternal life.  

You are of course welcome to divide this meditation up over a period of time or to use it as part of your weekly devotions, either way I hope that the above meditation will help to move you to a more deep and contemplative use of this familiar part of the church's litany.


Poetry Corner - Kindness

This was sent to me recently and I think it speaks volumes about our current predicament, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I have.  

To recap what we now know: it did not begin
in a laboratory in Wuhan, nor with a pangolin or bat,
but it already lay dormant within us, like a seed
in need of certain conditions to grow;  

its symptoms are many and various,
and may include some, or all, of the following:
tear drops, sudden laughter, a feeling of warmth,
and a peculiar uplifting of the heart;  

it leaves its trace everywhere: from boxes
left on doorsteps to conversations over fences;
it can be transmitted over vast distances,
through a phone call, or from a smile across the street,  

or a certain softness of tone spoken beside
a hospital bed; it affects young and old equally;
there is no race or gender immune from it;
it has the power to topple bad governments;  

if one person were to pass it on to just three others
and they, in turn, were to pass it on to three more,
in no time at all, the world would be full of it,
and where, might we ask ourselves, would we be then. 

Brian Bilston


Notices

Recording Services from St. Giles

Thank you to everyone who kindly offered to help, through this  I am pleased to say that we anticipate being in a position to relay a morning service for Trinity Sunday on 7th June.  You will eventually be able to access it via our own St. Giles YouTube page.  I believe that being able to offer this facility will play an important part in the life and mission of our Church, not just during these current times but in the future as well.  It will take time to get it right so please do bear with us.  More details to follow.    

Church Reopening

To date we still do not have a definite date for the resumption of public worship at St. Giles.  We do know that it will not be before 4th July.  I understand that faith leaders are currently in discussion with the government as to what is going to be a viable way forward and a timetable for re-opening.  In the meantime we have been asked to start thinking about what re-opening would look like in our situation and how the current stipulations on social distancing etc. would work in our Church.  Thought is now being given to this and more information will follow when it is available.  I appreciate that the longer this goes on the more stressful and upsetting it is, particularly in terms of the loss of our Church and all it means to us.  I hope that with patience and fortitude and God’s strength we will continue to keep loyal to our faith and our commitment to St Giles.

Christian Aid

I am delighted to say that even during these straightened times we have still been able to send to Christian Aid a total of £351.10.          
    
Donations                             £205            
Tomato plant sale                £146.10            
Total                                     £351.10  

Save the Fete Fund

Many of you have already started contributing to our Save the Fete Fund which we hope will go some way to replacing the lost income from this important occasion. I am delighted to say that so far we have had:              

Donations                             £720            
Sale of Marmalade                 £61            
Total to date                         £781.  

Please do remember that I am very aware that any of our fundraising and appeals at St. Giles are held against a backdrop of very worrying times.  So I am grateful for everyone’s support whether it's their time, talents, finances, prayers, worship and the constant goodwill and loyalty that people have to our Church

Gift Aid Envelopes

I  am aware that a number in our congregation give regularly through weekly and monthly Planned Giving Envelopes which I appreciate people have not been able to give during the lockdown.  If you have accumulated a number of envelopes you are welcome to drop them off at the Parish Office which Liz will pass on to our Finance team, making sure that the handling guidance has been followed. cont/over  

Bees

A home, (a little bit of garden), is required to stand a bee hive on, preferably in the village.  The bees will be looked after so they will safely go about their business without danger.  The host family/person will be entitled to a percentage of the honey as rent!  Please contact Peter Russell 01689 861394 if you can help.  

Strawberry Jam

As we come into the time of year when strawberries are coming onto our shelves, if anyone would like to make any strawberry jam then I am happy to sell it via the ‘Rectory Drive’, as the marmalade proved very popular.  I am very happy to collect when it is made.  Proceeds will go to Save the Fete Fund.  

Best wishes,

Matthew 

 

ABOUT ST. GILES CHURCH


Coronavirus and St. Giles -

Dear Member of St. Giles,

As we are all aware the Government has issued some stringent guidelines and advice concerning the control and containment of the coronavirus.  The advice states that we are to avoid unnecessary gatherings and that people over 70 are to self-isolate for 12 weeks.  At 1.30 p.m. today the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued advice that public worship be suspended until further notice. 

Consequently, I and the PCC have taken the sad decision to suspend all services and social gatherings in the Benefice of Farnborough until further notice. 

Matthew Hughes
17th March 2020