Dear friends, brothers and sisters,

More grace and peace from St. Michael’s.

This morning, I went to St. Michael’s and prayed in church for the last time, tidied up the church before locking it for I don’t know how long. I said ‘goodbye’ to the building – a loved and well cared for building that has a special place in many of our hearts. As I was locking up, the reality we all know dawned on me– that the church building may be closed, but the church is very much alive, because the church is us.

As I mentioned last week we, the Church of England, and St. Michael’s, have not shut up shop, instead, we are learning how to be church in new ways – both in prayer and service. In that spirit, for this Sunday (and hopefully for a few weeks to come), we will be sharing worship online via our You Tube channel. Just go to You Tube and search for St Michaels Felton & St Marys Longframlington. On Sunday, you should find a video there so you can share in our services together. The link will also be on our website here on Sunday morning.

I want to encourage us all very strongly to join in on Sunday – so if you can, please do join in at 8am or 11am as you ‘usually’ would. If you can’t make it on Sunday, the broadcast is available throughout the week on You Tube. To support everyone in joining in, I have produced this simple booklet of liturgy and prayers which we will use during our time together online. Hopefully you can print or access this at home. Finally, can I encourage you to light a candle in your window as you join us – as a sign of solidarity with each other that we are doing this together.

The pew sheet will be the primary form of printed communication as a church, so please look out for it in your inbox! It will have the readings for the service on the back, and a letter from me on the front. If you can’t access You Tube, I will make some suggestions in the pew sheet on how best to take part. Also, please let me know how you are doing or any stories, things that amused you, etc as it is really important we share stuff together as a church family at this time. Yes, I do mean clutter up my inbox!

In addition to joining together on a Sunday, I want to encourage us to pray together during the week – at times such as these, acting together is really important. Let me encourage 3 ways we can do this together:

  1. To pray between 7am – 9am on Monday morning
  2. To pray between 6pm – 8pm on Thursday evening
    These are the times we have been corporately praying as a church over the past 5 years, so we can continue to pray, but doing so from home. Note – doesn’t mean pray for 2 hours, just during this time!
  3. To pray at 9am each or any morning. I am committed to uplifting you and the whole community to God in prayer each day – I believe it is an important ‘offering’ that we can make as the church in this our community. You could join me from home.

To help us to pray at home, I have attached a list of prayer resources and a couple of prayer resources I have created which you can access here. Most of these are designed to be used as booklets, and may not suit your printer – so I will create packs of these resources ready to be ‘posted’ – please tell me you want/need one.

List of Prayer Resources

Daily prayer time leaflet

Praying for our world at this time of crisis

Morning Prayer at Home

Evening Prayer at Home

I have started a church prayer diary jotting down the things I am praying each day for us as a church/community. So I want to know what and who you want prayer for. So don’t be shy, drop me a message and I will ensure we as a church are praying for it.

Finally, I am confident I don’t need to say this, but don’t forget to ‘phone/facetime/What’s App a friend’ – don’t wait for someone to phone you, but pick up the phone and see how they are doing. The more we support each other at this time, the better we will fare ourselves. So don’t be shy, and if you don’t have someone’s number – I probably do! So ask me and I’ll make it happen – it’s good to talk as BT used to say!

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on screen on Sunday (sort of!) and may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.