Hope on the Horizon

As I write it has been a week like no other since the start of the Pandemic. The government has announced the Road Map – meaning that we now have an idea as to when restrictions will lift – and the sun has been shining! These two things have changed the atmosphere and offered hope – really for the first time in a long time.

The predicted national changes and the steady decrease of rates of infection have positive implications for church. As we start the process of re-opening the building I hope the following Q&A’s will be helpful.

What are we doing for Easter?

Good Friday.

In Church: An Hour at the Cross. 2-3pm. A quiet hour with some readings and music. Online: A reflection on the cross will be available on the church YouTube channel from 6am.

Easter Sunday

At Church: Open Air Celebration, 10.30am on the lawn. This will be an Easter Celebration for all ages. Social distancing, track and trace etc. will be in place. We hope to be able to sing but, either way, we can all look forward to this being a safe and joyful time to come together and worship Jesus.

When will Sunday services in church resume?

A weekly 9am service will resume on Sun 11th April. This will be very similar to the services held in the Autumn – traditional and reflective with a Communion Service on the first Sunday of each month. At the moment we assume that face coverings will be mandatory, social distancing required and that singing won’t be allowed.

In time we will also resume the 10.30am service – with groups for children and young people. This will be a contemporary and informal service with greater emphasis on sung worship and time in God’s presence. I am so looking forward to this but for now patience is needed as the timing will depend on several factors. Watch this space for more info.

What about Online services?

Weekly online services will continue. In contrast to the ‘in church 9am service’ they will be more contemporary and informal. As that second service opens up in church I’m sure we will experiment with making changes, live streaming etc. – but rest assured there will be an online service available every week.

What will we be doing in the summer term?

On Sundays – both online and in church – we are going to be using the Alpha Course material. Alpha is a great introduction to/ reminder of the Christian faith and I hope that in both settings this will be a timely reminder of the Good News of Jesus – and that it may draw new people in to hear the Gospel. More info on this will be shared next month.

I pray that you have a great sense of hope and expectation as you look to the future. We are still in a season where we need to be patient and wise but it is so good to now be able to envisage having the church building open again.

See you at Easter!

Letter from Elaine

Dear St Johns’ Family,

Well, what a six months it has been. We have settled beautifully in Cuddesdon although it has been a tough road with everything being in Lockdown. Still, Cuddesdon is a beautiful place to be in the world, surrounded by beautiful countryside and walks for us to enjoy.

Maisie and Dillon are thrilled at their new school. They have made good friends and they are working super hard at home with online timetabled lessons every day. Ivor has a brilliant contract in a nearby town that praise God has seen him work through the entirety of these Lockdowns, which is such a blessing from God.

I am doing well in college. It has been a tough first half of the academic year with living in the community without community. Being isolated in our properties has meant a fragmented start. However, we remain hopeful that a new day shall come when we will spend time with one another and proper ‘formation’ can commence. It happens in the college bar, so I am told. The lectures and work can be challenging, mostly due to the unusual nature of doing it all from home. Hopefully this will pass and lectures will start again in person soon.

We miss you all at St John’s incredibly, but we hope to join you for worship over Easter when my Sunday placement is finished. We do hope that you remain united and together in prayer and love, despite the separation of Lockdown. There, I am sure, are great many things to catch up on which we look forward to hearing all about when we visit at Easter, either virtually or in person, whichever is allowed.

Thank you so much St John’s for the cards, the emails and letters of support we have received over these last six months. I do not always get to reply, but we are so grateful for the words of encouragement and prayer. If you would like to write to us our details are in the Who’s Who.

Sending so much love and prayers Elaine, Ivor, Maisie & Dillon

Opinions of Lockdown

We were delighted to receive Opinions of Lockdown from 3 of our younger members of St John’s. (We have included their hand written views but also typed the words as it may be more clear for you to read)

Lockdown down makes me sad

Lockdown makes me bad

Lockdown makes me free

Lockdown makes me run to the sea

Lego model of St John’s

Lockdown

Lockdown is boring but also fun. It’s boring because you can’t see your friends and family. But also fun because you get to spend more time with your family like your parents, brothers and dog. I am lucky to have brothers which are sometimes annoying but also really funny. What I find weird about lockdown is that the service is on youtube and that we don’t get to see everybody in church. I wish lockdown would end.

Lockdown is a Scary Time

I like rhyme in poems and that’s fun
But sometimes when it comes to poems I can be dumb.
I can’t see my friends or go to school
I can’t go and meet in a place or see
Their lovely faces
Lockdown is a scary time

(Thank you boys. Really enjoyed your efforts especially as they are the first contributions from our youngsters for a long time)

World Day of Prayer Service on 5 March, 2021

This service has been cancelled, but not forgotten! It will go out nationally on the day, and can now be viewed by logging on to the World Day of Prayer web-site at www.wwdp.org.uk.

If anyone would like an accompanying service book, please contact Hilary Lidstone.

Thanks you to Pauline and Alex Neels who sent this well – known verse presented in a different way. They found it on a website and thought maybe the children would like to colour it.

Grapevine

Grapvine is a regular publication sent by email so you can catch up with what’s going on in the Diocese of Salisbury. There are stories, news and information from the Jurassic coast, through the Wiltshire Downs to the M4. A thoroughly good read.

This article below was sent by the Golden Cap Team Newsletter to Grapevine with the title: Lifting the Spirits

Notice found in French Church with the English translation

It is possible that on entering this church, you may hear the call of God. On the other hand, it is not likely that he will contact you by phone.

Thank you for turning off your phones.

If you would like to talk to God, come in, choose a quiet place, and talk to him. If you would like to see him, send him a text while driving…

The Sea at Weymouth

1
I love to see the sea in all its moods
It cheers me up and gets rid of the blues
The smell of the salt water, does me good
Thank you Lord for marine life as food

2.
Winter comes, the waves get fierce
Spray comes over the Esplanade
Bringing shingle, seaweed, sand and shells
As the roar is heard amongst the swell

3.
Spring comes, the weather is warmer now
Sammy the seal sunning himself on the shore
People out walking along the beach
Lord you have so much you want us to know

4.
Summer comes in all its glory
Visitors crowding on the beach playing
Some are so brave, they practise swimming
Or surfboarding, snorkelling or whatever the game

5.
Autumn comes, the visitors gone home
The beach left for locals to walk and to roam
The sea at its warmest, so take a dip
Lord we are so fortunate to live by the sea

6.
Jesus you know about the sea
You calmed the storm and the fishermen too
You guided them to where there were shoals of fish
And transformed the disciples into fishers of men

7.
So we carry on sharing the gospel too
With folk not much different to the ones we knew
When on earth you gave your life for all men
So Lord, please help us to grow deeper with you

Hilary Lidstone.

Prayer Triplet

For wherever two or three come together in honour of my name, I am right there with them! Matt 18 v 20 – The Passion Translation

Can I encourage you to think about getting together with a couple of friends for prayer regularly? We are not able to physically meet at the moment but we can pray as individuals then speak, share and encourage each other by telephone or video calls if you are able. During this past year, I have met on video calls with two dear friends and we have seen three amazing answers to our prayers which has encouraged us immensely to keep meeting and keep praying.

I am now joining with another couple of friends for a short period of time to pray for a specific person who we would like to invite to the Life Explored course after Easter. We are just phoning or messaging encouragement to each other.

Do give this a try and I am sure you will be blessed as you seek His face and spend time in His presence.

Pauline Neels

Life in Lockdown

What a contrast from this time last year – little did we know what the next 12 months would be like. Now that we have lived through much of this pandemic, I have a picture of being on the coast with an approaching tsunami. Firstly there is the warning, and then we see a large wave approaching which leashes its energy on the coastal strip of land. Much damage has been done with many lives lost, and it will take a long time for repairs to be carried out and for life to return to ‘normal’ again.

New ways of thinking and doing things have become a necessity, such as remote learning, meetings on Zoom, working from home, skyping and how to make good use of more time spent at home. Over the last year I have learnt new skills including cutting my own hair, on-line shopping and banking, baking a cake and social distancing when out and about!

We are so fortunate living in Weymouth, with its lovely coastal views and green open spaces. Hilary and I have got to know Nothe Fort Gardens and Sandsfoot Gardens very well, and we look forward to the day when we will feel comfortable shopping in Weymouth again. It will be a pleasure to go further afield and to visit National Trust properties again.

One pastime I’ve enjoyed over the last year is doing jigsaw puzzles, normally ones with a 1000 pieces, often of attractive scenes. Currently I am doing a world map puzzle. Recently, it occurred to me how very difficult it would be to do a puzzle, where there is no picture of what it will look like. Presumably you could start with the edge pieces, and look for pieces with a similar pattern, but it would take a very long time to complete!

As Christians, we need that picture of God’s guidance in our lives, if we are to understand how all the bits and pieces in our lives fit together. That guidance is the Bible, which is an instruction manual for living.

During this Lenten period, Hilary and I have decided to give up alcohol which we have done before. I once tried to give up all biscuits and cake, but after a couple of weeks I had to give up, ostensibly on medical grounds!

At the time of writing this, I’m looking forward to studying last year’s Lenten course ‘Saying Yes to Life’. The author of the book, Ruth Valerio has previously written another excellent and complementary book called ‘L is for Lifestyle’, explaining how we can live more sustainably and care more for God’s creation. Each letter of the alphabet (A–Z) has its own chapter, examples include A for Activists, D for Driving, F for Food, V for Volunteering, etc. The book is published by Inter-Varsity Press. Both these books have references and links for further study. Also Ruth Valerio has her own web-site.

Mike Lidstone

Thanks

We should like to give thanks for God’s provision & blessings for us during this time, especially the lovely surprises that we’ve seen on our lockdown walks that include:-

crocuses flowering in early October (Radipole Park Drive gardens)
primroses on Christmas Day (by the side of a path at Radipole Lake)
the deer almost hidden by the long grass in fields near Bowleaze Cove

(spot it if you can!!)

Pam and John Yallop

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Well, lockdown for me has, and is still, quite an experience – I certainly miss the physical contact (going to church in particular) although I look forward to viewing Sunday and midweek youtube sermons and so on. I keep busy by reading lots of books. I have a daily exercising routine . I walk when weather permits and then find time at the end of the day for a quiet reflecting moment- moments which make Covid 19 and isolation bearable. I am so grateful for the many phone calls – most of which I receive are fun and lively.

Thank you St John’s Church for all the continued hard work you undertake to make sure that myself and others are still very much part of the congregation.

Mary Yeoman

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I don’t have words to describe my thanks to God for bringing me here, although I miss contact with St John’s

Shirley Saunders

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Thanks – for the support I’m receiving from the pain clinic in Weymouth and my chiropractor. I have been reminded of God’s love by the flowers I have been given.

During Lent I am working, archiving family photos, creating cards and planting seeds ready to bless others at Easter.

Alison Fox

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Falling Blessings

I recently had a nasty fall whilst out walking and sustained a painful knee injury which required rest in order to heal. While I was awaiting paramedics, I texted St John’s WhatsApp and asked for prayers that I hadn’t broken any bones. The Church family not only prayed for me – different members cooked me a hot meal and brought it to my door for three weeks!! I just cannot tell you how much God has blessed me during this time.

I keep thinking of Psalm 16
Verse 6 – “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes I have a good inheritance.” (New King James Version)

Verse 3 – “And these God – chosen lives all around – what splendid friends they
make.” (The Message)

This missive is called ‘FALLING BLESSINGS’ Falling Blessings? I’ll say:-

THANK YOU LORD JESUS

THANK YOU CHURCH FAMILY

Meg Fox

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Birds of a feather?

Most people probably know that the feast day of St Valentine, a man who lived in the third century, is celebrated on February 14th. We have come to associate his name with love and romance and many centuries ago the poet Chaucer wrote that after the dark days of winter, birds choose their mates on February 14th. The rest is history or possibly a marketing opportunity for card shops and florists.

Margaret and I don’t have feathers but we did get married on a cold but sunny February 14th forty five years ago. Of course since then we have experienced difficulties and disappointments but we have much to be thankful for. Our love for each other is nothing compared to God’s love. He showed His love for all of us, whether married or single, young or old, by sending His Son to offer us a lasting relationship with him.

Dave and Margaret Moore

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