About time

Time seems strange at the moment. I had a week off after Easter. Normally this would involve going away – or at least a few day trips around Dorset. This year it meant not going on-line, boarding the loft and playing in the garden. It was still a good time.

I found that each day went pretty slowly –but that the week strangely raced by. No real way of explaining this – apart from to say that so many things feel odd at the moment. How does time feel to you I wonder?

Here’s a bit of Greek for you….. The New Testament uses two words for time; Chronos and Kairos.

Chronos refers to time in the way we usually think of it – sequential and orderly. As I write this, for example, the time is 11.36am. If you look at your watch now – what you see is the time – the ‘Chronos.’

Kairos is different. Kairos refers to a moment of poignancy, urgency and opportunity. In the Bible ‘Kairos’ describe moments of divine activity and human opportunity.

In Mark’s Gospel Jesus begins his ministry by announcing the time. Not the chronos – the time of day – but the Kairos – the opportune and pivotal moment of history. He says, “The time (Kairos) has come…The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News.” Mark 1:15

Here was a specific and unparalleled moment in time. God, in Christ, had drawn near to his people. They had a new opportunity to know Jesus, to turn to God and believe the Gospel.

Iamsurewearelivingina Kairos moment. This is a time in our lives we will never forget. This is a time unlike any other. I expect our children will tell their grandchildren about what they did during the Coronavirus Lockdown.

God is at work in this Kairos season. I don’t believe God has sent Coronavirus – but I do believe he’s at work in the midst of it. Our world is being shaken, our routines are being disrupted. Our values are being re-orientated and our priorities are being challenged. This is fertile ground for God to move upon. I believe we will look back and see more clearly than we can now just what God did during this time – but we can trust that he is at work.

Life can never be the same again after a Kairos moment. But the extent to which God can change you is largely down to how you respond to him. What does he invite us to do? To draw near to him, to pray, to share the Good news and to serve.

If we’ll let God do what he wants to do then this time can be a pivotal and life changing moment; for you, for the depth and vitality of your relationship with God, for your family, for the church, for our society, our nation and for our world.

This is our time, first and foremost, to draw near to God and spend time (both Chronos and Kairos) with him. As we do this and make this our priority may we (in the best possible way) never be the same again.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay in touch.

With love

Thinking of others

During Holy Week I received a phone call from Anna Carter, who is one of the members of staff at Danmoor Lodge, asking if some children could send an Easter greeting to each resident there. She said it has been a difficult time for many of them with no visitors allowed and she wanted something to let them know someone was thinking of them.

Tom agreed that between us and other members of the church family we could get enough pictures, cards and greetings together. Tom delivered them to the home. Shortly afterwards I received a phone call from Anna to say how delightful it was to see the faces of the residents as they received their picture or card on Easter Sunday. They have kept them and several have asked for them to be put up in a prominent position in their room.

Unfortunately Anna is unable to send us photos of the people because of data protection regulations but wishes to pass on thanks to all involved. The photograph shows some of the pictures.

Anna also enquired about Youtube links to the St Johns Easter Service so that she could show the residents.

Pauline Neels

Lockdown ramblings

I have read in the paper and seen on TV advice for anyone trying to keep occupied during this tricky period. Tidying, sorting and cleaning to name but a few. It was during the sorting process that I came across a photo of the boys I taught in a prep school in Kent.

This reminded me of the Asian Flu pandemic that hit the country in 1957/58. Our boys, who were boarders, picked it up from somewhere and it went through the school like wildfire. First the boys, then the staff, then the agency nurses who came to help us out!

Somehow the headmaster and I kept going. I remember preparing seemingly endless slices of toast each morning and running round the dormitories finding the boys who were feeling better and hungry!

There was a retired army colonel on the staff. He taught anyone who was well enough. He also thought he had the key to the health of the headmaster and me. He persuaded us to drink Guinness with our evening meal and that did the trick! We were really grateful but drinking Guinness is not something that I have repeated!

Google tells me that the flu was first reported in Singapore in February 1957 and the estimated number of deaths was 1.1 million worldwide.

Anne Bond

Mission Partners Update collated by Jill Flux

Kerry Stillman managed to fly back at the end of March and after 14 days quarantine with a friend is now at home with her parents.

She had 12 hours notice that she had been given a place on a plane organised by the German Embassy. Kerry flew to Brussels and then on to London. The rest of the team flew back to the US the following day. Kerry comments that the population are beginning to adhere to advice but self isolating on a large scale will not be easy. Daily trading at the markets is the main income for most. The hospitals are ill-equipped to cope and there is a lot of fear as people await the outcome of the virus.

Kerry asks us to pray for them and also “for the Muslim believers who have contacted 300 Muslims to tell them the Good News. Pray that they will be visited by the Light of the World!”

David and Shelley Stokes in Juarez, Argentina are well and would value your prayers. The government have extended the quarantine until 26th April. They are allowed out to shop and do necessary errands until 4pm but otherwise urged to stay at home.

So far there have been 100 known Covid cases and 19 deaths in the country. As far as they know no cases in their province of Formosa. Although with little or no testing, they don’t know the true situation.

David asks us to pray:

For their daughter Sarah working as a doctor in a hospital in Oxford.

For all that are involved in healthcare in David and Shelleys area where it will be a challenge.

To get appropriate systems in place for when the virus does reach Formosa and Juarez.

The Wichi are finding the police enforced restrictions difficult as they travel to get honey from the forest and fish from the river which is their way of life.

David and Shelley send their love and greetings to St John’s family. They are gradually getting used to virtual services using WhatsApp group for the town congregation although the internet doesn’t easily allow for videos.

Pat Blanchard sends greetings from the shanty town of Lima, Peru. There are approximately 1000 new cases each day not really slowing but the government are doing more testing as things develop. As of 16/4/2020 they have 12,500 infected and 274 have died. Their first case was 6th March and lockdown followed on 16th. At that time Peru only had about 300 intensive care beds and ventilators in the country. Things have improved but there are still many issues eg protective clothing for hospitals. The curfew is 6pm until 4pm each day and Sundays full lockdown. The President says to go out to shop once a week but many don’t have fridges or any space for storing food securely and are not used to shopping that way. People live in very crowded multi-family dwellings, causing stress with many neighbours using the street as an extension of their homes!

Pat has been in touch with church members and given cash or food parcels as needed. She has also helped some families with disabled family members and vulnerable people in her street. As a church Pat is doing services and Bible study on WhatsApp. Those who do not have smart phones Pat checks in on them regularly. She is very grateful for her roof space where she sits with Luisa who lives in the same building and they do something creative most afternoons or contact church members on WhatsApp singing, praying and recording things to send to others. They recently made doves with Jesus’ message of ‘Peace be with you’ and hung them on the church railings.

Pat would value prayer for:

Health meetings.

Church leaders, that they will make good decisions on the way forward.

Wisdom as she considers Shalom’s future.

She gives thanks for many positive encouragements:

Having more time to pray, to reflect and to listen to God.

Seeing church members faith develop and hearing fervent prayer on WhatsApp chat.

Pat is sad not to be travelling to the UK in May and June to visit supporting churches and to have time with her family who are of course disappointed.

Pat sends greetings and blessings to all at St Johns.

It has been a surreal few weeks and the months ahead are uncertain. It has been so heart warming to hear of the tremendous challenge Captain Tom Moore set himself – to walk with his Zimmer frame for 100 days around his garden before he has his 100th birthday. In so doing he has raised over £23 million pounds!

During this lockdown period we hope you enjoy these positive contributions some of our readers have sent.

Mark Foxall

I am very semi retired and work can wait. Anne has just retired properly. This means this has been a weird sort of holiday.

Missing 5 grandchildren of course, and doing ALL the jobs, house and garden, that have needed doing. So we are pretty busy, but have found time to join in with some Spring Harvest Home on You Tube, and a bit of Jeff Lucas, and wading knee high in Job, which has been amazing to be honest.

The photo is my daily walk from home in Overcombe towards Osmington on coastal path. Loads to thank the Lord for.

Sue Akerman

Yesterday Frank and I were sitting in our garden having a cup of tea enjoying the sunshine. There was a quick movement in our little tree and there perched on our bird feeder was a little blue tit pulling away at the garden twine and when it had a beak full flew off to make its nest.

Av Stanton

Just before the lockdown some friends from World Cafe introduced me to Duolingo so I took up learning Hebrew again. It’s more difficult with a Hebrew keyboard as the letters are not the same as the handwriting script so it has kept my brain active and been quite absorbing!

Pauline Neels

At the beginning of April I walked up over the hill at Littlemoor. I was on my own and I found a spot where I could see Lodmoor Country Park and Sainsbury’s/Morrison’s and stood and prayed for revival over Weymouth and Portland and lifted the name of Jesus above Corona Virus. I recited Psalm 121.

I then moved into the next field where I could see Preston, the sea and the cliffs. I looked around and there was no one around so I sang loudly Raise a Hallelujah, Waymaker and Break Every Chain and raised an arm in the air.

Again I proclaimed Jesus Lord.

I wouldn’t normally do that but in this season and no one around I could! I felt lifted and elated as I walked back.

When I got back home I told Alex and he said, “I think the builders are still working in some of the houses behind where you were. If anyone saw you they probably thought you were Julie Andrews singing sound of music and running through a field. Fool for Jesus comes to mind!! Fool for Jesus comes to mind!!

There’s something very uplifting about praying and worshipping outdoors with blue sky overhead. So I encourage you the next time you are taking your exercise walk to be a “Julie” and join me in prayer or worship that the name of the Lord would be honoured and restored in this area and in our nation.

Malcolm Fox

We have been blessed by seeing the local community slow down and rest.

For our part we decided to grow extra vegetables this year and the extra seedlings have been given to people who either might struggle financially or who are getting bored and have found having tomato, beetroot, radish, wildflowers and sunflowers to nurture a fun activity.

Pam and John Yallop

We’re feeling blessed:

For the green space at the front of our house where we can take our permitted walk or watch the trees bursting into life from our window, along with the occasional squirrel.

Trying to stay in touch with friends & relatives, especially those living on their own.

Discovering the excitement of being allocated a supermarket delivery slot!

Finding Isaiah 43 v.1-5 & Psalm 91 v.1-7 comforting.

Pam’s brother, Dave Cary, lives in Germany, about 23 km from Holzwickede, Weymouth’s twin town. Placed in the high risk category, he is in coronavirus lockdown. A week before Easter, Dave, a lead guitarist in three different bands, gave a short concert from his balcony for a few friends & family members to try to lift their spirits during the coronavirus crisis. When word about it spread, he decided to hold a second concert on Easter Sunday when friends & acquaintances were invited. Young & old, they distanced themselves by spreading out across the square below, dancing and singing along with Dave in the sunshine, everyone enjoying a few hours of light heartedness.

Meg Fox

Ever since the lockdown I have been overwhelmed by the goodness and presence of the Lord to me. Easter Day was amazing. His Joy, His Presence was ALL ROUND.

On Friday I had a blocked W.C. and a blocked drain outside my back door. It had gradually been getting worse over several days. I was praying a lot about it but this particular morning something had to be done. I contacted Wessex Water. They said that they could come within four hours. A young man Nick arrived after two and a half hours with long rods and dealt with the problem. He was so gracious, so efficient, so kind and reassuring. Just another example of God’s great goodness to me.

Diane and Tony Blackwell

We have tried to be positive about our time in lockdown so we are enjoying a regular walk around Upwey (including spotting Weymouth’s answer to the Loch Ness monster!), doing more work in the garden than we would usually, enjoying the online services both from St. John’s and our previous church, spending a lot of time on line with our scattered family and plotting some alterations to the house!

God bless all our church family.

Linda Miles

I haven’t ridden my bike since the Dorset Historic Churches Sponsored Cycle Ride in September 2018. However with lovely weather and no wind Michael and I set off on a 5.5 mile circular ride along route 4 and 26. What freedom! What a delight to see God’s wonderful creation – the sea, the beach, the hills and cliffs, the bird life (including a marsh harrier hovering over Lodmoor) How blessed we are to live here.

Finally a poem written by the daughter of Judith Treleaven on Easter Sunday morning

Be Grateful

Be grateful…
For the roof over your head For the food on your table For your health and hearing

Be grateful…
To be able to see
To look out of your window
To see the clouds, the birds, the trees

Be grateful…
If you have friends who are healthy
If you can access social media
If you can meet friends ‘virtually’

Be grateful…
For family that are safe
For someone to talk to
For phone, for email, for post

Be grateful…
That you can seem the sun rise
That you can watch the sun set
That you can see the amazing colours of nature

Be grateful…
For all that you have right now For positive thoughts and feelings
For God’s love for you.

Carol Nichol

And lastly a P.S from Jill

Jill says it would be nice if people are able to contact our mission partners to support them at this difficult time and it would encourage them.

Pat Blanchard…… patkblanchard@gmail.com
David and Shelley Stokes…..davidshelley.stokes@gmail.com
Kerry Stillman……..kerrystillman@gmail.com