‘’Becoming the people God calls us to be: looking Upwards, Inwards & Outwards’’
I’m writing to you at this very difficult time as we continue to see life totally disrupted by the impact of the Corona virus; as we struggle to face up to the impact of a continued period of isolation and as we reflect on the human cost of this terrible illness. I trust that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well; please be assured that you are all in my prayers and that our clergy team and I are here to provide support in any way we possibly can.
It’s been good that so many of you have been able to join with us in our online services but I am aware not everyone will be able to do this and that many of us are really missing being able to join together for services and our social gatherings. At present we don’t know how long it will be before we can meet again and so I thought it would be good to send out a monthly newsletter to as many people as possible.
In the midst of the death, sickness, anxiety and grief that the Corona virus has heaped upon our world we have of course been celebrating Easter. I know that it’s been a difficult Easter for so many and we might be forgiven for wondering just what our faith can offer at this time.
Have you ever stopped to think about how those closest to Jesus might have been feeling as that first Easter day dawned? I suspect they were experiencing some of the feelings that I’ve just mentioned. Jesus friends were grieving, they were angry, anxious and unable to even begin to comprehend what would happen to them in the future. And it was into this situation that the risen Jesus revealed himself with the promise of new life.
Perhaps we sometimes find ourselves feeling like those friends of Jesus as they began Easter day? The anxieties, difficulties & experiences of life can drain away our joy and enthusiasm for life and even for God. When life turns against us we too might feel ourselves becoming discouraged and disillusioned. Perhaps like those first followers of Jesus we need to allow Him to come and transform the situation we find ourselves in and to let Him make us more aware of His presence with us.
Are we ready to allow the risen Lord to transform our lives? If we are then just like those early believers we might be surprised to discover that the living Lord still comes to meet with us. And as He meets with then He speaks His words of peace to us and then sends us out into our lives to become messengers of Easter joy and hope, trying to bring the light of God’s love into the dark corners of our world. We are an Easter people… and Alleluia is our song!
With my love and prayers
During the lockdown we are broadcasting some Eucharist services and some of our Priests are celebrating and receiving communion on behalf of us all. However I’m sure many of us are missing be able to take communion at present. We thought you might find the following produced by the Church of England helpful.
The term ‘Spiritual Communion’ has been used historically to describe the means of grace by which a person, prevented for some serious reason from sharing in a celebration of the Eucharist, nonetheless shares in the communion of Jesus Christ. The form of prayer below offers Christians an opportunity to give thanks for their communion with him, particularly at times when they would ordinarily be present at the Eucharist.
The Book of Common Prayer instructs us that if we offer ourselves in penitence and faith, giving thanks for the redemption won by Christ crucified, we may truly ‘eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ’, although we cannot receive the sacrament physically in ourselves. The Church of which we are members is not defined by the walls of a building but by the Body of Christ of which we are members. In making our communion spiritually, we are joining with Christians everywhere to be nourished by the one who tells us, ‘I am the Bread of Life’.
In making a Spiritual Communion, you may wish to pray all or part of the following, as you are able.
Begin by finding a space for prayer e.g. in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place. You might choose to make your Spiritual Communion at a particular time of day, or after viewing a live streamed service.
Reflect on the day and on your relationships: What good things have come from God today?
– Where have I fallen short? What might I do tomorrow? You may wish to say or pray
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Read the following words from Scripture and spend a few minutes reflecting on them: ‘’Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’’ John 6.35
Pray for the needs of the world, for your local community, and for those close to you. End with the Lord’s Prayer.
Give thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus and ask him to be with you now. Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits you have given me,
for all the pains and insults you have borne for me. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
You might then add one or more of the following prayers:
Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples, ‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you. Hear my prayers for others and for myself, and keep me in your care. Amen.
help me to trust you,
help me to know that you are with me,
help me to believe that nothing can separate me from your love revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, in these days of mercy, make us quiet and prayerful; in these days of challenge, make us stronger in you;
in these days of emptiness, take possession of us;
in these days of waiting,
open our hearts to the mystery of your cross.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you most humble and hearty thanks
for all your goodness and loving kindness.
We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And give us, we pray, such a sense of all your mercies that our hearts may be unfeignedly thankful,
and that we show forth your praise, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Conclude with the following:
The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil, and keep us in eternal life. Amen.
We are disappointed and worn down, Lord, walk with us.
We doubt what we believe, Lord, teach us.
We need a sign,
Lord, break the bread. We seek your kingdom,
Lord, fill our hearts with fire. (Nick Burden, Iona Community)
We are still open!
‘’Our church buildings are closed but the Church is still open’’.
That was the slogan spotted recently on social media and although it might not feel like it at the moment it’s true: –
Our buildings are currently closed to comply with government and Church In Wales guidance. They should only be accessed for essential maintenance and for no other purpose. We hope that they will be able to reopen soon.
Baptisms and weddings have been postponed until the beginning of August at the earliest. Emergency baptism can be administered privately and many of our wedding couples have already decided to reschedule their weddings.
Funeral services can’t take place in church buildings but a burial service can take place in a churchyard with a maximum of 10 mourners present. Services can also take place in a crematorium chapel with a maximum of 5 immediate family present. We are suggesting that families might hold memorial/ thanksgiving services once the crisis is over and have also produced a short order of service for those who can’t be present. If the facilities are available funeral services can also be livestreamed.
Whilst we aren’t able to meet in person to worship we are broadcasting services weekly. We produced a service online for each day during Holy & Easter weeks and it was good to see so many people joining with us. Online services are something that have really taken off and seem to be reaching people who
wouldn’t normally attend an actual church service. Certainly something for us to think about in the future in addition to our actual services.
Going forward we have a service of morning prayer live on Zoom at 10am each Wednesday and a recorded service available each Sunday from 10am at: –
www,magorministryarea.org.uk Twitter/ Facebook/ Youtube – MagorMin
You can access the Sunday service later if you miss it! You will also find a weekly resource on our website for children.
For those unable to access the internet we have provided service booklets to use at home. If you haven’t received a copy please do get in touch and we’ll get one to you.
There’s also a weekly email and a monthly newsletter which will be emailed or posted.
Members of the clergy team are keeping in touch with people by phone/email/ text and if you would like to speak to one of us then please do give us a ring – contact numbers can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.
We all hope that a regular pattern of services will be able to recommence in our churches as soon as is possible and safe to do so. But the current restrictions are likely to take some time to be reversed and it seems that some disruption to church life will be with us for quite some time yet. We certainly need a big celebration once all of this is over!
Deanery Eucharist & Lunch
Bishop Cherry was very disappointed that because of the lockdown our Eucharist and lunch had to be postponed. This would have been the last of her deanery visits and she was very much looking forward to being with us and meeting people. Bishop Cherry’s visit to the deanery Mothers Union festival in May has also been postponed. We will find a suitable opportunity for her to visit us once things get back to normal.
This is such a difficult time for so many. Please rest assured all of you are in our prayers. If you have a specific prayer request you can email it confidentially to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Songs of Praise
In the run up to Easter we invited people from across our communities who engage with us on social media to let us know their favourite hymn. Hundreds of people were ‘reached’ and we included 2 favourite hymns on our website each day. Once we are all able to meet together again we’re planning a community songs of praise to sing the most popular of the hymns that were chosen.
Something for us to look forward to.
Friday 8th May is the 75th anniversary of VE day and numerous activities were being planned to mark the occasion including the Magor May Fayre and a civic service in Magor Square the following Sunday. These events have been postponed. There will however be a short act of remembrance available on our website etc from 10am on the 8th.
Annual General Meeting.
Our AGM for the ministry area has had to be cancelled until later in the new year. This means we will be unable to elect people’s
churchwardens and members of the Ministry Area Council (the PCC/ Trustees). Those elected in 2019 will continue in post until we are able to hold a meeting. Ministry Area Leader/ Rector’s Churchwardens have been appointed and are now formally in post.
Thank you to those who have completed a form to be included on our new roll. We were in the middle of compiling it when the lockdown commenced. This has been put on hold for the time being as we will need an AGM to adopt the new roll. So please don’t
worry if you haven’t got your form to us yet as we will give everyone plenty of notice of the new deadline. Any completed forms can be forwarded to the church office.
As a ministry area we regularly support a number of charities. It would be good if we could continue this support during this period of lockdown, particularly as demand for their support is so high at present.
With no services and church buildings closed it has proved difficult to collect for the local foodbanks. All of the large supermarkets have a collection box for foodstuff as do some more local shops such as the Co-op.
There is also a box in the porch of Undy Church. Please do donate as you are able. Financial donations are also welcome if you would prefer to donate in that way.
Rev Samuel was due to be ordained as a Priest at the end of June. There is currently some uncertainty as to whether this will be able to go ahead and almost certainly ordinations this year will need to be scaled back dramatically. We look forward to celebrating with Samuel as soon as we are able.
Bishop Cherry has recently sent this message to church officers:
‘’This is not an easy time to talk about money, and some may think it inappropriate to do so, but I would be failing in my duty as your bishop if I didn’t make you aware of the significant drop in income our churches are likely to get over the coming weeks and months. Without the regular giving that comes through Sunday collections, many are worried about their churches going bankrupt. If you are able to maintain your regular giving, and give by direct debit if you don’t already do so, that will help enormously and ensure that when this crisis is over our churches will be well placed to continue with their vital work in all the communities of our diocese.
Please also consider making a special offering at Easter in thanksgiving for all that God has done for us in raising Christ from the dead and raising us to new life in him’’.
If you would like further information about direct giving you will find the details below. Otherwise please do get in contact with your church treasurer or Kevin Gunn (email@example.com)
Gift Direct Goes Online
Gift Direct is the way that the Church in Wales manages Gift Aid donations. Setting up a Gift Direct payment is a way that you can directly help the work of the Church at a local or national level.
As part of our response to the Covid-19 situation, we have now developed online tools to help you create a new Gift Direct donation or manage your existing one. Please see the links in this section to find out more.
During the lockdown Samuel has been revamping our website. If you haven’t visited it yet then please do take a look.
I’d like to say a big thankyou to all of those who have continued to support the life and mission of the church in this difficult time. As I’ve chatted to people I’ve been overwhelmed by the way that people have been caring for each other and the way that both church and our wider communities have stepped up to the unprecedented challenges we are faced with.
Thank you to our ministry team (and others) who have been involved in producing our online services, undertaking pastoral work and generally keeping in touch with people by telephone. Thank you as well for your prayers.
We are trying to keep in contact with everyone but PLEASE if you or someone you know is unwell or in need of our support and would appreciate a telephone call from one of our clergy team please do let us know.
Magor Ministry Area:
01633 882266 (please leave a message)
In an emergency you can contact us on 01633 882551/ 882016 Or for pastoral matters:-
Magor/ Wilcrick: Jeremy Harris 01633 882551 firstname.lastname@example.org
Goldcliff & Nash: Samuel Patterson 01633 882016 email@example.com
Undy & Redwick: Allan Davies 01633 882314 firstname.lastname@example.org Bishton, Langstone & Llanmartin: Hilary Prest 01633 412803 email@example.com Llanwern: Sue Collingbourne 01633 411883 firstname.lastname@example.org Glan Llyn: Mandy East email@example.com