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White text over a red background saying "what church looks like during Covid-19 restrictions)

What church is like during Covid-19 restrictions (video)

We’re now back worshipping together at Monks Road on a Sunday morning, but with various safety measures in place. These include everyone wearing a mask and maintaining safe social distancing during their time in church. We also have a QR code so that those using the NHS app can scan and log their visit to the church, making it easier to trace if anyone has a positive test result at some point in the future.

With so many changes in place, we thought it might be helpful to show you what our “new normal” feels like. So we created a video to show you what church is like during the Covid-19 restrictions.

If you’d like to come to one of our services, you are more than welcome. The service starts at 10:30am on a Sunday morning, and we ask that you arrive no earlier than 10:15am to avoid too much hanging around beforehand.

An opn Bible on a lady's lap, with a black leather bookmark and her hands placed upon it

Resources for Worship at Home – Sunday 14th June 2020

As the churches are currently closed due to COVID-19, there are lots of resources being made freely available for people to continue to worship from home. We hope that the following will help you at this challenging time.

Livestreams from within our Circuit

Other Resources

There’s also the Sunday Service on Radio 4 service which begins just after 8am and Songs of Praise is on television.

photo of a house built on the edge of a cliff, with a blue sky and clouds in the background, and Matthew 7:24 written to the side (Anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.)

Friday Connection – 12th June 2020

Welcome to our 13th Friday Connection
 
We thought we’d begin with an update on the stamps we collect for the Bone Cancer Research Trust – we sent them off last week, and had a note back from the volunteer who sorts them – called Terri . “Thank you so much! Your box made me so happy – we aren’t getting much post at the present for the stamp appeal.” She also says they raised £9659 last year with the stamps – so please keep collecting!
 
Our reading from Matthew this week is the well-known story of the two house builders – one who built on sand and his house collapsed, the other who built on rock and the house withstood storms and floods.
 
It’s all about the foundations – one way to understand this parable is to say that the rock is Jesus, and the sand is anything other than Jesus.
 
However, it actually says: “Anyone who hears these words of mine and OBEYS them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.” So the rock is obedience, the sand is disobedience, going our own way, doing our own thing.
 
One ancient Christian writer said that the greatest need of any follower of Jesus is not to know more, but to obey what she or he already knows. On that basis it is reading God’s word and then living by it, that is the foundation for our life.
 
With that foundation our lives can withstand anything that life throws at us: be it illness, loneliness, even lockdown and not being at church. We live our lives as followers of Jesus, not in a church building but in the world and placed where God has placed us.
 
Are we “doing” the words of Jesus, or only reading them, hearing them, and thinking how fine they are?
 
We pray:
Almighty God, you have built your church on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone. Join us together in the unity of the spirit by their teaching, that we may become a living temple, acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
 
With our love and prayers
Irene and Terry
White text on black background ""What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." James 2:14-17 (ESV)"

Antiracism Resources

The past couple of weeks have brought the issue of systemic racism into the news in a very big way, following the death of George Floyd in the USA. However systemic racism is not just an issue in the US, it is here in the UK too.

The Lammy Review (2017) found that while only 3% of the overall population of England and Wales are Black, they make up 12% of the prison population.  And when looking at young offenders, over 40% of under-18s in custody are from Black or other Ethnic Minority backgrounds.

A report by MBRRACEUK (2018) found that, “in comparison to white women, black women were almost five times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth related causes, and Asian women were nearly twice as likely.” (quotation from this article).

And an official report recently published by the UK government found that BAME groups faced an increased risk of death from Covid-19 as high as 50% when compared to White people.

There are many other areas in which racism is an issue in the UK, including the many microaggressions that Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people experience every single day. Microaggressions include things like being overlooked for a promotion despite being more qualified for the role than White colleagues, and being followed around a store by security guards for no reason other than skin colour.

Clearly there are huge disparities in the lives of White and BAME people, not only in the USA where many reports are coming from but also here in the UK. The recent Black Lives Matter protests across the globe are calling for an end to systemic racism, and people have been taking to both the streets and social media in order to raise awareness of the realities of life for our BAME citizens.

Our calling as Christians

As Christians, we follow Jesus who repeatedly stood with the oppressed and held the systems of his day to account. In Matthew 16:24-26 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”.

And in James 2:14-17 we are asked, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

So we thought it would be helpful to bring you a list of ways in which you can get involved, particularly here in the UK.

Email Your MP

There are several templates that have been written to make writing to your MP on a variety of issues incredibly easy. You can find your MP’s contact details here. In Lincoln our current MP is Karl McCartney, and his email address is karl.mccartney.mp@parliament.uk

Please remember to include both your name and your postal address with any correspondence you send to your MP, as they will only respond if they can see that you are a member of their consituency.

UK action against police brutality and racismuse this template to email your MP about this.

Suspension of UK exports of crowd control weapons to the USuse this template to email your MP about this.

Update the UK curriculum to include Black Historyuse this template to email your MP about this.

Sign Petitions

Signing petitions couldn’t be easier, all you have to do is enter your details onto those you wish to support. However you can also go one step further and share the details of these petitions with friends and family via social media too.

Please note that for petitions on the UK Government and Parliament website you have to verify your signature by clicking the link in an email they send to you, otherwise your signature will not be counted. 

Teach British children about the realities of British Imperialism and Colonialismclick here to sign this petition.

Make Black History Month compulsory to the educational curriculum in the UKclick here to sign this petition.

Battle racism by updating GCSE reading listsclick here to sign this petition.

Suspend UK export of tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot shields to USAclick here to sign this petition.

Replace all flammable cladding on buildings in the UKclick here to sign this petition.

Improve maternal mortality rates and health care for Black Women in the UKclick here to sign this petition.

Introduce mandatory ethnicity pay gap reportingclick here to sign this petition.

Donate

There are so many antiracism charities and organisations within the UK, and you can help support their work financially. There is quite an extensive list on this post, however for ease of reference here are some of the major UK charities and organisations doing antiracism work.

Black Lives Matter (UK Fund) – Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK) is a coalition of black activists and organisers across the UK, who have been organising since 2016 for justice in our communities.

Runnymede Trust – The Runnymede Trust is the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank.

Stand Up To Racism – Stand Up To Racism has groups around the country that aim to build solidarity with refugees and confront racism, islamophobia and antisemitism. You can donate to them on a monthly basis for as little as £2 per month (or £1 for concessions).

Donate without even spending a penny!

We know times are tight for many people, but there is a way you can support the cause without even spending a single penny. Head over to YouTube and watch this video. You can leave it playing in the background whilst you go about your day-to-day business, you don’t even have to sit and watch it. But by letting it play the video will gain Ad Revenue from YouTube because of the advertisements placed within it. 100% of the money raised will be donated to associations that offer bail funds for protestors, support family funeral costs, and advocacy.

Educate Yourself

Many of us have grown up in a society that has afforded us many privileges purely based on the fact that we are White. It is now our responsibility to both listen to the voices of the BAME people in our communities, and to educate ourselves on systemic racism, white privilege, and how to become antiracist allies. As Angela Davis famously said, “in a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist”. And as Rev Dr Barbara Glasson, the current President of the Methodist Conference said this week, “I hope we can listen more carefully to the voices of BAME members, especially younger people, who face racism, discrimination and violence on a daily basis. Then our Church must be brave, speak out, speak up and challenge racism wherever we find it, especially when we find it in ourselves.”

With that in mind, here are just a few of the many resources you may find helpful right now.

Books specifically for a UK audience

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

We Need to Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches by Ben Lindsay (The eBook version of this is currently only 99p).

Black British History: Black Influences on British Culture (1948-2016) by Walker, Marshall, Perry, and Vaughan

Other books about race and racism

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism, and Change the World by Layla Saad

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Race by Robin DiAngelo

Films and Documentaries

13th and 13th, a Conversation with Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay (on Netflix)

Black Lives Matter (on Amazon)

When They See Us (on Netflix)

Want to do more?

There are so many resources available to help you get involved, far too many to list here. But thankfully other people have created extensive lists to help you. Here are just a few of them.

Practical Ways to Support Black Lives Matter from the UK – a spreadsheet with tickboxes so that you can save a copy to your computer and mark off the things you have done.

Black Lives Matter Resource Directory – an extensive spreadsheet with separate tabs (at the bottom of the screen) to help you navigate things to read, watch, listen to, follow on social media, donate to, practically do, and support from afar.

Antiracism Resources – this is a very easy to read list of resources you may find useful.

Your Kids Aren’t Too Young To Talk About Race – a list of resources for parents, teachers, and anyone else wanting to discuss race with children of all ages.

Share other resources with us

This is far from an exhaustive list, so if we have missed something you know about please do let us know in the comments.

close up of a white man's hands holding a pen and an open Bible, next to a notebook and a mobile phone.

Resources for Sunday 7th June – Trinity Sunday

As the churches are currently closed due to COVID-19, there are lots of resources being made freely available for people to continue to worship from home. We hope that the following will help you at this challenging time.

Livestreams from within our Circuit

Other Resources

There’s also the Sunday Service on Radio 4 service which begins just after 8am and Songs of Praise is on television.

Green image with shamrock growing up the right hand side, with a message about St Patrick using the image of a Shamrock with 3 leaves coming out of one stalk as a visual teaching aid for the Trinity

Friday Connection – 5th June 2020

Welcome to our 12th Friday Connection which leads us to Trinity Sunday

There’s a story that says Saint Patrick was trying to explain the mystery of the Trinity to his people – how God could be Father, Son and Holy Spirit at one and the same time – when he noticed a shamrock growing – three leaves coming out of one stalk and used it as visual aid for his sermon.

Here at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 28, Jesus the Son gives his followers three tasks to work at now that he is going back to God the Father, and leaving them His Spirit to support and strengthen them.

First – to make disciples: his own followers had become learners of the way of life Jesus taught and embodied, and like them we are called to help people to find Jesus and that way for themselves.

Second – to baptize – baptism is not an option, but the way that someone takes on the name of Jesus for themselves – the name of the living God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

And third – to teach the gospel of Jesus that generates a lifestyle that is quite different to the way the world lives.

These three tasks are held together by the fact that Jesus now has all authority, and His promise that He is always with us. Matthew’s gospel begins with Immanuel, God with us, and ends with Jesus – God with us for all time and in every situation – yes, even when we face the surreal situation of a pandemic that hems us in, and keeps us from being the church we were called to be.

These three callings are how we will continue to be God’s people in the future, however unclear that seems just now, and whatever form it will take:“ I am with you, every single day, to the very end of the age.”

With our love & prayers, Irene and Terry

These are the full readings for this Sunday if you would like to read them: Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a, Psalm 8, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 and Matthew 28:16-20

We pray –
Father God, you have created all things, and through Christ shown us your salvation in all the world. Give us a vision of your glory, and by your Spirit fill us with life and love, that we may praise and serve you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

An open bible on a wooden surface with a dark mug beside it

Resources for Sunday 31st May – Pentecost

As the churches are currently closed due to COVID-19, there are lots of resources being made freely available for people to continue to worship from home. We hope that the following will help you at this challenging time.

Livestreams from within our Circuit

Other Resources

There’s also the Sunday Service on Radio 4 service which begins just after 8am and Songs of Praise is on television.

An abstract image of a white dove and orange "fire" coming down from the heavens

Friday Connections – 29th May 2020

Welcome to our 11th Friday Connection – Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4)

I remember as a child that we always had new clothes for what we called Whitsunday – is that a peculiar Yorkshire thing, or did that happen in Lincolnshire as well? These clothes then became our “Sunday best”, and what had been new clothes last year now were pressed in to everyday use. Was it also something to do with the cleansing or newness of the Spirit – hence Whit or White Sunday, as the name for the day?

Pentecost only came later as the name for the day when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples, which our reading tells us about. For a first century Jew, Pentecost was the fiftieth day after Passover, and it was a celebration of the crops beginning to grow again, as they remembered coming to the promised land generations before, and the promise that God would provide their needs – it was called the first fruits, to be fulfilled in the full harvest later in the year.

In our reading, the disciples had been waiting for the Spirit that Jesus had promised to meet their needs in working and speaking for him, and now they were able to speak in a way that everyone could understand. Their needs of timidity and uncertainty were met so that they could then meet the deeper needs of others.

A new language to meet deeper needs – and as we move out of this time of staying at home, we will need to speak in a new way of God’s love to those we live with and see each day – and we will need God’s d help to have the right words to say, so that people can grasp God’s love and purpose for life for themselves, that we show to them and talk about.

May you know the refreshing of the Spirit this Whitsuntide
With our love & prayers, Irene and Terry

Pentecost Sunday readings: Psalm 104:25-35, 37, 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13, John 7: 37-39