Dear members of the All Saints family,
We want to start this week by saying thank you to all who contributed to the two quite special services last Sunday and to say thank you to all who were able to attend. Thanks also to those in the technical team who enabled the 9am service to be viewed on-line when we thought that was not going to be possible. How blessed we are to have so many gifted and willing people.
It was such a blessing to be able to meet together outdoors for our service of praise and worship and to stand together to sing God’s praises. It was so encouraging to hear the short testimonies of those who chose and presented their songs. The whole service encompassed the words written by Paul to the Christians in Ephesus in c5: 19-20, “speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Having such a special time of praise and worship clearly did influence the quality of our fellowship and friendship afterwards.
I, John, have been increasingly aware, and have experienced it myself, of the developing adverse effect of restrictions that we have all faced in everyday life. People speak more openly than I have previously known about experiencing anxiety, about lacking self-confidence and of experiencing levels of uncertainty in areas of life that they least expected. For Christians it becomes easy to start feeling that we have failed God and that we are not worthy of His love and blessings.
Whilst grappling with this I saw an interview with Paul Francis, a pastor in Cardiff, who has been in Christian ministry for over 30 years. He got to a point of major burnout. What he described I recognized in the lives of many Christians who had faithfully and gladly served God, some for many years. He has written a book which cannot be described as a standard type presentation, which adds to its interest, entitled ‘a little book on soul care.’ The author explores how we can look after our soul in a busy, pressurized world, creating spiritual rhythms that are achievable and sustainable. What he advocates is very practical and relevant in our present Covid 19 controlled times.
Rob Parsons, Care for the Family, says “I believe this little book can make a big difference in our lives.” Dallas Willard, on the subject of looking after your soul, says “it is not about perfection. It’s not about your competence… it’s about holding on to God. Because the soul was made to be connected to Him.”
This is the type of book that for most of my life as a Christian I would have seen in a bookshop and ignored. Now, having heard the author speak and having experienced what I have in the last 15 months or so, I can thoroughly recommend it.
The diocese has been considering a number of options for the vicarage and has taken the decision to fully refurbish it. This is great news, so thank you for praying that this would become possible. The work is starting on Monday and the aim is to complete it by the end of August.
Do please pray that the work will go according to schedule and that the vicarage will be a home in which Craig, Gemma and their children will feel comfortable and close to God.
John Chester and Andy Creeth, Churchwardens