Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)
A letter from Jonathan
Our recent Sunday Morning Worship Service for viewing at home is available from Sunday 18th October at 11.00. You can watch on our YouTube channel by clicking the link below after that time.
Dear Church Family
The terrible car accident on the A40 in Oxfordshire last Monday evening is just heartbreaking. A mother and three of her four children were killed. Her husband, Josh, and their youngest child, Penny, are critically injured in hospital. Earlier in the year, the family had a near escape in the middle of the night, when their whole house burnt down losing everything. This family are Christians. They are known to Nick and Helen’s daughter Jasmine. Josh’s parents, Sue and Kevin, are members of the same church as Jasmine and Michal.
Suddenly, the ancient horror of Job feels terrifyingly real and present. Can anything we have learned from Job help us as we feel our stomach turn, our heart ache and our emotions rise?
The spiritual battle is real and raging but Satan has not won. This mother and her three beautiful children are safe with Jesus because, as a family, they trusted in Him. Let’s pray for Josh and Penny, Sue and Kevin and the wider family that they will know complete protection in the spiritual battle. Lord have mercy.
Job’s friends were at their most helpful when they sat with him in silence for when they spoke their words were misguided. Their words were misguided because they did not know God. As those who do know God as loving Father, as Saviour and healing Spirit, make time to sit quietly and lift up Josh and Penny to the Lord in prayer for comfort and healing. Christ have mercy.
If we are tempted to look for answers to the questions such tragedy raises, Job shows us that there is only one place to turn, to God Himself. Pray the promise of Romans 8, that nothing will separate Josh and Penny, or any of the family, from the Love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Lord have mercy.
Josh and Penny, Kevin and Sue and no doubt other members of the family are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We grieve with them as family and pray for them in their terrible suffering. Let’s also pray for one another as this tragedy reminds us of loss and tragedy in our own lives.
Love in Christ
Supporting our fellowship
We are keeping a list of those who are self-isolating, along with any particular pastoral or practical needs so that we can arrange appropriate help. Morag Brown is co-ordinating this. Please let her know of any needs or changes to need as they arise.
Keeping us praying
Praying together as a family is vital. We will be sending out a weekly list of prayer needs for the whole church family and our community. Do try to set aside a time each day to pray - many of us are pausing at 8 in the mornings and evenings to do this, and knowing that others are too at the times is encouraging.
Returning to Sunday services at St Peter and St Paul’s
This Sunday we will gather from 10:30 to watch the live-streamed service projected on the big screens. Afterwards there will be a short said service of Holy Communion ‘in one kind only’ that is, only wafers will be distributed. Our top priority is safety so things will be rather different from what we are used to. While we have put in place recommended hygiene and distancing practices, it is very important that you make an informed decision about when to return to services, taking into account any health issues and risk factors which apply to you or your family. For any who can’t attend, we’ll continue to stream services online so there is no pressure to return before you feel ready to do so.
During the service
If you or any of your household: