Community & Worshipping Life of St Matthew’s

Important Update: Coronavirus

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued advice, based on the government guidance around non-essential contact, that public worship is suspended until further notice. As a result, there will be no Sunday Worship at St Matthews and all church related activities and groups are also suspended.

This statement is to update you on what your church leadership is focusing on for the coming weeks; support plans and pastoral care for those in need, and links to online resources for prayer and worship.

St Matthews Parish Weekend Away

In accordance with the national advice, we have also had to cancel the planned Parish Weekend Away at Brunel Manor at the end of April. We shall be back in contact with all those who have booked, regarding return of payments. We hope we can re-schedule for next year.

National Advice

We continue to ask that you stay updated with the following websites for advice and information and we will keep you updated with relevant information to our churches:
Public Health England
Church of England

Pastoral Support

Please can I encourage you to be proactive in looking out for those in your community, and those you know, who may be isolated, anxious and in need. Give them a ring, offer help, make sure they are alright, and be an encouraging voice.

The church is also looking into ways in which we can coordinate this, and deliver the necessary practical and spiritual care to those within our communities.

It will be helpful to coordinate this to make ensure that people are not overwhelmed with contact or duplication of support. So please do let us know who you are in contact with and supporting.

We will aim to be in regular contact with those who are self-isolating or are vulnerable within our church communities. We are aware that lots of local initiatives are happening. We are also aware that this needs to be safe for everyone involved.

We will be coordinating with other churches and relevant organizations to offer support to those in need within our parishes.

We know that there is a great amount of care, support and love that is already happening for people who feel connected to loved ones and friends, and have their own networks, and this that will continue, which is right and good.

But we want to ensure that there is no one who might be unintentionally overlooked. If you are in need of support, please contact our Church Office as an important first step, if you are not in touch with a member of Clergy or Churchwardens or a Community Member.

We are continuing to plan and put in place contingencies for effectively overseeing the church, related to building, finances, employees, safeguarding, etc., maintaining our good practice and care in these areas.

Prayer & Worship Resources

As advised above, we have had to suspend St Matt’s Prayer alongside all the other church services and church activities.

We will be looking at ways of how we can have our churches open in due course, for times of private prayer, under the current national guidelines.

We shall also be thinking through and learning about how we may ‘virtually’ gather for worship with the resources available.

I know that many of you have your own resources that you use to encourage your daily prayer and faith, and please do think about how you can share these in your community.
In addition, here are some resources from the Church of England. The Church of England will be providing further resources on their website in the coming days and weeks.
Services of Daily Prayer (App Available)
Prayer for today (Audio)
Live Lent (App Available)

National Day of Prayer and Action Initiative—Sunday 22nd March

On Sunday, March 22nd, Mothering Sunday, the Churches Together in England and Wales has called followers of Christ to prayer and action. At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.

Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity, if you are able, to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour.
Churches Together—Light a Candle of Hope

Thankfulness

I am very thankful for the support and encouragement of so many of you in our church family, in working hard to respond to this unprecedented situation, and to help where you can.

I am very thankful for the kindness being shown to others both within our church community and to neighbours in the communities in which you live. This is the witness of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and in the coming weeks, we can share this good news in the ways we live, love and act.

Jesus said,: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

Matthew 22:37-39Open Link in New Window
And pray…

Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.

Church of England Prayer Resources about the Coronavirus

With Love & Prayers, Ian Tomkins
Vicar, St Matthews Bristol.

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Christmas letter

Dear Friends

‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel – which means, “God with us.”’

Matthew 1:23Open Link in New Window

Paul Tournier, a 20th century Christian physician said, “You can never establish a personal relationship without opening up your heart.”

Relationship is the heart of God—relationship with you and me. This is what love is all about. We cannot love on our own. We need relationship to both give and receive love. And we all need love.

In this past year at St Matthew's (and how fast a year has flown by!), we have focused on building relationships, both inside and outside our church community. As a Christian Church family which seeks to ‘love God with heart, soul and mind, and love our neighbour as ourselves,’ nothing could be more important to our whole sense of meaning and purpose, than to build relationships of love with God, each other and our communities.

At the heart of building relationship is invitation—the invitation to be known, loved, and valued by someone else. In each most precious, affirming and life-giving experience of our own lives, we find someone else—the someone who has noticed us, cared about us, listened to us and is interested in us—and who loved us enough to invite us to share in their life too.

God notices you, is interested in you, and cares for you more than you can ever know; so much so, that he came to Earth in Jesus, called ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us’. He came to share our lives, both the ups and the downs, and to invite each one of us to share in his. God in Jesus Christ opens his heart to us in the most personal relationship we could ever have.

May I invite you and your friends and families this Christmas and New Year, to come and see for yourself how much we love you and value you, and to come and explore life and the Christian faith for yourself in a safe, friendly and open environment.

Our Alpha Course starts on Tuesday 7th January at St Matts, 7pm. Come and see. You’re invited!

As we anticipate the celebration of Christmas and all that follows, please know that as a family, we thank God for you all, for travelling with us on this journey of faith in so many different ways, and for inviting us to share in your lives.

May you all know the love and presence of God with you this Christmas and into 2020.

Ian Tomkins
Vicar

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Prayer, Involvement & Invitation

In May and June, we have significant events as a church., all about Prayer and Invitation.

Thy Kingdom Come: We are joining with Christians in this diocese and throughout the world ,from Ascension Day to Pentecost, specifically for more people to know the love of Jesus in their lives.

‘Party in the Garden’ & Invitation Service :
We are organising special events for our community, friends and families, to invite them to St Matthews.

Your Church Family Needs you!
Please can I ask you to prayerfully think about what you can do to help build the Kingdom of God in this season. What you can do, and how you can be involved.? We really need everyone’s help and involvement as much as we can. Please speak to me, Richard or Chris. Thank you!

Ian Tomkins

‘For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another.’

Romans 12Open Link in New Window

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