Rev. Rob’s 74th Epistle (APRIL)

Dear Friends,
It is only a few weeks ago that I was writing about ‘Tempus fugit’ (the Latin phrase meaning “time flies”) and yet now, it seems like the world and our nation is a very different place. The outbreak of Coronavirus is one of those defining moments in our history that changes everything. The priorities of our world, nation, community and church are currently all very different.

Keeping people well, safe and protecting the vulnerable becomes a priority, rather than the consumerist ideals of business, productivity and profit. It seems more important to protect your staff and have them work from home, than to ensure their productivity. As a Church, it might seem disappointing that there were fewer numbers at the Firefest Conference, worship services or fellowship groups and that our Outreach activities may have to be postponed or even cancelled, but the priority must be that people stay safe and, in particular, the vulnerable.

Which is why we must be responsible in taking all of the relevant advice, whilst being proactive in the way we care for each, communicate together, sharing in fellowship and worship together. The Firefest studies on the book of Ruth proved to be very timely and a real word for our church and nation at this time. None of us had understood the significance of what would be shared as we prepared for the event, but I would confidently commend the recordings of these sessions on our website for you all to hear, or alternatively do access the live audio visuals on Facebook. It will also be good to revisit the themes explored during our worship in Bible month (whenever that is). It is good to reflect upon how our story weaves with the story of Ruth in scripture and to understand that God is still sovereign. We do need to trust in God’s mysterious providence, for His purposes are always ultimately good, even when we don’t fully understand what is happening in the world. And we do know that true freedom is found in saying ‘Yes’ to God.

I would like to thank everyone who worked hard to make Firefest such a positive experience for all who attended and for all who shared virtually on Facebook with us. But, I would also like to thank all of our volunteers who give so sacrificially in serving Christ within the life of the church and in particular those who will have to self-isolate in the coming weeks.

However, this does bring a challenge to the younger members of our church and congregation. Now is the time that we need you to prayerfully consider how you might be able to serve.
Have you ever considered helping with the technology?
Could you be part of the sound team in operating the PA?
Or could you help to prepare and present the words to project during worship?
Have you ever considered helping to be a Church Steward in preparing for worship, because we would like you to consider testing a call to be a Steward by supporting our team on a temporary basis in the future?

As a number of our more committed church members and key volunteers are having to step aside for health reasons, we need younger volunteers to step forward! Each day, our situation as a church and as a nation changes. It is not only a case of ‘Tempus fugit’, but the advice and needs are changing, such that the situation is moving at a fast pace.

Therefore, each day I am hosting ‘Devote Live’ on Facebook and Zoom (when possible), plus our Sunday worship will hopefully be broadcast live at 10am through the website.

It is also hoped to offer Adult Bible Studies on other evenings and Youth Fellowships too. These details will be made available as soon as possible.

Carol has been busy co-ordinating a Pastoral Buddy system for all who are vulnerable or elderly, plus volunteers are in place to support those having to self-isolate with their shopping and other essentials too.

Worship resources will also be made available for people in their own homes and families may wish to develop worship at home with their children during this season. We are taking all of the relevant advice, but we also need to care for each other to the very best of our ability. We are known to be a loving and caring church in our local community, but this is now all the more important than ever, as the need is so great and many are feeling quite isolated and vulnerable.

We always do bring the Hope of the Gospel of Christ to the people of Knutsford, but this Easter, we will be a Virtual Kingdom Community as we share with people on line, more than we can in person! This is a Lenten journey like no other, when we experience the death of the familiar and everything that we know as ‘normal’. We all need to pray that the reality of Christ’s resurrection may become ever more evident in our lives, church and also in our nation. Stay safe everyone. Do please pray for us as we pray for all of you at this time and continue to prayerfully consider how you will prepare spiritually for this very different Easter!

Your friend and minister, Rob Rev. Rob Cotton

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