The first Easter was such a disruptive time for the fledgling Christian church. We usually experience Easter as a reassuring reminder and a time which brings Christians together with a depth of joy and comfort. But the first Easter scattered the followers of Jesus. There was more than a little doubt over their future. It was a time of severe discomfort.
After twelve months and two Easters in which we have been severely hampered from meeting together in church, there is some discomfort over our future.
Zoom services have been well attended by a loyal number of our church members. We have opened for restricted services in church whenever allowed by the authorities and sensibly supported by the church council. We have reached out to everyone on our rather imperfect church lists with letters and prayer booklets and bible study notes and Mothering Sunday cards and palm crosses. But how many of us will return as weekly regulars in church? There is some discomfort about our future.
Our financial shortfall in 2020 was £6,000 and we are struggling again in 2021. Even though we restarted our socially distant services at the end of March, it could be a while before we are able to hold larger services with singing and closer fellowship without physical distance. Thinking about the future is a challenging thing. But nothing compared with the challenges faced by the 150 disciples who gathered regularly after Jesus’ resurrection but before the Day of Pentecost.
They had the thrilling experience of witnessing Jesus, raised from the dead, appearing amongst their number on ten or a dozen occasions. They had survived the false accusations, manipulated crowds, excruciating torture and drawn-out public execution against their heroic leader. But it was not obvious that the fledgling church was about to explode outwards in growth and vitality. The future life of the church was in the balance.
But not for long.
The worriers need not have worried.
There are seasons of tearing down but they are followed by seasons of building up. And Jesus is thoroughly committed to building his church. The early church grew through trials and persecutions. And we can grow too. The people of God may be scattered but we shall not be moved. Nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. And our time will come again to share fellowship around the communion table, publicly bearing witness to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The first Christians had a scary Easter but it helped them become fearless about the future. Death is defeated. The people of Jesus will overcome. Let’s look forward with hope.
It’s good to have our magazine back in print again this month – hopefully uninterrupted for the foreseeable future.
There have been some comments made querying why the parish magazine was not printed for a few months in 2020 and earlier this year, particularly since other printed material has continued to come through our letter boxes. Our previous printers in Macclesfield decided to retire last March and David, at The Print Room agreed to take over. He has been extremely helpful and has actually been working through most of the pandemic. I took the decision to temporally halt printing primarily to protect our deliverers from the risk of infection, especially when we were all being urged to stay indoors! I hope you understand the reasoning. Stay Safe!
As some of you may be aware, our church buildings and contents are insured through the Ecclesiastical Insurance Office. The organisation, which is celebrating its 130th birthday, has launched the Trust 130 Scheme through its charitable arm which is one of the largest corporate donors to charity in the UK.
Every time a new customer takes out a new home insurance policy with Ecclesiastical the sum of £130 is donated to a church of their choice, namely, St Luke’s Holmes Chapel. So far £430,000 has been paid to 2283 churches in the UK under this scheme and there is no limit to the number of donations which can be made to our church.
If your home insurance is due for renewal, and you are interested how Trust 130 can benefit our church, please contact Ecclesiastical Insurance by telephone on 0800-783-0130.
Our friends continue to be most grateful for donations sent from here for the benefit of the community in Brinnington and the homeless friends at Barnabus. Currently, because of continuing Coronavirus safety precautions, our donations to both destinations are somewhat restricted.
The Brinnington Parish Centre normally accepts donations for outreach purposes through their Drop-In sales and coffee mornings for the benefit of people in their community struggling with financial and other problems. For safety reasons the Parish Centre is closed for the foreseeable future and they have no storage space for donations. We have been unable to deliver your donations to them for over a year now. With permission of the Centre Manager, we continue to slowly re-distribute some of the items, particularly clean unmarked adult clothing, to other charities through the doorstep bag system until we can safely deliver to Brinnington once more. We have a large quantity of bric-a-brac including kitchen items stored safely to take to them as and when they can accept it.
We continue to be most grateful to Steve Best of Holmes Chapel Methodist Church for collecting donations for Barnabus from here, as and when it is safe to do so. We are advised that donations for Barnabus, including clothing and shoes, should be either new or as clean as possible, free of any marks or stains. If you wish to donate any clothing which can only be dry cleaned, please kindly have this done before donating it to us.
Thank you all for your generosity towards our friends in need.