Some observations out of the coronavirus crisis…

When you wear a tight mask around your face, a hat, a face shield, a gown, two pairs of gloves, and something to protect your shoes, it is a totally different (nursing) thing; and, as nurses, you have to stay in that side room or unit for 12-and-a-half hours. It is really draining physically. You…can’t even go to the loo because your patients are terribly sick. They are on maximum (life support), so you can’t take your eyes off that monitor. – ITU nurse on the reality of nursing in PPE

Churches need to proclaim a better vision for the economy after the pandemic. Our economy is underpinned by the flawed assumption that people find their fulfilment through individual consumption: the more you have, the better your life will be. – Simon Perfect, researcher for Theos

Those who have found God in digital church may want to keep God there rather than discover transforming participation in the Body of Christ….  We need to find creative new ways of combining physical gathering with the virtual. – Canon Mark Collinson, Principal of the School of Mission Winchester Diocese.

No donations are coming in. Everybody is at home, and the last thing they expect is charities … sending emails asking for money. But at the same time, we have projects to run, staff to pay…– director of a humanitarian charity

History books will inevitably tell the story of a virus that swept the world in 2020. But it is up to us what that story will look like. Either… the story of a virus that … showed up the weakness, selfishness and frailty of people… or how people responded with their best, how the virus was a medical but not a social tragedy.  – Canon Will Hughes, Vicar of Petersfield, Portsmouth Diocese. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is traumatic not only because it threatens our existence… but it also threatens the cultural norms, frameworks and habits that we take for granted…leaving us socially isolated and … disorientated. It is no longer easy for us to say ‘…but life goes on’. – Canon Joanna Collicutt, clinical psychologist, Ripon College Cuddesdon.

I may make all things well, and I can make all things well, and I shall make all things well; and thou shalt see thyself that all manner of things shall be well. – Mother Julian of Norwich during the Black Death which had killed one third of the population of Norwich.

Source : Parish Pump

A prayer for racial equality

Lord God, Creator of all people,
may your son who suffered the inhumanity of the cross,
comfort us in our anxiety and in our horror,
in times that take our breath away.
May your Holy Spirit inspire us to repentance
and to action in dismantling the virus of racism
from within the Church, our nation and our world. Amen

Rev Canon Jeremy Blunden,
Rochester Diocese bishop’s advisor for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)

Source : Association for Church Editors

Meeting Jesus in the ring

Five boxers dedicated their lives to Jesus recently at a ringside baptism service in East London. The men, who came to faith in God through a missional boxing project in Romford, shared their testimonies to friends and family in a ceremony set out like a boxing match.

Stormzy was the backing track to the event at the Church of the Good Shepherd, where seats were laid out in the round with a baptismal pool in the centre. Following his submersion, one boxer said: “I feel like a clean person and the worries are off my shoulders,” while another shared how his journey of faith had “re-lit the fire and belief that was always there, and with the help of the other guys, I discovered what it was – that I was lost. Being a part of this community has made me want to be a better person.”   

Church minister Dave Harrigan, launched The Good Shepherd Boxing Community in 2015, as a hub for the local community to build relationships and encounter God. He said: “This baptism is a fulfilment of our vision for pioneer ministry and is exciting proof that pioneer projects such as the Good Shepherd Boxing Community are an effective way of being ‘church’ for people who live outside the traditional bounds of the regular church and who wouldn’t normally attend a Sunday service.”

Source : Association for Church Editors

Trinity Sunday – Celebrating our God who is Three Persons

Trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity has kept many a theologian busy down the centuries.  One helpful picture is to imagine the sun shining in the sky. The sun itself – way out there in space, and unapproachable in its fiery majesty – is the Father. The light that flows from it, which gives us life and illuminates all our lives, is the Son. The heat that flows from it, and which gives us all the energy to move and grow, is the Holy Spirit. You cannot have the sun without its light and its heat.  The light and the heat are from the sun, are of the sun, and yet are also distinct in themselves, with their own roles to play.

The Bible makes clear that God is One God, who is disclosed in three persons:  Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit. For example: 

Deuteronomy 6:4: ‘Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’

Isaiah 45:22: ‘Turn to me and be saved… for I am God, and there is no other.’

Genesis 1:1-2: ‘In the beginning God created…. and the Spirit of God was hovering…’

Judges 14:6: ‘The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power…’

John 1:1-3: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.’ 

Luke 24:49 actually manages to squeeze the whole Trinity into one sentence.  Jesus tells His disciples: ‘I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power (the Holy Spirit) from on high.’ 

In other words, the sun eternally gives off light and heat, and whenever we turn to its brilliant light, we find that the warmth and life there as well.

(Source : Parish Pump)