Friday, 29 May 2020

Friday 29th May 2020

People have been doing remarkable things during these last two months - often via Zoom and other 'platforms' which have enabled groups and families to 'stay' together.

David Keen has kindly sent me this link of the choir that both he and John Fox (who passed away this week) sang with - along with David Watson and Bryan Long.  This group of singers haven't given up during lockdown - they not only meet over the internet but also sing!

This week as their rehearsal drew to a close they 'remembered' John and sang a very beautiful version of the Sanctus, Holy, Holy, Holy 'for him'.  I was moved very much as I listened to it and I hope it will be an encouragement to you too.

It can be accessed at: https://app.box.com/s/i0whhmx54fxcz472bj4ik6txtjrcpce3

Our Pentecost service has now been recorded and is ready for broadcast on Sunday morning!  This week we have two sets of guests taking part:  The Vogel family from Germany and The Revd Colin Pye, one of our Regional Ministers will sing one of his own compositions.

In all you do today and this weekend may you know the blessing and joy of God the Holy Spirit.

Ian

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Thursday 28th May 2020

Today we have published a new Minister's Letter, which also includes an update on some of our church finances, which we hope you will find helpful.

Yesterday AFC had a visit from the organ builder who attended to a loose wire.  This means the instrument is back up and working properly again.

This afternoon we hold the O'Connor family in our thoughts and prayers as Derek's funeral service takes place at Amersham Crematorium at 2.30pm

We also remember the family of Mr John Fox, one of our church members, who passed away earlier this week.

May both Derek and John rest in peace and rise in glory.

May you, today, know God's blessing and peace in all you do.

Ian

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Wednesday 27th May 2020

Some of you are kind enough to send me a 'virtual handshake' in the form of an email after the audio service on a Sunday.

I received one this week with a lovely perceptive comment that perhaps our world has needed a similar '40 days' to that experienced by the disciples between Easter and Ascension.  And that during this time we've been able to do some necessary re-thinking and re-evaluating of what's really important in our lives and community.

Well, in many ways we are still in this period.  We are 'waiting'.....

In this time when we anticipate what life may look like as Lock Down begins to ease we, as a church, are doing some planning.  Yesterday, for example, we tried out a 'webcast' from AFC.  Using the most basic of equipment we were able to see what a service might look like if it were broadcast from the sanctuary direct from camera to home computer.  It wasn't perfect but it was encouraging and might give us some options when the time comes from us to have physical, but limited services in church - yet at the same time fulfilling the need to provide a service for people at home.  It's work in progress as we move from an amber to green light!

Later this morning we'll be having our weekly Zoom Church Officers meeting and as always we appreciate your prayers for patience, wisdom and vision.

May you, in all you do today, know God's blessing and joy.

Ian

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

The Lady with the Lamp

Last autumn we visited the Nightingale Museum, just off of Westminster Bridge , at the back of St Thomas' Hospital.  We learnt a lot about Florence Nightingale, who was born 200 years ago this year, and we also saw the Spanish Flu Pandemic exhibition of 1918/19- little knowing that in just a few months, a hundred years on, the world would be going through it all over once again.

Florence Nightingale believed her 'calling' to nursing was from God but her parents disagreed.  This simply wasn't a profession for respectable ladies from middle class families.  After turning down a number of marriage proposals Nightingale ended up making her mark in the Crimean War bringing hospitals up to better hygiene standards.  Her way of nursing eventually became the international 'benchmark' despite the discouragements heaped upon her by British generals who ridiculed her as an 'interfering bird'.

Once back home Nightingale feel ill, and remained basically bed ridden, from the fever she had encountered overseas.  Undeterred she used this time to collate health statistics that proved the need for change.  She developed something called the 'coxcombe' - a more intricate variation of the pie chart.  I suspect she would have been very much at home with the current Downing Street briefings and their 'slides'!

This remarkable (and I sometimes sense 'difficult'!) woman has been honoured this year in that the emergency centres created to cope with Covid19 have been called 'Nightingale Hospitals'.  I'm just as impressed that she turned her efforts, due to her own bad health, to statistics once she was forced to give up 'nursing'.  An example of someone who simply didn't give up and in the current circumstances she is surely an inspiration to us all.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Monday 25th May 2020

There is a wonderful moment in Downton Abbey when, at dinner in the big house, the family are talking of their plans and one of the younger members talks of the 'weekend'.  The old Dowager Countess chokes on the soup and asks, in that wonderfully imperious way of hers, 'what's a weekend'?! Obviously  a new, and vulgar term, to those for whom every day felt a little like a 'holiday'!

Well, I'm beginning to have similar feelings myself in that a friend asked me on Friday what I'd be up to today, on the Bank Holiday?  I confess it had completely passed me by that it was a Bank Holiday as the days seem to be 'morphing' into each other at the moment.  I regularly find myself asking Rachel what day of the week it is!  Anyway - Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

Let me just share with you a couple of things that have come my way;

Celia mentioned to me the plans that St Paul's have for a national memorial (sponsored by The Prince of Wales) for all who have died in the Pandemic.  It is both a physical and a virtual tribute and she writes:

 It is the first British Memorial to all the precious people who have died from Covid.  There will be  a memorial plus an On Line Book where you can leave a message and put on a photo.  It is called ‘Remember Me’ and you can find it on rememberme2020.uk. 
 
Prince Charles is quoted as saying the lockdown had made the loss of a loved one ‘all the more agonising painful’ and ‘For too many among us, this has brought tragedy and heartbreak.’

Whilst one of our Elders, Hazel, has reminded us that during these days of Lock Down when it's difficult for us to give to the Chiltern Food Bank there is a 'donate' button on their website that will help them buy food for others on our behalf:
https://chiltern.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/

I hope, on this Bank Holiday, that you will know the blessing and joy of God in all you do.

Ian 

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Friday 22nd May 2020

I'm delighted that Heather has given us such a thought provoking and encouraging Prayer and Reflection piece on today's website - her story about John Donne, Dean of St Paul's is very poignant, moving and appropriate for us today.

Thanks to everyone who helped make part of Peggy's 100th Birthday so very special yesterday afternoon.  It was super to be together and sing in the street! 

Here are some photos of a lovely occasion for a very special lady.


And after that it was straight back to The Manse to record the sermon for Sunday!

In all you do today and this weekend may you know the blessing and joy of God.

Ian


Thursday 21st May 2020

Happy Ascension Day!

I'm delighted that today's Minister's Letter has been written by Erna and is now on the website and making its way to your email in boxes or home letter boxes. 

The Church Officers' Meeting this week is being held tomorrow morning.

In more usual times many church choirs would have climbed up their towers and greeted this morning's dawn with an anthem or two.  Today we'll just have to be content with a service on Radio 4 in which a great chorus of voices from around the country joins together in the Hallelujah Chorus!  We'll be marking The Ascensionand taking it as our theme in our audio service this Sunday - which is being recorded this afternoon and put together tomorrow.

However, today is also a special day for another reason - it's the 100th birthday of our church member Mrs Peggy Babbington.  We wish Peggy a very Happy Birthday.

This afternoon a small from of us, physically distanced, will stand outside of Peggy's bungalow and sing to her.  We'll also leave her some flowers and cake as we pull some party poppers.

Peggy's smile and sense of humour brightens up every coffee time we hold after morning service and we wish her God's richest blessing on her special day.

May God's blessing be yours in all you do this day,

Ian

Friday 29th May 2020

People have been doing remarkable things during these last two months - often via Zoom and other 'platforms' which have enabled grou...