ASHFORD COMMUNITY CHURCH

NEWSLETTER: 22nd March 2020

       FROM THE PASTOR’S PEN

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

Who would have thought at the beginning of the month that we would find ourselves in the situation that we now do?

Events with the “Coronavirus crisis” have been moving so fast and, as you are all aware, we have had to take the unprecedented step of stopping all meetings of the church until further notice.

But, are we “on our knees”? No! With Paul we declare:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9)

And why? Because we have the privilege of a personal relationship with a God who is both almighty and our loving Father; the LORD who knows all that is going on in the world with this dreadful virus, and who has promised to be with us always.

I want to encourage you, my dear brethren, to spend this week “hunkered down” not in front of the TV but in prayer. I want to encourage you, my dear brethren, to read Psalm 91 – and to read it out loud EVERY DAY. I want to encourage you, my dear brethren, to claim the promises of this Psalm for yourself.

Then, at the end of the week, we will be setting aside Sunday the 29th March as a Day of Prayer. Our focus in the service that we hope to broadcast “live” on this day, will be an understanding of what this Psalm is saying to us. The day will culminate (details are yet to be finalised) with the opportunity to come to the front of the church and light a candle on the steps and say a prayer – an opportunity that will be open to all in our community – just a quick act and then to move on (with thoughts of social distancing in mind). For our Day of Prayer is to ask the LORD to look down on us, our church, our neighbourhood, our nation and the world with mercy. This call to a Day of Prayer has been sent to all the churches in the Ashford area who are part of Churches Together in Ashford, and I hope that the light of prayer and hope shall go up to Heaven across our town.

The only way we shall be “on our knees” shall be in prayer and not in defeat.

This dreadful virus WILL be used by God, and through His church, to bring many people to their knees. God WILL bring good out of this bad. The Gospel WILL be spread as people see our love and commitment to them, and our peace in God.

So may God continue to bless us all

Peter

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

SUNDAY SERVICES: From this week a Sunday Service will be broadcast live and Vince and Chris are working on making this possible so please look out for further emails giving access details.

WEEKLY MEETINGS:

As you have already heard, all weekly activities are suspended for the duration of the Coronavirus crisis, both within the church building and in people’s homes, so there will be no House groups, Bible Studies, Youth nights, Ladies Fellowship, Worship practices etc. until further notice. Also no outside groups will be using the building during this period.

However, we are also planning to open the church each day from 10am to 12 noon, starting this Thursday when the toilet decoration has finished, to allow church members and members of the local community to come in to pray. Social distancing will be strictly adhered to in accordance with NHS guidelines.

And, we are also hoping to be able to have “virtual” home groups and prayer groups over the coming weeks so that we can all keep in touch and support and encourage one another in new ways. This past Friday those who usually attend the Revival Prayer group at the church had a very successful and encouraging prayer time during which many of us contacted one another via email.

STREET-A-WEEK: This week we will be praying for GRANTLEY CLOSE.  Please try to pray for those who live there each day during the coming week.

JOANNE EASON: We have been asked to announce, by the family, that those who regularly visit Joanne Eason should now stop doing so due to the government guidelines. The family want to thank all those who faithfully have been visiting her and will let us know when visits can re-commence.

FOODBANK: Foodbanks have been particularly hard hit during this time of crisis so your donations are even more important in the coming weeks.